Tag Archives: Debt Snowball

How Obsessions Get Unhealthy

Healthy habits are a great thing until they get out of control.  Learn about my unhealthy obsession with my debt snowball.

I recently, thankfully, went back to work full-time.  My working full time is a great thing mentally and financially for our family.  I painstakingly and repeatedly analyzed our financial situation and developed our own personal debt snowball.  I can look at this beautiful Excel sheet and see the exact month and year that we will be debt free.  Imagine!

Therein is the problem.  Knowing that date, my type-A self wants it to be faster.  So, because I have developed the ability to tactfully say “you need to get a job” by phrasing it as “you need to find more ways to bring money into your home”, that phrase has become my obsession.  I want to bring money into our home (increase our income) so we can pay that debt down sooner.

Ways to bring money into your home, in truth, don’t actually have to increase income, they just need to make better use of the dollars you have.  They could include more money, but using coupons more, comparison shopping, breaking bad money habits would all apply.

When it comes to coupons, I have a love hate relationship with them.  I love having one I can use, but hate digging through newspapers and websites to find them.  I also don’t have many options for grocery shopping within about 15 miles.  Am I wrong to think that driving 30 minutes plus for groceries probably negates any money I’d save?  I use rebates when I can, those are easy.  But, in general I find coupons a pain in the ass.  I also try to avoid the over-processed, pre-packaged, nutritionally vacant foods that most coupons are for.

So what is the answer?    Do I divert my thoughts from the debt snowball by having a little fun and enjoying life – maybe pushing back that debt snowball debt free date in the process?  Or do I seek sources of more passive income.  I mean a second job would be horrible for the family and family time.  Something flexible?  Consulting?  Freelance?  MLM Sales?  (Then find a company that my values align with or that I actually like the products for which isn’t hard but…  is that me?)

If I challenged you to increase your income 20%, which would you choose?

20 Minute Challenge Update

This week, I have been working on organizing paper after realizing (to my sheer horror) that I forgot to pay a bill on the 15th.  Grr…

So I have been putting our financial house in order with Mint.com.  For those of you unfamiliar with this free webservice, it is owned by Intuit, the company that owns Turbo Tax (my filing software for the last… oh forever, but there are other great free options if you need them – just ask) and Quicken.  I am a slightly disgruntled former Quicken user because Quicken went away when Intuit bought Mint.  But, Mint works.  But it’s not Quicken It works just fine.  It even works with my Po-dunk little bank and brings all our accounts under one roof.  Student Loans included.  Setting all that up was my 20 minutes this morning.  By twenty minutes, I mean an hour because I had forgotten all my logins and had to call to get them reset.  Fun.  Times.  (Question:  How do you track fifty different logins and passwords?  I try to keep them mostly the same but it’s just not always possible.  Leave me a tip in the comments?  PLEASE?)

Features of Mint include income and expense tracking, automatic updating of accounts when you log in and, of course, budgeting and goal-setting and tracking features.  I’m sorry to tell you that you’ll get an e-mail when you exceed your budget.  That being said, round up for your loan payments when you enter the budgeted amounts or Mint will round down and every single month you’ll be over budget.  It’s kind of annoying, but the work around is simple.  I just explained it.

Consolidating all our accounts in one place makes it easier to get a snapshot of our current situation.  Good thing.  I set up a goal for an emergency fund, a travel fund and our plan to pay cash for a house.  It even has a Debt Snowball Feature!  Look under Goals and select consolidate loans and/or consolidate credit cards as appropriate.  Thankfully, we don’t use credit cards so we don’t have that to worry about.  Just student loans.  Lots and lots of student loans.

So as it sits right now, I have organized our money so that DH and I can sit down and have a little chat about where we are, where we want to go and what we’re willing to do to get there.  Do you do that?  How often?  Are you on track?  We’re moving the right way, but I’d like to be moving a little faster.  I feel really strange having done this cleanup.  Light in some ways, heavy in others.  Honest here?  Every time I think about my student loans, I feel a little nauseated.  All that money and for what?  Now, to claroify, I don’t regret my education but I sure wish I wouldn’t have had to take on all that debt to finance it – especially the masters which I haven’t exactly leveraged since I got it.  I love learning, but dayum that cost a lot of money.

Is your financial house in order?  Did you ever have an awakening about your money?  How’d it go?  I’ll keep you posted on our progress.

One more question:  What’s a reasonable grocery budget for a family of six?  I am thinking about trying to keep it under my hubby’s BAS.  Am I nuts?