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Merry wherever you are on this fine January day. We spent our holidays at home and enjoyed seeing Terin experience snow for the first time. It snowed on Christmas Eve and the day after which is so.close to being a white Christmas here. I wasn’t excited as much for the presents and gift giving as I was being with my little family and close friends. That and tallying up what our total debt payoff would be this year.
In usual debt payoff report fashion, I’ll share with you a peak into our debt payoff journey. This month, we paid off $2,970. We also cash flowed Christmas and some other unexpected bills. Our payoff was a little higher this month thanks to a bonus Nick received from his employer. I was freaking out a little bit about our numbers since we paid for Christmas all in December. Thankfully everything worked out well.
What happened in December?
- Current balance: $61,533
- 24 months along
- Total paid off: $68,541
- 53% complete
- We’ve shortened our 30-year loan by 19 years, 8 months
- We’ve saved $66,597 in interest
We’re really thrilled with our progress this year. I’ll never forget the feeling I had at the beginning of the year knowing we were going to earn less income. How would we reach our goals? Would I be able to stay motivated at a slower pace? These questions swirled around in my head until I decided I couldn’t dwell on unknowns and what-ifs. All we could do is the best we could do each month. Any less and we’d be shorting ourselves. Any more and it would be impossible.
Our beginning balance in 2018 was $97,748. In tallying up our overall results, we paid off $36,195 of our debt. It feels insane writing that especially since we made low $90,000s and contributed 15% of our gross income to retirement accounts.
Spoil alert: We didn’t feel deprived. We kept all the things that gave me the greatest joy–namely, our German Shepherd, occasional downtown coffee dates, a trip to a faraway land. Oh, and we kept our daughter. Thank goodness.
If you’re familiar with the Pareto principal, it talks about how 80% of your results come from 20% of your effort. This can apply to life satisfaction, too. If you take the top 20% of items that bring you the most happiness and leave the rest, you’ll have similar happiness but a ton more money to spend on what truly makes you happy and gives you true freedom.
I thought clothing subscription services would take me next level. Eating out every meal made me exclusive. Having name brand everything would make my friends like me more.
None of these supposed truths came true this year. I skipped it all. I wore thrift or free items for all of my clothes. We braved the fear of my kitchen and learned about pairing spices to make halfway decent meals. I learned to appreciate the few times we would eat out because I didn’t have to cook or clean up after it. I gained back appreciation for the service industry I lost when I was spending money there almost every single night.
We survived on poverty-level spending and managed to keep our family well fed. We had a roof over our head and love between us. We played lots of board games and took walks. Nick spent time training for a marathon. Our mindset shifted from needing to do things that cost money to enjoying what we already had. Major personality change from the pre-budget days.
As I look ahead to 2019, I have a few intentions I’d like to hit.
Intentions for 2019
- Contribute 15% of our gross income to retirement
- Get our debt balance under $30,000
- Learn more about passive income strategies
- Birth a healthy and beautiful baby this summer
- Survive life with two babies under two
- Accept that what’s “enough” will vary moment to moment – try anyway
I don’t have any singular words to describe what I believe 2019 should be. Maybe survive? I say that because I’m writing this while 15 weeks pregnant. We’re expecting Baby No. 2 in June or July.
Because of this monumental life change, I’d think of my life as PRE/POST birth. In my mind there’s everything I want to accomplish before B2 arrives. Then, there’s life after B2. I’m hoping and praying life will be better than a survive mantra, but I’m keeping my expectations low just in case. 😉 There’s a lot of work ahead for me to manage my pregnant mama energy with an energetic toddler and future newborn.
Our 2018 was a great year and we are so thankful for the blessings we didn’t deserve this year. If everything goes well, 2019 will be the last full year of paying off our mortgage. Life will never be the same.
Previous debt payoff reports
- April 2018 Debt Payoff Report – $2,908
- May 2018 Debt Payoff Report – $3,506
- June 2018 Debt Payoff Report – $1,824
- July 2018 Debt Payoff Report – $1,944
- August 2018 Debt Payoff Report – $2,779
- October 2018 Debt Payoff Report – $2,487
- November 2018 Debt Payoff Report – $2,601