debt debs

Personal Debt Wrangler – Had my money head in the sand – but no more!

Debt Deliberations

49 Comments said I would do my debt updates on a regular basis to have good comparatives, so since it’s been a month since the last update, I aim to please!

Speaking of which, I wasn’t too pleased about the chart format that I’ve used in my debt updates so far.  I decided to change it up, but what with getting distracted analyzing the numbers, having 2 (only 2!) glasses of wine last night and spending time researching alternatives for front lawns (other than grass!), I’m still not sure if I like what I’ve got.  But anyhoo, here goes…. and I may exercise my women’s prerogative to change her mind later.

Debt Decline

The colourful graph above is based on the figures in the chart further below for actuals this year up to June, combined with a projected forecast for the remainder of the year. Since I just created this forecast by type of debt today, I don’t have any past forecasts, but I plan to chart the actual achievement against the above forecast, so I can see if we are on track for debt repayment.

We actually averaged just over $60K annual debt repayment for the two years ended March 2014, which was pretty awesome.  I wanted to compare how we are doing so far this year, and was wondering if we will be able to similarly, pay off $60K for this year.


On a fiscal year 2014 annual basis, my forecast shows us just shy of this at $56,871.   The next topic will give you a little clue as to why that is.  Still, it’s in the ballpark, so I’m not going to fret about it too much.  So we will push to meet the $60K and also set a stretch goal of $65K.  Now wouldn’t that be awesome?

Debt Increase

See the little dip up in March?  You almost missed it, didn’t you?  That is due to an extremely large credit card bill of $5K which included $3K for The Irishman’s annual insurance premium.  This, coupled with the fact that due to his lower than normal income in Q1, meant we could not pay as much debt off as planned.

But looks like we are back on track!  After only one week in June so far, he’s earned $900 which is only $300 short of his biweekly target of $1,200.  Any extra that he makes above the monthly minimum of $2,400 goes into debt repayment, over and above what we have already planned.  If that works in our favour, the future graphs that you see like the one above should show the forecasted debt repayment diverging from the actual debt repayment.  One can only hope!  And pray!  And work hard!!!

Spending impacts on Debt

I also watch our monthly spending against budget, as this is one of the key elements to be able to make debt repayment as planned.  I’m not going to do a budgeted expense analysis here today, but that could be something I cover in the future.

Bugs-expert-adviceI got  a lot of great feedback in my last post asking about what we should focus on next in our debt repayment journey.   Thank you all for your responses!  :-)    I really appreciate you taking the time to do so.  Sometimes, you just need an outsider’s perspective, when you get so embedded in the muck and can’t see the forest for the trees and start floundering, as I like to say.

So many said to lower the grocery bill and cut the cable.  My investing buddies were also big on opening our own investment accounts and managing our portfolios on our own.   Well guess, what?  We’re going to do all three of them!!  Look for more on these topics, which for us, will be quite challenging for various different reasons.  Of course, some will take more time than others to execute, but that’s why we call this a journey!

Detailed Debt Analysis

We’ve paid down debt to the tune of $28,771 this year so far and the trend of decline of debt continues since we first started our debt recovery journey.  The figures below show every month this year and the first column is from our D-Day.   Yesterday was the 70th anniversary of D-Day and I had it on my mind all day.   There’s nothing that can be done about the past, but we need to learn for the future, and remember all those who fought for our freedom.  I mean no disrespect calling our Debt Discovery Day our D-Day.  It feels both catastrophic and liberating, which could also be said about June 6, 1944.  For this reason, I felt it fit, and, let’s face it, there’s a whole lotta double ‘D’s’ going on here and that’s all I’m going to say about that.

Onward to the analysis, our freedom awaits us!


Notice there is a big time gap between Mar 2012 and Dec 2013. I wasn’t tracking in the same manner so I don’t readily have those figures. It was only when I started this blog in March 2014, that I pulled together the ‘big picture’. It was quite satisfying actually to look back at the progress.

Normally we are scheduled to pay approximately $1,600 biweekly towards debt.  Although not all of it goes to principal, it’s all at low rates, the highest being 2.89%.  In addition, we also pay $177 biweekly for a car payment at 0% interest.  So I guess you could say we pay in total about $1,750 every two weeks.  In addition, we try to pay an extra $2K per month, on top of that, but that is being extremely aggressive and assumes that The Irishman makes more than the minimum $2,400 budgeted per month.  So in a low month we would pay $3,500 towards debt and upwards to $5,500, but even as I write this, that seems surreal, so don’t quote me (yet! :o )  Notice how in February and March the reduction was not even meeting the $3,500, due to the lean Q1 period!


I know that some of these figures may seem quite high to some readers, and you may think, gee, I wish I had that much money to throw at my debt.  I even wince sometimes when I present these numbers, because I think that people will say “Meh!  First world problems”.

