debt debs

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

Debt Update and MVP Blog Award


I’m a week late in giving my monthly debt progression update.  Something else was going on last Saturday.  Oh yeah, I was finalizing my migration to self-hosted wordpress and doing a live blog.   Such is life.

I was also planning on getting this post done last night, so I could get on with a bunch of chores I need to do around here today.  But alas, I fell into bed at around 9 p.m., unable to keep my eyes open.   There was not even a drop of wine consumed last night, so I can’t blame that and I can assure you that there was none consumed in the making of this post – maybe a cup of java (or three), but I mean, what are lazy Saturday mornings for?

Debt Decrease

I’m a little disappointed in my debt decrease from last month.  Not that we didn’t pay our debt as planned, but it was because our credit card took a jump due to car repairs.  Anyone else out there hate those blasted car repairs?

debt-impacted-by-car-repairsI mean we budget them and all, but it’s hard to forecast (for me), the timing.  In addition, I think we budget too low an amount because it always seems to come in higher.   Like so far this year we’ve spent $1,742 on car repairs for two vehicles, but I think most of it was on the truck and I have budgeted only $120 / month for vehicle maintenance.  Actually, I just checked and I had one transaction misclassified in MINT for a oil change on my car for $71.30 and the picture at the left was taken before I fixed it.  This month we spent $1,150.03 for front and rear brakes on the truck.  {big} ugh


debt-paydown-debtdebs Ya, so like we’re $1,000 in the hole and that translates directly into our debt numbers I’m going to show you next.

I only started this graph last month so the actuals and forecast are tracking exactly from Dec to Jun.  It’s hard to tell, but there is a slight difference between the forecasted debt and the actual debt.  That is why I added the data values onto the graph.

Look for more variability going forward (or not!) and if there is some I’d prefer it to be on the upside instead of the downside as shown, thank you very much!

You see, we should always be tracking to our debt repayment or better unless (a) The Irishman’s income is way lower than our minimum target or (b) we have unforeseen expenses like car repairs > budgeted.  If his income is better, then hopefully we can apply even more to debt repayment.  At least that’s the current philosophy.  OK, my philosophy.  OK, now don’t get all philosophical on me now.

Detailed Debt Figures

Ahem… on to the detailed figures.  Our debt decrease was only $3,200 since last month which is better than our abysmal Jan and Feb, but not as good as last three months.  If I add back the extra $1K+ for car repairs, we’re still only at $4,350, which annualized would be $52K, and short of our annual goal of $60K, which we have managed to achieve the first two years.  Year to date, The Irishman’s income is only $1,100 lower than last year, so I’m not quite sure what the explanation is for the lower debt repayment and it’s making me a little nervous.  Anyhoo, I’ll need to stew about  look into this a bit more.

I know these debt repayments are large compared to what some of you reading this may pay in a month, but I just want to say it’s all relative.  Anyone want to trade an opening debt position of $394K with me?  Anyone?  I don’t know why I feel the need to justify this every time I put these figures out here.  Clearly I need help, or more money, or both.

Debt-Debs-Debt- Details

Click to enlarge

I’ve added a little metric which I think is quite titillating (see how sad my life has become?), which is the % decrease in debt from our opening position in March 2012 as compared to the % of time that has passed until our debt freedom date – May 18, 2018.  May 2018 is what my avalanche/snowball debt calculators are telling me, and I revise these every few months to see if we are on track.  So far so good (crossing fingers and toes).  So I picked May 18 since it is year 2018 as an arbitrary debt freedom date.  Time (and money!) will tell if we can achieve this date or not.  To be perfectly candid, my stretch target is Dec 2017, but at this juncture that is looking really stretched!  So you can see that we are 36.5% paid off but we should be at 37%.  Missed it by that much!  Quoting Don Adams from GET SMART!    Time for a video.

Who reading is old enough to remember Get Smart? I couldn’t find one with him quoting that line, but the cone of silence has always been a favourite and is used in my everyday dialogue quite often so I thought it appropriate.

Anyways, compared to earlier months this year, we are doing pretty good for that metric. Last month was the best where we were only off by 0.4%.

Emergency Fund

Emergency-fundNeedless to say, I have not been able to put any additional towards our Emergency / Tax fund since last month.  That’s the other bad news.  However, on the positive side, I was able to pay our second installment of property taxes of $2,812.42 last month without taking anything out of this fund which is reserved for emergencies and property taxes.  I normally try to contribute $500/month to it.   So technically I’m $2,300 ahead in trying to get my E-fund up to a new target recently set due to the slow earnings months experienced in Q1.

Is there any metric or piece of info that I’m not telling showing that you want to know to complete the picture?

