Confession: My husband, Ben, and I have been trying to get out of debt for five years now.
The truth, though, is that we could have been debt free long ago, if we’d been really serious about it. Instead, we’ve just been playing around with our debt snowball.
We’re not the worst money managers in the world. But we’re also not great at sacrificing short-term wants for long-term goals.
This year, that’s going to change. At least, I hope so!
Every year around this time, we start talking about how this year, it’ll be different. But this year, I really do think it’ll be different.
Our daughter just turned 2, and we’re thinking about another baby. My freelancing career is taking off more than ever before, and Ben got a great job midway through 2013. Plus, we’re on the verge of buying our first home.
All these factors are giving us more motivation and means than ever before to get out of debt. And we’d like to take you, Dough Rollers, on that journey with us.
Each month of 2014, I’ll update you on our journey toward debt freedom. I’ll talk about our successes and failures, and I’ll probably ask for some encouragement along the way.
My hope is that this process will keep my family motivated to pound down the debt and that these posts will help motivate others toward healthy financial changes in 2014.
Where We Stand Today
I just spent an hour in the gut-wrenching process of totaling up our debt and checking our biggest areas of spending weakness in 2013. Here’s where we’re at:
While I won’t tell you exactly where all that debt is located (a girl’s gotta have some privacy, after all), I will tell you that nearly 26 percent is a loan on a car that we have no business owning. Another 67 percent is from those pesky student loans.
Like I said, we have absolutely no business owning a practically new car when we’re in so much debt. (Or, really, at all.) So that’s the first issue we need to tackle.
While Ben and I have a history of making poor car-related decisions, we also struggle in a few other areas of overspending. Our main everyday-spending weakness is on food, so that’s one we’re planning to work on in January.
We’re already on our way to getting rid of the car and hope to sell it within the next month. So if you know anyone in the central Indiana area looking for a 2012 Toyota Camry, send them my way.
Getting rid of the car will be huge not just for reducing our total debt, but also for accelerating our debt snowball. It’s our biggest monthly bill. So once we downgrade to a beater, we can put a lot of that car payment, plus the money we’ll save on car insurance, into other debt.
As for food spending, we’ve committed to not setting foot in a restaurant for the month of January (except to use our Christmas gift cards). And we’re also going to work on better meal planning, because lack of planning is usually what sends us scrambling to the nearest Taco Bell for dinner.
So, if you’ve got any encouragement for us, or any advice on how to sell a car more quickly, leave me some comments below. Here’s to a financially healthier, more prosperous new year in 2014!