A Little History
My initial goal for wanting to start a blog was to document our goal of saving up $5,000 for Disneyland in just 4 months. I had barely had a chance to brainstorm blog names when our goal of saving unexpectedly became a goal of limiting damages. Within days of booking our Disney vacation, everything in our lives broke: the air conditioner, the car, even the dog.
Instead of a fully funded birthday celebration for our son, Disneyland became an overpriced outlet for us all to escape the stress and frustrations of the previous months.
Of course, once we got back home and started tallying up the charges, we had to come to terms with this new debt and adapt our lifestyle to handle it. This blog was born to help me manage our way through the fallout.
Where We Stand
In the early summer of 2017, we had about $6,800 in debt (not including mortgage) – roughly $3,200 in credit card debt (at 0% APR) and $3,600 left on my student loan. Post Disney (and the air, car, and dog) we were at $12,000 in credit card debt alone. Add in Christmas travel and gifts and we ended 2017 with almost $15,000 of credit card debt. Yikes!
Fortunately, I was able to transfer that whopping amount onto a 0% APR card with no balance transfer fee. That gives us some interest-free time to hack away at all our debt.
I’ve been able to rotate our credit card debt across 0% APR cards for years, never really focusing on paying it off because it wasn’t costing me anything. I’m over it now. Not only that, but we had involved our son in the “debt-free Disney” goal and since that obviously didn’t happen, I want to pay it off as soon as possible to set an example for him.
So at the start of 2018, we were looking at about 18 grand in debt. If you’re familiar at all with debt repayment you’ve probably heard the terms snowball and avalanche. The snowball method says to tackle the smallest debt first while the avalanche method targets the highest interest. Lucky for me I don’t have to choose between the methods since my lowest debt is also the only one costing me interest: my student loans.
I still have to figure out how much we can afford and how to divvy that up. That’s where Undebt.it comes in. This tool is amazing. Just plug in your numbers and it’ll spit out scenarios for you. You can adjust things to see which method and what minimums will help you hit your goals faster and/or cheaper. I’ve set up an account to help me break things down, stay on top of tracking our progress and be able to share actual numbers with you more easily.
At the moment I’m not 100% sure how much we can put toward debt reduction each month, but I’m starting with $600 so the initial repayment plan looks like this:
Those numbers are nowhere near as extreme as some others I’ve seen, but they’re still pretty daunting to me. I am super excited and encouraged that we’re projected to pay off my student loans by the end of the summer. Hopefully, I can squeeze out a bit more for monthly payments by streamlining our spending and saving.
Want (or Need) To Join In?
Seeing it all plotted out in front of me and having a real solid plan of action is actually very motivating. If you’re struggling with debt and feeling discouraged, I highly recommend checking out undebt.it and see if playing around with the numbers doesn’t motivate you too.