September Update | Financially Fit 2016


Hello friends and fellow debt fighters! 🙂 I am checking in with my ninth financial update for 2016! September was a doozy! I had some very low moments. Towards the end of the month I fought very hard to ensure that I wouldn’t have to check in and report a debt increase to you guys! Keep reading to find out how I did!

I started 2016 on a quest to become Financially Fit – out of debt and with an emergency fund. 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 visiting 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 my August progress here.

financially fit 2016 August update

Goals Update

I had three financial goals when I started this journey at the beginning of 2016. Save up a $1,000 baby emergency fund, save $100 to attend Financial Peace University, and get completely out of debt! Half of 2016  passed and I didn’t reach any of these goals. But my mindset remained positive!

And guess what? I reached a goal!! 🙂 I officially have my $1,000 baby emergency fund! 🙂 Whoop whoop! I’m so happy to finally check that off the list, and to see how it positively impacts my financial life moving forward!

Action Steps Update

Make more money:  My earnings for September were $580. Not as high as I would like. I unfortunately lost a new client before we could even begin working together. I did do several projects in September that I was not immediately paid for, so hopefully my October earnings will be looking good! 🙂

Stick to a tight budget & use a price book: We buckled down towards the end of the month so our food spending was nowhere near as outrageous as it was in August! The key here (for us) is not so much the price book, but avoiding eating out at all costs!

Have regular family budget meetings: September was much better than August! Maybe 2 – 3 meetings? I sound like a broken record I’m sure, but the communication really helps! Share your goals and share your progress regularly! Scheduling the meetings in advance is also really helpful (and they don’t have to take very long). If you have young kids like I do, you will want to find quiet times to discuss money matters. Screaming children are not helpful when you’re trying to formulate a plan to attack debt or concentrate on crunching numbers!

Continue my financial education: I still haven’t finished these two great books: “It’s Not About the Money” and “Retire Inspired.” I was loving them both but they got called back to the library before I finished! And then I got distracted by books about potty training! 🙂 No podcasts lately, I’ve been obsessed with music on Spotify while I’m at the gym. I really need to work reading and podcasts back into my schedule for the rest of the year because I do find them so motivating!

The Numbers Update*

*as of 9/29/2016

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

Consumer Debt (4 credit cards) $11,409.14 <— this number drives me crazy! I hate consumer debt!

Medical Debt  $346.14

Car Loan/Lease (one of each) $44,108.70

Total Debt $55,863.98

Savings $1,002.47

Progress?  Yes! I reached my savings goal finally so that is obvious progress. Do I still have more debt than I would like to have? YES! Especially the consumer debt, I hate it so! The medical debt concerns me less because it couldn’t really be avoided.  I haven’t made the financial progress I wanted to in 2016 but I’m not giving up on my goals!

We do have $561.98 LESS DEBT than we did one month ago in August 2016, and $17,151.03 LESS DEBT than when this journey began in December 2015! My original monthly goal for debt pay off was $6,084.58. I obviously did not hit that number in September.

Can I be honest with you guys? These numbers bum me out! 🙁 They are not anywhere near where I wanted to be at this point in the year. Most of this month I felt like I was just fighting to keep afloat instead of seeing how much debt I could pay off.

To pay off all of our debt and be 100% debt free by the end of 2016 we need to pay off $18,621.33 per month. Not. Happening. To just eliminate the consumer debt (leaving our car loan and lease and medical debt) we need to pay off $3,803.04 of debt per month for the rest of the year. I won’t go as far as calling that impossible, but that is still a very big number! Of course all of this is only if we don’t ADD any new debt. That still seems to be a big struggle!

I made my savings a priority and finally reached my goal. It feels good, but not as good as I wanted it to! I threw extra money into the savings account at a moment when I was feeling stressed and scared. That took away from the fun of reaching a goal. I truly look forward to the day when my financial decisions are not motivated by fear!

Where Did the Extra Money Come From?

I moved money around from budget category to budget category to make things work in September. I also used a lot of cash I had set aside from consignment sales to pad our savings account and try to tame our credit card debt. We also received one residual check from my husband’s previous career, and he picked up a few small extra side jobs.

I finally cashed out my earnings from the Ibotta app and sent $141.25 to credit card debt! That’s $140+ 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! My year to date earnings from Ibotta have exceeded $320! Don’t you want your part of that? Especially if you’re a mom – since a lot of my rebates are on diapers and wipes!

Budget Notes

September can suck it. (LOL) That’s putting it lightly! 🙂 I lost a client (losing potential income), and the unwanted expenses just kept coming! I’m calling them unwanted now, instead of unexpected expenses, because I think it makes more sense! The unwanted expenses were big in September, and all car related! A repair, a set of new tires purchased a few months earlier than planned, and delinquent car taxes (really really stupid)! All of that combined added approximately $1,300 to our credit card debt! 🙁

I did finally potty train my oldest son in September, so I look forward to seeing what it’s like to not pay for as many diapers! 🙂

Looking Ahead

Oh boy – October is going to be CRAZY. Grandma (my mom) is moving in! To prepare, we have some window blinds to install, need a shower added to our basement bathroom, and a few other minor things to make her feel comfortable. I want to keep these expenses off of our credit cards if at all possible, so I am stressing about keeping the budget super tight and finding new earning opportunities. Send good vibes my way please!

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.  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!

How was September for  you? Did you get to cross a goal off your list?

financially fit 2016 August update

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  1. Great tips! I especially like that you hold family budget meetings, what a great way to keep everyone on board and working together. Congratulations on meeting your goal!

