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I wanna be that pug–cozied on up enjoying the dreary February we’ve had in Western Colorado. It’s pretty magical here if you get some time to enjoy a cup of something hot without getting distracted with momming or other things 😉 Instead, I’m wearing a hat to cover up the unwashed hair for days. Hey #MomminAintEasy amiright?
The beauty is: budgets don’t care about unwashed hair, nor do debt payoff reports. So there is that!
January Debt Payoff Report – $3,169
January was the best debt payoff we’ve had in ALL of 2019. Hehe! Sometimes I crack myself up with my lame jokes. In all seriousness, though, it was an above average month for us since we paid off a whopping $3,169. Our average is closer to $2,868. I feel so grateful to be able to steward our money to the mortgage and not Murphy or things that don’t add value to our lives.
Aside from some medical bills we paid for Baby No. 2’s birth and a replacement windshield from a dust storm (thank you Denver’s I-70), we had lower bills, which really helped.
What happened in January?
- Current balance: $58,384
- 25 months along
- Total paid off: $71,690
- 55% complete
- We’ve shortened our 30-year loan by 20 years, 3 months
- We’ve saved $67,893 in interest
The January expenses
- $3,058 principal only payments
- 304 post-tax retirement
- 112 mortgage principal
- $3,474 total saved
- $720 cash envelopes for day-to-day living expenses
- 694 other – birthdays, a few unbudgeted grocery runs, windshield replacement, Costco general
- 183 mortgage interest
- 144 daycare
- 105 utilities
- 91 insurance
- 50 daycare thank you gift
- 43 medical from 2018 office visit
- 5 gym
- $2,034 spent
We definitely could have tightened up our “other” category because there were a few last-minute grocery store runs. That’s something that’s been a little bit challenging while pregnant (hello major aversions!). Meal planning’s one of area that is a major pain. Yet, we are thankful when we don’t have to think about dinner. I want to recommit to healthier eating and more consistent planning.
In January we looked at our goals and thought about what we could reasonably achieve in 12 months. Our goals for the past two years were to pay $30,000 off each year. Each year this number seemed like an insane goal given our incomes and other goals.
In 2017 we cash flowed our first baby and a whole slew of home renovation projects for the foreclosure we bought. In 2018 I transitioned into a half-time job to spend more time with my daughter. We could make those goals happen because we had a larger income in 2017 and lower interest in 2018.
This month we pondered what our 2019 goal should be. There’s something so crisp and clean about starting fresh in January with new goals–or, dare I say the dirty word: resolutions. I’m not big on resolutions because they seem to get dumped about 13 days into the New Year. What I’ve found more success with is in setting intentions.
Rather than use my perfectionist personality to focus on brutal live-or-die goals, I’m looking ahead to 2019 with intentions. With each day, there’s a fresh start to live with intention in a way that meets your highest and best goals. It’s more about focusing on the positive things you want to add to your life over the habits you’d like to ditch.
My intention is to do the best we can with whatever resources we have. Ideally, that would also look like getting our mortgage balance under $30,000.
I’m trying the intentional approach to be kinder to myself. A younger version of me would’ve focused too much on times when we we weren’t meeting targets I thought we *should* at any given moment. That is stressful and doesn’t make me want to pay off the debt any faster.
This new technique focuses more on behaviors than vanity. We’ll see how it goes. I’m excited to crush our goals while at the same time not crushing my self worth if it doesn’t exactly happen the way we plan.
The key parts of what I consider “doing my best” to be are:
- Balancing the budget every week
- Planning our purchases
- Continuing to learn about saving money
- Living below our means
- Not going into debt
- Increasing income when possible
- Making at least one principal only payment per month
- Working extra hours when possible
- Paying for necessary expenses with cash
- Trying not to compare journeys
Some of these have become part of my lifestyle while others haven’t always been habit. Frankly, I struggled with balancing the budget for a long time. I learned my lesson after bouncing a check last year.
For example, balancing the budget the bank’s numbers every week has made it much easier to know–down to the cent–how much we can put to debt each week. The other habits focus more on my behavior and choices and don’t depend on others to make the goal happen. Those our factors within my locus of control, if you will. I can’t control anything outside of the woman in the mirror. I’ll focus on her cause she’s plenty enough. 😉
While thinking this way may have come easy to you, it didn’t to me for a long time. Learning about intentionality was a big step forward in decreasing my anxiety around our money management.
Other things frugal weirdos do
One of my frugal friends shared she downloaded the Libby app which gives you access to *FREE* books on your smart phone through your local library. I didn’t even realize our library offered this, so I was thrilled to get the app and start perusing the list of available books.
As fate would have it Elizabeth Willard-Thames’ book “Meet the Frugalwoods” was available for download, so it was the first book I selected. Elizabeth blogs over at frugalwoods.com and is a master at cutting costs and creating simplicity in her life. She is financially independent at a young age and lives on a homestead in rural Vermont.
Her book written like a memoir and described some of the reasons she’s chosen a frugal lifestyle. She excellently points out the benefits of buying used items over new ones. If she were to write another book, I would like to see more specific decisions and habits she made to reach financial independence at a young age. Overall, I found it a very quick read and an enjoyable one at that!
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
- December 2018 Debt Payoff Report – $2,970