November did not go according to plan, but I still enjoyed Thanksgiving, my work trip, and our wonderful houseguests from Korea who are returning home today. I did notice that a lot of intentional frugal changes (cooking at home more, reducing mindless shopping, fixing stuff ourselves) have become habitual.
Which means… I made it to over $10,000 paid off this year! Actually–in just 10 months! Woohoo! If December goes according to plan, we’ll also be under $20,000 owed in consumer debt. I’m very excited about our progress.
Progress from November:
- Tried to increase Zero Spend Days. I am finding that it brings greater awareness to all my purchases and causes me to be more intentional with every purchase. In November, we had $0 spending on 6 days out of 30: the 8, 15, 18, 19, 22, and 27. That’s 20% of days with zero spending! I hope to increase it to two days/week minimum in December.
- Opened a 529 account for H. When my father passed, some of the insurance money established a generous college trust for J and my niece. H wasn’t yet born. I wanted to open the account before the end of the year to get a bit of a tax bonus this year and to apply for a state contribution next year. The minimum contribution to open an account was $250 (or $25/month recurring). Before this debt payoff process, I wouldn’t have let myself utilize this program until my finances were fully “in order.” However, by paying more attention to our numbers, I’m setting up a savings plan for next year that includes this account.
- Progress on Credit Cards. Here are the numbers for the end of November:
- Home Improvement Loan: $1,100.00
- AmEx: $7,600.00
- Balance Transfer 1 (0% for 8 more months): $2,863.00
- Balance Transfer 2 (0% for 12 more months): $8,720.00
- TOTAL: $20,283.00
- Amount paid off this month: $958.00
- Amount paid off TOTAL: $10,673.00
My goal for December is to bring the amount owed to under $20,000 total and to “catch up” on the total debt reduction (including student loans, roof loan, and mortgage) so that going forward I will be able to report additional debt reduction beyond the consumer debt payoff. I need to pay off the Home Improvement Loan in full by the end of January to avoid deferred interest charges, so I’ll be directing as much as possible to that loan.
Goals for December:
- Remember that you have purchased all the gifts you need for J’s birthday and for Christmas. Avoid last-minute temptations.
- Continue shopping, alcohol, fast food, and Facebook ban.
- Decluttering challenge for December.