The purpose of this blog is to document my family’s journey out of debt and to financial semi-independence. One of the benefits of having a platform like this is to track our progress, with accountability. Well, it’s time to come clean about our current status – for better or for worse.
This is where we were with the credit cards at the beginning of 2015 (close to the time that I started this blog):
- $5,000 at 21.99%
- $5,400 at 14.99%
- $5,600 at 19.24%
- $2,000 at 21.99%
- $1,800 at 9.9%
- $4,500 at 0% (until May 2015)
- $3,300 at 27% (we’ve been paying this one off every month)
- $4,500 at 19.99%
- $11,100 at 12.99%
A total of approximately $43,200.
At the beginning of 2016, I reported that we were down to just under $30,000.
This is where we are right now:
- $3,494.15 at 15.24%
- $1,731.94 at 9.9%
- $175 at 0% (until January 2017)
- $2,435.88 at 23.49% (paid off every month*)
- $9,015.43 at 13.24%
- $13,052 on Debt Consolidation Loan at 14.49%
*The charges on this card represent most of our monthly expenses, including daycare, groceries, gas, internet, insurances, and cell phones. We receive points for this card that we use on miscellaneous Amazon purchases like diapers, granola bars, etc. I am not including this one in the grand total, because I did not in January and I know that we will be paying it off in full this month.
Have you totaled it up yet? Let me do you a favor, it’s still $27,468.52 🙁
I had really hoped that all of efforts would have paid off with a bigger impact on our outstanding consumer debt. We’ve been working on developing more side hustles to increase our income and saving money by being as frugal as possible.
So, what happened? We had expenses for my sister’s wedding and Mr. Smith’s truck needed repairs that cost a whopping $1,800. Those are the big ones. Of course, we have to keep everything in perspective. We’ve also been making payments on my student loans, both mortgages, and making small contributions towards my 401K. I really wanted all of the consumer debt paid off by the end of 2016. However, I should be thankful that despite some extra expenses, we’re still moving in the right direction. Not so long ago, a big vehicle repair bill like that would have been utterly disastrous. We would have had to find some space on our already maxed-out credit cards in order to pay for it. I remember the days when we were calling to find out how much available credit there was on each card, to cover any and all unexpected expenses. Also, we’re looking forward to receiving a big check for my bi-yearly tutoring side hustle in August.
Am I a little disappointed? Yes. But I’m encouraged by a sense that the momentum is changing. In a recent discussion with sister, I actually mentioned numbers instead of just ambiguous “debt.” She was surprised and asked how it happened, how it got that bad. The answer is compound interest; it is a powerful force. When you’re in debt, every little purchase is just adding to snowball. The balances grow, and the snowball gains speed and it seems near impossible to slow it down. But we’re used to hearing the snowball metaphor used for debt payoff. This too demonstrates how small things add up over time.
I like to think that accumulating debt and wealth are two sides of a mountain, and your finances are the snowball. We’ve stopped the downhill motion of falling deeper into debt. With significant effort, we are pushing our snowball to the top of the mountain and are nearing the peak. Once we get this thing over the summit, it should start gaining speed again, but in the right direction this time.
We still have a long road ahead of us and a mountain of debt to destroy, but I have faith in our ability to succeed on this journey. Our next net worth update will be much different. Thanks for following and keeping us honest <3