Who has time to do this blogging thing again? Certainly not me, it seems! Forgive me for the lack of updates over the past ___ months. A lot of life has happened since then.
January 2014–We owed slightly north of $87,000, a little more than $39,000 of which was due to credit cards, a personal loan, and my student loan.
May 2014–The figures as of my previous post showed a total debt of just under $82,000, and the non-mortgage debt total was around $34,900. We had paid off a little more than $5000 total, 80% or more of which was our non-mortgage total.
July 2014–This was our low water mark for the year. As I’ll explain, life intervened after this. Our overall debt reached a new all-time low, at $79,259.36. Our non-mortgage debt was also an all-time low, at $32,557.17. Things were progressing very well!
ENTER NON-STANDARD APPLIANCES
One of our Christmas presents was money towards a new stovetop for our kitchen. As I mentioned in a previous post, we are trying to sell our house. One drawback to our kitchen is the fact that our double oven, stovetop, and range hood are ALL avocado green. This stylish throwback is apparently not in vogue among the home buying crowd, and we’ve had trouble with one of our burners running really hot and another running on the not-so-hot side. So, back in February we decided to replace our cooktop with one of those ceramic flat-top models. We went to Sears early in the year, took advantage of a great sale, and got the stovetop we thought we needed. We got such a great deal, we decided to go ahead and replace the double oven, too. What we did not realize in all our measuring and what-not was that NONE of our kitchen appliances are standard size. Not a single one. Our washer/dryer combo had to be the super-skinny type, of which they only sell one model. Our dishwasher had to be the super-skinny type, of which they only sell one model. So…we get home and measure our double oven (we hadn’t planned to replace it, so we didn’t measure ahead of time). The new one we had ordered was WAY too big to fit. I called to cancel that order, but we went ahead and took delivery on the stovetop. As the installers went to put it in, we discovered that the cooktop would not fit the hole that was cut out for it, and it could not be cut bigger due to the setup of our cabinets. So–we had to cancel that order. We missed out on the big sale, and my wife was rather disappointed. For our anniversary in mid-July, I decided to try and find the right size cooktop for her. I know they say never to buy major appliances for your wife on an anniversary, but trust me, she was very happy. I was slightly less happy, as we had missed out on the great sale earlier in the year, and because there was only ONE MODEL of cooktop in the size we needed. ONE! Not only was it not on sale, it was double the price of the standard-size models. It had to go on the credit card, but that was okay. We were doing really well, and though it would slow our debt progress by a month, we’d be all right.
WE’RE HAVING A BABY!
Towards the end of July, we found out our prayers were answered and my wife was pregnant with our second child! We were ecstatic, and my 4-year old daughter couldn’t wait to have a “little sister AND a little brother”. We quickly convinced her she only wanted one baby, which she agreed to, as long as it was a baby sister. Thankfully, the doctor found just one baby, and it did turn out to be a little girl. She is due at the end of March. I knew going into the year that if another child came along, it would have a major impact on our budget and plans, and it has. Doctor visits don’t come cheap, and we haven’t begun to pay for all the hospital stuff yet. Needless to say, our debt level begins to creep up again.
YEAR END RECAP
As of today, we owe a total of $80,241.68, and the non-mortgage level is $34,662.34. We were running a $6700 new balance on a credit card, so I had to do another 0% offer until August 2016 and redouble my efforts not to run a balance in the coming year. The good news is that we paid off close to $7000 from the beginning of the year to the end of the year. That didn’t meet our goal of $12,000, but it was still 3 and a half times more than we’ve ever paid off our debt in a single year. To put it in perspective, from September 2010 to January 2014, we had paid down around $6000 of our debt. In a single year, we topped that!
NEW YEAR, NEW CHALLENGES
2015 looks to drastically alter the look of our finances. A few days ago, I found out my car has a blown gasket or cracked head. Repair quotes came in around $1500, which is far more than the car is worth. Rather than throw more money into an already ailing car, we figured that it would be best to go ahead and let my car go, let me take over driving her ’00 Dodge Neon, and get her a new Nissan Altima. With another baby on the way, and with my car already having broken down going to two doctor’s appointments out of town, we thought it was time to have a reliable car in the family, one my wife could drive for the next 10-15 years. In November, I made the last $422 payment on one of our 0% card balances. I had planned to roll that into other debt payments, but instead, it will have to go on a car payment. Our goal for the year ahead is to pay off another $7000 of our existing debt, not keep any balances on our credit cards, and not add to our debt except for doctor’s bills and the car loan. In all likelihood, our debt repayment plan will balloon from 3 years to 6 years, or perhaps even 9. However, we remain committed to the final goal of debt freedom, and we will continue to track our progress and report back here every week…or month…or 6 months…or year!