Tuesday, March 31, 2015

End of 1st Q 2015 Report

Starting point (Oct 2011):

Student Loan 1 (My fed loan): $38,339
Student Loan 2 (S' state loan): $21,719
Student Loan 3 (S' fed loan): $5,454
Car Loan: $11,684
Credit Card 1: $10,577
Credit Card 2: $3,635
Credit Card 3: $0
Misc. small debts (S' small debts in collections): $5,443
Medical expenses: $3,672
Parents: $600

Total: $101,123

And here's where we are today:

Student Loan 1: $34,501
Student Loan 2: $18,860
Student Loan 3: $0
Car Loan: $0
Credit Card 1: $0
Credit Card 2: $0
Credit Card 3: $4,344
Misc. small debts: $4,349
Medical expenses: $1,544
Parents: $0
Consolidation Loan: $8,610

Total: $72,208

Paid off to date: $28,915 paid off + $1,426 in savings

So far 2015 is heading in a much better direction than last year. We are making slow but steady progress on the debt pay-off and have maintained the $1000 emergency fund plus we still have $400 in savings towards DS L’s surgery bills.

We still have some unknown bills for DS L’s surgery that we are waiting for and we still have an outstanding tax return coming to us. Once all the surgery bills are paid/ tax return is received, we’ve decided the balance will go towards the medical debt. I’ve been going back and forth on paying interest bearing credit card debt or paying no-interest medical debt. In the end, knocking out the medical debt ASAP won. The medical is a small enough number that we can get rid of it this year for a boost in our debt reduction mission. We’ll be able to snowball our payment towards the credit card and, on the really lean months, ease some of the burden on our budget.

I’ve also realized looking at this quarter’s numbers that we are nearing the 1/3 debt pay-off mark! If we stick with our projected payments through the next two quarters, we will be able to reach that goal by October which is the 4-year anniversary of the beginning of the debt reduction journey!

Monday, March 9, 2015


I spent this past month de-cluttering our house. I feel like this is a never-ending battle for me. I have trouble parting with things that have a potential future value, S is a borderline hoarder and we are both guilty of dragging home all sorts of found/ free stuff for projects we will never have time to complete, plus anyone living with kids knows how much clutter they generate. One of my goals for the year was to compress all selling of stuff to two months to coincide with the bi-annual kids consignment sales my twin parent group hosts. The spring sale is coming up which makes March one of the selling months but I realized I would first have to identify all the items I wanted to sell hence the month of February becoming a deep-cleaning and purging month. Besides, what else am I going to do when it’s stupid cold out.

In the past I’ve mostly organized and gotten rid of things as a reaction, like “oh crap, we’re moving again. Better try to get rid of some stuff” or I’m just irritated to the point of action by the amount of junk we accumulate such as the lotion incident. Since I’m really trying to turn over a new leaf this year, I decided to take a more organized approach to getting organized and getting rid of clutter.

I set out a systematic approach to make sure I didn’t give myself any wiggle room to back out of getting rid of stuff. I wrote out a list of each room in the house and made a checklist for each of the following steps under each room. I focused on one room at a time and chipped away at each step as time allowed.

Step One: Trash and recyclables. I went through all drawers, cabinets, stacks of stuff, closets, etc and got rid of anything that was trash/ recycling. This included expired coupons, food, or medicines, old notes, broken stuff.

Step Two: Home the homeless. Part of our problem is that we have a lot of stuff that doesn’t have a set “home” since our last move so things end up just getting stuck wherever there’s open space. I spent a good amount of time in each room relocating stuff to a more permanent home.

Step Three: The Purge. This was the hardest part. I set a goal of getting rid of 10 items per room. Some of the items included toiletries that I will never use, clothes that I will never fit in again, movies we can get online, books we can get in the library, etc. The removed items went into one of three categories: stuff to sell, stuff to give away, and stuff to toss.

Step Four: Organization wishlist. I jotted down some notes as I went room by room about any organizational items that would help keep the room in order better. I’ll keep my eyes peeled for free or super cheap items to meet those needs.

Felt really good to go through the house and get more organized and reduce some of the clutter. I’ll be repeating the exercise in the fall!