Debt Repayment Update - November 2017 Edition


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This is our first monthly update on how we’re doing paying off our debt. We’re putting it all out there so that we can hold ourselves accountable. We’ll be sharing how much we earn, how much we spent, and our debt progress.

For our first month, I’m very happy with our progress. Our goal was to pay at least $683.00 on our target student loan. And...drum roll...we were able to pay $876.34!

And our total debt decreased by $1,124.76 from October (after accounting for interest).

Without further ado, 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 $1,289.32 in debt in one month.


Attorney income (Me) - $2,831.32. This number is my take-home pay from my job in public service. I have $310.11 in benefits automatically deducted from my paycheck each month. Currently, my employer covers my health insurance fully. I pay $21.22 for dental insurance and I put $10.00 into an FSA account. I contribute $238.89 to a 401k and $40.00 to a Roth 401k.

Attorney Income (DJ) - $750.00. DJ has his own private law practice. This is his take-home pay (after business expenses) and fluctuates from month to month.

Coaching income - $678.16. DJ is an assistant high school football coach. He earns a stipend during the football season, which is paid out in two installments. This is the second installment.

Teaching income - $808.85. DJ also teaches for two local colleges during the year. One he teaches from September through June, while the other he teaches from January through May. This income is from the first school.

Debt repayment & Snowflaking

Our total debt is currently $334,038.90, which is a decrease of $1,124.76 from last month.

Student Loans - $1,289.32. We put $876.34 towards AES, our target loan. This surpassed our reach goal of $683.00. We were able to put $80.13 from my income and $781.00 from DJ’s income. We were also able to snowflake $15.21, which was left over from groceries in October.

We paid the minimum ($412.98) on all our other loans. After accounting for interest, our current balance on all our student loans is $157,652.30 (an overall decrease of $662.50).

Greensky - $99.03. This brings the balance to $5,545.88. The 0% interest rate expires in July 2022, which is also when it will be paid in full.

Discover - $90.00. This brings the balance to $4,388.97.

We also put $30.85 into savings so that we can pay the card off in full when the 0% interest rate expires in May 2018. (This included $22.50 from our budget, $6.00 earned from doing surveys, and $2.35 in interest.) Currently, we have $3,848.47 saved (or 87.7% of what is owed).

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

Our currently mortgage balance is $166,451.75 (a decrease of $273.23). We’ve only had our mortgage since March 2016, so the bulk of our payment each month 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 - $65.13 (Budgeted $100.00). Whatever we don’t use for the month is saved to cover higher usage months.

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 - $237.49 (Budgeted $240.00). The $2.51 leftover will be snowflaked next month.

Eating Out - $50.00 (Budgeted $50.00)

Household/Other - $40.00 (Budgeted $40.00)

Cats - $47.09 (Budgeted $75.00). We use this to buy cat food, litter, and seizure medicine for one of our cats. Whatever we don’t use is saved to cover higher cost months.

Cell - $67.65 (Budgeted $67.65)

My Fuel - $24.09 (Budgeted $30.00). This covers only gas for my car. The $5.91 leftover will be snowflaked next month.

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

My Misc - $27.64 (Budgeted $30.00). Usually, I'll snowflake whatever is leftover. But with the holidays, I'll roll it over to the next month.

Giving - $45.00 (Budgeted $45.00). We donated money to one of our alma maters.

DJ’s Health Insurance - $411.62 (Budgeted $411.62). 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 Misc - $597.19. DJ puts money each month towards his student loans, our joint expenses, and his health insurance. But he doesn't really know how much he'll need for his other personal expenses. (He travels a lot for all of his jobs, so he uses a lot of gas. And there are many times he's unable to eat our leftovers for lunch, so he eats out some. He also purchases beer for himself). And he doesn't really budget this money or keep track of it like I do.

While it's not an ideal situation, it's worked for us, especially since his income and miscellaneous spending fluctuates each month. However, we've talked about it and he's going to start tracking it and be more cognizant of non-necessary spending.

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 - $50.00. 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 premium being.

Car Taxes - $5.50

Clothing - $10.00. DJ needed some new boxers and I needed new socks, so we spent $24.85.

Gifts for Family - $29.00. We’ve spent $216.54 on gifts for Christmas. (By saving all year for Christmas, we plan to be able to buy presents for everyone without incurring any debt.)

Life Insurance - $20.00

Travel - $70.00

Home Maintenance - $10.00. We did spend $64.17 on something for the house last month. However, $50.00 of it was paid using a gift card.

Biannual Maintenance - $19.00. We have our furnace and heat pumped twice a year, in May and November. Since it was November last month, we spent $115.

Professional Fees - $37.50. I have to pay dues to stay a licensed attorney. I had to pay one of them in November, spending $150.

Quarterly Taxes - $50.00. This is money we set aside to pay for quarterly estimated taxes for DJ’s law practice.

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

Toodledo - $3.33. I use Toodledo to manage my to-do list and make sure I don’t forget to pay any of my bills.

Other - $55.00. This covers any car maintenance, medical costs, veterinary & boarding costs for our cats, and continuing education that I have to take as an attorney. We had to take one of our cats to the vet in November, so we spent $39.50.

Savings goals

We are currently saving for a few specific things.

Tree removal - $174. We have a tree in our backyard that is half dead (at least). We’re getting estimates to have it removed, but we’ve been saving to have it removed.

Replace windows - $60.00. 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.

We also received $100 for our birthdays, so we put that towards our windows. Snowflaking for the win!

Cruise - $15. 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.

We have an Emergency Fund of $1,012.39. 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 November?