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

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Winning: December 2018 Edition

Current status

It has been a week. 



This interminable f&*%ing week featured a packed work calendar that left me exhausted at the end of every day, multiple parenting fails, and at least two ugly meltdowns. The meltdowns were from me, not my kid. I was the meltdown-er. Rather embarrassing, given that I'm a 40-year-old professional who's supposed to have her shiz together.

I do not have my shiz together. 

Luckily, it's now VACATION TIME, and for the next few days I can be as un-together as I want to be. I'm going to put this job mess on hold, drink some delicious wine, watch some of my favorite Christmas movies, sleep in until whenever, and eat my body weight in holiday-themed Reese's peanut butter cups. I might maybe also get some fancy hair products to cover all the extra gray hairs that have suddenly sprouted across my head.

To kick off my five days of unrepentant slothdom, I figured I'd crack open said wine and delve into our December wins. You know: turn my frown upside down and all that.

And actually, there's a lot to smile about:

1. I completed a full round of interviews for a job that would tap into my strengths and that I think I'd enjoy. I don't want to speculate on the outcome because I won't hear back for at least another week, but I will happily celebrate the fact that I applied for the job, jumped through all the hoops they asked me to jump through, and lined up some solid references. It's evidence that I'm trying to improve my current employment situation instead of just complaining about it.

It's out of my hands now. If they want me, yay! If they don't want me, well, that's more experience that I can tap into the next time around. (Sigh.)

2. We paid another $1600 to my student loan, bringing the balance to $3700! In the chart below, you can see that our progress really ramped up (ramped down?) after we paid off our credit cards in July of this year:

*If* everything goes to plan, we'll pay off the entire loan by the end of February. This assumes that my salary holds steady. It might not. If I get this new job, my salary will decrease substantially and we'll need to recalibrate our payoff plan. Stay tuned!

Shoutout to the debt snowball method. It's the reason we're now able to pay $1600 a month to my student loan. If you go back to our posts from summer of 2017, you'll see that we were making rather small payments towards all of our debts (credit cards, car loan, student loans). But once we knocked out a couple of them and re-applied the money to the remaining loans, our progress accelerated.

3. The Kiddo and I found a new dentist and got some much-needed dental work. I don't know if I ever wrote about it here, but at the beginning of the year we started seeing a dentist who was just... creepy. 

We have an extremely limited dental network under our insurance plan and he was the only one who had an immediate opening. But after he nearly broke my jaw during a filling (okay, not really... it just felt like it) and did some shady stuff with my kid's dental records (really), I decided we needed to find someone else, even if it meant waiting a couple of months for an appointment.

We lucked out. New dentist is as fantastic and un-creepy as a dentist can get. He takes my insurance, his office is clean, and he doesn't make weird sexist comments to his staff. He did, however, identify a couple of items we needed to take care of: a small filling for the Kiddo and a crown for me, because one of my teeth was disintegrating under a hodgepodge of previous dental work.

The total bill came out to around $700. Although it's never fun to spend that much money on mouth ceramic, I was able to work out a payment plan wherein I paid half the balance up front and will pay the rest in three monthly installments at zero percent interest. As with the Kiddo's appendectomy, I'm using our HSA to cover the cost and thus we won't feel the effects in our monthly budget. YAY!

Other December wins:
-Kiddo has discovered a renewed interest in school and is generally enjoying himself.
-Kiddo has realized that more studying = more retention = higher grades, and he's digging it.
-Fortysomething finished out his third semester of teaching and still loves it.
-It's vacation time!
-The PF Twitter community is a neverending source of information, advice, and encouragement. I love you guys!

What about you? What are your December wins?

Happy holidays, everyone, and thanks so much for reading.


  1. I hear you on the week. I also didn't have my shiz together this week. Once I stop taking antibiotics and can drink again (Christmas Day!), I will raise a large glass to you.

    1. VERY large glass raised in toast to you, my friend. I'm so glad you get a break!

  2. My whole month felt like that week of meltdowns too, I hear you loud and clear. But I did pull together the last of our FSA claims, negotiate and win discounts for our big asbestos bill, PiC unintentionally got free diagnostics run on our car, and have one really great vacation day only partially interrupted by work which is pretty dang good for me.

    1. Oooooh! Free diagnostics? Nice work. And congratulations on those wins!

      I hear you... it's been a hard month.

  3. Enjoy your sleeping in! I swear it seems that the profession of dentistry has gotten shady over the years. I always feel like they are upselling you or making you think you need services you don't. Strange! Congrats on your Dec wins!

    1. Right?!? Previous creepy dentist identified multiple potential cavities. It seemed suspicious so I decided to wait. When new dentist took full x-rays, he found nothing except the one tooth (which I knew was on the way out anyway). Shaaaady. And thanks for your encouragement!