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June Recap – Happy 6 month Anniversary and the Three-Legged Goat

Submitted by on July 5, 2013 – 12:04 am 70 Comments

DSCN2377I’ve been hesitating writing this post, and even now, as I sit here, forcing myself to share our financial situation with the blogging world, I’d much rather be doing something else.

Fact is, I’m not happy with the way June turned out, financially, and I’m having a bit of a pity party.  We had some extra expenses, and thus were only able to make the minimums on our credit card payments, so our additional debt payoff numbers are really low. 🙁

It’s feeling again this month like we’ll never, ever get out of debt, and I’ve spent the majority of the last several days pouting to myself about it.

Here are the numbers:

We spent:

$466.24 on groceries for our family of six.  Our all time high for the year. 🙁  One reason for this: we’re sick and tired of the basics and splurged a bit.  Hoping July will be better.

$210.63 on gas for my car.  This topped even our last year numbers of $205 a month average, but I kind of expected this with all of the grad parties, Father’s Day, and an extra trip down to the cities for Rick’s retirement party (he left his part-time firefighting/EMT job of 23 years – woohoo!!!)

$58.91 on entertainment.  Not bad for a family of six.  If we can stay here, or about here, each month, I’ll deal with it.  Last year we averaged $175 a month, so it’s a huge improvement, and I’ve decided to just be happy with it and not put so much pressure on myself to have this number at zero.

$247.24 on pet costs and toiletries.  This is higher than our goal of $200, but it was all necessity stuff so we’re not going to beat ourselves up over it.

Rick’s gas consumption was higher than normal too – over double, because his POC commuter car was out of commission and he had to take the pickup to work for several days.

We also had $157 in gift costs due to a birthday, Father’s Day, several grad parties and a baby gift for dear friends of ours.  Ouch, but we did budget well and use discernment here, so I’m accepting it.

A $308 propane tank fill and $90 in DIY car repair costs also graced our budget this month. :-(.

 

Paydown on Mortgage:     $527.43

Principal paydown on CC#1:  $74.64

Principal paydown on CC#2   $172.08

Principal paydown on CC#3 $40.00

Total paid toward debts for June:  $814.15

Total paid toward debts for 2013……………………. $4930

CC #1: we paid $80.92 in interest this month on this card.

CC #2We paid $77.36 in interest this month on that card.

CC #3: Still at zero percent interest on the entire balance – yea!

Interest paid on mortgage: $945.29

Total interest paid for June  $1103.57

Total interest paid for 2013 ………………………… $6783.41

Yes, we’ve given away nearly $6800 so far this year to banks and credit card corporations.  Can you think of better things we could have done with $6800?  I know I can.  So, how much free money have you given away to corporate giants this year?

Also frustrating to me is that we’ve paid much more in interest than we have in principal this year so far, to the tune of $ $1853.41

This has got to change for the second half of the year.
But as I contemplate (read: whine about) our situation, I can’t help remembering Cat’s story about the three-legged goat.

The other day, Cat posted a picture on her Writing Wrap Up that really got me thinking.  The picture of the three-legged goat, who has yet to be named, speaks profoundly of likely the most important life lesson regarding getting out of debt:

Stop Making Excuses

You see, while three-legged goat could easily be sitting on the sidelines somewhere, complaining about how difficult it is for him to walk and keep up with the other goats, he’s not! TLG has chosen to just buck up and get it done.

Is it harder for TLG to walk than it is for the other goats?  Probably. 

Does it take him longer to get where he’s going than it does for the other goats?  I’m guessing “yeah”. 

Does he have to put in more effort than the other goats to accomplish his goals?  Likely he does.

But TLG obviously realizes something that so many of us humans fail to face:

It’s better to run the race and finish last than to not run the race at all. 

My husband and I often feel like the TLG.  We’re in a massive amount of debt right now, and are slowly, and I mean   s-l-o-w-l-y  working our way out.  (The man who removes a mountain starts by carrying away small stones, right?)

We’re just ending month six of our journey, and we’ve got a LONG way to go.