CNA Finance MVP Award

Debt Debs - Personal Finance MVP!
Before I go and get on with my chores, I must tell you that I’m tickled pick to be awarded the CNA Finance MVP of the Week award  by votes from readers over at CNA Finance Blog.  Josh has a series where he posts every Friday called “Why Bloggers Fail” and he explores different topics on this subject each week.  Based on feedback received, he awards a blog each week and yours truly was selected this week.  I am really humbled by all the nice things he had to say but especially thrilled that he captured the essence of what I do here perfectly.  I guess my communication skills aren’t so bad after all!  heh heh.  I really appreciate all the readers who voted for me as well.  Truly.

Thanks to the following blogs:

Carnival of Financial Camaraderie over at Counting My Pennies for  featuring one of my posts:  Couples Money Conversations You Want to Avoid.

Young Adult Money for Weekly Hits Roundup and Personal Finance Tips – Moving Blog from to Self-Hosted

Have an amazing weekend folks.  That’s a wrap.  debt debs, over and out.

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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.

64 thoughts on “Debt Update and MVP Blog Award

  1. Congrats on the award! You have a fun way of writing!

    And don’t beat yourself up about things you can’t change, like the auto repairs. I’m sure you’ll be more determined than ever because of it!
    No More Waffles recently posted…Best Writing of the Week, July 12My Profile

  2. I think you’ve done great considering the unexpected spends – these things are sent to try us! Congratulations on the award :)
    Nicola recently posted…The Ultimate Dream Part Two: Early Retirement.My Profile

  3. Nice job on the award.

    I also wanted to say I love all your graphs and stuff! I wish I was fancy enough to graph all my numbers.
    the spunky banker. recently posted…friday favesMy Profile

  4. Well done with the award!
    We have projected expenses for those unexpected in the budget. So, for example let’s say we budget $100 for car repairs every month if we don’t use it the money goes in our projected expenses account. If the time comes when we need to use the money it will be there or at least a portion of the bill because we can’t predict the future. It’s helped us so we don’t have to use the credit card or line of credit. We do this with every expense that we know we will have to pay at some point in time and think we may pay. If we know we will have to pay to get new stickers for the car and it will cost us $75 for the year we save a portion of that $75 every month in the PE account so the money is there when we need to use it. It’s just a system we started a few years back that works for us. We have it built into our budget spreadsheet. :) Have a great weekend mate!
    canadianbudgetbinder recently posted…Would you spend money at a restaurant without free Wi-Fi? : The Saturday Weekend Review #80My Profile

    • Thanks for the tip, Mr. CBB. I may have to try doing that, moving some planned but unspent money into our emergency account so it grows bigger than we really need but it’s there for these types of things! Brilliant! :-D

  5. Congrats on the award Deb! I remember Get Smart! Great show! Continued success on the debt repayment! You’ll have your ups and downs along the way.
    Brian @DebtDiscipline recently posted…Week End Round Up #40My Profile

    • Ha ha! I could have called my blog GET SMART, I guess, because that’s really what we’ve done! Thanks, for your support, Brian!

  6. Grats on the award!

    I hate car repairs like no other! I just hate the whole process of booking an appointment to drop off my get around vehicle to not get around lol! I then find myself at the nearby mall sipping on some orange julies and killing hours at the library!

    Good job on the debt repayment for the month. As long as it goes down you are doping alright! Some months not as big but the direction is most important unlike my weight on the scale recently!!!

    Good Day and Grind On!
    Asset-Grinder recently posted…$2,111,481 My Net Worth Update July 2014My Profile

    • Agree, AG, car repairs are a big time waster as well as money waster! Thanks for your kind words about our debt repayment. I really appreciate your support. It’s not always a walk in the park, but at least we’re walking!!!

  7. Congrats on the award! Well deserved. I’m sorry your debt repayment didn’t go quite as you had planned, but it’s great you didn’t have to touch your fund for the property taxes.
    E.M. recently posted…Being Grateful: Thirty-Fourth Edition (Back Home)My Profile

    • This is true! Thanks, E.M. for your kind words and also your support. As a new blogger, I’m still finding my way so these comments and recognition like this award are really fantastic to keep up my motivation in many ways!

  8. I feel ya on the car repairs. My car needs about $1,000 sunk into it, but I’m trying to put it off until January. I think I’m going to move back in with my folks for a few months then, so that won’t really be a big hit if I’m not paying rent.

    And it stinks when they just pop up too – I was so excited to actually get ahead this month and I went on vacation for the weekend. I stopped at a rest stop, opened my door and the wind grabbed it and slammed it into the car next to me, leaving a nice, big dent. I have a really high deductible, so I’m sure my extra cash is going right into that lady’s SUV. Sigh.
    Mel @ brokeGIRLrich recently posted…Instant Rewards: How Does an Extra $450 a Year Sound to You?My Profile

    • Wow, Mel! That would be awesome if you could move in with your folks and not have to pay rent for a bit! Way to rock the finances! That’s just gross about whacking the car door. Sorry to hear that. After stuff like that happens, I always end up parking far away from people for awhile just to avoid stupid things like that. Then the memory wears off and you get into bad habits again.

