Debt Free In 2017…Our 3 Year Plan

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Hey everyone, I’ve got another Monday treat for you. A few weeks back, I contacted Bre from the Weight of Debt blog after reading an awesome post. When I contacted her, I was wondering if she would be so kind as to share her story with my audience. She responded with a “Yes”!!! So, without further ado, here’s her post!

The realization of debt is a force to be reckoned with. It will knock you down if you are not prepared to receive it. You can easily be up to your neck in debt and not fully understand your financial situation. That is where we were in December 2013.  I would log on and pay my student loans with my eyes closed.  After over drafting twice that Christmas I was forced to analyze our finances.  The numbers were frightening.

At first glance, I thought my other half and I were in almost $200,000 in debt. Thankfully, after actual number crunching we discovered we were in far less debt than we thought.  We owed a stifling $71,240, primarily in student loans!  You may be thinking wow that original math was way off! Yes, technically we owed $163,860. The reason for this is parent plus loans. It important to state that we are still fully responsible for our parent plus loans but for blogging purpose and our sanity we are primarily focusing on the loans in our names.

After my financial reality check to the gut, I quickly started my blog The Weight of Debt just as a place to contain all the advice, research, and progress. My blog has played a big role in the ability to start our uphill climb to become debt free. It keeps me at a certain level of accountability that I would not otherwise feel. At the beginning of April I sat down with my other half and we did some serious number crunching and budgeting. We decided on a fast track plan and I declared to the world that we would be debt free in 2017! This plan requires quite a few components.

Budgeting on one income

The biggest component to this fast paced repayment is my other half had recently started a new job, which meant a pretty substantial pay increase. It was enough of an increase that we could fully budget our life on his income. Leaving my income to be fully focused on debt, for the most part. We still leave a small wiggle room and allowance for both of us. We do not plan on sacrificing our small indulgences during this process.

$2,000 A Month

To stay on track we have to pay at least $2,000 a month towards our debt. So far we are right on track. Last month we paid a whopping $3,043! Completely paid off and cut up our credit cards! The plastic surgery was a huge success! Paying off our credit cards felt amazing! Having smaller milestones and meeting them is so key to the long-term success. I cried after making those last payments. After having talked about it for so long on my blog, it was so surreal to be done with our consumer debt!

Small Deferment

Another main component to the ability to our debt repayment plan is we deferred only my parent plus loan. The reason for this is because it is such a large loan that I was only making interest payments on it as it was. Almost $500 a month just in interest! So the plan was to put that money to better use towards our other debt for the first year to make better progress. I know this may have some other personal finance guru’s throwing their hands up in aghast. But the key word is personal here. This was the best plan for us personally. We want to see fast and substantial progress. With this method we will have one of the loans completely paid off much sooner.

Extreme Dedication & Self Accountability

Even with the small indulgences it is proving to be rough to start out on this plan. Making those payments the same day I get paid is rather painful. I have to remind myself why we are doing this. You have to constantly keep your eye on the prize. It is kind of an emotional roller coaster. Making the payments is rough but the feeling I get when I input them into our repayment spreadsheet and to see the closing balance to drop so much is exhilarating.

Being Fully Supported

Emotionally the biggest contributor is the support our families have given us. They have fully trusted us with the deferment and the plan we have decided for ourselves. We are very blessed to have such supportive family members. I really encourage you to also find those people in your lives family or not. Tell them about your financial goals and ask them to hold you accountable and to encourage you on your journey.

So far this plan is working well for us and we are right on track. We are only two months in, but the time has flown by! We will continue to take on this debt a month at a time. Please consider following me at @TheWeightOfDebt as we continue to carry the weight of debt! Thank you Joshua for allowing me to share this post on your awesome blog!

Author Bio: Bre is a new personal finance blogger at The Weight Of Debt, sharing her journey to become debt free by the end of 2017. She shares the ways she is making extra income, saving money, and all that she learns as she continues to pursue her goals of becoming debt free.

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Hey, Im Joshua, the founder of CNA Finance. I enjoy following the trends in the market and finding the catalysts that are making the moves. If you want to get in contact with me, leave a comment below or email me at CNAFinanceHelp@gmail.com Please keep in mind that I am not an investment advisor and nor is CNA Finance. This is a news and information gathering outlet. We may work directly with some of the companies that we write about. If we have a business relationship with an issuer, we will mention that in the articles. We also have various affiliate relationships with advertisers and may be paid if you sign up for a service that you were referred to through our website.

