My Debt Marathon

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

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

The School Year Begins

bean soup

Wednesday was the first day of school. The first week was hectic, but not as crazy as I anticipate this week to be. The activities I created for the first couple days were easier and designed to help me get to know the students and how they like to learn. I feel like I scaffolded ideas nicely, connecting reasons for why I want to know about them and why studying history in general is so important.

Tomorrow, we’ll be discussing current events, creating a context for exploring historical ideas in relation to our complex world today. For my Civics course, we’ll be analyzing in more detail whether or not entering a war with Syria is the right move for the United States. I’ll be bringing in a variety of current events about this topic. For my World History courses, Syria will be one of the topics, though I’d like to highlight a current event from each of the major regions of the world, and have the students explore in small groups the themes related to each of these places. By Wednesday I’ll be transitioning to each course’s first unit. For American Civics, our first unit will be focused on the ideas of what is citizenship and what are American values. For World History, we’ll be starting way back in time with the Paleolithic Period when humans began to form into small organized socities and how these actions set the foundation for human relationships and societal structures. Very exciting stuff to study! While also very time consuming in order to organize what I want to say and how I want to teach the ideas and content.

Preparing my meals for the week is integral for success as I get so busy during the weeks. Last week, I made my first meal plan in months. Though I’ve been planning loosely, I hadn’t sat down and evaluated what we had on hand and then what to buy to complement these foods. Doing this helped me immensely. Last week, I only spent about $80 on groceries and I still have enough food left for this week. Money is also really tight right now. Hence planning is essential for not adding a lot more to our credit cards.

Just to give a picture, we have only $90 in our newer checking account. And then $40 in our older checking account. I do have a $120 check to deposit into the older account to cover the car insurance that comes out automatically on Thursday. I’m $21 short and gratuitously I won the $25 paypal gift from Crystal at Budgeting In the Fun Stuff! Through her newsletter I comment for this gift monthly, for probably two years about, and I actually won! This tremendous gift couldn’t have come at a better tme for me! Thank you Crystal! You are so awesome and an inspiration to me and countless others!

On Thursday, I’ll be getting my first school check. With that I’ll pay rent and a few smaller bills. Mr. Tech is waiting for an $1800 payment, which will help with child support and the vehicle payments. Then, on Friday I’ll be getting my tutoring paycheck. That should be about $200, which I’ll use to pay the Capital One Credit Card I’ve been using it for living expenses. In August, I bought groceries, gas, and gifts for some friends who had babies. Then I spent some on it for home repair needs, in order to have our apartment in a better place to start school. We now have about $1000 on that card, which was at zero before vacation. I’m bummed to go into debt with it, considering we paid off another credit card. But that is how it goes sometimes.

Although I now have the groceries I need for this week, Mr. Tech and I did spend $17 yesterday on a few things. To inspire me, I’ve been going through my old recipes and cookbooks. I enjoyed what we ate last week and I think this week will be yummy too!

Last Week’s Meal Plan

-Saturday: Shrimp Scamp (kids weekend)

-Sunday: out to eat with my mom (kids)

-Monday: Zesty Beef Tacos

-Tuesday: Bubba Burgers with Fries (kids night)

-Wednesday: Beet Salad with Steak

-Thursday: Chicken, Brocolli, Green Beans with Pasta

-Friday: leftovers

-Breakfasts: Greek yogurt with blueberries, eggs with cheese, english muffins

-Lunches: ham and cheese pitas, applesauce, rice krispy treats, Greek yogurt, leftover salad

We did well following the plan, though I was stressed on Wednesday to go buy beets, get home to prepare the salad, then go to tutoring, and back home to make dinner. Mr. Tech actually made the dinner, but the prep work was stressful. The following day I realized that I actually missed the benefits meeting at my school too because of “my need” to follow the meal plan. The benefits coordinator is going to meet me on Tuesday. Finding balance between cooking, shopping, and teaching will be challenging.

This Week’s Meal Plan

-Saturday (last night): Leftover Pasta with Turkey Meat Sauce

-Sunday (tonight): Bubba Burgers with Beet Greens, Fresh Green Beans, and Sliced Potatoes

-Monday: Spicy Sausage, Onion, Goat Cheese Quiche Wraps (tutor)

-Tuesday: Oven-Fried Parmesan Chicken with Mashed Potatoes and Canned Green Beans (kids night)

-Wednesday: Black Bean Soup with Brown Rice

-Thursday: Leftovers (tutor)

-Friday: Frozen Shaws Pizza (tutor – kids night)

-Breakfasts: Greek yogurt with Blueberries, Eggs with Cheese, Toast

-Lunches: leftover frozen stew, egg salad sandwiches, ham sandwiches, pickles, snacks

This grocery plan doesn’t require me to go shopping! Yay! Figuring out the Black Bean Soup was tricky. I’ll add canned tomatoes with green chilles and omit the cilantro, lime, and scallions. I have everything else though!

Cheers to a busy week! What’s on your menu?

R.

September 8, 2013 Rachel Thoughts