Let me just say this, it’s all relative.  Meaning that my debt numbers are a lot higher than most of what I’ve seen publicly out here on the internet.   In addition, I think at $2,400/month, The Irishman is more middle to lower income, or certainly is not paid enough for how hard he works!

We are a lot older than most personal finance bloggers and should be retiring soon.  He is 61 and I am 54.  Yes, I know, with our income level, we are stupid to even get into this mess that we’re in.

But here’s the thing.  If we can get ourselves into this state, there is a whole lotta other people out there who are probably dancing at the devil’s door too.  Lifestyle inflation, wants not needs, call it what you want… but I’m here to tell you that if you take your eye off the ball and say “I deserve”, you will be facing the music at some point too.   My message is to prevent people from making the same ridiculous mistakes and help those who have fallen like we have.

Delta Dialogue

Okay, sorry for that diversion.  I just felt I needed to get it out there.  So back to my analysis.  The decrease from March to April, was due to payment of the big credit card bill mentioned above ($5K).  In April, The Irishman got a big commission, so we were able to play catch up and pay down our low-rate credit card to the tune of $6K, which is why the May figure is so much lower.  In May, we were able to ramp the payment back up on the low rate balance transfer credit card to $2K, on top of our normal debt repayment of $1,750 biweekly.  There is also one extra $1,600 mortgage payment in the June 6 balance, as our mortgage was paid yesterday.

So all in all, I think we are back on track.  The annual target of $60K is not in the bag by any means at this point.  We’ve still got 4 years to go.  My planning has us at May/June 2018 having it all paid off.  My stretch target is December 2017, but that is only a pipe dream at this point.

Diatribe on Dialect

I was cleaning up some things on my blog and noticed I should review my SPAM folder in case any legitimate comments got unintentionally put there.  But, nope, all SPAM and I decided I should delete all comments there because there was getting to be quite a few, and it would make future reviews much easier.  Before I did, I saved a few gems that are pretty representative of most of them, but some genuinely more humorous than others.  Url’s provided have obviously been removed by moi, some pointing to running shoe sites, or lewd sites and other things I can’t even recall.  It’s so obvious with most of these comments that English is not their first language, and some genuinely try and are better than others.  Anyways, I will dissect these comments in my own snarky manner, just because.

how to grow taller when your 14

An intriguing discussion is definitely worth comment.
There’s no doubt that that you ought to write more about this topic, it may not be a taboo subject but generally people
do not speak about such issues. To the next! Kind regards!!

how to grow taller when your 14”  Oh, the poor guys who googled this phrase.  Doesn’t your heart just melt for them?   This English in this one is actually probably the best I’ve seen in SPAM, even though the words and sentence structure is rather awkward.  I just love the the second last phrase though “To the next!”  Like ‘onward and upward‘ or ‘high ho cheerio!’.  Had me giggling. :-D

It is the best time to make a few plans for the long run and it’s time
to be happy. I have read this publish and if I may just I want to counsel you few fascinating things or advice.
Maybe you could write next articles regarding this article.

I wish to learn more things approximately it!

Oh, a medical related one.  I’ve probably googled “How to treat mild eczema” myself once.  Oh, I hope I don’t invite the SPAMLORDs in now.  Again, this one is not too too bad, until the end when he says “I wish to learn more things approximately it“.  Good sword, I can’t even think what word the good doctor even meant to use here.    Anyways, you keep learning new things there on your {internet} rounds there, Dr. Samuel.  Don’t come by here though.  Nothin’ to learn here.  Glad I’ve got my good buddy akismet on my side!


Author: debster

I am a fifty-something wife, mother and new grandmother, who admits to having their “head in the sand” about their financial situation until amassing $247,500 worth of consumer debt for a total debt of $393,500. We've paid $121K in 2 years with four more years to go. Join my journey at sharing ideas and motivation to all those coping with poor money management and bad debt decisions.

49 thoughts on “Debt Deliberations

  1. I am glad to see you’re back on track, and that you’ll be taking the advice to heart! Don’t feel the need to defend yourself, either. I know some of us get caught up in seeing the numbers others are able to throw at their debt, but you are right, it’s all relative. My parents found themselves in the same exact situation.

    Oh spam…those comments are the worst. They can be amusing to look through, and I make sure to clean mine out on a daily basis. For some reason, legitimate comments do get stuck in there for me.

    • Thanks for letting me know you understand, E.M. I’m at the peak of my earning years and I need to make it all count, even though, mentally and physically I would retire tomorrow, if I could. ;-) Maybe once I am debt free, I will feel differently and actually enjoy my job more because it is intellectually challenging and I don’t “have to” do it. I know I would like to go down to 3 – 4 days a week at that point, so I can spend more time with my grandson, and (hopefully) more grandbabies by that time!

