That’s the dance I feel like we’re doing these days with our efforts to pay off our debt. We’re making progress, we’re moving forward, but every time I find a little extra in the budget to apply toward our debt it either feels like it’s not enough, or it needs to be applied to something else. I learned the water filter in our refrigerator needs to be changed at the end of the month, and there goes $50. We’ve also got to squeeze in an additional $140 a month into the budget for WenYu’s braces. Our house payment goes up next month just as the withholding increases again in Mr. Losing It’s navy retirement check. For the first time his retirement pay will no longer cover the house payment so we’ve got to send some additional funds to that account every month. We’ve also got to fit some shopping money into the next couple of months’ budgets, for gifts to take over to Japan for our grandson and his mom and dad. Two steps forward, one step back.
I’ve learned though that effective debt repayment isn’t always about paying off the lowest balance first, or applying extra to the account with the lowest balance. This morning, as I worked on our budget for the next six months (yes, we budget that far ahead) I discovered that if I make an extra payment each month to our adoption loan balance we can have that debt repaid by the end of June versus just making the regular monthly payment and finishing it in October. I had originally thought we should pay off a smaller credit card balance first, but discovered if we got rid of the adoption loan first we could actually pay off the credit card by September, a full month ahead of schedule!
A couple of weeks ago I posted our debt balances on front page of the blog. They’re there for me to have to look at, so I can see how far we still have to go, but also as a reminder of how much progress we’ve made and are continuing to make. When I’m feeling discouraged, it helps to see that we’ve paid off two car loans, and one overdraft account (the second will be paid off this month when our tax refund arrives). We have an ambitious goal for this year, to pay off four more accounts: the second overdraft, the adoption loan, credit card #3, and Mr. Losing It’s student loan. It’s going to take a great deal of hard work and focus, but we also have something else motivating us these days: Mr. Losing It’s retirement. Plans for that, for where we want to be and what we want to do, are falling into place and are providing real motivation to stay on task with debt repayment. That and we’re just sick to death of debt.
The two-step continues, but I’m enjoying the music more these days.