This is it, a few weeks ago I decided I no longer wanted to live with a ton of debt so I made a decision to pay off everything including my house in the next 7 years. With any luck this will happen and with some really good luck we may be able to pay it off faster. I talked to my awesome and supportive wife and aside from some anxiety she is on-board with doing this.
So a little bit about us first, we’re a middle-aged married couple with no kids, living in the St. Louis area. We are both employed and have a fair amount of debt. We aren’t living beyond our means but we haven’t done the best when it comes to paying our debt down. My plan is to use a ‘snowball’ approach to paying my debt off and putting money towards principal on the house. When the bills are all paid off that snowball will all rollover to principal and with any luck 7 years from now we’ll own our house outright and have no bills.
For those that don’t know what a ‘snowball’ approach is, that is when you figure out what your monthly minimum payments are for your bills and based on highest percentage or lowest balance (there are excel spreadsheets online that will help you determine) you put an extra amount of money towards that bill to pay it off faster. Once you pay that bill off you take all the money you were using for it and put it towards your next bill. You keep doing this until you pay off all of your bills. In this case our house will be the last bill and we’ll be putting an extra $2,000 towards principal after my first 3 bills are paid off. We love St. Louis but we have no family here so if something else comes up for either one of us job wise we want to have the option to move and take a chance.
Life happens and 7 years is a long a time so there is a buffer in there for both time and money. I’ve actually plotted everything to be done in 6 years but we all know life doesn’t go the way we want it to sometimes. So we’ve both looked at all of our bills and accounted for things like food, gas, entertainment,etc and we still should have a decent amount left over between the both of us. Any extra money saved initially will go into a joint savings account and once we get to a point where we are happy with that any money that is left over will go to the snowball.
So applying extra money to a credit card is easier than most people think. All I had to do was look at my bank account to see where I was spending money. You have no idea how many times you get nickeled and dimed to death a month or how much money you spend on little things. The first thing I did was look to see what auto deductions I had coming out of my account, things like ‘spotify’, ‘netflix’ or ‘dollarbeardclub.com’ (I love my beard). So between these 3 that was $30 a month. We also had all of the pay channels through out cable to include HBO, Showtime, TMC, etc. We didn’t need all of them because we don’t watch movies every night or even every other night. We dropped out package down a level and only kept Showtime for ‘Ray Donovan’. When the season is over we’ll drop that and when Game of Thrones starts up again we’ll order HBO. So just by changing our cable and dropping some subscription services we’re saving $80 a month right there.
The next thing that we have, and the one that hits us the hardest is going out for food and drinks. We don’t go out every night but we go out more than most just because we don’t have kids. It doesn’t seem like a lot because we take turns buying dinner but when you look at it on paper it adds up quick and it is an ugly number. Two adults going out 2-3 times a week, even for something cheap is an extra $300-$400 a month easy. If we lived in a perfect world where we never had a drink then it would be different but 2 adults at 2 drinks a piece every time you go out is an extra $25 every meal easy and we usually do more damage than that.
So this blog is going to be about some money saving tips, some bill paying tips and pretty much regurgitate some of the same stuff you see out there from other folks. I guess the main difference with this blog is that we’re not saving because we need to but because we want to. We’re not going to sacrifice everything we enjoy doing but we’ll be cutting back and using our heads a little more when it comes to how we spend our money. Since this is Thursday you’ll probably see a post his weekend because we’ll be preparing our breakfast and lunch meals for the week and I’ll go ahead and say what we did and how much we spent.
This picture is staying here, it’s the default photo but we’re doing this because my dream is to have a sailboat when we move to Florida and the easiest way to make that happen is to have a house that we buy with cash when we get there.