The Debt Destroyers have made incredible progress towards their goals this past month! Even when faced with ups and downs, every member struck an admirable balance. With a healthy dose of determination the debt destroyers are standing up to their debt – and coming out on top!
Let’s catch-up with the ongoing participants of Debt Destroyers:
About Me: I’m married, working, and a mother to one child. I work about 55 hours a week and I’ve recently decided to go back to school which has added an extra pressure in terms of finance and time.”
Goal: Pay off $20,000 in debt in one year.
Challenge: The problem is both my husband and I spend like we are making three figures each (not the case!) and don’t have a child. The time issue “allows” me to spend more unnecessarily. I take my lunch to work daily but I am easily swayed. Recent weight loss has also contributed to spending money on a new wardrobe.
This month felt like a real success until I checked the ReadyForZero site. I discovered that I hadn’t made any real progress at all. What I learned was that while I did keep myself from making any large purchases I made a bunch of smaller purchases that added up. This reduced my progress by $450! I still have a lot to learn about what my purchasing triggers actually are. To deal with this I unsubscribed from a bunch of sites that send me daily deals and other sales. This removed some of the temptation.
I made some changes in my payments to make sure I was paying off the card that RFZ recommends, which was difficult for me because it’s not the largest balance. Even though I know logically that you should pay off the highest interest rate, it still felt like that was the wrong card. I read some more articles to get my emotional and logical self on the same track. If I stay on target I should have this card paid off in two months and then I can go back to paying off that big balance!
Overall, I made a move in the right direction. It was a tough month, but I’m keeping my chin up!
Name: Brant Gurganus
About Me: Software developer just passing two years in professional world. I also enjoy camping and hiking and assisting from time to time with scouting.
My Goal: Get out of credit card debt.
My Challenge: No credit card purchases, pay more than minimum using the biweekly payment plan.
I’ve been doing better I think with eating at home when I’m near home and using the food I’ve got available instead of buying more. That can be challenging with the addictiveness of a stress-eating cycle, but that can break with some discipline.
Name: My name is Katrina, but I often go by Trina.
About Me: I work as a support analyst and love spending time with those I love and my 2 dogs. I love trying new things and would love to start traveling again!
My Goal: My goal is to pay off credit cards as well as medical expenses. I’d also like to start saving up so I can set more aside in my savings account as well as budget better on the things I do enjoy.
My Challenge: My challenge is to keep up my current action plan for eliminating debt, but more importantly to limit eating out to only once a week. I’d rather take what I spend eating out and put it towards paying off debt sooner, and when you live in the suburbs of wonderful Chicago, it’s too hard to eliminate eating out all-together, so I’d like to limit what I do spend.
My Progress Update:
What was challenging:
This month was more challenging because I had a weekend getaway for a wedding, so between being away from home, added costs of dogs, and gifts of course, this month was not so smooth!
What was awesome:
I still kept under budget as far as my goal of eating out, even though it was more than my goal of once a week, and I was able to put an extra payment towards my credit card!
what was challenging: I had to spend more than I would have liked to this month because Chicago got real cold, real fast, and I had no coat! So I wasn’t able to put very much extra towards savings, but I scored a deal on my coat which helps a ton.
Name: Benjamin Feldman
About Me: I’m a writer at ReadyForZero. I like basketball, non-spicy food, and connecting with people both online and offline, including all our great ReadyForZero blog readers.
My Goal: Save at least 15% of my money every month so I can build a financial cushion and have a greater sense of financial security.
My Challenge: Stop eating lunch at restaurants and bring it from home instead.
My Progress Update:
Things That Were Awesome:
I’ve continued to bring lunches from home (with one exception, which I’ll share below). Overall, I’m happy with what I’ve been doing to save money. On weekends, I’ve been eating out less, and in general my outlook has been pretty thrifty. Even when I go to stores lately, I’ve been able to enjoy walking around while refraining from buying anything.
Things That Were Challenging:
Okay, so the exception I mentioned above occurred after returning from a trip out of state (for the Financial Blogger Conference). When I got back home, I didn’t have the time or energy to go to the grocery store so I ended up buying lunches out every day during the following week. Once again, convenience won the day! Even the week after that, once I had gone to the grocery store, I still found myself going to eat out a couple of times. I think this speaks to how easy it is for new habits to be replaced by old ones if we’re not careful. But I think I’ll get back on track next month!
Name: Claire Murdough
About Me: I’m a Bay Area native recently returned from a year living in/around Beijing. I like chocolate, gummy bears, chocolate covered gummy bears, and of course… writing!
My Goal: Going full force against my student loan debt while also pumping up my emergency fund.
My Challenge: No coffee out, no individual servings (yogurt, granola bars, etc).
My Progress Update:
Things That Were Awesome:
What was awesome: Retirement contributions! Never thought it would become such a habit, but it’s my gut instinct to put away a sum of my paycheck to retirement! This is in addition to student loan debt repayment (little by little) and emergency fund fluffing. It’s a good groove to be in!
