A Story About Paying Off Debt and the Obstacles Along the Way


Our July 2018 Budget and Credit Card Zero Celebration!

First: We did it! We paid off the credit cards!

I'm still in semi-disbelief, but the credit card balances are now ALL at zero. The big moment happened the day before Independence Day:

Actually, it almost *didn't* happen, because the bonus we'd been planning to use for the final payoff didn't show up when it was supposed to. I got impatient, dragged the money over from our emergency fund, and insisted that we eliminate the remaining $1500 anyway. Boom! (Bonus arrived today, so I replenished the e-fund.)

The fact that we managed to meet this milestone, and well before we ever expected to, feels shocking in an is-this-really-happening (or as my former therapist would have coached me, did-we-really-make-this-happen) sort of way. It hasn't sunk in yet. Credit cards have been my ball-and-chain financial reality for so long that the idea of existing without carrying a balance seems... outside the realm of my understanding. And yet here we are!

July budget: Paying the minimums while we go have fun

As we mentioned a couple of posts ago, we're taking the month of July off from intensive debt repayment to celebrate our credit card win. This means that we'll be paying nothing beyond the minimums on our two student loans.  The rest of our disposable income will be used for a mini-vacation to the mountains and some kitchen supplies. 

Vacay means contending with the following expenses:
  • The cat needs to be boarded (because our friends are all away or not interested in hauling themselves across town to feed our charming little beast)
  • We need vacay lodging (I rented a somewhat reasonably-priced place through VRBO)
  • We'll be going out to eat more (but we'll also be eating meals at home in the rental)
  • We'll be doing some fun and not-free activities
Repeating to myself: I will keep it in budget. I will keep it in budget. I will keep it in budget.

Anyway, here's the July plan in all its messy glory.

July 2018 Budget:

Recurring Fixed Expenses:
  • Rent: $2100
  • Student loans: $650 
  • Phone bill: $78
  • Internet: $65
  • Auto and renter's insurance: $73
  • Thousand Trails: $108
  • Netflix: $13
Recurring Variable Expenses: 
  • Utilities: $180 (darn air conditioner... but it's been necessary the last couple of weeks)
  • Groceries: $800 (don't say it... I already know)
  • Gas in car: $150 (higher this month since we'll be road tripping)
  • Very Expensive Feline: $170 (boarding + vet fees - I am probably overestimating this)
  • Miscellaneous: $390
One-Time Expenses:
  • Vacation + home supplies: $1100
Total budget for July 2018: $5,877
Disease Called Debt


  1. Congrats on paying off the credit cards! I think taking a month off from debt repayment (except for minimums of course) sounds like a good plan. A little celebrating is in order before you get back to the process. Enjoy your trip!

    1. I'm really excited about our little getaway; the whole family is. Can't wait to kick back a bit!

      We've been talking a lot about what to do next and how to handle the student loans. Those things have gotta go.

  2. Congrats. I'm sure it is a relief to have those credit cards behind you. Enjoy your vacation.

  3. So great! Enjoy the vacation. It sounds lovely.

    1. Thank you! It was indeed super lovely and now... now I'm kinda bummed to be back. Post-vacay blues.

  4. OMG, congratulations! If it were me, I would spend the day logging in to my cc account sites just to gaze at those beautiful $0 balances!

    Enjoy your vacation - well-earned fun!

    1. LOL! Deborah, you are reading my mind... I actually HAVE been logging in just to stare at the zero balance. I am glad someone understands this!

  5. Congratulations!!! This is such a big deal. Glad you are taking some time to celebrate it.

    1. Ohhhh yeah. Definitely worth taking some time to celebrate before moving on to the next big goal: getting rid of my student loan.

  6. Belatedly: HALLELUJAH! That's fantastic! Enjoy the rest of the month <3

  7. Congratulations! Its a very weird feeling not to have debt at the forefront of your every day thinking..I remember feeling unsettled (like I was missing something) and a little, bored (because I had all this extra time on my hands)and a little let down because this was my JOB! (for a very long time)
    Enjoy you vacay! Well earned

    1. You make a really good point here! It DOES feel kind of weird. Next up: get the student loans out of the way.

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