Not Quite Working As Expected

The past few months have been a bust financially for a few reasons:

  1. I decided to sign up for my next grad school class.  I am regretting the class not only financially but also for the time commitment.  I should have waited until later in the year when I had more debt paid down and more free time.  Now I am stressed out. My company will reimburse 80% of the course as long as I get a B. I will easily get the B, I just have added pressure on me to put as much time as I can into the course to get my return on investment. Even the 20% that I pay on the course is hefty!  I have decided to postpone the second course I planned to take this year until late Fall.  (Cost $1000+)
  2. We put our dog through obedience training.  Our lovable, big dog was getting hard for me to control and had started to nip at me.  We were recommended an obedience school by a coworker and we decided to put him through training last month. His behavior has improved 100%. We are able to take him through all of the basic commands.  Occasionally, he reverts back to his old ways but then we correct him.  Overall, I think it was money very well spent.  If we had the time to train him that would be the preferred approach but due to our travel in the past month and my course, it was easier although expensive to work with a professional. (Cost $1000+)
  3. I can’t stop traveling.  I mentioned in a previous post that my New Years Resolution the past few years has been to not travel.  Well, it turns out that is impossible for me.  We had two weddings in the past month that required flights, hotel, and food costs.  The second wedding involved the added costs of shoes, hair, and accessories which were purchases I had sworn to avoid.  The crazy thing is that I use points and miles for almost all of our flights yet associated travel costs take up such a significant portion of our budget. Beyond the weddings, we also booked a trip to South America in the Fall to attend a conference on wealth and happiness.  It’s totally up our alley and we planned on hitting our debt payoff goals and using this trip as a celebration.  If we don’t hit our goals, I’ll be embarrassed to be around the other participants who I perceive to be so much further along than we are now.  It’s motivation! (Cost $1000+)

 

My Debt Snapshot:

Type Balance Rate
Student Loan $1,177 4.25%
Auto $24,638 1.90%
Store Card $2,974 0.00%
Total $28,789.00

 

The above totals do not include my grad school tuition, the trip to South America, and the associated wedding expenses which I still have on my credit cards.  It stinks because we will have to work on eliminating that new debt before we hit any of the debt we had outlined in our goals for the year. I can’t complain though because we did this to ourselves. I stand behind our spending decisions, it’s just unfortunate that we put ourselves in a situation that will jeopardize our long term goals.

My plan is to payoff the credit card debt first, then attack the auto loan, then payoff the store card, then lastly payoff the student loan.  It seems weird to keep the student loan since its the smallest amount and the highest interest rate but I read somewhere that it can help your credit score to keep debt like that open.  The interest comes out to $4 a month. I’ll continue to research but for now, my plan is to attack my debt in that order.

I have not included Mr. Debt Albatross’s debt because he has not made much progress beyond the minimum payments in recent months.  We restructured our expenses (I am now paying more in utilities, food, and mortgage costs) to help him have extra money to pay towards his debt.  He is not spending very much money at all yet he doesn’t have any extra money to put towards his loans.  We’ll have to re-evaluate our spending and optimize our approach for the coming months.

Side Hustle Update

  1.  We Need More paying clients.  Mr Debt Albatross lost one of his paying personal fitness clients due to injury. We need to step up our marketing so he can get more clients. It seems easier for him right now to write programs for pay versus actual one-on-one coaching. We need to evaluate our options.
  2. We have roommates for now.  We secured two roommates in the past few weeks.  One was for two weeks, one was supposed to be for the entire summer.  The second roommate was offered a family friend’s home to stay for free for the summer which screws that plan up.  We do bring in a bit of income and its been entertaining to have people to talk with in the past week.  Truthfully, I’m relieved. We have a bunch of family and friends visiting this summer and it’s tough to share a house for a long time. We already were notified by our HOA because one of the roommates parked his car literally in the street versus pulling to the side of the road.
  3. We want a rental property.  Still looking for that ideal rental property.  Not finding the $20,000 gems that Paula Pant from Afford Anything seems to find in Atlanta.  We’re interested in a second vacation home rental property but can also see how that could be a bad idea. We’re also interested in multi-family properties as well.  Although we love our current home, I feel like we locked up too much equity in this house.  We should have went for a less expensive property and secured additional loans for rental properties.

Week 1 Recap – How’d We Do?

The Good –

  • I paid $100 towards my Nordstrom credit card balance (Remaining Balance: $438)
  • I brought my coffee and lunch to work each day instead of eating out
  • We took the pup to doggy day care only one day last week
  • Gas is still under $2 a gallon

 

The Bad –

  • I had a $68 interest charge on my credit card
  • I registered the new car I purchased last year for a whopping $680
  • We spent a bit too much on dinner and drinks with friends ($65 for the weekend)

 

Overall, it was a good start to Debt Albatross. If you take out the car registration, it wasn’t such a bad week! We can only improve upon our embarrassing spending last year.

 

Our 2014 Spending:

*A few grand in the Travel, Food & Dining, and Auto & Transport categories was spent on business travel.  I didn’t have a corporate card until later in the year.

*The high spending on home included our down payment.

Category $$
Home $49,361
Education $15,532
Food & Dining $18,021
Travel $9,539
Shopping $8,665
Auto & Transport $7,265
Pets $5,373
Bills & Utilities $5,038
Health & Fitness $1,241
Business Services $1,257
Other $3,719
TOTAL $125,010
Merchants $$
King Soopers 6999
Vet 1848
Doggy Day Care 1561
Chipotle 750
Starbucks 834

 

Mr Debt Albatross and I plan to make significant cuts in the Food & Dining, Shopping, Pets, Travel, and Other categories. We set a $110 weekly grocery budget which should land us at $5280 for the year. We will limit eating out to weekends only and will suggest other plans with friends to try to avoid eating out whenever possible. We will stop taking the pup to Doggy Day Care which should in turn decrease the vet costs (he has been misbehaving lately at camp so we think it might be good for him to take a break). We will also cut out unnecessary shopping and travel expenses.

 

Dallas the pup

How can you say no to this little face?

 

I know 2015 will be a different year. I feel dedicated and motivated to eliminate our debt. If we can stick through this for one year, we will have greater flexibility in our future.