Have you ever been so excited about something that you were practically bursting at the seams? Maybe it was Christmas Eve as a small child, and the anticipation of getting new toys was almost more than you could take. Maybe it was the night before you were about to leave on a big exciting vacation. Or maybe it was something more like awaiting the score of a test that you had studied REALLY hard for and it was a mix of anticipation and sheer terror.
Well, that’s exactly how I’ve been feeling the past month waiting for this big milestone we just hit. Because as of this month,
*****WE HAVE LESS THAN HALF A MILLION DOLLARS IN DEBT!!***
OUR CURRENT STUDENT LOAN BALANCE IS… $489K!
That calls for an air high five! We have been waiting and waiting for this moment. And I mean, I realize that we still have more debt than most humans will see in a life time, but for us, it is SUPER exciting. It means that we have paid off about $160k of student loan debt, which is certainly worth celebrating. It also means that we are approaching the 1/3 of the way mark to being completely out of student loan debt.
I SO ENJOY hearing about YOUR progress. It’s encouraging to know that you are also paying off debt and working towards other financial goals. PLEASE let me know what you are working on and what successes or struggles you’ve been having lately in the comments below. For the past year, I’ve only been sharing our monthly debt and budget updates with our newsletter subscribers. But in a recent poll of what you want to see on this blog, you said you would like to see it here! So quarterly, I’ll be posting our student loan debt updates right here on the blog. But if you are interested in the monthly run down of our budget and debt updates and all the behind the scenes information, you can still subscribe to our newsletter here to get all that juicy info.
Here, I’ll be sharing our sources of income and then a break down of our spending for the month of March.
Sources of Income
One of the first things my husband and I agreed on when we started trying to dig ourselves out of student loan debt was the fact that we were going to need a big shovel. So, in addition to our day jobs, we do a variety of things to bring more income in to help us in our goal to aggressively pay off our student loan debt.
Dentist Income (Day Job)– Danny works full time at a dental practice here in Tulsa.
Attorney Income (Public)– I work full time for what feels like a part time salary for a job that I am PASSIONATE about as a public service attorney. 😉 I LOVE my job. Even though I knew I wanted to do public service when I graduated law school, I decided that Public Service Loan Forgiveness was not for me. And just so you know, there is absolutely NO judgment from me if you are going for PSLF- just make sure it is actually the right choice for YOU. (I have a post that you can read here to help you decide if PSLF is right for you).
Attorney Side Income (Contract Review)– In addition to my day job, I review contracts for individuals and businesses on the side.
Blog Income- My blog also brings in some extra cash each month to help us pay off even more debt. The blog is by far one of my favorite side hustles because it connects me with you. Nothing has been so encouraging in this journey paying off debt than connecting with others who are going through or have gone through the same thing, paying off big debt. (If you are interested in starting a blog, you can read about it here).
Side Hustling- We both do a lot of other small side hustles, like taking surveys online, doing our shopping through Ebates, scoring cash back rebates, and selling things online.
Student loan payment: $12,000
Mortgage, Taxes, Insurance: $1000 Even though we have student loan debt, we purchased a house. In the area we live, the cost of owning a home is relatively low compared to the cost of rent, which is relatively high. We used a physician’s loan so that we didn’t have to make a down payment. Recently, our property taxes DOUBLED and our monthly payment shot up from less than $890 per month to $1000. Ouch! Buying a home is a risk.
Preschool: $478.44 Through my day job, I have the option of participating in a FSA. This is also known as a dependent care flex plan. $416.66 of my income each month goes into my FSA tax free which covers a little less than half of M’s preschool. We could most definitely choose a cheaper preschool, but child care is one of the only things I don’t look for the cheapest deal on. If your employer offers a dependent care flex plan like this, that is almost always a better deal than taking the child care credit during tax season.
Electricity: $58.59 We earned a free wifi thermostat and get a discount on our electric bill in the summer months for participating in PSO’s Power Hours. Basically, we let them turn up our thermostat four degrees during the hottest times of day in the summer, and they give us a discount on our bill (in addition to the fact that it’d be cheaper to not run the air conditioning as high). They aren’t even paying me to tell you about it, it’s just a great deal and benefits the environment so I’m sharing 😉
Trash & Water: $71.27
Internet: $50 Does anyone have an internet company that is not a huge jerk? I feel like there should be a LOT more regulation on these companies. We routinely have our bill hiked up. And I routinely call and threaten to cancel. And they routinely offer me either the same rate I was paying previously or something better if I can find another company who will give us a better deal. WHY DO WE HAVE TO PLAY THESE GAMES. Anyway, for the next year, our rate is $50 per month.
Health Insurance: $0 My employer covers 100% of our health insurance <3 which has been the greatest gift. Just wanted to let you know I didn’t forget about this expense as you are creating your own budget and tracking your spending.
Car Insurance: $116.66 We use Esurance for our car insurance for the simple reason that it was our cheapest option. We pay semi annually to get the best rate, but divide the costs up over the year for budgeting purposes. So, if you have an annual or semi annual event that you have to pay, all you do is add up your total cost for the year and divide it by 12 months. For example, this month our bi monthly insurance payment of $700 was due. We paid it, but for purposes of our budget, we spread that payment out over the course of a year (so, since its bi-monthly, 700 x 2 = 1400. Then 1400/12 for 12 months of the year is about $116.66
Food & Household Items: $397 This is by far the hardest part of my budget! It’s SO hard to not overspend on easy convenience foods and loveable house hold items. But we budget for $400 and stayed under this month (just barely!) so I’ll call that a win, especially since 80% of this money this month was spent on mini-cadberry eggs.
Gas: $111 This month I started biking to work a couple of times a week and am hoping to be able to do it more as it gets warmer. I’m curious to see if it saves us money. I LOVE starting the day biking to work. No road rage + burned calories = 🙂
Fun: $111 We ate out more than we should have. We bought a few small things for M’s Easter basket. We made cookies to take to friends and coworkers (I mean like a LOT of sugar cookies). We went on a couple of dates.
Retirement: $165 My employer does a match for my retirement plan. If I put in a small percentage of my pay check, my employer will put in twice as much as me (with some caveats)! This has been a really easy way to save without any scrounging around since I never expected to see the additional money anyway. It’s like trading $165 for more than $500 each month.
Vacation Sinking Fund: $200 Danny and I both consider vacations and travel a priority, well above having a big house or a lot of things. When we decided that we were going to pay off our student loan debt, we also agreed that we would still make travel and or vacation a priority, as much as possible. No, we don’t take any crazy elaborate vacations. But we do sneak a way a few times a year, on a tight budget, for some good old fashioned family bonding.
Tithing, taxes, and charitable giving were big additional expenses that we had this month. What we typically don’t share (at least yet anyway) is tithing that we pay to our church, taxes, and other charitable giving.
What about YOU?
How did your debt repayment and or budgeting go in March?
What financial goals are you working on?
Do you have questions about how we budget? I’m happy to answer them in the comments.
This post contains affiliate/referral links for products or services that I actually use. If you make a purchase through one of my links, I may get a small percentage of the sale even though the price to you is either discounted or the same.