My Debt Marathon

Running the debt race and sharing my journey one payment at a time.

Reaching Goals Spring 2014 Update

Step by Step

The school year is almost at the end! With the extra time I’ll have during the summer, I’ve been evaluating what I want to do and what I hope to accomplish. Getting my websites in order is definitely at the top of my priority list. Hopefully I’ll have new banners very soon! That is the first step on my list of goals.

Financially, money has been moving in the right track. We paid off the Mom student loan of $1442! In March, I paid down that debt to $1,000, then $650! With Mr. Tech’s tax refund, we paid off the rest and got caught up on the rest of our bills. In April, Mr. Tech bought a tv for his business on his Best Buy credit card. He has a 0% promotion rate. Recently, the customer paid for the tv, so we used that money to pay off another credit card. The 0% promotion was ending in August. I’m psyched to have this credit card and a student loan debt paid off! Yay!

I now have a mini-snowball amount of $181.25 to throw at other debts! The one I am now paying off is the Capital One credit card. We did have a zero balance last summer, but after buying our Disney passes on it last July, some expenses for Mr. Tech in the fall, a couple holiday purchases, and website fees for Mr. Tech, we had accrued a $2000 balance. So quickly the debt adds up. Just last week though, I paid that card down to $1500. I’ve already done my projections for June’s snowball, and I think I should be able to pay at least $600. I’m really hoping I sell some more products on E-bay to help bring that balance to zero. With my birthday coming up, I would love my present to be a zero balance again! I will be doing everything I possibly can to have this happen.

In July, we have two vacations planned. My mother’s family has planned a family reunion camping trip. I’m anticipating we’ll need about $1000 for air mattresses, food, camping fees, and activities. We’ve been sleeping on the hard ground for too long; it’s finally time to invest in air mattresses. We’ll be camping for a week, so they are definitely necessary purchases. I’m hoping Costco will have a good deal.

At the end of July, we are also planning a trip to Georgia to visit Mr. Tech’s sister. Rather than going to Niagara Falls and staying with his sister who lives near there, the family has decided to visit Georgia instead. Mr. Tech might not be able to go due to work. We may decide to not go at all because of money. We haven’t decided 100% yet. If we do go, we anticipate about $1500 for this vacation. By driving we will save money, but even still the costs are about $400 per person. If we don’t go, we might still send the kids. Depends on how everything goes.

Future Plans

We are still planning on getting married next summer. Mr. Tech’s uncle actually owns a small golf resort in northern New Hampshire. Initially, many people suggested this resort, but I wasn’t open to the idea. But now I know it’s the perfect place! I’m really excited to visit it and meet the owner in July. We’ve talked on the phone a few times. They don’t usually offer weddings, but she’s willing to make an exception for us and give us an awesome deal!

My teaching position is also secure. Next year, I’ll actually be taking on a leadership role as a technology integrator. I’ll be working with a team of teachers and teaching freshmen students for the entire year! I’m excited to learn more about technology and apply this knowledge to my websites. It feels really nice to not be stressing about my job, to have a sense of security, and to plan and reach my financial goals. Finally!

I still have work to do. But I’m reaching my goals, one by one. Yay!

Till next time,

R.

June 1, 2014 Rachel Thoughts

Over $17,000 of Debt Paid-Off!

keep calm pay off debt

A few months have passed again since I wrote my last blog post. In that time, I have adjusted to my teaching job and completed my first semester of courses. I am currently teaching my courses a second time to a new batch of students, and hence I am finding that I have more time to devote to side hustles and blogging.

Frequently I think about my little blog, and yet many days go by before I finally write some of my thoughts. Although I may not be writing, I am still actively paying off debt and trying to pay off more debt. As my title says, in 2013, Mr. Tech and I paid off over $17,000 of debt!!! As of February 13, we technically paid off $17,493.12, not counting February interest fees and a few debts that still need to be paid this month.

$17,000 is a huge feat. Some people write about how they are now debt free after paying that amount. I am not one of those people. $17,000 is only about 10% of what I actually owe in debt (including Mr. Tech’s school loan and Jeep loan). As of February 13, 2014, we still owe $160,863. YUP —- GULP —- That HUGE number. I can let this number get me down, or I can focus on the positive.  And the positive is… Mr. Tech and I paid off $17,000 of debt!!! Woot woot! Happy Dance! Way to go! I AM making my way to being DEBT FREE, one payment at a time!

And reality… paying off debt HASN’T been easy. This past year has been an emotional ride, as I searched for a teaching job, ended my last position, and began my new position. This fall I spent a lot of time prepping for school and grading. I’m still menu planning every week, eating healthier, and shopping with coupons. The deals haven’t been as good lately, but I did recently score 20 bags of Birds Eye vegetables for free! The holiday season was very nice. My sister-in-law and her family came to visit. I was able to buy gifts for everyone for about $600 and we enjoyed quality time with family. In the summer, we did go on a family vacation to Walt Disney World. We were able to do the trip frugally by driving and staying at a condo with family. For a family of four, we spent about $2500, and visited three theme parks. This June, we plan to visit Niagara Falls. We’ll save money by staying with Mr. Tech’s sister in Toronto. We also have a week-long camping trip planned in July. I am excited for these vacations. They will be nice reprieves after a stressful year of teaching.

