March Update | Financially Fit 2016


Hi and welcome! 🙂 This is the third monthly update to my plan to get Financially Fit in 2016! Today I’m sharing the progress I made financially in March. While my journey to get out of debt is not perfect, I hope by being open about it I will inspire others to improve their finances.

If you’re reading my blog for the first time you might want to start by reading this post: How I’m Getting Financially Fit in 2016! Or catch up on February’s progress here.

march update financially fit 2016

Goals Update

I did not have a specific goal set for the month of March, aside from working towards Goal #3: Pay off our debt using a debt snowball. I hope to reach this goal and be completely debt free (except our mortgage) by the end of 2016.

If you need a re-cap, these were my other financial goals for 2016: #1 Save up a $1000 baby emergency fund by the end of January 2016 (not reached) & #2 Save up $100 to attend Financial Peace University with my husband by the end of February 2016 (also not reached).

Action Steps Update

Make more money: In this section I’m discussing income from work such as virtual assisting, money earned on my blog, etc. not money I make selling things. I did great here in March, but still need to push myself to do even better! I made more money in March ($504.58 total!) than I made in January and February combined!

Stick to a tight budget & use a price book: We did okay here. Just okay. I have lost some of intensity I had in the beginning of the year. I stopped carrying my price book with me to the store, and paid a little less attention to the budget numbers since we stopped having budget meetings (see below).

Have regular family budget meetings: Major fail here! We didn’t have ANY in March! This is completely my fault. I stopped initiating our weekly budget talks. Definitely need to get back on track in April!

Continue my financial education: I finally finished reading The Total Money Makeover! It only took me three months! 🙂 I will write a review of this book soon so stay tuned. I got a new stack of books from the library last week and two are related to finances. I’m actually half way through The Automatic Millionaire by David Bach so stay tuned for a review of that one as well!

I’m still loving podcasts, especially at the gym. I have been listening to the Dave Ramsey show and a few others including the His & Her Money Show, The Couple Money Podcast and the M.O.N.E.Y. podcast. I have been jumping around different podcasts based on the show topics and what I’m in the mood to learn about.

The Numbers Update*

*as of 3/30/2016

I know what you are really here for – the numbers! *gulp* Here we go …

Consumer Debt (3 credit cards & cell phones) $9,490.40

Medical Debt (hospital & neonatologists) $6,108.90

Car Loan/Lease (one of each) $47,633.35

Total Debt $63,232.65

Savings: $69.87*

Progress?  Sort of. This was definitely a one step forward, ten steps back kind of month and I’m trying not to get too discouraged. 🙁

If you have been paying attention you will notice that our consumer debt number actually went UP over the last month. 🙁 I explain this in the budget notes section below. Luckily other numbers went down enough to make up for this increase.

We have $981.10 LESS DEBT than we did one month ago in February 2016, and $9,782.36 LESS DEBT than when this journey began in December 2015! My original monthly goal for debt pay off was $6,084.58 and we were not even close this month!

*A note on savings: Even though our main goal has been tackling debt, I decided I will save at least a small amount each month if possible.

Where Did the Extra Money Come From?

You might be wondering where I found the extra money to throw at our debt (I would be!).

I have continued having success selling things at consignment shops and through the Wallapop app. More consignment success than anything else though, especially for kid and baby stuff! We also sold a couch this month. I do feel like I am running out of things to sell, which is a bummer! I have a small stack of consignment items that will have to wait for the fall/winter seasons. We don’t have any big tickets items left, except for an ipad mini I need to let go of. Time to start thinking of new money earning ideas!

$35.75 came from the Ibotta app! $35.75 of FREE money, from a FREE app. If you haven’t signed up yet, this is my referral link, click it now! When you verify your first rebate (within 2 weeks of signing up) you will get $10 and I will get $5! That’s a win win and just part of why I think you are CRAZY if you’re not using this app!

Our medical debt was reduced by a little over $400 due to financial assistance. This took A LOT of effort on my part, and to be honest, I was very disappointed by the low amount the debt was reduced. I had to fill out extensive financial aid paperwork, and I called the hospital weekly for updates (and to provide more information when requested). The entire process took more than a month total. I’m not giving up, and am going to try to have it reduced further.

$7 of the debt payoff this month was leftover birthday money (gifted). Just $7? Why didn’t I spend that on myself? – Because every little bit counts!

