Monthly Debt Reduction & Savings Statement – March 2009

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Each month I will be posting these Monthly Debt Reduction & Savings Statements. It is my intent to use these statements as a comparison against Our Starting Debt Amounts where I listed our debt as of January, 2009 – when my wife & I began our Debt Free Adventure – to summarize our progress toward debt free living.

Here is our up-to-date Debt Reduction & Savings Statement for March, 2009.

Our Current Goals

  1. Pay off our credit card debt by the end of 2009 (which started as $9,197 in January, 2009)
  2. Pay off our auto loan by the end of 2009 (which started as $6,036 in January, 2009)
  3. Save $6,000 toward an Emergency Fund by the end of 2009
  4. Pay an extra $50 in principle payments on both our student loans so as to pay them off early
  5. Pay double principle payments each month on both our mortgages in an effort to pay them off in only 15 years as opposed to another 28

Our Current Debt Progress

This month we had a bit of a setback.  The transmission on my wife’s car kicked the bucket costing us nearly $1,600 in the process.  We took this money out of our emergency fund, since…it was an emergency.  Not sure if I have mentioned it before, but my Jeep Cherokee has been in the shop for a few months now so we have been a one vehicle family during this time.  I expect my truck to be finished within a few weeks, which will be a blessing.  I was in an accident basically totaling the Jeep, but ended up finding a local auto-body mechanic to do the work for just over $3,000, another huge set back.  I’m praying that the Lord will provide in some other way, to make up for the cost.  If He does, great…if He doesn’t great…He knows best.

If all the automobile frustrations we have had over the last 3 months have taught us anything, it’s the importance of having an emergency fund!

In my last Monthly Debt Reduction & Savings Statement for February, 2009 I mentioned that I had applied for an Iberian Bank credit card offering 0% interest rates and no fees on balance transfers.  I was denied the card.  I’m not really sure why since my credit score is above 700, and I don’t really have any reason to be denied.  If I can remember what the letter said before I shredded it, I think it had something to do w/too many recent checks on my credit.  I say, “Oh well” and chalk it up as something the Lord must not have wanted for me…again, He knows best and blessed be the name of the Lord!

Here are the actual amounts we were able to put toward our debt for March, 2009:

  • The Lord allowed us to put $591.63 toward our credit card debt.  After being charged $65.40 in finance charges, it left our total credit card debt balance at $7,720.59.
  • We reduced our auto loan by $178.09 leaving us with $5,649.57 of auto debt.  I did not make extra principle payments this time around.  I want to focus any & all extra money on destroying our credit card debt!
  • I put an extra $40 toward the principle of my student loans.  I am using an automatic withdraw to do this each month but am going to stop this practice until I pay off my credit cards.

Our Current Savings Progress

Keeping in line with what I mentioned in last months statement regarding our savings progress, we have closed our GMAC money market savings accounts and have created several savings accounts in our Capital One 360 Savings to line up with our savings goals.

We did indeed create an auto fund and a vacation fund, but have also created a short term account called our “patio fund”.  You see…we have lived in a new construction home for over 2 years now with no patio.  It is something we both value immensely, so we are putting $300/month for 3 months toward the cost of a 450 sq. ft. patio!  We plan to put the patio in this June and have several family members who will help install it at no cost.  I also plan on getting the pavers delievered for free by negotiating a barter for my computer repair services (more on how that panned out later.)

  • As I mentioned above, our Emergency Fund took a huge hit due to the transmission repair.  The new balance of our Emergency Fund for March 2009 actually decreased to $734.15
  • Our Patio Fund was started with an initial amount of $225 for the fist month.  We hope to build this up to $1,200 by the middle of June (when we plan on installing the lil bugger)
  • Our Vacation Fund opened its doors at $100
  • And finally our Auto Fund also started life at an initial amount of $100

Thoughts…

I am more excited than ever to see our debt dwindle and our savings build! Watching this paradigm shift is definitely one of the best things I have witnessed regarding my finances.  A note of correction from last month…we are not solely using the Debt Snowball method (paying smallest amounts off first) to repay our debt.  We are also incorporating the Interest method (focusing on paying down high interest accounts first) and plan on using these two methods in tandem for a double-flanked attack on our debt!

Currently we are trying pay $700/month toward our credit cards, without increasing their amounts at all.  At the current rate of $700/month on credit card debt it will take us 12 months to pay off this amount.  Our goals are to pay it off by 12/31/2009.  In order to reach that goal we need to increase the amount we pay each month by$200 .  To accomplish this I will pray for the Lord to provide and, as stated above, reapportion some of the money we are paying toward extra loan principle over to our credit card debt.

I also wanted to pay off my auto loan by the end of the year, but those numbers simply do not add up.  What a perfect opportunity for me to pray that the Lord would provide us a way to pay this off by 12/31/2009.  I will seek His face and will gladly & proudly give Him all the praise and all the glory if and when He does!  That is such an exciting thought!

I will update you on the status of all these things again next month so stay tuned in!

If you desire to track our progress, you can do so directly by following the MDRSS (Monthly Debt Reduction & Savings Statement) tag series here.



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1 Lakita

Keep up the GOD work! Sounds like you are making good progress. Thanks for your candidness! Real situations do happen which cause us to take a bite out of emergency funds.

I too am using a “modified” debt snowball effect based on Dave Ramsey’s Total Money Makeover. Fortunately for me though, my cards with the lowest balance also had the highest interest rate – double bonus!

I’m just paying the minimum on my student loan and car which sits at 3% and 6% until the credit cards are paid off!

Question: 1/4 of the year is over but your financial widget is not at 1/4 of your goal completion. Do you think you are on track to meet your goals by the end of the year? Or will snowballing and interest allow you to save more in the 3rd and 4th quarters?

PS: I still have to respond to your email ~ I haven’t forgot!

2 DebtFREEk!

Actually while I was writing this post I noticed the “gaping hole” in the amount of money I’m able to put down toward my debt each month and the amount of debt I have left.

While I purposely set my goals high, I still would VERY MUCH like to reach them.

I suppose I need a new strategy for this, so what I plan on doing is giving it all over to God & pray that He will provide. I am completely confident that He wants me to be debt free, so if He wants it to happen before the end of this year, He will provide. I need to seek His face in this matter and ask Him to work a miracle.

I think He will, and I will be OVERJOYED to be able to make this public and to give Him all the praise & all the glory for providing.

I hope it turns into a testimony for the Lord, and for prayer!

3 debt reduction

Thank you very much for your post. I believe this is very sound advice. I am going to have to sit down with my wife over the weekend and review all of our options. Thanks again for the post!

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