Otherwise, my life is quite boring. Rather than going out and spending money, my boyfriend and I spend a lot of time at home. On the weekends, when we have my stepsons, they play MineCraft. I enjoy planning my grocery trips and going to the various stores for the deals. I’ve also started going to the gym about three times a week and I still tutor about 6 to 10 hours a week. Rather than cable, we have Netflix and Hulu Plus, so we have enjoyed many hours watching series of shows. We are currently watching Season 2 of House of Cards and Season 9 of Bones. We like our tv :-)

This past weekend, I also finally listed items on E-bay and I have two bidders so far!! If these sell at their current bid price, I’ll make about $55 after fees. I think I’ll have another sale too, perhaps a best offer sale, for about $100. Mr. Tech has a lot more electronic equipment that is leftover from jobs, so I am hoping to make a few thousand from E-bay in the next few months.  

With this money from E-bay, my tax return, and extra payments, I should be able to pay off a student loan debt that I have had for 12 years now!  It should already be paid off by now, but for XYZ reasons, it is still a debt that I owe. When I started this blog in October of 2011, I owed about $2700 on this loan. As of January of 2013, the debt sat at $2200. Today it is currently at $1442! I hope in the next few weeks to get it down to $800, and then by April, I hope to pay it off completely. Then, I can start attacking the credit card debt. Although the interest rate is lower on the student loan than the credit cards, I feel more guilt over the student loan debt, since I have had it for so long and it is co-signed with my mother. Paying off that debt will feel so good!

My hope is that financially things go well this spring and summer. Mr. Tech’s business is growing and he’ll be making some decent money this spring. I hope by August that we will be able to pay off two credit cards and put a deposit on a reception venue for our wedding. We set a date for July 25, 2015. We’ve been engaged for six years, and I think we are finally ready financially. Our families are willing to help some, and this will be a better time for them too.

But for now, we’ll take our debts one day at a time. I like dreaming about our wedding, but I know this can’t happen until the Mom student loan and the credit cards are paid off. Even after that, we’ll still be $150,000 in debt. Oh, I’ve got some work to do.

Till next time,

R.

February 18, 2014 Rachel Thoughts

Feeling Sickly and Stressed

How was your week? Mine was as hectic as I anticipated. Planning my meals helped tremendously and I didn’t have to spend any extra time grocery shopping. That was nice.

Today I spent some time cleaning the kitchen, emptying out the frig, shopping for some groceries, and organizing the finances. I only spent $33 at the grocery store. On Tuesday I’ll stop at Hannaford’s for fresh greens and salad fixings, in which I hope to only spend another $20. We are really low on groceries right now, but we don’t have the extra money to stockpile extra food.

Yesterday was Mr. Tech’s birthday. We had more of a relaxing day and then in the evening we ordered Chinese and I bought a German chocolate cake at a really nice bakery. I had planned to make a meal, but I didn’t have the energy to go shopping and make dumplings from scratch. I had a yummy recipe picked out, but I was so tired. Because we ordered out instead, we spent more money than I wanted to. But the extra expense was worth it to make Mr. Tech happy.

Unfortunately last night after I returned from getting the cake and Chinese, I also started to get a sore throat. I rested some this morning, but I still feel awful. I can’t miss school tomorrow, but I am worried that my head will be cloudy. Once I’m done with the blog post, I have school work to do. I have to create a quiz, read a chapter, and finish grading.  This may not sound like a lot, but the grading alone will probably take over 2 hours.

Besides feeling stressed about school, I’m also really stressed about finances. I got my first school paycheck on Thursday. I forgot to factor in retirement, so my paycheck is $100 less than I was planning. With tutoring I’m able to make back some of that amount, but with the amount of debts that we have, it’s always a struggle.  Mr. Tech is bringing in some money, but it’s hard to plan when I’m not sure what he is bringing home. Though he is going to be doing a side programming job soon and with that money I hope we can pay off the Capital One credit card that we’ve been spending on lately and his Business credit card.

I’m really happy that I know how to save us money. I don’t feel like we are lacking. It’s just meeting our montly minimums and extra goals can be stressful and challenging. I hope we can hit the goals I’m setting for us. Saving at the grocery store definitely helps, allowing us to get Chinese, and pay extra towards our bills. This week our menu plan is a little boring, but it will be yummy just the same. Last week, everything went as planned, except I didn’t do frozen pizzas. This is what I planned for this week.

Weekly Menu Plan

-Saturday: Chinese Food – Mr. Tech’s Birthday

-Sunday: Pizza (Mr. Tech went to Boston with the kids for a job and got pizza)

-Monday: Leftover Chinese Food (tutor)

-Tuesday: Tacos and Salad (kids night)

-Wednesday: Chicken Teriyaki with Quinoa

-Thursday: Leftovers (kids soccer, tutor)

-Friday: Goat Cheese Quiche with Bacon and Brocolli (tutor)

Cheers to a busy week!

September 15, 2013 Rachel Thoughts