Budget Notes

March felt really really long. 🙁 I am sad because we have increased our consumer debt. Unfortunately, there wasn’t anything we could do about it. We aren’t eating out, going on vacations, or splurging on crazy toys. We just had too little income and too many bills in March. We had to put a few items on credit and unfortunately that debt is being carried forward into the future. Some of the expenses included car maintenance (tire rotation, oil change, new air filter), and car insurance.

I am still super frustrated by interest and finance charges being added to our credit card debt. Yes, I know this is the price you pay for using credit cards! I just hope to break the cycle and never do this again! Capital One added $66 to our debt – on my birthday! Grr!!! This is making me lean heavily towards using a debt avalanche method of debt payoff instead of the debt snowball.

Looking Ahead

We have a list of big purchases coming up very soon. I had hoped to have cash set aside for them, but that doesn’t look possible right now. The list includes new sheets for our bed (ours are falling apart), bed sheets for our toddler, plane tickets for my stepkids summer visit, and new work clothes for my husband (suits and shirts). We also have two family birthdays to celebrate in April and one in May. I am dreading the thought of using our credit cards for any of these items, but some of it may be unavoidable.

If you read this far – thank you! Your time and your interest in my story mean the world to me! <3

Want to help?

If you’d like to help my debt payoff  journey in a small way, consider signing up for Ibotta through my referral link! Or use my Amazon link the next time you need to shop there, I’ll earn a small commission at no extra cost to you!

I also recommend you sign up for Swagbucks and Ebates while you’re at it! Swagbucks is a great way to earn giftcards, and Ebates let’s you earn money back shopping online. I use Ebates most often for kids clothes shopping (especially at Old Navy, Carter’s and Target online). You can also check out my Hire Me page if you could benefit from my virtual assistant services – especially if you’re a fellow blogger!

(Stay at home yogi is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to

If you found this post helpful or encouraging in any way – please share! Pin! Tweet! Stumble! Like! 🙂 I’d love to have it posted on your social media of choice or sent directly to a loved one who is struggling to get out of debt!

march update financially fit 2016

How was March for  you? Did you reach any goals?

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  1. I finally earned enough on Ibotta to get payout! You clearly do better with it than I do, but did you get the referral amount for my sign up? That’s awesome that you were able to get any reduction by working with the hospital. It does sound very frustrating though with all that paperwork but $400 is still awesome. Financial stuff is a huge journey so you’re making the right steps and that is great. I need to implement financial meetings with hubby. Difficult when he is forever far away.
    Julie S. recently posted…How to Raise your Kids to be BilingualMy Profile

    • Yay! I’m glad you got your first pay out! I have learned that the rebates cycle through, so if I see one like diapers, wipes, paper towels, bread that I can freeze, butter, etc. (things that won’t go bad before we use them) I will buy them to get the rebate before it’s gone even if we don’t need them that week!

  2. As a Canadian, I still find it surreal how much medical debts our American neighbors can accumulate. Accumulating medical debt is foreign to us here.

    Good job and keep up the hard work!!
    Tanya @ Motherly Adventures recently posted…Want To Know How Other Mothers Organize Their Time?My Profile

    • That’s awesome to hear about Canada! Medical debt can really ruin your life – and I know people have it much worse than me!

  3. Your March sounds like my February. Keep chugging along! You can do this. Can’t wait to read your reviews. I love the Dave book, but I haven’t read The Automatic Millionaire yet.

    Keep an eye out for clearance deals for those birthdays. I’ve started shopping for May birthday gifts already.
    Jamie @ Medium Sized Family recently posted…Why I No Longer Do the Pantry ChallengeMy Profile

    • Thanks Jamie, I hope we both have a great April! We have to keep chugging along like you say! Can’t wait to see how far we both get by the end of 2016. And good idea on the clearance shopping!!

  4. I’m really impressed! You are taking control and managed to come out ahead. That is real progress. You go girl!

  5. Keep up the good work. It can be hard to have setbacks or not meet your goals, but it’s great that you aren’t giving up. And thanks for the transparency! Also, I love ibotta! I have actually made almost $12,000 through ibotta ¸referral codes and rebates so definitely keep sharing the ibotta love!

  6. This is so inspiring to myself and I am sure many others! I love that you put the $7 of leftover birthday money towards debt payoff. It shows that you’re serious about financial freedom!