It’s not easy, but it’s worth it.  I know in my heart that it is.  I know by the sheer amount that our peace has increased simply because we started the journey.

The hardest things in life are often the most worthwhile.   (take a look at the picture in this post and that’ll give you a good idea of what Rick and I feel like every day).

Now, in the spirit of the three-legged goat,  it’s time to focus on more positives: Our total 2012  spending for gas, groceries and entertainment was $15,360

Total spent on gas, groceries and entertainment for the first half of 2013?

$3896.65  This means that we are on track to spend roughly $7793.30 for the total of these costs in 2013.

That’s a savings of over 49%!!!

ON A HIGH NOTE, we are VERY excited to have reached our 6-month blogiversary!!!!  We have made so many good friends in you all,  and we have learned SO much from your comments and blog posts by those of you who also blog.  I know for a fact that we would not be as far along as we are without all of your support – thank you SO very much, from the bottom of our hearts. 🙂

Our progress may be slow, but we ARE making progress.  Do we feel like giving up?  Yeah, most days we do.  I’m constantly having discussions with myself about how much longer I’m going to put up with this struggle before I call the debt consolidation teams or the bankruptcy lawyer.

But in the end, we feel like we just have to keep trying.  We can’t give up just yet, and neither can you.  Together, we can get delivered from the bondage of debt – won’t you join us?

 

70 Comments »

  • Sounds like you are going through one of those rough spots you wrote about not very long ago. It is such a challenge, with many ups and downs. One day at a time, all the while keeping your eyes on the big prize at the end – freedom. Congrats on 6 months in the blog world! That’s a big milestone that you can be very proud of.

    • Laurie says:

      Thanks, Brian. Yes, it’s another one of those times when we’re realizing just how deep of a mess we’re in. Ugh! We’re celebrating every milestone, though 🙂

  • Tara says:

    I am with you on the interest! I got close to maxing out my interest deduction on my taxes with my student loans last year (one of my loans didn’t capitalize interest so that’s part of the reason). When you pay nearly $2,500 in student loan interest in one year, it’s disheartening.

    This year, things are better, but when I’m paying 6.55% interest on my largest federal loan (I don’t have any higher interest loans, luckily), it’s frustrating. It also doesn’t help that I realized on my own, I’m not making enough money to cover my “needs” costs (rent/food/bills/loans) in 50% of my after-tax income, something recommended in the PF book “All Your Worth”. I probably won’t be able to reach that 50% threshold for a few years in my career. But then all I can do is tell myself that my debt repayment is one day at a time. Nothing will be instantaneous and easy, lol. I have a job, I can pay my bills, and I can save some money. So I just have to accept that and be proud of how much I have been able to accomplish with my debt thus far.

    • Laurie says:

      Tara, you’re totally on the right track. It truly is one day at a time. Living off of 50% of your income is truly a worthwhile goal, but given the low savings rates of most Americans, even living off of 95% of your income and saving the rest needs to be celebrated. Every step in the right direction is a successful step. 🙂

      • Have you considered consolidating all of the credit card payments in to one lower interest bank loan of some sort?

        Lowering the interest would mean you could pay it off earlier.

        It is so easy to get discouraged. I just want my debt to be gone. I just negotiated a 2.99% rate for 12 months and I will be trying to get rid of as much as I can in that year.

        • Laurie says:

          Jane, where did you get that rate at? The lowest I’ve found (although I haven’t searched much) is 7%, and right now, with much of our balances being at zero interest, that’s about what we’re averaging. Thanks for sharing!!!

  • Pauline says:

    Happy 6 months Laurie! Have you tried those recipe websites where you put the ingredient and it suggests recipes? I always make the same, say if I have tomatoes and onion I will make pasta sauce, but they will suggest a vegetable quiche for which i also have the ingredients. Instead of splurging you can try new recipes.

    • Laurie says:

      That’s a great idea, Pauline – I’d never heard of that! We will definitely take advantage of that tip for July. 🙂

  • Sorry to hear about the not so good month for June Laurie. Things will get better you just have to keep pushing forward. May was not good for me at all but June wasn’t just to bad, I’ll be covering more on my budget and how I did next week.

