Cruella De Ville is paid off!!!!

WE DID IT!!! Cruella De Ville is paid off!!! YAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

12 more student loan debts to go!!!

We have paid off more than 25% of our debts!

Next in line: Lex Luthor for about $4,500.

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A Long Over-Due Update!

I haven’t updated this blog in a few months because things have been CRAZY around here!!! I tore my Achilles tendon and I had a baby and things have just been madness! MADNESS!

Anyway… Now that things are slowly starting to get back to a new normal… here is our debt-freedom journey update:

We have officially paid off 25% of our debt!!! Yay!!! We’re just a little under $400 closer to paying off our 16th student loan! That will definitely be knocked out by the end of this year!

As of today, we still owe $81,175.13 combined.

We have paid off 25.32% of our student loan debt so far!

Next year, there will be some good financial things coming our way:

Carl will most likely be getting a raise within the next few weeks.

Our health insurance costs are literally being cut in half.

Other than our food budget increasing a little bit because of our newborn baby that was just born, all our other expenses are the same.

It’s too soon to run the numbers and make a goal of how much we could potentially pay off next year, but I’m itching to do it in January!

We’ve paid off 15 out of 28 student loans so far, people! 15! We can do this! And it’s just going to keep going faster and faster since our snowball keeps getting bigger and bigger! For example, once this current debt that we’re working on is paid off, we’ll be automatically adding another $17.19 to our snowball! Just like that!

4/16/2018 Goals Progress & Updates

LAST WEEK’S PROGRESS:

Percentage Paid Off: 23.31%

The Money Game: 

CURRENT LEVEL: 147

    LEVELS REMAINING: 55

AMOUNT NEEDED TO LEVEL UP: $52.10

Sticky Notes:

         15/28 Paid Off!!! 

         13 Student Loans Left!!!!

Debt Name: Cruella De Ville

Current Cruella De Ville Balance: $2,119.45

 

THIS WEEK’S GOALS:

The Money Game: 

GOAL LEVEL: 149

 

 

Next Week’s Balance Goal: $1,885

This Month’s Balance Goal: $1,885

This 12WY Goal: Pay off Cruella De Ville by June 30th, 2018

 

2018 GOALS:

    Pay Off:

#16 – Cruella De Ville,

#17 – Lex Luthor, &

         #18 – Mad Hatter

How we are tracking our progress!

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Since I like to see progress in various forms, these are the different ways that we are tracking our progress:

Sticky Notes!

2-22-2018 Whited Out

This was my husband’s creative idea for keeping visual track of our debt-elimination progress.

Back in January of 2015, his college degree was covered with a total of 28 sticky notes. Each stack of sticky notes represents one student loan. Each individual sticky note in each stack represents $500.

Every time we pay off $500 of the current student loan that we are working on, we get to pull off a sticky note. Sometimes, we’ll rip it up just because it feels good to do so! 🙂

This is a current picture of where we are at. As you can clearly see, we have 13 student loans left to pay off. We’ve paid off more than half of them, so that makes me happy!

 

The Money Game!

My friend Mary blogs at

https://homemoneygame.wordpress.com/

This blog explains how she does her brilliant “game” of how she’s working on becoming a millionaire by starting with a $5 bill and increasing it by 5% each time. After doing it 250 times, you will be a millionaire! Pretty cool, right?

I can’t remember if this was my idea or not, but there is a debt-freedom version of this money game, as well. It’s essentially The Money Game in reverse. How many levels do you have left until  you reach debt freedom?

As of today, we are currently on Level 145. We have 57 levels remaining until we reach debt freedom. We need $164.36 to level up.

 

Our Debt Names

As silly as this may sound to some people, I gave all of our individual student loans their own names. Someone suggested that idea to me to help me focus on one at a time so I don’t get overwhelmed by the big picture. (We started out with $108,000 in student loan debt, people! That’s ridiculously overwhelming for this lady to think about!)

Here are the names of our remaining 13 debts:

#16 – Cruella De Vil

#17 – Lex Luthor

#18 – Mad Hatter

#19 – Madam Mim

#20 – Magnito

#21 – Medusa

#22 – Mother Gothel

#23 – Mouse

#24 – Shark

#25 – Snake

#26 – Spider

#27 – Ursula

#28 – CHEETAH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Right now, we’re throwing everything extra we have at #16 – Cruella De Vil. There is about $3,000 left to be paid off before she is out of here!

