Debt Repayment Update - January 2018 Edition


(Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy for more info.)

2018 is now fully underway. We’re now than a month in, which means it’s time to look at how we did with our finances in January.

Each month, we’re putting it all out there so that we can hold ourselves accountable. We’re sharing how much we earn, how much we spent, and how we’re doing on paying off our debt.

January was a decent month. We were only able to put $532.28 towards our target student loan, which came a little under our goal of paying at least $683.00. But I think we’ll be able to make up for it in February.

Our total debt decreased by $764.37 from December (after accounting for interest). While not as much as we'd like, every little bit helps!

So, let’s take a look at the numbers.

Holding ourselves accountable by sharing our earnings, spending, and debt progress. Let's look at how we paid $764.37 in debt in December.


Attorney income (Me) - $2,795.64. This number is my take-home pay from my job in public service. I have $371.80 in benefits automatically deducted from my paycheck each month. My health insurance plan changed at work, so now I pay $50.00 for that. I pay $21.22 for dental insurance and I put $10.00 into an FSA account. I contribute $248.58 to a 401k and $42.00 to a Roth 401k.

Attorney Income (DJ) - $1,000.00. DJ has his own private law practice. This is his take-home pay (after business expenses) and fluctuates from month to month.

Teaching income - $673.63. DJ also teaches for two local colleges during the year. $330.81 of this was paid in December, but he didn't need it then. So we're counting it this month.

He started teaching again at the other college, which is where the other $342.82 came from. He received his pay from the other school at the end of the month, but didn’t deposit it until February (so we’ll show it then.) He’s finally gotten that one set up for direct deposit, so after this, it’ll be deposited in the correct month.

Other - $544.89. We got a $20 gift card to our grocery store for Christmas. DJ got a dividend check and a payout for a class action settlement. Normally, we’d snowflake those, but DJ needed them to help cover his expenses. Lastly, DJ had to get new glasses. He asked his parents to pay for them as part of his Christmas gift from them.

Debt repayment & Snowflaking

Our total debt is currently $332,142.86, which is a decrease of $764.37 from last month. Here's the breakdown of our debt:

Student Loans - $945.26. We put $532.28 towards AES, our target loan. We were able to put $18.47 from my income and $475.00 from DJ’s income. DJ didn’t pay himself the second time from his law practice until near the end of the month. So we weren’t able to pay the extra we normally pay to the loan. But that means we’ll have even more to pay in February.

We were also able to snowflake a total of $38.81, which came from:

  • $0.40 in interest earned in December
  • $35.27 left over from eating out in December
  • $0.14 left over from gasoline in December
  • $3.00 from Pinecone survey

We paid the minimum ($412.98) on all our other loans. After accounting for interest, our current balance on all our student loans is $156,678.33 (an overall decrease of $303.41).

Greensky - $99.03. This brings the balance to $5,347.82. The 0% interest rate expires in July 2022, which is also when it will be paid in full.

Discover - $87.00. This brings the balance to $4,213.97.

We also put $16.27 into savings so that we can pay the card off in full when the 0% interest rate expires in May 2018. (This included $13.00 from our budget and $3.27 in interest.) Currently, we have $3,879.84 saved (or 92.1% of what is owed).

Mortgage - $1086.58. This also covers our taxes and insurance.

Our currently mortgage balance is $165,902.74 (a decrease of $274.93). We’ve only had our mortgage since March 2016, so the bulk of our payment each month still goes towards interest.

Monthly expenses

Here’s how we spent our money on monthly expenses this month (not including our debt):

Internet - $44.99 (Budgeted $44.99)

Hulu/Netflix - $17.08 (Budgeted $17.08)

Electric/Gas - $171.73 (Budgeted $100.00). Our electric bill was a lot higher due to the colder weather. But we had money left over from previous months, so the extra was covered.

Water - $115.61 (Budgeted $60.00). We pay water every other month. So, we set $60 aside each month to cover it. Whatever we don’t use is saved to cover higher usage months.

Groceries - $242.89 (Budgeted $260.00). As I mentioned above, we got a gift card for Christmas to our grocery store. We tried to stick to our normal $240 budget and save the extra $20. We didn’t quite make it, but were still have to have $17.71 leftover (which we’ll snowflake next month).

Eating Out - $35.82 (Budgeted $50.00). The $14.18 leftover will be snowflaked next month.