    • Thanks Wendy! I am super serious! If it wasn’t for my husband encouraging me to “do something fun” I would have sent ALL of the birthday money to debt! 😉

  7. Good job on the extra income front! I really need to start earning on the side too, just researching possibilities. In terms of debt repayment, I’ve been through this and there will be months when it seems like you are not making enough progress, but I never let this get in the way. It’s okay to take a step back, it happens. I hope next month is better for you in the debt repayment department! 🙂
    Eva @ Girl Counting Pennies recently posted…Our Family Budget RevealedMy Profile

    • Thanks Eva, I’m almost more motivated by failures it seems – like must work harder!!! 🙂 I hope you find a side hustle you love!

  8. Don’t be so hard on yourself! Progress is progress. I hope you have great success as a virtual assistant and blogging- you really know your stuff!

    I’ve also picked up a couple financial books at the library. If interested, I really enjoyed Millionaire Teacher by Andrew Hallam and Money Rules by Gail Vaz-Oxlade :December


  9. Wow those are some great ideas to get out of debt. How do you like your VA job? I was thinking of looking into doing that. I really need to follow some of these ideas thanks!!
    Gloria @ Homemade & Yummy recently posted…Spaghetti and Meatballs Chinese StyleMy Profile

    • Hi Gloria! I am actually really enjoying my VA work! It helps that my clients are really cool! 🙂 The flexibility is a big perk, especially with my two little ones keeping me busy!

  10. Way to go! Hubby and I have been working on our finances and credit over the past 4 years. We have great credit, but still in quite a bit of debt. Thank you for sharing and being open!

  11. Thanks for sharing your financial journey. It’s encouraging me to take the time to track my spending!

  12. I use Ibotta and swagbucks as well and I love how you are using them to pay down debt! Any progress is progress so congrats on continuing to pay down your debt.

  13. Keep up the great work! You are being accountable and you’ve actually inspired me to really sit down, create a budget and stick to it! That’s my biggest issue. I do have a bunch of baby things I need to take to consignment that I think thats where I’m going to start! Thanks for the motivation!
    Dawn Nieves recently posted…DIY Racetrack PlaymatMy Profile

  14. It sounds like you guys are really working hard! Paying debt is really tough, especially when uncontrollable expenses keep cropping up. It sounds like you’re really determined, though, so little by little, you’ll get there! 😀
    Cat recently posted…How Full Is Your Glass?My Profile

  15. Ugh, I feel the same way. March was soooo ” one step forward, ten steps back” for me, too. What matters is that you’re committed to improving the situation, despite lackluster results this month. I hope the April showers this year are in the form of money falling from the sky, doubt it though. 😉

  16. You are doing a really great job and I think it’s wonderful that you are so open and honest about everything. I find it inspiring and look forward to your updates!
    Jennifer B recently posted…5 Exercises To Get Rid Of Post-Baby BulgeMy Profile

  17. Don’t be so hard on yourself. You’ve made great progress and not all months are huge debt killers. You will get there in time!
    Heather @ Simply Save recently posted…Use Coupons Online With Groupon CouponsMy Profile

  18. I see you as a success. Paying of over $900 a month in debt is amazing! Also congrats on your VA income. You are doing great!
    Healing Mama recently posted…Spend $10 and Eat Healthy At Dollar TreeMy Profile

  19. Hey you guys are doing GREAT! And even if it seems slow, it’ll pick up speed and once you get rid of some of those monthly payments, it’s going to move so much faster. My wife and I paid off over $6k this past month and are super happy about it – we are also using the debt avalanche method successfully. To each their own, of course 🙂 It sounds like you have quite a handle on it!
    Cassie recently posted…April Debt Repayment UpdateMy Profile

  20. Don’t be too discouraged! I had a bit of a tough month too (realized I miscalculated the amount of money I had to go towards debt and accidentally used up my whole emergency fund in the process). You’re obviously making so many responsible choices, and sometimes expenses are just higher than we’d like them to be. I hope April is a better month for you!
    Sarah Noelle @ The Yachtless recently posted…Oops!My Profile

  21. Don’t be discouraged by the ‘ ten steps back’! It seems like you’re doing what you can, and you are taking steps forward nonetheless.

