You know how Dave Ramsey tells you that Murphy will move in when you try to pay off debt?  Boy, is he right!  July was a tough month emotionally when it came to debt.  But August was a doozy for bills!

With an eighth grader joining marching band this year, we were introduced to high school sized fees.  Remember back when you couldn’t wait for the kids to leave diapers and formula because you would save so much money?  Well it’s kinda like that all over again.

So we used one of our nice chunks of debt money to cover those bills instead.  But we didn’t go into debt to cover these bills.  And it didn’t leave us without food on our table.  It simply backed our debt free date a little further down the calendar.

Which, to be honest, is still super disappointing.  We owe such a small amount on credit card number 2 that I’m anxious to punt it out the door.  But learning patience and better money management is part of the get-out-of-debt package, so we just have to deal with it.

Even though I’m still gonna pout about it just a little bit.

Debt Free and Life Goals: September Check In

SMART goals are the best way to pay off debt with a plan.

One thing that keeps me going is regular check ins on our big goals.  We’re on a mission to free our family from credit card debt.  We finally finished card #1 back in March (after 15 months of payments!).  Now we’re working on getting rid of debt #2.  But we have other goals we’d like to accomplish, too!

So let’s check in.

Home

Because we’re in our second #yearofno (we’ve dubbed this year #presson), we aren’t spending any extra money at all.  That means no updates, no painting, no major projects (unless we can’t possibly put them off).

So I decided to spend the year decluttering and reorganizing the entire house instead.  That way, it’ll be easier to paint and do projects next year when life takes on a new normal.

Remove all items from each bedroom and start fresh.

So far I cleaned out our attic, our master bedroom, and the little kids bedroom.  I had to refresh that a bit.  I started on the two upstairs bedrooms in late August.  I also found several bags worth of items in random places that I was able to get rid of.

Still a work in progress!  But there’s been a lot of progress.

Clean out the basement.

This is still going a little at a time, but the progress makes me happy.  We don’t get down there as often as we should, but it is summertime.  We’d much rather complete those outside projects!

Shelves In Dining Room

Still to go:

  • Repair dining room ceiling (this will be a fall project)

We’ve also added two more goals.

  • Installing a cable bridge over a backyard creek.  This needs some adjusting, but at least we can get across it now!

Building a swinging bridge across the creek in our yard.

  • We plan to build a small platform for the middle schoolers to use our zipline.  If we build it right, they’ll be able to use it as a nice hangout spot, too.  That should encourage them to get outside more often!  (No progress here yet.)

We’ve enjoyed a lot of picnics and delicious homemade foods this month!

Family

  • 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.  We got to the park and did some fishing in August.  The kids camped in the backyard.
  • One on one time for each child, every month. We weren’t as intentional about this in August as we’d like to be, but it was kind of a crazy month.

Marriage

  • 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.  🙁  We’ve got a couple scheduled in September to make up for it, though!

Personal

  • Yoga and movement: At this point I’m embarrassed at how badly I’ve failed this goal.  I’d love to make the time to do it in September, but so little time is my own these days.
  • Read On Writing: Same.  Though I have made time to read some fiction!  But I need a break from time to time. 🙂
  • Read through the New Testament:  Still chugging along.

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

#PressOn

We paid off our van a while ago and were really enjoying driving debt free.  I had hoped and prayed that the ugly green van would last until next spring.  But it wasn’t meant to be.  As much as I loved that rusted out old van, it just didn’t love me back.

It left me stranded in the Kroger parking lot with a big load of groceries.  We were ready to pay for a repair, but there wasn’t one to be made.  Since it was an intermittent problem, mechanics could only guess how to solve it.  That meant you could spend thousands of dollars only to find that the problem still wasn’t solved.

We couldn’t risk the van shutting off while I was driving in the rain.  No amount of money is worth our family’s lives!

So on August 1st we became the proud owners of a new-to-us van.  I’m still not happy about it, and it will certainly slow down our debt payments.  But at least I feel that our family is safe when I drive them around.

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%.  We hit it really hard in a short time period.

But in June, we didn’t have a lot of success.  We paused the payments to take vacation.  Will we regret getting out of debt a month later?  I doubt it.  We’ll have the memories of playing in the surf and sound with our kids…that’s worth an extra month of debt to us.

So 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!

How did we do in August?

Card #2 is 85% finished!  It feels so close to finished that I wish we could have knocked it out a month early.  Still, we knew we could have this card paid off by September, and that goal is doable.  Even though we weren’t able to put as much towards it in August as I would have liked!

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 August we:

  • Sent in bonus money Hubby got from work.
  • Took scrap metal to the recycling center and put that small sum of money towards the card.
  • Used my jury duty pay.

The Plan for September

Here’s hoping for a more affordable month!  My big goal for September is to carve out more time to get back to blogging and writing.  This is the month I’ll begin to save up for Christmas.  That doesn’t help us pay down debt, but it certainly helps us avoid future debt!

We’re in the home stretch with credit card #2!

Paying off this card is just the boost we’ll need to get us through our last credit card debt (ever!!).

My newsletter subscribers are getting a new bonus this month!  If you want access to the free Found Money Cheat Sheet, join now!

How are your goals going?

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