January and February of 2015, mark a major turning point in my debt payoff journey. In the middle of February I gained an amazing husband, his additional income, and really the only raw end of the deal—his student loan debt (to be fair, he is getting stuck with my $43,000 of debt too). Because of my recent change in income and the addition of a partner and partner’s debts, my progress reports will have to be adjusted as well. We still haven’t ironed out the details regarding how I will be reporting progress, but we have March to get all of that sorted out don’t we
Until then, here is my final single lady debt progress report. I nearly paid off half of my debt all by my big girl self in 18 months. It’s pretty anti-climatic seeing the progress compared to previous months, but the events of the last couple of months are priceless and worth much more to me than a few thousand dollars extra put towards our debt.
The graph below summarizes my short term debt progress across all of my individual loans. The blue column represents my debt totals for individual loans as of December 31, 2014, and the green columns represent my debt totals for individual loans as of February 28, 2014. If you make payments above the minimum monthly requirements, looking at the debt progress in this format really emphasizes how paying more than the minimum has a significant impact on your debt decrease. In January and February I paid only minimum requirements on all of my loans, and as you can see the amount of “progress” I made was very, very minimal.
The bar graph below represents the long term and short term progress I have made on my overall debt. The grey bar represents my original total debt amount, the blue bar is my total debt one month ago, and the green bar shows how much debt I have today. Sometimes it’s hard to feel like you are making progress when you look at your BIG number on a month-to-month basis, but looking back to the beginning can remind you how far you have come.
Having ONE target loan will increase the rate at which you can pay off your debt and decrease the amount of money you will pay towards interest to help you become debt free sooner!
If I was paying above the minimum monthly requirement on my focal loan, the percentage being paid towards interest would have been much smaller—I’ve been ranging between 10% and 16% of my total payment being applied towards interest; however because I paid only minimums on all my loans this month, 29% of my total payments across all loans went towards interest. You want to pay as much as possible toward the principal because that is what helps speed up the process of eliminating debt. The chart below gives you a visual representation of these numbers.
It might seem like cash flowing money right now is rough, but if you make minimum monthly payments until all of your debt is gone, you will end up paying MUCH MORE than your original loan amounts in the long run.
Tell your Income Where to Go
Typically at this point in my progress report I share a pie chart that summarizes where I delegated my earned income during the past month. This month I don’t have a pie chart to share because I actually spent more than I earned. January and February were the final months of using my already-stashed-away savings to pay for the remainder of our wedding expenses. A pie chart wouldn’t represent the actual income and outgo of my cash, but I am considering writing a post to explain how I stayed organized during those two hectic months—well at least organized enough to stay sane 😉
January and February Roadblocks: The big road block was simply having the patience not to debt snowball as I sat on cash that I might need in the event of an emergency or unplanned expense for our wedding.
January and February Dollar Holllllllaaaaaas: No extra scrilla to write home about this month. I’m just happy to have experienced the most exciting day of my life without adding any debt to our already large mountain
For more information on how to gain control of your finances check out our info on Getting Started by clicking the link in the menu bar at the top of the page. How do you stay motivated and track your debt progress? I recently read a blog post about living on a budget without a written budget—do you think you could do it?
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* You can find this post linked up with lots of other good financially blessed stuff at Thrifty Thursday, Frugal Friday, and Financially Savvy Saturdays!