Things That Were Challenging:
Eating out/social expenses. I’ve eased up a bit on my “eat at home during the week” policy mainly because I’m just plain tired at the end of the day! Sounds a little strange, but I I’m not used to the sun setting so early. I’ve realized that it really impacts my routine and schedule. Time to refocus!
Name: Tara Dee
About Me: I’m a marketing and communications consultant in Cleveland, recently freed from the painful hold of grad school. A 9-year journey through higher education has left me ridden with obnoxiously high student loan debt. I love all varieties of ethnic food, design, and totally geek out on urban planning issues.
Goal: I’d like to feel like I have financial freedom. As a first-gen college graduate I’m proud of my accomplishments, but financial security in my mind is defined by the ability to really prepare for the future. I’m not quite there yet.
Challenge: One of my loans (approx. $12,000) has a 9.75% interest rate. I’d love to pay that sucker off in the next year
I like to end things on a positive note!
What Was Challenging:
I did fantastic on the food spending last month, but ended up spending about $100 more this month… not having nearly as much time to cook (or energy, mostly). Things are very busy for me in October, and that had me running around and not taking advantage of nearly as much home cooking as I would like. I also had a bit of a slip on my clothes budget (though I really did need more warm weather clothes to wear to the office). Really, time has been my biggest challenge– and the government shutdown also cancelled drill this month, and with it the check that comes along with it. I also still haven’t found a full time job to cover my bases after my contract at this one ends mid November… which has been anxiety-inducing.
What Was Awesome:
Though I missed out on some income from drill, I made up for that income in freelance work… as I kickstarted my “official” photography and design business (feel free to check it out!) and was able to book quite a few sessions right away and do some design work for a former employer. While it’s been eating up the majority of what free time I have this time of year, I’m incredibly excited to have a bit more income, and it makes me feel more comfortable about my lack of employment coming next month. I’m thrilled to be in a position where I have a bit of money tucked in my Emergency Fund to cover me for a month or two while I look, so I consider that to be quite awesome! That’s not always been the case, and it makes me proud to know that I’m in that place. As for my student loans, I was able to pay $1,857 on them… which is great progress for one month, in my opinion
Name: Cait Flanders
About Me: I write the personal finance blog Blonde on a Budget, which I started to chronicle my journey out of debt. By day, I’m the managing editor of a start-up in Canada. I’m also an avid reader, enjoy hiking and working out, and consume more coffee than most stomachs could handle.
My Goal: I want to save at least 25% of my income each month for the rest of the year, then build up my Emergency Fund to $10K by the end of next year. (Oops, is that two goals!?) Two years ago, I was maxed out with $28K of debt, so these are goals I never dreamt would be possible to achieve.
My Challenge: Stop giving in to cravings! I could save so much money if I stopped giving in to small cravings, like treats at the grocery store or magazines at the airport. (Doing this will probably help my waistline too!)
What Was Awesome: Like last month, I saved the exact amounts I had budgeted for! I also got serious about my $10,000 Emergency Fund goal and am going to make that my #1 priority for the next 14 months.
What Was Challenging: This month, I finally gave up on buying the odd magazine here and there. Other than my one subscription to MoneySense, I realized I only read half of most other magazines and then recycle them. I was literally throwing away my money. Not anymore!
Name: Scott Izu
About Me: I was a single income earner for my family for twelve years.
Then came divorce, one of the four deadly D’s (Death, Divorce, Disease, Disaster). Going through this has been a financial nightmare. Together, we had a net worth of $115,000 and only a year and a half later, I am in debt about $42,000.
I had drastically reduced my spending, living off very little. I still believe I am very blessed despite the challenges. I also believe strongly in living within your means.
For a while, I was fighting a ghost since my financial situation changes with each new hearing.
Goal: My goal is to start by living within my monthly income.
I believe God puts struggles in our life so that when we overcome them, we can comfort and help others so I would be happy to join the super league and share my progress!!!
I found out I have about $44,460 in debt for the month of October. I went into debt a little further last month, when I was $44,255 in debt for the month of September. My goal right now is to stop going deeper into debt. I also want to be able to pay the credit card companies and meet my financial obligations. I know I don’t have to and that I can default but I want to take ownership of my mistakes and responsibility for the consequences.
My finances are still not settled and won’t be until my divorce is finalized. I just try to make the best estimates I can with the information I have available. I have switched to using cash for about 25% of my expenditures and would like to one day live credit card free.
In the meantime, I am trying to make money with a part time business and keep my expenses really low. The largest expenses are rent, gas and buying food for weekends when I care for my four children. I try to eat very little when they are not with me so that we can enjoy eating well when we are together. Trying to move towards debt freedom keeps me hopeful and I am grateful for the opportunity to share my story.
Way to go Debt Destroyers!
And now it’s your turn! Are you ready to join the Debt Destroyers Super League? If so, send an email to claire [at] readyforzero.com and include your name, a brief description of yourself, your goal, and your challenge. We’ll include you in next month’s update!!