Debt + Budgets = Snowballs

It may be “spring” elsewhere in the world, but Boone definitely did not get the memo. This is what it’s been like for us the past couple of days. And yes, this picture and the video below were taken from this week. And yes, that dude in the video is wearing shorts in the snow.

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Crazy, right? SO MUCH SNOW for spring. But all the snow, plus the fact that we’re almost done filing our taxes, made me remember something we’ve been sorta kinda neglecting: Our Debt Snowball.

Some of you may remember mentioning we took Dave Ramsey’s 9-week Financial Peace University class pretty early on after we got married and moved to Boone.We had learned about the Debt Snow Ball which essentially helps you knock out your debt REALLY fast by putting as much money as you can toward your smallest debt amount, then adding that entire payment to your next smallest debt after the first debt is paid. We had paid off one debt during the class but then sort of didn’t add the payment to the next debt.

Hence, no snowball.

Yeah, totally my bad. I was supposed to look into my student loans and see how/where we should add it. We still learned a lot about budgeting and communicating about money, but the debt snow ball kinda got ignored. But finally after being forced to look into my loans for taxes, I figured it all out and so last night Addison and I sat down to talk debt and our budget. Our budget has definitely changed since when we first took the class. My freelancing has fluctuated and he got a job. But now we’re waiting for some news from Addison’s job (pray please! Should hear something in a week or two or three lol) and we decided to work with our new budget, our snowball and yadda yadda. Boring stuff.

Well sure, it seems like boring stuff at first, but once you get through the craziness of trying to figure things out together, it’s anything but boring. In fact, it’s downright exciting.

We figured out that if things go according as planned (with some wiggle room of course just in case it doesn’t go as planned), all of our debt (aka. my student loans ugh) will be paid off by the end of 2014. That’s our goal. And in one of my leeway scenarios I did the math on (with the help of Dave Ramsey’s Snow Ball Tool), I figured out that even our “worst case scenario” would have us finishing up our debt the first month of 2015. Not too shabby!

Let me tell you how great this feels. I was on track to pay my debt off in 10 years. This is a HUGE difference. This is a GAME CHANGER.

What does this mean for us right now as we try to accomplish this ridiculous feat? We have to be more on top of our budget. This means really making sure we pack lunches instead of just eating at the Samaritan’s Purse cafeteria for convenience. This means saying no to some people who want to eat out occasionally if we’ve burned through that part of our budget already. This also means, I probably won’t get my Wellness Center membership like we were talking about for awhile. I’ve been excited to possibly do Zumba classes and of course use their racquet ball courts, but really….honestly…. do we need it? We have a beautiful elliptical in our home (which spends a lot of time in the living room unless we have people over lol. BEST. Wedding. Present. EVER). I have tons of DVDs, including the kick butt Turbo Fire series (you know…from the same company as P90x. And, there’s always running in the great outdoors (well, once the frozen tundra thaws, that is).

For both of us to have the really cool membership at the Wellness center, it would be about 80 bucks a month with my employee discount. Yes, it’s  not a huge cost. Sure, we CAN afford it. But that’s not what the debt snow ball is about. That $80 will do massive damage in our crazy knock-out, drag-out battle with debt.

Seriously, debt free by 2014 would be fantastic.

And what’s even better? We decided to reward ourselves if we reach our goal. We’ll take what we were paying for our monthly debt payment and spend a month or three saving up for the vacation of a lifetime. Europe anyone? Especially if we’re still child-free by this time (I just hit every piece of wood in the vicinity), I think it would be the perfect way to celebrate our three-year anniversary.

Some of you may be scratching your heads being like…”didn’t she say a couple blog posts ago that they were going to INCREASE their budget for healthy food?”

Ah-HA! You caught me. The truth is, we are because health is not a luxury. It’s a basic need. While I’ve always been a self-proclaimed budget shopper/chef, I’m going to work extra hard to make it my mission to prepare healthy meals for our family that won’t break the bank. A lot of you have been requesting more posts like my budget meal beast, and I know I’ve neglected to add more tips for awhile. But know that there are cheap and easy recipes in the works! I’ll be giving a cost breakdown and a nutritional breakdown as well so you can see that you really can eat healthy on a dime.

I’m not promising everything will be clean-eating approved, after all, we are still taking baby steps. But I promise they will be easy, affordable, and delicious.

Someone once told me that it’s too hard to focus on getting debt free and getting healthy at the same time, and that I’d have to choose one or the other. I don’t believe that for a second, and neither should you. Here’s to living the good life and working hard for a better future!

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4 thoughts on “Debt + Budgets = Snowballs

    • I know :-(. I thought about you the WHOLE time I was writing this and was going to tell you Thursday (but then realized I won’t see you Thursday). We talked about it more today and we’re thinking maybe it could happen down the line if maybe his job pays more than we’re hoping for or something. Also, I heard a rumor that you can pay $5 to be a guest at a class. Do you know if that’s true? Maybe I can come every once in a while and join you!

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