This is the report I’ve been wanting to write about for 16 months. I almost can’t believe that the first step of our debt payoff journey is over. It felt like such an impossible task when we set this goal. But with a lot of determination (and accountability from my favorite readers ever), I can say that we’ve reached our goal!!
Let’s talk about how we got here and what the next steps are.
SMART Goals and Debt Payoff for 2017: April Check In
I’ve told you how our kitchen drives me nuts. It seems like the whole thing is falling apart. I try not to think too much about it and just avoid going in there unless I’m cooking (which, let’s face it, is a pretty decent chunk of time).
But the book Money Secrets of the Amish gave me a boost of inspiration. The Amish would say “sure the countertop looks terrible, but it still works for making food.” And they would put it out of their minds. (The Amish wouldn’t have started with such low end terrible materials, but that’s beside the point, I suppose.)
I’m a fan of decluttering regularly. I’ve gone through my kitchen over and over and gotten rid of stuff that I don’t use frequently. I thought I’d taken out nearly all I could.
Not so! I was able to get rid of another bundle of stuff and cleared my cluttered countertops. It added a lot of clean white space to the kitchen, and I like it so much better now! (And it was free!)
Remove all items from each bedroom and start fresh.
I tackled all three kids rooms with the help of the kids. We decluttered and straightened. One giant help was taking all the board games out of my daughter’s room. They always seem to be scattered everywhere! I’m tempted to get rid of all the games, but we do enjoy our family game nights.
So instead, I moved them to a cabinet in the living room. Now I can see right away when someone strings out a game. It’s easier to keep up with them.
Now that we’ve decluttered so much, I should be able to empty the bedrooms and start fresh soon.
Clean out the basement.
Still hitting this in 15 minute chunks here and there.
Still to go:
- Shelving in dining room corner (I’d like to make this a closet, but we already have the shelving on hand.)
- Repair dining room ceiling
- Take a beach vacation.
- We’ve got the house and van rented. Started pondering deals for gas, food, and extra hotel stays. I’m considering pulling some from my grocery budget, either by grabbing gift cards for extra gas points at the grocery store or keeping some cash back. The cash would give us more flexibility, so I’m leaning that way.
- Continue to practice swimming. Waiting for warm weather.
- Two hiking/fishing/camping trips for every warm month. We did a small amount of hiking at the park in March.
- One on one time for each child, every month.
- Baseball season! We’re getting individual time in while we practice ball. My daughter and I are reading through Little House on the Prairie together.
- 12 Dates in 2017.
- January: Went to see Garth Brooks. If you ever get the chance to see him in concert, DO IT! This was our Christmas gift to one another.
- February: We hired a babysitter and went out for a meal and grown up conversation. (Two dates this early in the year is probably a record for us!)
- March: We had a sad road trip for a family funeral. But it did give us an overnight alone together, which was so refreshing! No noise, to do lists, or distractions made for a good rest.
- Yoga & movement. I kind of forgot I’d made this a goal. This is probably not good.
- Read On Writing. Not yet. But I have read several other books including Dreamers and Deceivers (fabulous read if you like American history), That Pitch Life (not an affiliate link, but great info for bloggers), and Money Secrets of the Amish (like I already mentioned…this is the finance refresher I needed!).
- Read through the New Testament. Still chugging along!
#PressOn and Knock Out Debt
Paying off the giant credit card was just the motivation we needed to embrace our #PressOn motto. We are so excited about tackling card number 2. It’s much smaller than the giant first one was, so we should be able to crush it quickly. Then we’ll have one last card to deal with.
I plan to write soon about how we prioritized our cards (hint: we didn’t follow any big guru’s advice). But in the meantime, be sure to read That Feeling When You Paid Off Credit Card Debt!
What else can I say? We finally hit the goal we’ve worked on for 15 months… 100% in March!!!
The chart reveals that it was a bit of an awkward climb. Nothing like the 8.3% I set out to pay each month. But that’s ok. Our mini goals were pretty fluid. I didn’t mind when the numbers didn’t line up as long as that line kept climbing!
The New Goal
Like I mentioned, this next credit card is much smaller than the first one. I think we can knock it out by September. That’s going to mean paying it down 17% at a time.
Once we finish step two, we have one last card that’s kind of a medium sized balance. But with the giant card out of the way, these other cards feel much more manageable. We are snowballing all of our credit card payments into the focus card and adding in any extra we possibly can. It’s a fire that must be put out!
The Plan for April
Roll as much cash as possible into this debt. With baseball season up and running, I’ll go back to my habit of carrying an old cooler with me everywhere I go. We’ll keep a close eye on needs vs. wants.
And I’ll continue to write about ways we’re paying off debt and saving money here on the blog. I love the accountability I get from it!
New for 2017: A Link Up!
If you blog monthly check ins with your goals, be sure to link them up here! And tweet about it so we can invite others to join us, too.
So how are your goals going?