  2. You’re making great progress on your finances, Ms. Debs :) I wish my balance sheet would look more like yours, but my debt load only seem to increase year after year. Maybe one day I will get to where you are. I’m glad you found your readers’ suggestions helpful and will be making some changes to your life. Having a plan is really important because knowledge is most useful when it’s put into practice :D

    • Mr Liquid – I’m sure your debt load is offset by well acquired assets! Thanks for your comment and make sure you come back when I do my Net Worth picture. I kinda feel like I need to focus on those other things above first. Although I feel good about my NW, it’s not where it needs to be, obviously with all that debt bringing it down.

  3. The debt you’ve managed to pay is absolutely incredible. And here’s me stressing over my measly £13k of debt. You done so well, I’m sure you’ll hit that 65k of debt repayment too! Maybe so extra side hustles could get you there?

    I hate spam too! I get so much and I still don’t understand how they do it. The amount of jibberish is amusing though!

    • As I say DBC, it’s all relative. I feel for you with your 13K of debt just as much as I do for mine. I guess the key measurement is the date that you’re gonna be free of that debt. At that point you celebrate but then keep on going because you need to save up to boost your retirement savings and planned spending that you’ve avoided to get your debt repaid. So living frugally is a lifelong position, in my opinion. The extent of that frugality can be loosened as you meet each goal. For me, once our debt is paid off I need to keep on going to save another $70K for house renos straight away so we can liquidate our big home, downsize and then put that money into our retirement nest egg.

      The side hustling is tough for me. With a high stress job and my age, I don’t have the energy to do what I would like. Just keeping the house work and gardening on a four bedroom home is a challenge for me. I’m not complaining, and I haven’t ruled out any possibilities yet! Where there’s a will, there’s a way!

  4. Wow you have done great with decreasing your debt thus far. I lowered my grocery bill by just cleaning up my eating habits. Start eating more meals with fruits and vegetables and you will be amazed how much you save and how sexy you get. Good luck.

    • Okay then, good advice. I’m not a big meat eater and my daughter is vegan so that works for me! The Irishman, likes his beef and chicken though. We talked about the grocery budget the other night and are planning to implement some ideas. ;-)

  5. 60-65k is a HUGE number and I’m amazed you can do that each year, especially since you said your hubby’s salary isn’t that much. Did I read all that right? It can get overwhelming I think looking at charts and graphs and seeing big numbers still, so when and if that happens, just take things slowly and day by day. Each good decision is a dent in that debt.

    • Yep, that’s right, Tonya. At least I don’t think $2,400/month is that much. My net is more than double that. Our debt repayment so far this year is averaging 54% of our net income, including income of $460/mth of side hustle income for renting a room in our basement. We spend about $5,150/ mth on expenses, but this includes $550 of business expenses. 5K/mth seems like a lot though so I need to go commando on that.

  6. I admire that you are taking the tough road and paying your debt off in this manner. Many people with your amount of debt would just declare bankruptcy. Of course they would mess up their credit and probably not learn any of the lessons that you are learning. You’ve been doing great and I wish you continued success on your journey to debt freedom.

    • Thanks, Raquel. Sometimes I have thought that bankruptcy would be so much less stressful. But I don’t even know if it would be an option for us. We have a fair bit of investments and also value in our home. I think I’ve heard that they cannot touch your home but I don’t know much about bankruptcy. To be honest, I didn’t look into it much. I just feel it’s our responsibility to make things right, even though the banks and credit card companies have done well off the amount of interest we paid them previous to rolling it into our mortgage! It’s all very emotional, but instead of focusing on my career as primary bread winner, I should have also been looking at the finances, because I’m pretty sure I would not have let it get to how bad it got. Live and learn! That’s why I want to get my message out.

  7. I think debt is debt and if you don’t live within your means, you end up with lots of it. If you have a high income, it’s not that hard to end up with your numbers. If you made $25K a year, you would not have had as much available credit to spend. Congrats for making such an effort to pay it all back. I know it must be rough, but that’s a great example to set for your kids and a great way to go into retirement when you get to that point!

    • Thanks, Kim. I was glad to see your post today. My sense is that there are many others in this situation but haven’t owned up to it yet.

  8. Cheers on decreasing your debt. I really think looking at graphs helped with my focus and motivation. When I would see those slight bumps I would ask the same question, “What happened and what do I need to change?”

  9. It’s great to see you taking control of your debt and being accountable! Keep it up!

  10. Looks like you guys are making good progress. I think its awesome that you have a plan for when income levels don’t meet expectations and when they are over. Keep up the good work Debs! :)

  11. That’s some great progress since you first started. I just know you’ll make your target of $60k and probably even your stretch goal of $65k! You are doing amazing and improving all the time. Keep up the great work Debs!

