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

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Winning, August 2018 Edition


Welcome to another edition of WINNING, a sometimes-monthly post in which I outline our financial (and other) achievements in an effort to stay sane and motivated on this long road to debt freedom! I almost forgot about it this month, but NOT TODAY SATAN. I'm determined to get this post out. That's why I'm writing it before work while my kid is chowing down on his toast and my cat is meowing at my feet. This is gonna happen, poor grammar be damned.

Wins are important because let's face it, paying off debt and getting your finances in order can be exhausting. And frustrating. And for some of us it takes foreverrrrr


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While you're in the midst of this process, you have to keep a strong grip on the things that are going well.

With that, I present to you three wins for August of 2018:

(1) We met and exceeded our August savings goal! 


Our big goal this month was to sock at least $5000 into savings, using my extra paycheck (this was a three-paycheck month for me) and Fortysomething's final summer bonus. As of today, we've stashed $5500 into our emergency fund. We feel incredibly proud of ourselves for meeting this milestone because we've never had this much in savings before. It's a big deal. It means that if the shit hits the fan, we can clean it up without immediately resorting to credit cards.


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As a preview to a post that I maybe plan to write next week, for now, we've decided to maintain our slow roll on debt repayment and keep adding to our savings. Stay tuned for the why.

(2) We made an extra medical bill payment! 


We're still paying off a few thousand dollars for the Kiddo's appendectomy back in March. Because our payment plan is interest-free and involves taking money directly from my HSA, I don't include this as part of our remaining debt (I probably should, but I don't want to, so... I'm not going to). Thanks to that extra August paycheck, I was able to make an additional, unscheduled payment to the hospital. This brings our total bill to approximately $3300. Another piece of great news: next month I'll receive a $500 incentive for the company wellness program I completed last year, so that, too, will go straight to the hospital bill. Progress!


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(3) I did not make impetuous, personal finance-destroying decisions at work. 


To lay it all out there, this past month at my job has been grueling. First my boss quit without warning. Then my team was dismantled and restructured. Then, without asking me or preparing me in any way, they suddenly took me off a project I've been working on for months and put me onto another project that up to this point I've had nothing to do with. And that's not to mention the intense three-day business trip that took place mid-month and the numerous new initiatives that have been rolled out in a matter of weeks.

I feel like I have whiplash. This is my first corporate job and while I had heard many people talk of such shenanigans in offices like mine, I wasn't prepared for the actuality. My gut instinct every other day for the past few weeks has been to walk out. Circa-2006 me would have almost certainly handed in my resignation and left, but present-day me has decided to keep taking it a day at a time.

So I didn't leave. I didn't quit. I didn't walk away from my paycheck, health insurance, and 401K match. 

Do I cry at my desk every day? Yes. But I'm still here, giving myself time to figure things out. That, my friends, is an ENORMOUS win for me and my family.



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Tell me! What are your wins - financial or otherwise - this month?

(I just discovered a bonus win: I went back and read our Winning post from August of last year. At the time we were feeling bored and like the whole debt repayment process was moving at a snail's pace. So... WIN: we didn't quit!)
Disease Called Debt
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10 comments:

  1. Love to read about all of these WINS! What a great month you've had, financially. Sorry to hear about the job shit, but...you know...it's always something, right? Hope things improve on that end, or you find a great exit strategy, if need be.

    Our wins for August...
    1. As of yesterday, I hit a planned milestone - total credit card debt under $4k. My original debt repayment plan is about to go into a major slowdown, as I ramp up savings for a huge, planned expense I'm facing in January. So, hitting this milestone is bittersweet, since I know it is likely the last one from my original plan that I'm going to meet.
    2. I finished out the very expensive summer without adding any new debt. Savings took a hit and debt repayment slowed way down, but still, no new debt, right?
    3. After nearly a year's hiatus, I returned to budgeting and tracking for August, and unless something really crazy pops up today, I will have come in just under budget for the month.
    4. This is not anything I have been tracking or blogging about, but just something that has been quietly happening in the background for years, but...yesterday when I checked my 403(b) balance, it had inched just over the $250k mark. I have made all kinds of financial mistakes in my adult life, but somehow, the one thing I managed to do right was continuously contribute to a retirement account throughout my career. I'm not a FIRE-enthusiast, by any means, but it feels good to know that I *will* be able to retire, eventually, without having to eat cat food to survive.

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    1. WOW! >$250K in your retirement account is outstanding. Well done! That has got to be a great feeling.

      Congratulations on all of these wins. Inspiring!

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  2. I read old posts occasionally too. It's pretty cool to see how much progress I've made in a year -- let alone three years or five years. Goals that seemed totally out of reach then are in my rearview mirror! Once I got used to saving for real, instead of binging, it became hard to imagine doing it another way.

    I think it's awesome that you have real cash savings now. It's a little addictive, like tattoos. I'm sorry about the job stress -- but glad that you're making money and improving your situation. The really great thing about being more financially stable is that it gives you options to do things like quit your job :)

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    1. I think I just need a different mindset with my job. I let it get to me too much, though I also have no idea how to chill out about it. It offers plenty of perks so I'm trying to focus on those.

      Having savings feels amazing! It IS a little addictive. As of today, I'm thinking that we'll go ahead and focus now on knocking out my student loan. I've been so back and forth on this that I suppose I could change my mind tomorrow, but... I'm ready to see it gone.

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  3. Congrats on some great wins! Sorry to hear that the job's giving you so much stress. Buying yourself the time to figure out your next steps is everything.

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    1. Thanks, Gary! That is how I'm trying to look at it - buying myself time. :-)

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  4. Congrats on the savings goal win! It feels so stupid good to have a well funded emergency savings account!

    I'm sorry your job is sucking, that's really just the worst feeling. I totally get the urge to just up and walk out but way to make the responsible decision to make a plan rather than running on impulses (says the girl who still runs a solid 80-90% on impulses).

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    1. Thank you, Mel!

      It's so tempting to just leave, but it would be an absolutely terrible decision. I keep reminding myself that there's a lot of stress I'm *not* dealing with right now on account of having health insurance and a steady paycheck. I just need to find a way to get out of my own head when I'm working. Like... just do the job and not overthink it.

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  5. You rocked August! Such peace of mind having more in savings. Other than our baby emergency fund, we pretty much drained our savings with our driveway repair and other misc. bills that came up. Even with that, we were able to decrease our debt, so I remain thankful.

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    1. Great work! You're making tremendous progress with your debt. I often go to your site to get motivated. :-)

      Sorry about the miscellaneous bills. I'm sure we'll be facing that, too. Yay for continuing to knock out that debt!

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