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Inside:  Setting monthly goals is important when you’re paying down debt. Peek at the steps we’re taking each month to get closer to freedom from debt.

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August was a rough month for bills, but then again so was September.  I’m starting to think we’ve entered a new normal.  Or, probably, that I need to review our spending and make sure there aren’t leaks.  After all, crushing your spending for 20 straight months isn’t easy.  It’s only natural that we’d lose some of our speed.

What we really need is a little victory in our debt fight!  Today’s the day we check in and see how that’s going this month, along with the other goals we’ve set for our family.

SMART Goals and Our BIG Plan for Debt Payoff October Check In

So our backstory is that we started 2016 with a giant goal to pay off 3 hefty credit card bills.  We finished the giant in March.  Now we’re working on card number 2.  The goal was to have it all paid off by the end of September.  Find out if we met the goal today!

But first, let’s look at some of our other family goals for the year.


Our #yearofno and #presson years mean that we aren’t spending any unnecessary money.  That means no paint, no updates, no cute holiday decor (even on clearance!).

Instead of letting that get me down, I’m trying to declutter, organize, and rearrange as much as possible.  That way we’ll be ready to go when I can paint this place!  (It really needs it!)

Remove all items from each bedroom and start fresh.

Check!  I’d like to redo one of the bedrooms a little more thoroughly, but I’m proud of accomplishing this big goal.  I’ve even moved on to the kitchen and dining room.  I found a few things to sell, so hopefully that will move our debt goal along.

Shelves in Dining Room

Still to go:

  • Repair dining room ceiling (this will be a fall project)
  • Installing a cable bridge over a backyard creek.  This job is mostly done.

Building a swinging bridge across the creek in our yard.

  • Build a small platform for the middle schoolers to use our zipline. (Because of unexpected expenses, I’m not sure we’ll get to this after all.  Maybe next spring?)


  • Take a beach vacation (So fun, so affordable!)
  • Continue to practice swimming.  The kids became even more comfortable in the water this year.  Woohoo!
  • Two hiking/fishing/camping trips per month in warm weather.  Our annual family camp out in September was wonderful!  We’ve been taking family walks after supper each night, too.
  • One on one time for each child, every month. Check!


  • 12 Dates in 2017
    • January: Garth Brooks!!
    • February: Dinner date
    • March: We had a sad road trip for a family funeral, but it meant we got alone time.
    • April: No dates. ?
    • May: Crazy, no dates.
    • June: Vacation, we had a nice walk on the beach
    • July: Reds game!
    • August: No time, no dates.  ?
    • September: 2 Dates!!  That makes up for August anyway.  😉  We went to our 20 year high school reunion and also went to a Bob Seger concert.  (How’d we afford that?)

So we need to fit 5 dates in before the end of the year to meet this goal.  Yikes…maybe??


  • Yoga and movement: I actually did a tiny bit of yoga in September!  But mostly I decided to take daily walks.  It isn’t a lot of movement, but I’m hoping it will grow from there.  Time is a major struggle.
  • Read On Writing: Running out of time!  I’ll need to make this a priority in October.
  • Read through the New Testament:  Still chugging along.

#PressOn: How We’re Knocking Out Debt in 2017!


The Goal

Since January 2016, our goal has been to wipe out our credit card debt.  We started with 3 cards that were basically maxed out.  The first card we tackled was a giant debt that accounted for half of what we owed.

What a sweet relief it was to get rid of that one!

Now we’re paying off credit card #2.  This card has a smaller balance, and we’d hoped to knock it out in short time.  The calculators said we could potentially get it done by September.  But we’d sure love to beat the clock!

At the end of April, we had credit card #2 down by 45%.

At the June check in, this card had only moved to 47% paid off.

In July we got busy and brought the card down to 71% paid off!

In August we hit 85% finished!

The goal was to be done by the end of September.  Did we make it??

No.  🙁

Between constant runs to the emergency room for our son’s migraines and everything in our home breaking, we didn’t have much wiggle room in the budget this month.  BUT…we did make some progress!  We owe such a tiny amount that it seems silly that we didn’t make it.

Check out why I actually think that’s ok after all.

Right now, the card stands at 96% paid off.  It’s so close to done we can taste it!!  I’m anxious to be down to that one last card, so we can throw every dime at just one bill.

Our credit card debt payoff chart

Extra Ways We Paid Off Debt

Each month we look for extra little ways to pay down debt beyond the money from every paycheck that we’ve set aside.  (Read how we break up paychecks to make paying down debt easy.)

In September, we didn’t find any extra ways to pay off debt.  Had we come up with just a couple of extras, we would have met our goal.

But sometimes life is crazy!  There just wasn’t extra time to dedicate to debt payments.  In fact, I didn’t even write as much as I’d like to on the blog or for my freelance writing.  (October, please be kind!!)

The Plan for October

As I clean, I hope to list things for sale.  I’m going to check out Decluttr and let you know how it works. And I certainly hope to celebrate the end of card number 2!!

Reach for the stars!

Some of the goals we set for ourselves in 2017 were pretty lofty, but we feel good about how we’re doing with them.

If you like encouragement and lots of money saving tips, you’ll love the Medium Sized Family weekly newsletter!  It hits your inbox every Monday.  (Psst..there are freebies!)

How are your goals going?