32 COMMENTS

  1. Bre – the key message is that you are tackling your debt in a positive and proactive manner. The first hurdle is acknowledging it but you guys are way down the road from that. Congrats on knowing your debt free goal date as well! I’m marching towards May 2018 and some days it doesn’t seem like it will ever get here quick enough. But I dust myself off from my pity party, keep calm and then carry on!

  2. I’ll certainly have to check out your blog for more info, but I’m curious if you feel that your student loans were worth it and if you’d do it the same way knowing what you know now? I never regretted my student loans, but wish we’d been better focused on paying them off like you are doing.

    • Thank you for the comment Kim! Hindsight is always 20/20.

      I would have done just a few things different. Mainly I would have liked to understand debt more and to have sought out more scholarships! I had 8 when I started college. I could of gone to a state college instead of a private university for almost a full ride! But private university does not transfer credits the same way.

      Was it worth it? Most definitely. Not only did I learn a ton, get my degree at an accelerated pace, and work so hard I’m now employed at the school I attended. It is where I met my other half. That is priceless.

  3. Living on one income is a great way to accomplish your goals faster. I did something similar to save for a down payment on my home. It sounds like you have a great plan in place and I’m sure you will succeed.

  4. Congrats on kicking your consumer debt to the curb!! I know the student loan debt is frustrating, but as you point out, with dedication and accountability, it’s amazing how fast you can achieve your goals. Thanks for sharing your story here and your blog!

    • That is a wonderful quote! Starting was the hardest and easiest part. I was thinking about how my blog and journey started on the way home the other day and it is interesting how it kind of flew by and I had no idea how it all would manifest. I think the biggest changes in life happen when you make serious life style changes because of shock or pure necessity and those changes happen right at that moment.

      I think that is why new years resolutions don’t work for most people because they want to change that thing only partially. Mainly only stating it because they feel like they need a resolution not because they actually need to make a change. True change only happens when it needs to happen I think! Thanks for the comment!

  5. “The biggest component to this fast paced repayment is my other half had recently started a new job, which meant a pretty substantial pay increase. It was enough of an increase that we could fully budget our life on his income.” This is actually a big reason I am all about increasing income. It’s all relative in personal finance. 70k debt on, say, a 500k income isn’t much. 70k on a 50k income is a challenge.

    Best of luck on your debt repayment plan!

  6. Congrats on starting down this path … though I have a smaller debt, I need to start getting serious about paying it down as well! Keep up the good work!

    • Thank you for the comment Tom! The sooner it is gone the sooner you will never have to think about it again! 🙂 Now that our credit cards are gone it is amazing not having to think about those two extra payments anymore!

  7. You’re on a great path here! I would love to be able to live off of one income and put the other toward debt, but that’s not happening at least for this year. I’m sure it’s amazing to watch the numbers fall with that plan. Congrats on paying off your consumer debt, and all the best with your student loans!

  8. I hope you can pay it all off in two years. When someone finally begins to send big payments it just changes the whole debt picture as many tend to pay it off sooner. Student loans are becoming a major crutch for new graduates, as the loan balance is too overwhelming.

    • EL! Yes! I can totally see that happening! We are ahead currently and I can see that in a short time I may be addicted to the feeling those big payments give us! We definitely can rein in the budget even more if we got more intense on it which we may look into for the next month and push ourselves!

  9. Wow, $2,000 per month seems like a lot of money! You’ll kick your debt in no time if you are making such big payments like you did last month. Having a 3 year plan sounds good. 5 year plans seem so long and it’s unrealistic for many people to think of paying off their debt in 1 or 2.

  10. Coming to terms with debt… blessing in disguise, right? Nice job on making a plan and tackling it. I also put my SL on deferment to utilize the money towards paying down my credit cards first. But I need to make sure I send in the interest payments. I should also find out just how much interest I will be paying as a whole. Thanks for giving me that idea. Best to you and your journey. The last payment will be sweet.

    • Thank you for the comment Elizabeth! I have chosen to just ignore that loan while I focus on this other stuff for now. It helps mentally to not be over whelmed by the fact that that loan is more than my other half and I are in debt combined!

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