April Goal Recap (Two Steps Forward, Three Steps Back)

April brought showers for us. First, we made the decision to buy Little Man and Baby the carseats they would need this month, because we didn’t have a lot of bills and there was a very good sale. We unfroze our credit cards for this, and used our savings to pay off all but $100 of this fee. Then, a mere two days later, the starter went out in Hubby’s truck. Apparently when the previous owner changed out the transmission he didn’t replace the starter with one that could handle the extra power, so it’s been on the way out for a while. Then Hubby’s parents came to visit, and that pantry challenge that I gave myself bit me in the butt as we ran out of food and I had to increase the food budget so we could eat (I literally had half a jar of coconut oil and a box of Cheerios, plus ketchup and mustard. That was it). We also had a few other emergency expenses related to Hubby’s job, which I’m not at liberty to discuss (doesn’t that sound cool?).


So here we are, deeper in debt than at the start of the month. My April goals were to:

  • Pay off $1,100 worth of debt. This did happen, but unfortunately we piled on more debt because of the crap timing of the carseats/starter/food/work stuff. On the bright side, we are less in debt than we WOULD have been, but we’re no further out of debt. I paid off a total of $1,111.12 (what are the odds?)
  • Re-evaluate our debt payment plan with Hubby’s new paycheck. I am giving myself a bit of a break on this one, because only one of our April paychecks reflected the pay increase. I THINK I got this sorted out, but this month will be a learning curve as well. I’m repeating this goal again in May just in case.
  • Re-evaluate our month-to-month budget based on Hubby’s new paychecks. Again, work in progress. We have to see how this month goes, so I’ll be repeating this goal in May as well.
  • Sell our boat. DONE! We got $700 for it, and put most of that into paying off the crap that came up. We also put a chunk into LM’s college account/our emergency account, because I realized that not having an emergency account was stressing me out a lot. Even though we’re paying more interest this way, I sleep better at night.
  • Complete a Pantry Challenge. I’m chalking this one up as a win, even though we didn’t make it to the end of the month without buying groceries. Since we literally ran out of food, though, I consider this goal accomplished.
  • Post 5 items on Bookoo every day. Nope. Didn’t happen. I did very well at the start of the month, but when Hubby’s parents came I stopped, since I didn’t want them to feel ignored.

April Finances and Goals

We’ve got some big financial changes coming our way in April! First, my flight loan payments have been suspended until we pay off all of our debt with more than a 4% interest rate. Second, Hubby got promoted! This comes with a small pay increase, which we’ll see the second pay period in April. Third, we updated Hubby’s W-2 so that less money is taken out for taxes (having thousands of dollars come back to us each year is great and all, but that’s an interest free loan we’re giving the government. Not cool, yo. We’re hoping that our adjustments will help keep more moolah in our pockets). And finally, our bills have changed thanks to some adjustments I made.


April’s pay periods are from March 31st- April 13th, then from April 14th- April 29th. It’s the third month of our snowball reduction plan! So far we’ve paid off $7,632.09!

Our total income for this month (not including extra money from my various side ventures) is expected to be around $2,373 (this is a very rough estimate, since I’m not sure how much of a raise Hubby is getting).

We have these bills:

  • Insurance: $170
  • Internet: $50
  • Cell Phones: $42
  • Disneyland Tickets: $99
  • Netflix: $8
  • Savings: $110
  • Haircuts: $40
  • Total: $519.00

And these budgets:

  • Gas: $250
  • Food: $200
  • Miscellaneous: $200
  • Hubby’s Birthday Present: $200 (He’s been asking me for more stuff than a three year old in a toy store, so I’m just giving him cash this year. He can spend it however he wants, and hopefully he’ll stop bugging me for things we can’t afford)
  • Total: $850.00

We owe:

  • Credit Card #1: $1,138.74
  • Credit Card #2: $2,465.75
  • Car Loan: $9,668.39
  • Truck Loan: $0.00!! Woohoo!
  • Line of Credit: $478.18
  • Student Loan: $8,900.00
  • Total: $22,651.06 ($4,082.67 of this is high interest)

This month, our snowball payment plan looks like this. We’ve raised our usual $900/month payment to $1,000/month in accordance with Hubby’s raise! The number in bold is the one we’re making extra payments towards. Everything else is getting the minimum payment.