    • Thanks, Kayla! heee

      I dunno about the $65K stretch but I’m sure glad you have confidence in me! It’s nice to have friends on your side. ;-)

  12. Wow, that’s a lot of detail. Good for you! Being organized and tracking everything is the best way to get out of debt sooner.

  13. You are making me want to knock out my debt more but I feel sooo stuck in my current situation that I’m just throwing $100 a month at it! Gah!

    • Cat – you are doing all the right things now, looking after your babies, supporting your husband. Once he is done with medical school, you’ll be able to turn things around quickly. You have the right mindset so you guys will do fine!

  14. $60k per year in debt repayment seems like a lot, but it’s all relative to your income. It seems like you have been very focused the last couple years on your debt repayment and making good progress.

    • Exactly! It’s relative to our income and debt levels. If we didn’t have that income and busy lifestyle we never would have gotten into that level of debt. No excuses – just explanations of how it happened and how we’re now mopping up!

  15. Deb, I know you have had some slip ups this year, but you are still doing AMAZING on your debt repayment journey!! That graph has to look and feel good to you especially as time goes on and it gets lower and lower. Great job! And I used to love reading my spam comments too. I recently changed my site so I don’t get them like I did and I miss them sometimes. :-)

    • Thanks Shannon, your support means a lot! They weren’t so much slip ups but rather, things we couldn’t control and hadn’t anticipated. I had set my husband’s planned earning at the lowest amount and low and behold it came in at $0 one month! Crazy! But that’s what the e-fund is for!

  16. How exciting to see the debt reducing so much! I love the graph, too. Slip ups and backtracks do happen and life hand us surprises whenever it deems fit, but you are still doing such an amazing job! Isn’t it great when the hard work pays off?!

  17. You are doing AWESOME, Deb. Steady debt payments every month, and I think cutting grocery bills and cable will really catapult you into some seriously huge numbers. Keep it up, girlfriend – you can do this, and I have a feeling it will be sooner than you expect. :-)

    • I always think that the cable and grocery will not make a big difference because my numbers are so big, but you never know until you try and I am seriously fed up with accepting less than the maximum and can throw at my debt and emergency funds. Thanks for the pep talk, GF! See ya on the other side of debt! {giggle}

  18. Haha spam comments can be so ridiculous. On a side note, it’s great you are able to throw so much at your debt and I’m sure you will feel a lot better moving towards retirement with the debt levels lower. You also raise an interesting point about the age of personal finance bloggers. There does seem to be way more young bloggers. I partially blame it on the fact that I can’t even imagine blogging while having kids. How the heck would someone have time for that? Yet there are quite a few bloggers out there with kids. I guess I’ll find out one of these days…

    • Hey DC, I can see you put in a lot of time but you’re young and it’s good you can may hay while the sun shines. I admire all you do, you are always commenting on everyone’s blogs. Where ever I go, I usually see, David has been here first! LOL :-D This shows me that you have an incredible amount of fortitude and diligence. I know you work full time, like me, so I have a lot of respect for what you are able to accomplish. Hey, if you find any older bloggers in your travel, be sure to send ‘em my way too, m’kay? ;-)

  19. Oh my gosh, I do love a good Spam comment. Sometimes they are real gems! I almost feel like I’m throwing away some version of internet graffiti when I click on the Spam button.

  20. Wow, you’re doing crazy awesome Deb! I know you said that you’ve had some slip-ups this year, but you’re throwing huge amounts at your debt! Like you said, it can be so relative and we all have our own unique situations, but kudos to you for the attitude you have to kill the debt. As for the spam comments, they can get crazy. I just have to laugh sometimes and ask myself do they REALLY think I’m going to let that through?! ;)

  21. Such an inspiration! And I love that you’re tackling ALL THREE of your next steps. I can’t seem to stick to just one of my goals ;)

    • Yes, you can Stef! When I feel overwhelmed, I just keep putting one foot in front of the other. Of course some things will take longer than others. But to be perfectly honest, I always follow the rule of 3 for projects at work. I can manage maximum 3 things going on coincidentally at the same time and no more otherwise balls start to drop. Not 3 big things either, maybe 1 big and two medium max.

  22. Great blog debs and great job tackling your debt straight on! best of luck! Your progress is great in 2014. Dont forget to reward your self along the way of your aggressive debt repayment. Lets say after every 10k debt repaid treat yourself to a $100 spa day. You seem very motivated and No doubt you will be debt free in the future if you maintain this attitude! All the best!

    Good Day and Grind On!

    • Thank you for acknowledging my grinding, Asset-Grinder! I appreciate the kind words and I do treat myself to a pedicure 2x during the summer. Cheers! :)

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  26. It’s really impressive to see how aggressively you’re getting rid of your debt! It’s quite inspiring and has shown me I need to kick butt with my student loan debt.

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