    You’ve come a long way already, you will get there.
    Mrs. CTC @FromCostToCoast recently posted…So how is the debt doing? (We’re baring the numbers!)My Profile

  22. I know we’ve had the conversation before (on my own blog with my own consumer debt), and you just have to do what works best for you. Whether it be the avalanche or the snowball, whatever keeps you motivated is what you should go with. Good luck! I’m always just a click away! 🙂
    Liz recently posted…April Goals | 2016My Profile

    • I think I’m angry at credit cards Liz, so that anger is motivating me to turn to the avalanche! Thanks for the encouragement 🙂

  23. One of my friends started caring a price book and cash log with her. EVERYWHERE. At first I thought it might be cumbersome, but now I’m thinking of creating something like an EverNote or Google Sheet to keep it more portable. It could definitely benefit. Thanks for the reminder 🙂
    Jenn Peters recently posted…Apps That Help You Save And Make Money #AtoZchallengeMy Profile

    • I haven’t found the ideal solution I will stick with yet – but I really should keep pursuing the idea! Glad you found this helpful Jenn!

  24. I finished total Money Makeover last week, and it’s a good read. I need to spend a little more time on reading more PF self-help, but somehow mysteries and sci fi always get in the way.

    My March wasn’t what I wanted either, with lots of school-related expenses and a bit too much indulgence at the grocery store. Keep plugging along, though.
    Emily @ JohnJaneDoe recently posted…Are Credit Cards Really Debt Waiting to Happen?My Profile

  25. Congrats on the extra hustling income – that’s awesome! And keep your chin up, you’re doing great, sometimes life just throws a bunch of lemons at you at once.
    Mel @ brokeGIRLrich recently posted…Financially Savvy Saturdays #136My Profile

  26. Erin, I so admire your resolve and action items towards financial soundness. As hard as it may be, do not be discouraged on those days when you do not accomplish exactly what you set out because you are making great long-term strides and are more aware and proactive than most people. Kuddos! Thank you so much for sharing with #UpsyDaisyLinkup!
    Regina L. L. Wells recently posted…Welcome to Upsy Daisy Linkup 1My Profile

    • Regina thanks so much for your kind words and encouragement. I’m working so hard to reach my financial goals and comments like these re-energize me! 🙂

  27. I love Ibotta. Stacking them with other apps and coupons saves me a ton. Plus, I print out coupons on Swagbucks so I get 10 SB for each coupon I redeem.

  28. Way to go Erin! I know it doesn’t feel like significant improvement because of what you were wanting to accomplish, but any progress is good progress 🙂
    Jenn Peters recently posted…How To Bake A Perfect Oreo CheesecakeMy Profile

  29. You are doing great! Just being aware of where your money is going is a start. I love the iBotta app, I have earned over $160 last year alone! My husband and I have been doing a lot to get out of debt over the past few years. Luckily when my daughter was born we only had a couple of small credit cards, 2 car payments, and our mortgage to pay, but it took a long time to get there. When my daughter was born we didn’t have a nest egg either. Over the past year and a half though my husband and I have both been doing things to make more money in hopes that we can eventually build a house. I have been working from home and he took a better paying job. We now have a comfortable nest egg, just enough that I know if we need car or house repairs we can afford it! Thanks for sharing and good luck, you can do it, I know you can.
    Cassie recently posted…G is for Goals or an Update on My Yearly GoalsMy Profile

    • Increasing your income is such an important part of the “get out of debt” journey! I love hearing about your successes! Keep going and thanks for the encouragement Cassie 🙂

  30. Keep going Erin. You might be a bit frustrated at the moment, but just remember if you aren’t moving forward you are just as likely to be going backwards.

    Sally @ Life Loving
    Life Loving recently posted…Stay HydratedMy Profile

  31. I have the hardest time keeping track of my income and outlay for the blog. It’s hard to find time for that when I’m trying to get the work done. Thanks for sharing your post at the Over the Moon Link Party.
    Sandy Sandmeyer recently posted…Stock Up + SaveMy Profile

    • It is a lot to do and keep track of! Sounds like you just need to get a good system and routine in place. Thanks for reading Sandy! 🙂

  32. Thanks for sharing your journey. It can be discouraging sometimes to not make the progress you are hoping for, I understand, but you did make progress. Your consistency will pay off! Thanks for linking up with Gratitude & Goals. 🙂

    • Thanks for reading Suzanna! 🙂 I think my journey will probably ebb and flow – awesome month, crappy month, awesome month – and that’s okay as long as there’s progress in the end! 🙂

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