update...12 months later
So, it's been a while since I updated this blog. We are still plodding away on this road to being debt free. Here's an update:
We have paid off everything but the student loans!! Still, that was the biggest chunk of our debt. We still owe $17,000 to Sallie Mae. And, we are back on track to being debt free by June 2008 -- our original target.
But, there may be some detours along the way. I'm pregnant! Due in August. In addition to putting oodles of money towards the student loan every month, dh and I are also setting aside at least $600 month towards my maternity leave. I plan on taking my full 12 weeks of FMLA, but my work only gives 1 week paid leave and I would qualify for between 6-8 weeks of disability at 60% pay. We need to make up that shortfall. On top of that, we didn't choose our health insurance wisely, so we already know that we have to pay $1060 to the OB and 20% of whatever we incur at the hospital! Yikes.
By the way, have I mentioned we are living extremely frugally now.
Yesterday after work, I found myself sitting in front of the tv counting pennies. I felt like Scrooge McDuck, and it was a horrible feeling. Have I, in my quest to be rid of debt, become a greedy money scrounging Scrooge?
I know some people who wouldn't even give their pennies a second glance. Seriously. One of my husband's college friends would literally throw away the pennies he received in change because he thought they were more trouble they were worth. He wouldn't even put them in the penny dish next to the cash register.
I, on the other hand, horde pennies. Over the years, I have accumulated jars of pennies. My local bank doesn't have a coin counter. They will accept coins if I roll them up. So, yesterday, I asked them for some wrappers, a lot of them. The clerk clearly underestimated me when she gave me a handful. I immediately knew the 15 wrappers she handed me weren't enough, but I was too embarrassed to admit that I needed MORE. So far, I've rolled $4.50 in pennies.
Back to being Scrooge....
The Debt Free Road Trip
Is there really a road to being debt free?
Unfortunately, it isn't a short road that ends at the end of the block. It turns out that road is quite winding with some unexpected detours and even some u-turns. Perhaps if we had kept our eyes on the road ahead, we wouldn't have been distracted. But who doesn't fiddle with the car radio, look at the passing scenery, have some coffee, and talk to (and get distracted by) your passengers, especially during a long
road trip. And believe me when I say long.
Last August, my husband and I took a long hard look at our finances and realized just how much
in debt we were. We owed $39,787.51 to two credit cards, a car loan, and student loans. We decided to embark on a 34-month journey to be debt free by May 2008. Once you factor in interest, that figure comes out to be about $43,500! However, I must admit that this figure doesn't include our mortgage. That's a whole another journey in itself.
As of today, nine months after starting this adventure, my husband and I have paid off $8,678.80 worth of debt. But, we also added $791.80 to the balance and extended this now torturous trip. Our new calculation is to be out of debt by August 2008 -- three months later than orginally planned.
What I'm hoping to accomplish by literally posting the route of my road trip to debt freedom is to better keep my eyes on the road and not let those tempting roadside attractions distract me anymore. I desperately need to get to my end destination. The sooner the better!