  2. Well done EE! I save $ by buying used cars now, so no more car payment!

  3. Those unexpected things just really derail us. Just when you think you’re getting ahead. But stay positive girlie you got this! Things should be interesting with Grandma moving in but hey you can put her to work watching the kids and have more time to search for potential clients.

  4. Nice work meeting one of your goals!! My fingers are crossed for a great October!

  5. I’m getting ready to pull together my October check in and I’m not looking forward to it this time. We’ve struggled with September, too. I have no idea why this is such an expensive month, but we had car stuff to buy, too.

    I’m always impressed by the amount of money you’re able to bring in to help reach your goals. Freelancing is definitely something I’ve been thinking a lot about lately. I need to get in gear while there’s still time to make the goal!

    Good job on the savings account. It stinks that you weren’t in a place to celebrate it, but I bet the peace of mind is worth it.
    Jamie @ Medium Sized Family recently posted…5 Ways We’ve Saved Money This Week 51My Profile

  6. I feel you girl. We accumulate 700 in debt when our fridge broke adn couldn’t be repaired. I am happy to say our only huge debt is our house. i hope to start making more money blogging to put towards that.
    Rebecca Bryant recently posted…Snack Healthy With Amaranth SuperBarMy Profile

  7. Way to go on the big Ibotta cash-out, and the emergency fund!! I’m sorry it was a rough month over all. 🙁 And WOW, your mom is moving in! That seems like a big transition… I hope it goes smoothly!! I’ll be thinking of you.

    (now off to do some Amazon shoppin’ ;P)
    Sarah Eliza @ devastateboredom recently posted…The Magical Brew — COFFEE! Printables and #FridayFrivolity FunMy Profile

    • She’ll only be living with us temporarily, but still! 😉 lol I’m trying to rock October!!! 🙂 Thanks for the support as always <3

  8. Wow. Congratulations on working on such a big challenge and for reaching your savings goal! Keep up the awesome work, but make sure you treat yourself a little here and there.
    Cathy recently posted…How to Register to Vote Online+2016 Presidential Election AppMy Profile

  9. Don’t you just hate not being paid right after you do work?! Hopefully October is a great pay out month for you. 🙂

  10. This is amazing! I love the idea of setting financial goals and sticking to them!
    Emily recently posted…Entryway table makeover using peel and stick paperMy Profile

  11. That’s wonderful that you are making progress. I am trying to do the same here. 🙂

  12. Congrats on making one of your goals! It tok us a while, but paying off those cards is so awesome. You’ll get there!

  13. That is awesome that you were able to save what you wanted for your baby emergency fund. Debt is a challenge but it is great that you are working towards becoming debt free- a goal that I have too.
    Kerri recently posted…Miss Peregrine’s Costume Designer Tells All – In Theaters Now #StayPeculiarMy Profile

  14. good job , I love to make $$ off of free apps.
    come see us at

  15. Congrats on baby emergency fund! That’s a great goal to be accomplished!
    Marina @ Parental Journey recently posted…Hot Toys List – Kids Toys for Christmas 2016My Profile

  16. Gosh, I still think paying down over $500 of debt is pretty impressive! We had a bad September, too – a car accident (everyone’s okay) that had us scrambling, when we’d already been scrambling because of a broken lawnmower (riding, so not cheap!) Let’s hope for a couple of great months before the holidays, eh? Thanks for joining us at #FridayFrivolity!
    Lisa/Syncopated Mama recently posted…Project Snapshot – Week 144My Profile

    • So glad to hear everyone is okay after the car accident Lisa! That really puts things into perspective. I still have my health, despite the debt and life stresses. 🙂 <3

  17. Erin, girl I’m going to tell you one thing right off the bat. Stop being so hard on yourself. I am so motivated by every Financial post that you do. I am so proud of you and you inspire me. Then at the end of the post you beat yourself up and I’m wondering if I’m crazy for being inspired about tackling my own debt. I understand that there are disappointments, but girl you have begun working out, you are a fantastic mother, you and your husband had Financial meetings, all of this would not have happened 9 months ago. Would it? I am so proud of you and I want you to stop being so hard on yourself. If you read this report and I wrote it, would you be beating me up about the fact I didn’t reach my goal? Or would you be my biggest cheerleader encouraging me on to keep going? I think we both know the answer to that. So stop beating yourself up give yourself a pat on the back, do a little victory dance. You are an incredible woman. And you are enough. Love and hugs my friend.

    • I have said this many many times before but I will say it again – you are the BEST Nikki Frank Hamilton! <3 <3 <3 <3 You are my internet Mom 🙂 lol I love you very much and love how your fierce spirit shines through even online! Thank you as always for your unwavering support!!! Wish I could hug you in person!

  18. Hey, any amount of debt that is paid off is better than none! Every little bit of progress is progress. My husband and I just bought a new house and sold our old house. This has helped us greatly financially! For one, it may sound crazy, but our bills are significantly lower in the new house, which amazed me because it’s bigger, but also newer so better insulated. Also, we made some money on our house, so that will help us pay off our last car. Now our goal is to have our house paid off in 15 years (we have a 15/1 ARM so we want it paid off before our rates increase). It’s a hefty goal, but I am hoping with one less car payment we can make it happen. Also, congrats on potty training. I am heading over now to check out your post as we are currently trying to potty train. Diapers are super expensive and I am over paying $100+ for diapers and wipes every month.
    Cassie recently posted…September Goal Update and October GoalsMy Profile

    • Cassie I am already seeing the financial impact of not buying so many diapers and wipes! It is truly awesome! 🙂 Congrats on your new home. I love your hefty goal and totally think you can do it! 🙂

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