    Also congrats on making it 6 months with the blog, you have been doing great. I didn’t have near your amount of success when I got started nearly 5 years ago. Keep up the great work.

    • Laurie says:

      Thanks Chris – can’t wait to hear your update! We’ll both be celebrating our debt free successes one day. 🙂

  • E.M. says:

    Congratulations on 6 months of blogging! Just remember that your story is inspiring so many others in similar situations to fight off debt. You guys can do it! You’ve already accomplished cutting down expenses by a lot from last year – focus on that progress. I think it’s good that you’ve accepted spending on entertainment, and I think $60 for a family of 6 is pretty reasonable.

    I agree that interest is awful. I hate seeing how much of my money is going toward it, but we have to keep at it to get to the principal! Here is to a new month 🙂

    • Laurie says:

      Thanks, E.M.! Yes, here’s to a new month! Can’t wait to tell those interest hogs that we are done giving them our hard-earned cash!

  • “The hardest things in life are often the most worthwhile.” I could not agree more Laurie and can relate to your feelings as I was there myself to when I was dealing with debt – though I was on my own and would imagine easier than having a family while going through it. I learned through those tough times to take things one day at a time and, eventually, they add up and become a growing snowball rolling downhill that picks up speed over time. You will beat this, just keep that before you. Congrats on the 6 month mark -you’re doing great!

    • Laurie says:

      Thanks so very much, John. 🙂 Yes, I am more motivated than ever. I’m in one of those “You want a piece of me????” moments toward our debt today. It’s going DOWN! 🙂

  • Congrats on making it 6 months Laurie! If it feels like you’re going slower than you want, just remember the tortoise took a while, but ended up beating the hare in the race in the end! You can do it! =)

  • Carla says:

    While you didn’t make the progress you had hoped, you still did make progress. So give yourself some credit and start our July with a fresh new outlook!! 🙂 Our June was WAY overbudget as well… while i’m not paying off debt (no debt) our savings took a big hit and i’m hoping that July is on budget and our savings accounts see a little bump. Our income has dropped by a chunk, so any progress will make me happy! 🙂

    Chin up!! 🙂 Keep the faith! 😉

  • Alexa says:

    Congrats on your six month blogiversary! Even though you didn’t do as well as you had hoped for, you are still moving in the right direction. My financial goals move very slowly as well and your attitude about sticking with it even though its a slower pace than you like motivate me. Keep with it. You are setting a wonderful example for others and I know that you can do it!!!

    • Laurie says:

      That’s what we’re trying to focus on, Alexa. Thanks so much for your encouragement too – we really appreciate it, and you will achieve your goals too – I know you will. 🙂

  • I remember these rough spots Laurie, but remember what your end goal is. You can’t let a bad month stop you from the sweet freedom of being debt free. I know you will get there and I have had my fair share of pity parties.

    Happy six months, it is quite the accomplishment. You keep up your debt payoff like you keep up with this blog and you will be debt free in no time.

    • Laurie says:

      Grayson, it helps so much to hear that you’ve been there too, and now have reached your goals. Can’t wait for our debt-free party. 🙂

  • Awww I’m so glad that little 3 legged goat inspired you!! I always look for him. He is so cute! Also you’ve got to give yourself some credit, girl!!! You did do a good job this month because of how much you put towards your debt. You are doing the best you can and sacrificing way more than most people would. Keep fighting the good fight!

    • Laurie says:

      Yeah, he really did, Cat. We are trying to focus on the positives and stay with the game. I know we’ll be there sooner than we think. 🙂

  • Debt Blag says:

    Wow. You guys have made a ton of progress compared to your spending in 2012. Keep up the good work!

  • CashRebel says:

    We all have tough months from time to time, but what’s important is your long term progress and your optimism. You’ll get there soon enough.

    Congrats on the 6 month anniversary of FF! Don’t give up, you’ll get there!

