Update #1 – August 2016

Let’s See How Far We’ve Come

Now that you know where we started and what we’re doing, I’ll talk a little about where we are.

Our methods so far have been more focused than before January, but still not as laser-intense as they could be. We’ve made a little progress in every area, we probably should have made a lot of progress in one area. Part of the purpose of this blog is to keep us honest with how we are doing, because I’m putting it all out there for you to read. If we have a bad month, you’ll know. If we have a great month, you’ll know. There’s sort of a taboo surrounding discussions of money, especially regarding personal finances, and that taboo really hurts a lot of people that don’t know where they should be relative to their age, income, history, circumstances, etc. With that said, I’m definitely not doing this to compare my family or what we’re doing to yours or to brag about our situation in any way. The process is what matters, the numbers just help tell the story. Maybe if more people can feel comfortable talking about money, more people can get help if they need it.

 

The Numbers

Here’s what we owed in January of this year versus what we owed as of August 31:
January 2016 August 2016
Car Loan $4,685.88 $3,754.54
Discover Loan $5,511.82 $4,408.84
Discover Card $7,939.49 $4,800.00
K Student Loans $14,058.10 $13,216.48
R Student Loans $47,879.41 $47,636.87
Total change: $6,257.97 paid off so far

 

Debt Overview
Mint, our tracking application, threw a temper tantrum in February that I can’t fix, so pretend that bar is higher
Capture
If you’re checking my math, there’s a 70-cent difference between what Mint shows and what I show.  I think it’s due to interest on one of the student loans not having updated yet.  Also, put your calculator down, ya nerd.

The Explanation

Several things happened this year that led to these numbers ending up the way they did. We weren’t really that focused on any one of these items as much as we were just “get them all paid off!” Our tax return went almost entirely to my credit card instead of R’s car, and any extra money I made from overtime shifts at work got split up between my credit card and money for fun extras that we wanted. To keep our sanity, we will probably still devote some portion of any extra money towards date nights, movies/books, or other things that are on our “wants” list, but I have a much better plan in place now for the majority of it.

 

Also, R’s student loans didn’t really appear to move much, but we have made a lot more progress than it seems. At the beginning of the year, the largest of her loans were still in deferred status, where they earned lots of interest, but we weren’t required to pay on them. Things were kind of tight as it was, so we didn’t have a lot of extra money to throw at those loans to keep the interest at bay. As a result, the balance actually grew quite a bit by the time the repayment period started. When it came time to make the first payment, we ran into a situation where Sallie Mae would not work with us on an income-based repayment plan, and they set our monthly payments at right under $600. I tried shifting our budget around, but no amount of spreadsheet magic could make an extra $600 appear every month for the foreseeable future. After praying about it, we decided that I would find a second job. God provided in a huge way, guiding me to a job that allows me to work up to 20 hours every week, with a manager that is awesome to work for and is very flexible in working around my schedule at my full-time job. It also pays weekly, which is great for covering little unplanned expenses here and there. We were able to start paying those loans down and have gotten them back below the original issued amount with this new job. God is good!

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