Grace & Peace To You,
Debt as of 06/09/2012: $92,645.00
Debt as of 06/26/2014: $19,695.28
Total Debt Paid Down: $72,949.72
We are very fired up about the progress we're making! Like the US Men's National Team, we're limping in but going through to the next elimination round of our debt payoff. An interesting stat about the debt numbers you see above is that when we began two years ago, the $92K number was made up of eleven different debts. These included student loans, car loans, a medical bill, and a credit card bill. Today's debt number consists of one student loan. That's all that's left! We're on our way to reaching our goal of posting $0.00 by the end of December 2014.
Today's money saving tip is about: Envelopes. We didn't event this system, but we sure use it! The system is fairly simple. You budget a certain amount for each category. For example, we budget $400 a month for groceries. Then, when we get paid, we pull $400 in cash and place it in an envelope labeled "Grocery". When we need groceries for the week, we pull a certain amount from the envelope. When the envelope is empty, we have no more to spend on that category for the month. This prevents us from impulse buying and randomly swiping our card. It also allows us to know where every dollar we make goes. With the exception of gas, we hardly ever use our debt cards for payment. We have a gas budget, but we really like to pay at the pump. Our envelopes consist of the following: Grocery, Date Night, Miscellaneous (which includes clothes, haircuts, etc.), Entertainment, and Extra Earned. The extra earned envelope is one we try to put money into each week. We also have a tax deductible receipt envelope since we are both teachers and can claim money spent on our classrooms.
We obviously have other lines in our budget, but most of those transactions are done online.
This system may seem a little tedious. However, we have found from personal experience that it really helps you control your spending.
Many people use a file folder for their envelopes, which is how we started. We recently decided, as a visual motivator, to post it on the wall in our dining room. It has almost become our debt freedom/dream wall. It includes our envelopes, running total of debt payments for the month, and our debt payments from the previous month so we can try and beat it each month. The newest addition to our wall includes a map of Hawaii. We put this up to begin planning our trip for next summer, but mainly to keep us focused on what we're working towards. The last thing you may see is a quote written on a piece of paper above the board. It is from one of Bryant's favorite singer songwriters, Scott Miller. It simply reads:
"If you're not going to make your dreams epic, why bother to dream anything at all."
Bryant and Emily