  • Credit Card #1: $25.00
  • Credit Card #2: $603.34
  • Car Loan: $321.66
  • Line of Credit: $50.00
  • Student Loan: $0.00 (remember, my aunt told us to stop paying this in order to put that money towards our interest bearing debts. Thanks, Auntie!)
  • Total: $1,000.00


  • Pay off $1,100 worth of debt. This will require me making an extra $100 this month and putting it towards paying off debt. Last month my math got a little messed up, so hopefully April will be a better month! I safeguarded by doing my math with an actual calculator and some coffee this time, instead of relying on mental math and decaf tea.
  • Re-evaluate our debt payment plan with Hubby’s new pay information. We won’t have access to this until sometime in April, so we’re kind of flying blind this month as we adjust to a new salary. This goal may get pushed back to May just so we can wait for MyPay to update.
  • Re-evaluate our month-to-month budget based on Hubby’s new pay information. I also cut some expenses last month to save even more money, so we’ll see how things work out! We might be able to put more towards paying off debt. This also might get pushed back to May.
  • Sell our boat. We bought our boat with every intention of using it to go fishing, but as it turns out, it’s a pain in the butt to go boating here in Southern California between the traffic, fees, and inspections. This gets filed under “stupid money decisions we made when we were young”, and also under “Ways Wyoming is better than SoCal”. I want the space in my garage, and the money in our pockets (or in one of my snowball columns!).
  • Complete a pantry challenge. For the month of April, we’re going to be eating exclusively out of our pantry, fridge, and freezer. I will go to the grocery store for a few perishable things, like milk and eggs, and to spend our WIC checks, but our grocery budget is $50 each week for the three (sometimes four) of us, which will allow us to still indulge a little in our Thursday dinners out and my group of toddler mothers babbling like maniacs about grownup topics coffee date with friends. This will include a week-long visit from my in-laws. I’m hoping to have a clear pantry and freezer by the end of this. I’ll then start filling our freezer with meals for after Baby is born in early July!
  • Post 5 items on Bookoo every day. Like I said, we’re moving in November and I’m hoping to clear out our crap long before we actually have to move. Posting 5 items each day should help a lot.

March Goal Recap

Note- I apologize for the radio silence. We’ve had a nasty cold going around our house, and being the severely understaffed operation we are, I had to set aside blogging in favor of keeping germs at bay, diapers on LM’s butt, and food in everyone’s tummies.

Having goals helps us focus on our long-term goal of being free from debt, and gives us a sense of accomplishment normally reserved for paying off debts. We find it’s a great tool that helps keep us on track! Here’s a look at how we did with our March goals:

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  • Pay off $2000 of debt. We actually ended up paying off $1,707.36. I blame myself for this mix up, since my math last month was a leetle bit flawed. A more realistic goal would have been to pay off $1800 of debt, which I still fell a little short on.
  • Pay off Hubby’s truck. We officially paid off Hubby’s truck! It’s liberating to have the title for one vehicle in hand, and to have one less debt. We celebrated with juice boxes that we bought on sale with a coupon!
  • Deal with our maturing CD. Our CD matured, and we got $1,277 from it. We took $100 and used it to open a new CD at +4% interest. This was the minimum amount allowed to open a CD, and we’re continuing to contribute $100 each month to this account. $907 went to paying off the truck, and the remainder went to paying off our next highest interest debt, which is our Line of Credit. We’re pleased with how this all worked out!
  • Revise our debt payoff plan. We originally planned to continue putting $900 a month towards debts until we were 100% debt free, but we recently found out Hubby will most likely not be eligible for re-enlistment. Since we have no forseeable source of income after the Marines, we’re focusing on paying off any debt that is higher than what we can get in returns on aggressive savings (debts with interest rates above -4%), then continuing to make minimum payments on our lower interest debts while putting the remainder of the $900 we were putting towards debt into savings. We won’t have a huge safety buffer saved up with this plan, but we won’t have 6 monthly payments to keep up with, either. We took our credit cards and literally froze them in ice, so we can’t use them. We didn’t cancel them because that would affect our credit to debt ratio, which would hurt our credit scores, and I don’t want to cut them up until we have an emergency fund set aside, since (as much as I hate to say it) those cards are currently our emergency plan.
  • Review and adjust our retirement account. Since we’re young (21 and 22), we have our retirement funds entirely in stocks. Stocks are inherently riskier than bonds, but they have much higher returns. Remember, risk and return go hand in hand. We’re planning on shifting to a more conservative portfolio when Hubby turns 30, but for now we rebalance our TSP every 3 months or so to maximize our returns.
  • Have two yard sales. This did not happen. The first three weekends were very rainy, which is a garage sale killer here, and the last weekend we were very sick. I’m hoping to do this next month instead.
  • Discuss our job options post-military. We didn’t discuss job options, but we did discuss where we would go, so I’m counting this one as a win. We’ve decided to move based on Hubby’s choice of school, so it looks like we’re headed to Arizona.