  • I can really relate with you on this one. Debt payoff is going to be a long road for me too. Congrats on the 6 months blogiversary! I started my blog about 6.5 months ago and over 56% of what I’ve paid has gone towards interest…that’s over $3000 so far this year to corporate giants! It can get very depressing and frustrating but we just have to keep at it full force…the ultimate payoff will be glorious!

    • Laurie says:

      Oh, we are SO in the same boat, Kasey. Yes, I can’t wait, for both of us, for that glorious day of debt freedom. 🙂

  • Happy 6 mo. blogging anniversary! I’m sorry to hear you had a rough month. Some months it seems like the dial barely moves while others months you see big gains. You should be incredibly proud of how far you’ve already come and how much you’ve lowered your expenses this year – very impressive. And most importantly – how knowledgeable you and your family have become with money. Don’t lose faith, my friend. I have faith in you! 🙂

    • Laurie says:

      Thank you SO much, Shannon. I’m actually feeling pretty good about things today – any progress is a success, right? 🙂

  • Jim says:

    Great Post Laurie, that TLG really has a way of putting things in perspective. You are doing such a good job on your tracking and debt payoff, I commend you, I truly do, most folks would have thrown in the towel and let their debt fall on the backs of tax payers. Keep it up, you are setting a fabulous example for your kids, that is what this is all about!!!!

    • Laurie says:

      Totally, Jim! Thank you SO much for your encouragement, Jim. It really is the kids (and the taxpayers) that I think of when I get that push to keep going.

  • Michelle says:

    Don’t give up and don’t feel down. We are all here rooting for you! 🙂

    • Laurie says:

      Thank you, Michelle! I feel like we’re running a marathon and have got all of these people cheering for us on the sidelines – woohoo!

  • Laurie, congratulations for 6months milestone and good luck for future. I am pretty sure all your hard work will be paid off. Slow and steady wins the race as mentioned earlier and also do I admire your spirit, keep going. where there’s a will there’s a way

    • Laurie says:

      Rita, thank you SO much. Yes, we do have determination, if nothing else, and that does do wonders for goals. 🙂

  • Matt Becker says:

    Hey Laurie, I know you’re feeling down but you have all the strength in the world to keep on track. I’ve often found that it can be easy to fall into bad habits on small step at a time. The important thing is doing what you’re doing here and recognizing where the leaks are and then taking small steps to fix them. You guys have already made a ton of progress. Keep it up! And congrats on making it 6 months! That alone is an impressive accomplishment.

  • Happy 6 month blogiversary Laurie!!! The Frugal Farmer has always been one of my favorite blogs to read – probably because I CAN truly relate to your debt pay-off story…Just out of curiousity, have you ever thought of consolidating your 3 credit cards into a personal loan which might give you a slightly lower interest rate and only one bill to pay a month? That’s what I did with my two credit cards – I consolidated it onto one personal loan which I’m trying to pay off before end of 2013 so I can start attacking my student loans…anyways just food for thought. 🙂 We’re all cheering for you and your beautiful family!

    • Laurie says:

      Awww, thanks GMD! We are toying around with doing a Lending Club loan or something, but right now we’re paying zero interest on half of the CC’s, roughly, so our overall rate would be higher with a personal loan. I do think we’re going to work toward getting the other CC’s onto a no-interest card, or, when some of the cards’ no-interest periods expire, at that point we might head toward a personal loan. We’re always looking around for ways to reduce interest payments. Thanks so much for the good advice, we appreciate it!

      • Catherine says:

        Or maybe consolidating into your mortgage and paying that off faster (when 0% term ends)? Given your determination you’d have it paid off fast!

  • Laurie, you are my hero when it comes to your grocery budget! I know you are discouraged because you’ve spent more than you planned but if I can get our budget to $466 with THREE people, I’ll be a happy gal!

    You’re doing some amazing stuff here, keep up the good work and it will all pay off (literally) in the ened!

    • Laurie says:

      Awww, thanks, Lindsey. 🙂 Glad our grocery budget is inspiring you. Thanks to a tip from Pauline at Reach Financial Independence, we found a way to find some new cheap recipes, and I’ll hopefully be able to find some good ones to share on the blog.