  9. Congrats on the award! Car repairs suck, budgeted for or not. I’d say the EF comps for it, at least it would psychologically for me.
    femmefrugality recently posted…Financially Savvy Saturdays-Forty Sixth EditionMy Profile

    • Thanks, FF! Yes, I like the suggestion of Mr. CBB to take the budgeted money for things like car repairs and move it to EF, if the money is not spent.

  10. The award is impressive, and whats also impressive is that graph you used to forecast the debt – how did you do that?
    Dan @ Our Big Fat Wallet recently posted…Weekend Reading: July 10, 2014My Profile

    • Thanks, Dan! I just used excel graphs. I have a chart of the forecasted numbers coming down and a comparable chart on the same worksheet where I enter the actuals. Then I just created a 3-D graph in excel. Let me know if you need any help to do that. :-D

  11. Congrats on being the MVP PF blogger of the week :)
    You shouldn’t feel anyhow about the amount you are paying on your debt eac month. As you said it’s all relative and $394K is a big number to tackle!
    Kassandra recently posted…The Montreal EditionMy Profile

    • Thank you Kassandra! Thanks for telling me not to feel bad about the amount of debt we pay off each month. I will remember this when I do my next debt payoff report. ;-)

  12. Nice job on the award! For being such a new blogger, that is quite an honor! I hate setbacks like car repairs. This month is going to be medical for me (nothing out of the usual, but dentist plus annual visit plus blood tests added up), AND my freelancing income is looking abysmal this month. But we just pick ourselves up and do the best we can!
    Tonya@Budget and the Beach recently posted…Stepping Out of My Comfort Zone…My Profile

    • Tonya, I was really pleased about the award, and especially thanks to people like you who keep coming back to read my posts!! Thank you! :-D

      I hope things look up for your freelancing and down for your expenses! I totally understand on the variable income front because that’s what it’s like for hubby. Sometimes you can predict and plan for (holiday season etc.) but sometimes it just changes for no explainable reason, or when you think it should be down, it isn’t. We try to capitalize on these times like saving for a rainy day!

  13. Congrats on the reward! It’s definately deserved, I love the graphs & amount of detail you share on your debt repayment.
    Tre recently posted…Weekly Update #5My Profile

    • Awesome, I’m glad that you like the graphs and details. I guess I should keep doing them! he he Thanks for your congratulations, Tre!

  14. Congrats on winning the MVP! We use a similar approach to our debt freedom, I have October 2020, but that’s my conservative approach. If I had a stretch date, I guess it would be the following March 2021 just to get my bonus an d years of service, but if that happens I’d probably be arriving in shorts and Hawaiian shirt everyday.
    Even Steven recently posted…Emergency Fund- Just Do It a Different ApproachMy Profile

    • Thanks, Steven.

      So that’s interesting, you put your stretch date later than your conservative date. For me a stretch date is something that will financially be a stretch to achieve. Like if everything lines up, there are no unexpected expenses and maybe a few wins (bonuses/extra income) in there somewhere, it could be done. The conservative approach for me is, we should be able to meet this, no problem. In any case, I understand where you are coming from, you want 2020 (which is great BTW), but you may talk yourself into going longer due to the bonuses/incentives of that extra bit. To me 6 more months is not bad, if it is well worth it. Sometimes I wonder if I will end up doing the OMY (One More Year) thing when I get there, or if I will just say F!it. I’ve had enough!

  15. Good luck next month, Deb! My car just went back into the shop last night! And I just had that awesome $4,000 fix courtesy of Honda. Fingers crossed they pay for this one, too – otherwise savings will have to go down a bit – darn cars!
    Natalie @ Financegirl recently posted…To Budget or Not To Budget: That Is the QuestionMy Profile

  16. Bummer about the car repairs, we had some as well. Car Repair dudes just assume us car owners have a ton of free money lying around to help their monthly goals. Anytime something goes wrong it’s always 300+ dollars to fix.

    • Oh, at least. I mean it’s understandable that they need maintenance and fixing but sometimes it’s just so darn expensive. Maybe I am naive. My BIL works as an engine mechanic at a car dealership and he’s a very good mechanic but he says everything is so modular and computerized these days. It’s too bad we live 6 hours away because he works for the same brand as our truck! Hubby calls him for tips though!