March Finances and Goals

Last month, Hubby and I were very successful in paying down our debt. This was largely due to a big fat tax refund, and some yard sale income. We reduced our debt by more than $6,000 last month alone! We’re hoping to do well this month as well.

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March’s pay periods are from Feb 27- March 12, and March 13- March 31st. This second pay period is one of the longest this year, so our budget will be stretched a little more than normal. March is the second month in our snowball debt reduction! So far we’ve paid off $6,150.66!

Our total income this month (which does not include any extra money I make from various side ventures) is $3,519.

We have these bills (all amounts are rounded up to the nearest dollar):

  • Insurance (because of the pay periods, we’ll have two insurance bills:              $338.00
  • Internet                                                                                                                   $65.00
  • Cell Phones                                                                                                           $42.00
  • Disneyland Tickets                                                                                                $99.00
  • Netflix                                                                                                                     $8.00
  • Savings (We’ll have an extra $100 start up on a new CD)                                   $200.00
  • Citrus Lane                                                                                                            $17.00
  • Haircuts                                                                                                                 $50.00
  • TOTAL:                                                                                                                  $819.00

And these budgets:

  • Gas:                                                                                                                       $200.00
  • Food and Dining:                                                                                                   $500.00
  • Miscellaneous:                                                                                                       $100.00
  • TOTAL:                                                                                                                  $800.00

We Owe:

  • Credit Card #1:                                                                                                        $1,163.74
  • Credit Card #2:                                                                                                        $2,508.67
  • Car Loan:                                                                                                                 $9,975.51
  • Truck Loan:                                                                                                             $1,210.85
  • Line of Credit:                                                                                                           $499.65
  • Student Loan:                                                                                                          $9,000.00
  • TOTAL:                                                                                                                    $24,358.42

This month, our snowball payment plan looks like this. It includes $1000 from a maturing CD. Payments that are over the minimum are in bold:

  • Credit Card #1:                                                                                                        $25.00
  • Credit Card #2:                                                                                                        $51.00
  • Car Loan:                                                                                                                $321.66
  • Truck Loan (This will be paid off this month!!):                                                     $1,210.85
  • Line of Credit:                                                                                                          $192.34
  • Student Loan:                                                                                                           $100.00
  • TOTAL:                                                                                                                    $1,900.00


  • Pay off $2000 of debt. Our normal month-to-month debt payment is $900, and we have an extra $1,000 to put towards our debt from a maturing CD. I will have to make $100 from yard sales, side jobs, and Textbroker in order to meet this goal!
  • Pay off Hubby’s truck! It’ll be nice to have one vehicle’s title in hand.
  • Deal with our maturing CD. Last month, one of our goals was to come up with a plan for this money, and this month we’ll execute this plan. We have decided to take $100 and use it to open a new 1-year CD at 4% interest. This is the minimum amount allowed to open a CD. We will take $1000 and put it towards paying off debt, and any remaining money will go into our emergency account at 4% interest. We debated investing the entire amount, but saving money at +4% interest doesn’t make sense when we’re paying -14.5% interest on a loan.
  • Revise our debt payoff plan. Since Hubby might not be able to re-enlist, we want to have some savings built up for when he gets out, but we also want to have as little debt as possible. We’re going to compromise on this goal by continuing to snowball all our debt that has a higher interest rate than our holiday club savings account (+4%), then making minimum payments on the remaining debts with a lower than 4% interest rate and putting the money we were snowballing into savings. This way, our money will work for us. We will make one extra payment to each debt so we’re one month ahead, which looks better on a credit report. We’ll pay off the truck loan, line of credit, and both credit cards, but keep the student loan and car loan.
  • Review and adjust our retirement account. We have my husband’s TSA divided between C funds, I funds, and S funds. Our goal this month is to review how it’s doing and make adjustments as needed. We’re taking more risk now, and at age 30 we’ll start shifting to a more conservative portfolio.
  • Have two yard sales. I’m aiming to have one on March 1st and one on March 15th, since those are the weekends closest to payday. On base, selling secondhand items depends heavily on payday, because most people live paycheck to paycheck. I’m hoping to make at least $200 at each sale, and rid our house of some items we don’t want to move in the process.
  • Discuss our job options post-military. We’re getting very close to Hubby’s separation date, and we’re a little conflicted as to our future. We’ll sit down and have a good discussion about our options, and hopefully decide on career paths for Hubby and I.