 

Weekly, Monthly, Quarterly, & Yearly Goal Setting

I am a huge goal-setting advocate. I know that, if I don’t keep my goals right in front of my face all the time, I will lose sight of them and not make much progress towards them.

That being the case, my husband and I have set financial goals for how much we want to pay off every year. I broke that down to a quarterly goal, which ended up meaning we have a goal to pay off one student loan every 3 months. I then break that quarterly goal down into monthly and weekly amounts to make sure that we are still on track.

 

Percentages

There is a spreadsheet where I keep track of what percentage of our debt we have paid off so far.

At the moment, we have paid off 22.78%.

We started out with $108,690.57 in debt.

We have currently paid off $24,762.23 of debt.

Our current debt is $83,928.34 (That is still a TON of debt, but it’s MUCH better than 6 figures worth of debt!)

 

Soooo… those are the various ways that I keep myself motivated and have visual proof that we are making progress.

I see the sticky note visual every. single. day. as it is right by our front door and by my computer. Just seeing how we’ve already cleared 3 rows of sticky notes is very motivating and encouraging to me.

We have a goal to pay off Cruella De Vil by the end of June 2018. I have set up monthly and weekly financial targets to aim for to keep an eye on our progress and to make sure that we’ll reach our goal.

I love looking at The Money Game every week to see if we can “level up” that week, because only having 57 levels remaining until we are debt free seems totally doable!

At the very least, if all else fails… if we do NOT reach our weekly, monthly, or quarterly goal, if progress is going slower than I would like (which is more often than it probably should be), and if I just need a little extra encouragement and motivation to just. keep. trying…. that’s where looking at the percentages comes in handy.

Just thinking about how close we are to being 1/4 of the way done–25%–is very motivating. Thinking about what we need to do to in our way closer to the next percent is motivating, as well.

It is evident that there are a myriad of ways to keep track of our debt-free goal progress. What it all boils down to, for me at least, is keeping focus on one little step at a time. When I look at the big picture of how much debt we have left to pay off, I get overwhelmed. When I look at just one little bit at a time, it seems much more doable.

We will reach debt freedom.

Eventually.

The “Big Bad Wolf” Debt is HISTORY!

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Photo credit: https://deepfriar.wordpress.com/2011/11/20/treasured-stories-from-my-childhood-that-would-traumatize-todays-kids/

I just noticed that I forgot to post this!

A few weeks ago, we paid off another student loan! The Big Bad Wolf student loan is history!

YAHOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Next in line: The Cruella De Ville student loan! She’s targeted to be out of here by the end of June 2018!

Our 2018 Financial Goals

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We’ve hit a few bumps in the road recently, but I’m still determined to reach all of our 2018 financial goals.

As I will be explaining in further detail in a different post, I have given names to all of our student loan debts to help me focus on one at a time so I don’t get overwhelmed by the sheer number of them.

Our goal is to pay off one student loan every 12-Week-Year (a concept I learned in a great book that I highly recommend that you read called The 12 Week Year by Brian Morgan). That being the case, we want to pay off the following loans by December 2018:

#16 – Cruella De Ville

#17 – Lex Luthor

#18 – Mad Hatter

If we accomplish this goal, we will be down to only having 10 student loans to pay off by the end of 2018! Since we started with 28, the thought of being down to 10 is just mind-blowing for me.

In order to reach this goal, we need to get Cruella De Ville down to about $2,750 by paying about $250 this coming Friday.

I’m not entirely sure this is possible due to my decision to cut back my hours on my part time job, but we’ll definitely be close! And there’s always the possibility of having a little more left over every other Friday to throw at debt when my husband and I both get paid.