  • Happy anniversary! I’m new to your blog, but just by seeing the numbers I can tell that in the last 6 months you have made some amazing progress in cutting your expenses down. That’s a huge victory, and something to celebrate! Your story is an inspiring one, and I will be rooting you on as I follow your journey. 🙂

    • Laurie says:

      Thank you so much, Alexandra! We are working on it. We’re hoping that the second half of the year will show bigger progress than the first half of the year. Either way, though, we’re making progress, right? Glad you are enjoying the blog. 🙂

  • Keep up the good work! You can do it! Happy blog anniversary, and keep on keepin on:)

  • Congrats on 6 months. I think that’s the hardest time to get through. As far as the debt, as you continue to pay down the balances, you’ll eventually be able to get it all down to a zero percent card. It happened for us about a year into the process I believe. It does feel like spinning your wheels to pay all that interest, but you will get to a point when it all goes to principal. Hang in there.

  • Krista says:

    Congrats for making it this far. The hardest part is getting to a rough patch and still maintaining the motivation to keep plugging away the next month. Think of how far you’ll be six months from now if you keep it up! Thanks for sharing your journey.

    • Laurie says:

      Yes, so true, Krista! We are, like you mentioned, trying to focus on what the end of the year will look like. Regardless of the numbers, it’ll be great knowing that we’ve reduced our debt instead of increased it. 🙂

  • You WILL get out of debt! And when you do, you’ll have learned so many lessons along the way. Even though debt is horrible, it can be an enriching experience. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger!

    • Laurie says:

      Thanks so much for your encouragement! Yes, we are eager to get there, and more motivated than ever after the comments on this post. 🙂

  • CF says:

    That’s not bad for a family of 6! We are a couple and we spend $200 a month on groceries. It’s a good balance of frugal and indulgence (ohhhh expensive cheeses… yum) for us.

  • Every step in the right direction is the right step. It’s hard to balance living life and paying down debt in the process. I do think splurging a bit helps keep you motivated and happy.

    Keep tackling that debt and we are here to keep you motivated as well.

  • Congrats on the anniversary! I hope you stay with the blog long-term! It definitely is fun and can be a great source of side income 🙂

  • Congratulations on the 6 months of blogging – how quickly does it go by?

    Also, you should be super proud of that 49%. I know you haven’t got there yet, but you will and it is a massive win!

    • Laurie says:

      Thanks, Glen – yes, we can’t wait for that day of victory. BIG party that day for the Frugal Farmer family. 🙂

  • Happy 6 month blogiversary! I think that summer months are harder for everyone it seems!

  • Happy 6 months! You blog is one of my favorites and even though we’ve never met I feel like we sort of know each other. I can really relate to your story and the successes and frustrations of paying off debt and for me that’s what makes a good blogger, great :-). We all have bad months, they’re just bumps in the journey to debt freedom. Keep plugging away you guys are doing awesome!

    • Laurie says:

      I feel the same way, KK. 🙂 I thoroughly enjoy your writing style and true-to-life stories. Yes, we are determined to keep plugging along until we complete the journey!

  • Congrats on the 6 month blogiversary, Laurie! I’m just a few weeks behind you. As for the difficult month, just keep your head up and keep working towards your end goal. I know it probably seems like a long ways out, but you’ll be glad you did it when you get there! Enjoy the gorgeous, hot, Minnesota weather!

    • Laurie says:

      Yeah, I saw that, Jake. Funny, isn’t it? 🙂 Loving the sunshine here, that’s for sure. Kinda makes it difficult to complain about the heat, LOL.

  • Keep at it and I’m sure you’ll get there! You’re doing the right thing by really looking closely at everything and I’m sure it will come together.

    I love to use a quote from A League of There Own “It’s the hard that makes it great. If it were easy, everyone could do it.” Same applies to scraping out of debt and I’m sure you’ll appreciate it even more because of the effort it took.

    • Laurie says:

      LOL, I haven’t seen that movie in years! Yes, I know the payoff will be sweet once we get there. Thanks much, Greg, for the encouragement. 🙂

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