  17. Oh, those car repairs are the worst! For us, July is the month of massive home repairs. Arrghh!!!! Oh well, back on track and up and at ‘em. :-)
    Laurie @wellkeptwallet recently posted…WKW 38: How to Make a Million Dollars, Travel the World, and Live the Life of Your Dreams with Ryan Daniel MoranMy Profile

  18. I think you never have to apologize for your opening debt number, in fact, I just think it makes you all that more inspiring. If you didn’t experience that much pain, you wouldn’t be as much of an inspiration (as evidenced by your blog awards and links) to others.
    Shannon @ Financially Blonde recently posted…Music Mondays – Taking ChancesMy Profile

    • Thank you for acknowledging that, Shannon. I just feel like such a dunderhead sometimes. No point in crying over spilled milk. As Laurie says, above “up and at ‘em”.

  19. Ugh, I hate those car repairs too. We just replaced my tires and my husband’s car battery. All in all you’re doing great I think. Congrats on the Award. Well deserved!
    Raquel@Practical Cents recently posted…Weekend Update: World Cup EditionMy Profile

    • Thank you, Raquel…. I know you played a big part in my award as a fellow nominee who voted for me instead of herself. You deserve a selfless blogger award. Cars – can’t live with ‘em, can’t live without ‘em! ;-)

  20. Those car repairs are seriously the worst. We just had to get 4 new tires, although it seems like we just got 4 new tires, and then they told us to have our brakes inspected, so I know what you mean. And CONGRATS on the award!! Very well deserved :)
    Ryan @ Impersonal Finance recently posted…education is key to successMy Profile

  21. I hear ya on the unexpected expenses front! We had our a/c go kaput this month (twice, so hopefully its actually fixed now) and I had to take some of the money out of my savings to cover my share. Its certainly hard to have goals to be working towards and see them potentially threatened by things we can’t always predict, but its better to be a little short of our debt repayment or savings goals than go into further debt, IMO anyways :)
    Morgaine recently posted…Weekly Spending: July 7-13My Profile

    • Definitely don’t want to go further into debt, but if you are not meeting your debt repayment goals then you are kind of doing that. However I wouldn’t beat myself up over it but would just try to have more in the emergency fund for this type of thing.

  22. Wonderful job on the award and more powers! By the way, don’t stress yourself too much.. I know you’d be able to get through this..
    Alicia @ Monster Piggy Bank recently posted…The Lemonade Stand Book Review & GiveawayMy Profile

  23. Yay! So happy for your award. Don’t beat yourself up on the debt front, at least it went down right?! That’s what we want and as long as it’s going down you’re doing well.
    Kayla @ Shoeaholicnomore recently posted…My Want ListMy Profile

  24. I never used to budget enough for car repairs simply because car repairs, in my mind, cost way more than thaey should. Congratulations on the award.
    Brad @ How to Save Money recently posted…Reduce the Cost of your Internet ServiceMy Profile

    • Thank you Brad. Funny how we all think car repairs are a ripoff! We need to find a PF blogger who is also a mechanic to weigh in here! hee hee

  25. Great job on your award! That’s great!

  26. I am sorry to hear about those pesky car repairs setting you back with debt repayment. That must be quite frustrating. Car repairs are my least favorite expense. There’s nothing fun about them. DO you do some of them yourself?
    Daisy @ Prairie Eco Thrifter recently posted…3 Things To Not Compromise On When Under StressMy Profile

    • My husband did the front brakes himself but the rears are too complicated due to the emergency brake.

  27. Congrats on the award! :)

    Ugh I really hate unpredictable expenses, but at least if you repair them now it will hopefully be a while until they need repairs again and next time you know how much you should budget.
    Poor Student recently posted…Summer Vacation on a Budget? Go Camping!My Profile

    • Thanks for visiting! Some of these repairs only happen every 2-3-4 years. I do need to figure out if I should increase my monthly budget and maybe put the money aside for every month not spent.

  28. Congratulations on the MVP Blog Award! I am new to the PF blog scene and stumbled upon yours (you just keep clicking on links from one to the next and you forget where you were!)

    Good luck on your journey! I was trying to read up on the history, to my understanding all of the mortgage debt is secured to one home or do you have a second home?
    Kipp recently posted…Goals For 2014 and BeyondMy Profile

    • Welcome to the community, Kipp! Glad to have you! All of our mortgage debt is secured to our primary home.

  29. Wow, what an impressive way to track your progress. Good luck with all you are working to accomplish and congratulations on the blog award. Thanks so much for visiting and commenting on my site last week. Blessings as you work to accomplish your goals!

  30. I love the graphs. Its always good to see debt progress visually. That always motivated me when I could see how quickly the debt was being paid off.
    Debt and the Girl recently posted…Leaving Your Own Legacy on the WorldMy Profile

  31. I’m way behind on my reading/commenting this month for some reason, but yay! I actually love that chart — the detail of it and how much progress you’ve made is amazing. Watching all that debt drop so precipitously. I know unexpected expenses suck but man, you’ve come a long way.
    Cecilia@thesingledollar recently posted…Ways of budgetingMy Profile