The Race (attributed to Dr. D.H. “Dee” Groberg)

road-sky-clouds-cloudy.jpgPoem Source: http://holyjoe.org/poetry/anon3.htm

The Race

      • attributed to Dr. D.H. “Dee” Groberg

Whenever I start to hang my head in front of failure’s face,
my downward fall is broken by the memory of a race.
A children’s race, young boys, young men; how I remember well,
excitement sure, but also fear, it wasn’t hard to tell.
They all lined up so full of hope, each thought to win that race
or tie for first, or if not that, at least take second place.
Their parents watched from off the side, each cheering for their son,
and each boy hoped to show his folks that he would be the one.

The whistle blew and off they flew, like chariots of fire,
to win, to be the hero there, was each young boy’s desire.
One boy in particular, whose dad was in the crowd,
was running in the lead and thought “My dad will be so proud.”
But as he speeded down the field and crossed a shallow dip,
the little boy who thought he’d win, lost his step and slipped.
Trying hard to catch himself, his arms flew everyplace,
and midst the laughter of the crowd he fell flat on his face.
As he fell, his hope fell too; he couldn’t win it now.
Humiliated, he just wished to disappear somehow.

But as he fell his dad stood up and showed his anxious face,
which to the boy so clearly said, “Get up and win that race!”
He quickly rose, no damage done, behind a bit that’s all,
and ran with all his mind and might to make up for his fall.
So anxious to restore himself, to catch up and to win,
his mind went faster than his legs. He slipped and fell again.
He wished that he had quit before with only one disgrace.
“I’m hopeless as a runner now, I shouldn’t try to race.”

But through the laughing crowd he searched and found his father’s face
with a steady look that said again, “Get up and win that race!”
So he jumped up to try again, ten yards behind the last.
“If I’m to gain those yards,” he thought, “I’ve got to run real fast!”
Exceeding everything he had, he regained eight, then ten…
but trying hard to catch the lead, he slipped and fell again.
Defeat! He lay there silently. A tear dropped from his eye.
“There’s no sense running anymore! Three strikes I’m out! Why try?
I’ve lost, so what’s the use?” he thought. “I’ll live with my disgrace.”
But then he thought about his dad, who soon he’d have to face.

“Get up,” an echo sounded low, “you haven’t lost at all,
for all you have to do to win is rise each time you fall.
Get up!” the echo urged him on, “Get up and take your place!
You were not meant for failure here! Get up and win that race!”
So, up he rose to run once more, refusing to forfeit,
and he resolved that win or lose, at least he wouldn’t quit.
So far behind the others now, the most he’d ever been,
still he gave it all he had and ran like he could win.
Three times he’d fallen stumbling, three times he rose again.
Too far behind to hope to win, he still ran to the end.

They cheered another boy who crossed the line and won first place,
head high and proud and happy — no falling, no disgrace.
But, when the fallen youngster crossed the line, in last place,
the crowd gave him a greater cheer for finishing the race.
And even though he came in last with head bowed low, unproud,
you would have thought he’d won the race, to listen to the crowd.
And to his dad he sadly said, “I didn’t do so well.”
“To me, you won,” his father said. “You rose each time you fell.”

And now when things seem dark and bleak and difficult to face,
the memory of that little boy helps me in my own race.
For all of life is like that race, with ups and downs and all.
And all you have to do to win is rise each time you fall.
And when depression and despair shout loudly in my face,
another voice within me says, “Get up and win that race!”

 

Whenever I think of that poem, it encourages me to keep on going.

We’ve stumbled in our debt-free journey. We’ve taken what seems like steps backwards or at least have been standing still at times when things happen that are beyond our control (we need to buy a new-to-us vehicle, etc.).

Sometimes, I get really discouraged and think that I’m never going to make it; that we’ll never be debt free. Sometimes I wonder if our bad choices in our late 20’s are going to haunt us for the rest of our lives and if we’ll never recover from them.

Then I think of that poem. He just kept getting up and trying, no matter how often he fell. If we give up, we’ll never win. We’ll never reach debt freedom. But if we just try, and keep on trying, that is all we can ask of ourselves. We WILL see financial freedom; probably sooner than I think we will.

To quote the last two lines of the poem:

“And when depression and despair shout loudly in my face,
another voice within me says, “Get up and win that race!””

What’s It All For?

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Image credit: http://clipartmag.com/question-mark-images-free-clipart

So, what’s it all for, anyway? Why are my husband and I on this debt-free journey?

Why are we wearing ourselves out, trying to get it done as fast as possible?