February Goal Recap

At the start of this month, I wrote a post about our finances and goals, with the aim of keeping our family accountable for paying back our debt. Here’s a look back at how we did:


  • File our taxes and put the refund towards our highest interest debt.  We filed, and got back around $5730. We put $5000 of that into our highest interest rate debt (the truck payment), and kept $700 as fun money. The extra $30 went into our emergency account, which earns us 4% interest.
  • Come up with a plan for our maturing CD. Our 3% interest CD matures early in March, and we needed a plan for the money. Unfortunately, we were not able to roll it over into another CD to avoid capital gains taxes, so it will be deposited into our savings account. We have decided to take $100 of it to start a new 4% CD, put $1000 towards our debts (highest interest rate first!), and put anything that’s left over into our emergency account at 4% interest.
  • Reduce our debt by either $1000 or $6000. Each month we budget $900 worth of debt reduction income, and my goal this month was to pay off an extra $100 worth of debt, plus our tax refund if it came in on time. In February, we paid off $6,150.66. We blew past our goal by $150.66!
  • Remain in the green this month. We stayed in the green, but ended the month with $0 in our main checking and savings accounts (I do not count our emergency account as a savings account). We would have gone into the red if I had not made an extra $160 towards the end of the month from selling items on Bookoo. If we had any money left in our accounts the day before payday, I would put it towards our highest interest rate debt (even if it was only 50 cents!)

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We completed all our goals this month! I’m proud of us. Hopefully we can do this well next month. One step at a time, that’s all it is!


February Finances and Goals

This is my first finance post, and I’m super excited to start this journey. I’m ready to be out from under this debt, and I’m excited to see our debt reduced.


February’s pay periods are from Jan 30-Feb 12, and Feb 13-Feb 27. This is our first month of our snowball debt reduction!

Our total income this month (which does not include extra money I make from selling curb finds) is $2,749.

We have these bills (all amounts are rounded up to the nearest dollar):

  • Insurance (This includes both cars and life)                   $178.00
  • Truck Registration                                                           $45.00
  • Internet                                                                             $65.00 (this is a little higher than most months, but we had to get a replacement box)
  • Cell Phones                                                                     $42.00
  • Disneyland Tickets                                                          $99.00
  • Netflix                                                                               $8.00
  • Savings                                                                            $100.00
  • Citrus Lane                                                                      $17.00
  • Haircuts                                                                           $40.00
  • TOTAL:                                                                           $594.00

And these budgets (notice I use very broad categories… more on that later)

  • Gas                                                                                   $300.00
  • Food and Dining                                                               $400.00
  • Miscellaneous (Literally everything else)                          $200.00
  • TOTAL:                                                                             $900.00

We Owe:

  • Credit Card #1                                               $1188.74
  • Credit Card #2                                               $2516.92
  • Car Loan                                                        $10281.11
  • Truck Loan                                                     $6882.45
  • Line of Credit                                                  $466.48
  • Student Loan                                                  $9000.00 (Payments on this don’t start until March)
  • TOTAL:                                                          $30,335.70 (Ouch)

This month, our snowball payment plan looks like this:

  • Credit Card #1                                                $25.00
  • Credit Card #2                                                $44.00
  • Car Loan                                                         $321.66
  • Truck Loan                                                      $459.34
  • Line of Credit                                                   $50.00
  • Student Loan                                                   $0.00 (Like I said, payments on this don’t start until March)
  • Total:                                                               $900.00

The debt with the highest interest, in our case, is our truck loan, at a whopping 14.25% (I’m very embarrassed about that one). Following the interest snowball, we’re flinging all our extra money towards whittling away that debt first. Every other debt is currently getting the minimum payment. Once our truck is paid off, we’ll take all the money we were putting towards paying off the truck and put it towards the next highest interest debt, which is our line of credit.


  • File our taxes and put the refund towards our highest interest debt. Our taxes are filed, and we’ll be getting back around $5700. We’re planning on keeping the $700 as fun money (we’ll each get $350 to play with), and using the $5000 to pay down our truck loan. This will bring the amount we owe on the truck to less than $1500, and will reduce the amount of time we’ll be paying off our debt by almost 8 months! Woohoo!
  • Come up with a plan for our maturing CD. We have a CD that will be maturing in March, and we need to decide what to do with it. We’re debating between rolling it over into another 1-year CD at 3% interest, investing it in one of the companies we already own stock with, investing it with a company we don’t currently hold any stock with, and using part of it to pay off some of the truck. I think we’ll probably use at least half of it as a principal only truck payment, but what to do with that other half?
  • Reduce our debt by either $1,000 or $6,000. This depends largely on when our refund check comes in. Either way, it’ll also require me to make an extra $100 by selling curb finds, writing articles on Textbroker, and doing odd jobs.
  • Remain in the green this month! One thing I like about Mint is that it tells you if you’re staying within budget each month using colors. Basic, easy peasy colors. If you’re green, you’re good to go! If you’re red, you f$*&ed up somewhere and need to make some extra moolah. My goal is to stay green this month.