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.
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
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!
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.
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 Amazon.com)
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!