Sometimes I feel like giving up. We have such a long way to go, and I’m exhausted.

Trying to work from midnight to 5 a.m. five days a week, homeschool my children, and take care of all of my regular housewife and mom responsibilities is exhausting. It just doesn’t feel worth it some days. Some days, I just want to quit and go back to our 12 year debt-free plan.

But then we get a text message that kind of drops a bomb on us, so to speak, and changes all of that.

My husband’s grandpa died less than a week ago.

We dropped everything and drove 1,000 miles across the country to go to his funeral.

Four years ago, there was no way that we would have been able to afford to do that. None.

What changed between now and then? We have a $1,000 starter emergency fund. We are one month ahead on all of our monthly expenses. We have paid down a little over $20,000 in debt, which has given us a little more wiggle room in our budget.

We’re nowhere near out of the woods yet. We still are living too close to the financial edge for my comfort. But things definitely are much better now than they were when we first graduated from college 4 years ago.

I know that trying to get out of debt is hard, but anything worth doing is hard.

Will we be rich after we become debt free? Probably not. But we will have the freedom to choose what we spend our money on, instead of sending a big chunk of it to debt every month. We will have the freedom to take that last minute road trip across the country when tragedy strikes. We will be able to make those necessary car repairs that come up without causing us any financial stress. We will be able to help out loved ones in need.

Financial freedom. Peace of mind. Less financially worry or stress.

For us at least, THAT is what our debt-free journey is all for.

 

Contentment

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Photo credit: https://quotefancy.com/quote/33048/Theodore-Roosevelt-Comparison-is-the-thief-of-joy

Contentment is something that I have been struggling with for the past little while.

I hate to admit it, but lately, I have been extremely ungrateful for what I have.

I have friends who live in nice homes, drive nice cars, go out to eat all the time, etc. and I started to compare our lives and I got jealous.

We live in a pretty small, run-down rental, but you know what? It is a home where love abides. It keeps us warm in the winter and cool in the summer. It’s in a quiet, safe neighborhood. It’s very inexpensive. We have a fenced backyard and a dishwasher. We have a deep freezer full of meat and a pantry stocked with food. We have warm clothes to wear and a washing machine to wash them in. We have water that we can drink at any time–clean, pure water–that comes straight out of our tap!

My home may be old and beat up, but I’m grateful that I have a home to go to. Even better than that, I’m grateful for the people I love that live with me inside of my home.

My furniture and our vehicles are extremely cheap and beat up, and nothing that we own is new or remotely nice or in good condition, but when it comes to stuff that really matters–love, health, & true happiness–I have definitely been blessed with more of that than I deserve.

Sometimes I lose sight of that and want to live in the nicer home with the nicer car. Sometimes I forget how very truly blessed I am to have such a loving husband and three wonderful children that I adore.

Life is good. Life is very good.

This debt free journey is hard, but I can still enjoy life as we go through it. I can still enjoy hearing my children laugh and hugging my sweet husband when he gets home from work. I can be grateful that I have a working vehicle and that we have enough money to put a roof over our heads, clothes on our backs, and food in our stomachs.

I know that Heavenly Father would be pleased with us being out of debt, but I do not think He wants me to be miserable during the process. I need to find joy in the journey as I go through it.

Money and wealth can come and go as quick as lightning. I need to hold on to, and be grateful for, the things that truly matter most. Those are the things that no one can ever take away from me.

No matter what happens in my life, even if I never get that nicer car or live in that nicer home, I know that I will look back and smile upon the wonderful, happy life that I shared with the people that I love the most.

I was reminded of all of this when my daughter cried when she had to throw her hand-me-down light-up shoes away because the sole had completely worn off and her shoes looked like they could talk. I gave her a big hug and told her I understood what a hard thing it is to have to let go of something that you really enjoyed wearing. Then I reminded her that what’s truly important is her, her brothers, and her daddy. I told her that we could always get her another pair of shoes, but we can never get another one of her.

I think I needed to hear that more than she did.

I will close this post by stating that I am in no way saying that having nice stuff is bad. However, I do need to watch myself when I start to feel discontent and jealous of what I don’t have and to count my many blessings that I do have.

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