The longest month ever is coming to an end! Aside from the Northeast weather, January is one of my favorite months. I love it for the sense of renewal it brings for the upcoming year and of course, because my birthday is on the 12th. After posting my whole debt breakdown, I’ve decided to do recap on my debt payoff progress each month. It’ll be a great reference for me to look back on and see what went well and what didn’t and keep me motivated for the rest of this journey.
I talked about it in the original post but as a refresher, I’m not going gazelle intense here. That term will make sense for some of you DR fans and if not, it basically means you go balls to the wall paying off debt by selling off what you can and really tightening your belt on spending. Been there, done that and it didn’t work well for me. I find that balance is key and so I’ve included spending priorities alongside my saving priorities so that I can still be structured in the things I do buy (no random Target trips) while accomplishing my payoff goals.
I’ll talk about those goals in a separate post since this is about the debt payoff progress. So here goes:
I was able to pay more into debt this month($3k) due to additional income from a sponsored campaign I did a few months ago. Instead of putting it all towards debt, I diverted some into my buffer category in YNAB. When February comes, instead of budgeting from my paycheck first, I will use the $2500 in my buffer category to fund my expenses. The goal is to get to a point where I can cover the next month’s worth of bills with last months money. Essentially, getting a month ahead. So instead of say your March paychecks paying for March expenses, they’ll be budgeted into the future for April. The further you get, the more buffer you have, the better prepared you are for emergencies.
Debt Free Date
That lump sum $3k moved my debt free date up a few months. Important to know that the “left to pay” doesn’t include my car or student loans. I’ve broken down the debt payoff by category so I’m not staring at that HUGE number every time. Otherwise, I’ll really feel like I’m taking bites out of an elephant instead of…I dont know a zebra or something. You get what I mean lol.
Debt Payoff Snowball
Also, I started my debt snowball fairly small this month. The program I use to track all my debts and payments (Undebt.it) automatically tells you where to apply your snowball based on your selected payoff plan. As you pay off debts, it automatically moves the minimum payment to your snowball to be applied to your next one. I knew I would be increasing my snowball so I made a category for it in my budget. I cancelled a few subscriptions this month so, instead of using that to spend elsewhere, I moved it into my snowball to make it larger. This month I added $100 to the snowball. So I’ll see some changes as I start paying February debts.
Some visuals courtesy of Undebt.it.
Debt Payoff Methodology
As a reminder, what works for me may not work for you. It is ‘personal’ finance after all. Like I mentioned previously, striking a balance between allowing myself to spend money on things I have prioritized, debt payoff, and savings is the sweet spot for me. If your charging everyday expenses and bills on credit cards, paying overdraft and late fees (no judgement) then you may have to get more intense in cutting any excess spending, generating extra income and/or lowering your monthly obligations.
Let me know below if you have any questions!