Household/Other - $58.04 (Budgeted $48.91). We had money left over from previous months, so the extra was covered.

Cats - $110.61 (Budgeted $81.09). We use this to buy cat food, litter, and seizure medicine for one of our cats. We had money left over from previous months, so the extra was covered.

Cell - $67.65 (Budgeted $67.65)

My Fuel - $28.88 (Budgeted $30.00). The $1.34 leftover will be snowflaked next month.

DJ Fuel - $141.33 (Budgeted $113.05). DJ overspent a bit because he had to travel more than he’d planned. He was able to cover some of it from money left over in December, but he'll cover the additional overspending in February.

Parking - $30.00 (Budgeted $30.00). I have to pay to park at work.

My Misc - $27.53 (Budgeted $40.00). I’ll carry the extra forward to the next month.

DJ Misc - $98.00 (Budgeted $64.05). He’ll cover the overspending in February.

DJ’s Health Insurance - $428.84 (Budgeted $428.84). This is DJ’s health insurance through the Affordable Care Act. To be on my health insurance, we’d have to pay a lot more than this.

DJ Food & Beverage - $174.33 (Budgeted $140.16). This covers any food or beverages DJ spends while traveling or going out with friends. It was a bit higher due to some extra traveling. He’ll cover the overspending in February.

DJ's Glasses - $480.49 (Budgeted $480.49). As I mentioned above, DJ needed to buy new glasses (both regular and prescription sunglasses). His parents offered to cover the cost as part of his Christmas present from them.

Bank Fee - $1.00 (Budgeted $5.00). DJ and I just opened a new checking account with a credit union. They charge a monthly fee. (I hate paying fees, but it goes towards charitable work so I’m okay with it.) The extra money budgeted will go towards future fees.

Sinking funds

Each month, we set money aside to cover our irregular expenses. These are things that don’t happen every month but will need to be paid for in the future. These are called "sinking funds".

Here’s how much we allocated towards each this month:

Blog - $41.03. I’m setting aside money to pay for blogging expenses until I start earning money.

Car Inspection/Registration - $5.50.

Car Insurance - $40.00. I pay my car insurance every 6 months (in June and December) so, each month, I save one-sixth of what I anticipate the insurance being.

Car Taxes - $5.50.

Clothing - $53.49. The soles of my work shows broke. (So I had to buy new shoes. So I spent $53.49.

Gifts for Family - $29.00

Gifts for Coworkers - $12.50. We have birthday parties at work for each person’s birthday and we each bring a small gift. I spent $8.69.

Life Insurance - $20.00.

Travel - $80.00.

Home Maintenance - $10.00.

Biannual Maintenance - $19.00. We have our furnace and heat pumped twice a year, in May and November.

Professional Fees - $37.50. I have to pay dues to stay a licensed attorney.

Quarterly Taxes - $0.00. This is money we set aside to pay for quarterly estimated taxes for DJ’s law practice. We have enough set aside already, so we didn't need to set aside any in December. We’re not sure if we’ll have to pay any quarterly estimated taxes this year. So we didn’t set anything aside for it yet.

YNAB - $3.75. I use You Need a Budget to keep track of my budget and finances. It makes managing everything so easy.

Todoist - $3.33. I use Todoist to manage my To-Do list and make sure I don’t forget to pay any of my bills. (I recently switched from Toodledo, which I also recommend, but I’m liking Todoist better.)

Other - $11.51. I bought a new Fitbit ($88.03) because my other one was malfunctioning. It was a bit of a splurge, but I really like having it to motivate me to get more steps.

Savings goals

We are currently saving for a few specific things.

Replace windows - $190.00. The windows in our house are old (single pane, frost on inside of windows old). We already replaced four windows in 2016. We hope to replace 5 more as soon as we can. Based on what we spent on the other windows, we estimate we’ll need about $2,700. (Now that we've taken care of having the tree removed, we can start saving for this again.)

Cruise - $15.00. We rarely go on vacation together, other than to see family. DJ’s never been on a cruise. It’s not a high priority, but we still want to save up to go on one in the future. We want to save about $1,600 for it.

Emergency Fund - $0.00. We have an Emergency Fund of $1,014.06. We chose $1,000 based on Dave Ramsey’s Baby Step 1. The additional money is interest that has accrued. Eventually, we’ll increase our emergency fund, but not at this time.

Your Turn

How did your budget and/or debt repayment goes in January?