Okay, now that we've talked about all the ways to prepare for paying off your debt, it's time to see if it actually works. It really irks me when the experts say how easy it is to be debt-free but never give real figures or updates to show me how to get there and if it really works. Show me the money!
Keep in mind that we started this whole thing back in June, so this post will be catching you up on our progress. We will do monthly updates going forward.
In the previous blog, we talked about focusing on each month rather than letting the total debt consume your goals. To cross our finish line of paying off six figures in sixty months, we need to average $1,666 toward the principle of our debt each month. (Note: This goal does not include our mortgage.) We fully expect to take hits some months and absolutely smash our average in others. As long as we stay close, we are on the right path!
Month 1 - June 2020
This was our first month, so I really didn't know what to expect. We focused primarily on filling our baby emergency fund and also set aside money for Christmas. A small medical bill popped up, too. We also implemented The Dollar Tracker, resulting in major changes and reductions that helped us get the snowball rolling. Major editing month! While the payoff number was well below the average we needed to hit, we were still excited.
Debt Paid: $1,000
Total Progress: $1,000
Month 2 - July 2020
We hit our monthly target - YAY! My husband was able to pick up a little overtime this month, which helped us off set a few unplanned expenses. When setting our projected budget, we forgot the pesky quarterly HOA fee, didn't see a minor dental bill coming and also didn't think the car would decide not to crank one morning. Life goes on, right? We also went over our grocery projection by $200. (I blame stress-eating from the car not starting. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.) The biggest takeaway from this month is that we still had a lot of work to do, but it was motivating to see our hard work come to fruition. Even with a few speed bumps, we were on our way!
Debt Paid: $1,686.02
Total Progress: $2,686.02
Month 3 - August 2020
Riding the high of the previous month, we really honed in on exceeding our goal. We were actually under budget in every single category. Through better meal planning, we had a $200 reduction in groceries, bringing us back down to our projection, and ending $50 under budget. My husband was able to pick up a good amount of overtime again, which helped catapult us over our goal.
Debt Paid: $2301.74
Total Progress: $4,987.76
Month 4 - September 2020
Back to reality with no overtime and not reaching our goal, we were still excited with our progress. We used most of a bonus I got to transform our house into a homeschool along with getting this blog up and running! Unfortunately, the grocery bill managed to creep way back up. (I swear it wasn't me this time!) We didn't plan out meals very well, and quite frankly, spent way too much time in the snack cabinet. (That was me!) The grocery budget appears to be our biggest challenge. Ugh, please don't make me cook!
Debt Paid: $1557.32
Total Progress: $6,545.08
We are four months in and averaging $1,636.27 - a lot closer to our goal than we expected to be at this point. The hard work and sacrifices are really paying off. See what I did there? But seriously, if we maintain this pace (and I can stay out of the snacks), we will be taking a victory lap in no time. (Actually more like 54 months, but who's counting? I'm going to need more Ben & Jerry's for this. Don't make me write that in The Dollar Tracker!)