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Every month we’re looking for new ways to save money, and I realized how much we were paying for insurance. We had been with the same company since we were both teenagers and just never questioned it. What were we paying for? Was there added value for added cost?
We struggled with the decision, but ultimately made the switch from State Farm to Liberty Mutual for our auto and home insurance. We saved close to $450 per year (over $35/month), and some of our coverages even increased. The quote and application was all online, and I found it very easy and low pressure. I suppose the true test of an insurance company is their claims service, but I hope I never have to experience a claim. For now, we’re just happy for additional savings each month.
We had no financial stress this month, and that feels pretty amazing. Sure we still have a ton of debt, but we weren’t accumulating more debt for once. We weren’t freaking out trying to find money to buy Christmas presents. We’ve been preparing for this all year. We have money just hanging out in our Christmas category waiting for us to find the gifts we want to spend it on. I can’t tell you what a difference this is from prior years.
We even went to Wild Lights at the zoo, and we didn’t stress about that either! We planned a little fun into our budget without taking away from our debt payments! I bought the tickets months ago, and even planned a little extra for the carousel and train rides. I did spend $4 on the smallest cup ever of hot chocolate, so I’ll plan better for that next year. My Thanksgiving weekend was the best I’ve ever had, and I know part of it was not being stressed about money this year! I want the same for all of you.
There was nothing paid off this month. We have a few months until our next credit card will be finished, so we are just chipping away at the mountain right now. The exciting part for us is the fact that we were able to continue making our planned debt payments this month even with Thanksgiving and Black Friday. We were ready. Buying more stuff isn’t more important than our debt payment plan.
|Type of Debt||Expected Payoff||Balance|
|Credit Card||2018 – April||$4,689.67|
|Credit Card (HE Loan)||2018 – September||$8,098.00|
|Student Loan||2019 – September||$21,040.24|
|Student Loan||2020 – September||$31,765.95|
|Auto Loan||2020 – October||$17,360.56|
|Student Loan||2021 – September||$35,636.56|
|Mortgage||2022 – November||$46,958.00|
|TOTAL DEBT INCLUDING MORTGAGE||$165,548.98|
|TOTAL DEBT WITHOUT MORTGAGE||$118,590.98|
Something was wrong on our balances last month with the student loans. When I did the refinance, my old loan servicer applied the payment wrong. It took almost 2 weeks to get it corrected, so my balances at the end of October were wrong. They should be correct now. I wasted a lot of time trying to figure out exactly what was off and why, but I’ve decided to just let it go and move forward. That’s a good lesson for all kinds of things, don’t ya think?
No big changes this month…just slowing reducing our balances. It would be easy to become discouraged if I didn’t stop and look at the numbers each month. Our balances are still so high, but we’ve also come so far. Having the plan in Undebt.it really helps because I can see what we’re working towards very easily! As I listed in the chart above, our next credit card will be paid off in April. That’s my next focus. I’m just taking it one debt at a time and trying not to worry about our giant totals.
Our APR Distribution stayed the same this month as well, except for the balance reduction. We now have only 2 credit cards, both at 0% interest. Both of them were used as balance transfers to save on interest. We have 3 student loans, and the rates are 5.63%, 4.125%, and 3.87%. Our auto loan is at 3.79%, and our mortgage is at 6%. The higher student loan rate and the mortgage rate really bug me, but there’s not much I can do right now.
TLDR: Modified snowball method using Undebt.it
We moved our progress from 23.4% up to 24.1% It looks like we lowered our debt balance by $1,543.72. It was actually higher than that, but it’s a little skewed because of my loan balances being off last month. Regardless, the balance is still going down! I’m excited because our final payoff date moved up to November 2022 instead of December!
We paid $654.79 in total interest in November. Gross. Frustrating. Annoying.
Our interest paid actually went up a little this month because of the student loan refinance. Basically because of the way the new payment date worked out, I paid about 45 days of interest instead of 30 days. In the long run, it will be worth it because my monthly interest going forward should be lower with the new loan.
More Wasted Money??
We went a little over ($25.43) in our dining out spending this month. The budget was $113.67 (carried over 13.67 from last month), and we spent $139.10. It’s not HORRIBLE compared to what we used to do, but not great either.
We would have been under budget if not for the last day of the month! I wasn’t feeling great and we went out to dinner so I didn’t have to cook. We did only eat out once a week, so we are managing to stick to that plan. Baby steps.
What’s your biggest spending challenge right now? Share in the comments!