Oct 06 2010

Part 6: Courtney is ‘catnip-powered cat intense’!

See part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4, part 5, part 6 and part 7.

Several months have passed since I last wrote an update on Courtney’s debt reduction progress. She and her husband are doing a fantastic job! First, the numbers. The regular text are the numbers from the end of June, and the bold numbers are current:

  1. Kohl’s credit card: $0
  2. Discover card: $0
  3. Capital One: $0
  4. Menard’s: $0
  5. Visa: $2,522 Now: $0!
  6. Signature loan $2,279 Now: $2,270
  7. Discover #2: $5,206 Now: $3,198
  8. Dodge: $1,813 Now: $0!
  9. Toyota: $10,758 Now: $10,242
  10. Sallie Mae: $26,732 Now: $26,026

Total debt in March: $56,595

Total debt in June: $49,508

Total debt in October: $41,736

Total paid so far: $14,859

Um…wow. Almost $15,000 in about seven months! That’s pretty intense. You’ll notice that they are down to one credit card balance remaining. This is huge. It can be so hard to make headway on credit cards because of the way they amortize interest, and the typically high interest rates.

With six monthly payments eliminated, their debt snowball is growing tremendously.

Her house situation, in her words:

Our house is officially OFF the market. We really had no bites and I’m sure it did not help that there are three forclosures you can literally see from our front porch (I wish I was exaggerating). We wanted to sell to jump start our debt repayment and move somewhere a little bigger. Fortunately, we didn’t sell because I’m really liking our clean, less cluttered house! Nothing gets you motivated to clean out junk than the prospect of strangers walking through and judging your messiness! So, for now we have no plans to sell or move despite (cough) not being in a recession anymore (cough).

Paying off their truck ahead of schedule, in her words:

Since the last update we paid off our Dodge truck. It was a little bit out of order, but we are trying to sell it. So far no bites. We’re hoping to sell it for at least $9,500 and then purchase a larger, but older work truck and hopefully have $1,000 or so to put straight towards our debt (and maybe save a little bit on insurance).

In the past couple months my husband purchased a dump truck for his side business (tree removal, etc.) and it has helped him move away from dependence on others and enabled him to save a lot of time and gas by making fewer trips!

We also purchased (well, were pretty much given) a car. A faculty member here had a 1992 Honda Accord that had only 60,000 miles on it. He was going to give it away and I asked if I could purchase it–He said sure, for $50. He refused to take more money, so we wrote him a very nice thank you card and got him about $150 worth of gift certificates.

Since my husband primarily drives this car now, he saves A LOT of gas money (like $80+ per month) by not driving the large Dodge truck. (Oh, and at least a dozen people have sat, mouth agape, at our deal of the century–and then tried to purchase the car from us for as much as $2,000. Sorry folks, we know a gem when we see one!)

Other tidbits:

We are a little bit ahead of schedule as far as paying things off because we’ve been forunate to save money on our cable bill ($20/month by just calling and asking if they had any promotions for loyal customers) and make a bit of side cash. Our car insurance did go up some with the addition of two vehicles, but only by about $30/month and we are easily saving more than that $30/month on gasoline costs.

Of course we’ve had unexpected expenses, not the least of which was a surprise $70 water bill (it’s normally $10) that led us to discover a leak. We paid a plumber to come out and fix it and that was about $300. However, he found there was a SECOND leak that he had and fixed for FREE–AND he put a shut off valve under our house so we did not have to run all the way out to the road in case we had to turn off the water. Why did he do these extra jobs for free? Because we mentioned we found him on Angie’s List and he wanted us to have a positive experience and write a little blurb about it. Oh believe me this man got a GLOWING review! So, we’ve had some good fortune–no more leaks and an honest plumber. And the best part? We didn’t have to touch our emergency fund for this–we were able to sell a few random items, my husband got some overtime at work and he did a few small tree jobs.


We are hopeful that we can start 2011 with only Sallie Mae and the Toyota left as our consumer debt. I cannot believe that inside of 7 months we have paid off nearly $15,000 worth of our debt. It seems insane to think about because really, we haven’t changed our quality of life AT ALL.

We are doing a modified version of the Dave Ramsey plan–we wouldn’t call ourselves gazelle intense–more like… catnip-powered cat intense. To us, it is worth paying a little bit of interest to continue our little extravagances (eating out a moderate amount, trips to to hair salon, purchasing a new trinket). We have cut back on these things, but feel that since this is likely the last year of marriage we will spend together without children, we want to have just us fun and do a few things that are definitely extras. I think the most important part is that we are NOT going into debt for these extravagances and we are still motivated and have a plan to knock out this debt.

Ok, Kacie again. Comment, why doncha?

5 Responses to “Part 6: Courtney is ‘catnip-powered cat intense’!”

  1. Woo hoo! Congratulations on your amazing progress!
    Karen´s last post ..Favorite freezer meals

  2. This is wonderful! I’ve really enjoyed following Courtney’s story. It’s extremely motivating. I wish I could organize our newly acquired debt and get the snowball rolling, but it’s overwhelming sometimes! Congratulations to her and her husband for their progress.

  3. You guys should be so proud — paying down that much debt so quickly is a tremendous accomplishment!!!
    Trixie´s last post ..Menu Plan Monday

  4. Thanks! It’s really not been as difficult as I thought–getting started was VERY overwhelming, but let me tell you–Ms. Kacie is a great resource and an inspiration and full of motivation! :)

  5. Way to go! Love reading about your progress. Keep up the good work!

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Hey! I'm Kacie, wife to Shane and mother to Jonathan (7), Vivienne (5) and Amelia (2) . I write about my family's finance: how we save money, improve our spending, and plan for the future.

I hope I can inspire and encourage you to improve your situation. See disclosure.

I'm adopting a much slower-paced posting schedule, and treating this as a hobby blog now.

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