It’s been forever and a day since I’ve done a debt payoff and spending update, so I thought today would be the perfect time. If you read our 2014 summary and 2015 goals, you’d know that we switched to using the Debt Snowball at the beginning of the year. We started 2013 with a HUGE debt load, and wanted to begin by paying off the highest interest cards first, because mathematically it just makes sense. However, when 2014 brought Polar Vortex hell heating bills, a laundry room remodel after our laundry room flooded (twice) and the “need” for a new TV (our former 15-year-old tube TV – the only TV in the house – died), we got extra discouraged with our debt payoff plan.
In order to stay on track, we decided that we needed to switch to the debt snowball for those emotional wins if we were going to stay on track with debt payoff. So far, it’s working well.
We had two small credit cards that we incurred charges on in 2014, as a result of the above incidents. They only totaled $1,000 or so, but that 1k felt super overwhelming to us on top of our 3 big credit card balances.
We started the snowball in December of 2014, and the first credit card balance was paid off by mid-February. The second card is down about $100, and I expect to put still another $100 toward it this month. So, we are moving forward. The goal is to have this second card paid off by August, but I’m convinced we’ll be able to knock it out sooner than that.
The rest of the debt is decreasing, slowing but surely, and I’m certain that if we stay with the snowball plan we’ll meet our goal to have all non-mortgage debt gone by within 3 years at the most, in February of 2018. Finally, a debt-be-gone date. Woohoo!
Expenditure wise we’re doing well too. Our goal for groceries for 2015 was to keep it at $400 a month.
For January we spent: $425.69
For February we spent: $397.90
Not bad for a family of six. Gas and other expenses have been good too, but we’ve had some extra costs (propane fills, beef purchase) that have cost some cash.
Entertainment costs have been a little rough: our goal of $60 a month has been exceeded in both January and February, due mostly to some extended family crises that have caused us to be a little lax in our entertainment budgeting. March is looking better though.
I just have to reiterate here that if you are struggling with a high debt load, please don’t give up. Those first months and years might seem slow, and you might feel as if you’re going nowhere fast, but eventually your snowball will pick up steam and you’ll dump those debts, one by one. Stay the course, my friend. You can do this.