August is my least favorite month of the year. It heralds in back-to-school shopping and unrelenting heat, and there are no holidays to celebrate. Honestly, August can just fall off the calendar completely and I would be glad to be rid of it.
Also this year, it brought in nothing special by way of extra payments for us. We were able to stick to our schedule of debt repayment, and I worked back-to-school shopping into my budget, but there were no nice “extra” checks, like in July, and no bonuses.
The trick I use to save up extra money using my phone bill will come in handy for September, but I made a full regular payment on my phone bill this month.
We were looking forward to seeing Round 2 of stimulus checks come in maybe, but then the bill got bogged down in the House and we’ll have to wait for more when they reconvene this month. So, while nothing pulled us away from our debt repayment schedule, we didn’t get to exceed either.
If this is your first time joining me on these debt payoff reports, you can follow my story from the beginning or just recap here to see where we’re sitting. I’m on a mission to pay off almost $27,000 in debt.
Anyway, back to this month’s report . . .
Short Family Vacation
We took a short, three-day trip to the Grand Canyon in August. I was needing a break from work, which has gotten hectic, and my husband’s PTO was about to cap out, so we took a week off. We spent the first six days just hanging out at home (and me not thinking about work), and then we took the last three days of our time off to make a quick trip out of state.
The Grand Canyon has been on my bucket list since we moved to Southern California about six years ago, and since it was only an eight-hour drive, this made an ideal location for us to visit and not spend much. We rented a motel for two nights, and bought things to eat during the car ride. All in all, we spent about $700 on our vacation, including gas, food, lodging, and activities for three people.
I paid for the entirety of this short vacation using my adventure fund, which is an account I add $150 to every month for things just like this. This ensures that we’re still able to go out and have fun, guilt free, as that money is earmarked for enjoyment.
Here are our gains (losses?) for the month of August:
August Debt Ledger
This month Kyle managed to break under the $3,000 mark on his PayPal account, which he’s exceedingly excited about. If you remember from last month’s numbers, I had a bit of a shock when I realized that there was a special interest rate on this account. This meant that we were charged $90 in interest that month.
That number has become a bit more respectable, back under $60. The balance on our Joint Card 1 is now approximately what it was when we started paying down debt in March of this year.
That excites me since it only took about five months to pay off that card, with me working on it by myself. With Kyle’s extra $150 per month in payments—which he plans to continue—we should have that card paid off in a similar timeframe from now.
With the Senate unable to agree on terms for the second round of the CARES Act, we are keeping an eye on them as they reconvene later this month. We are hopeful that by the end of the year we might see a second round stimulus check, the bulk of which would be going to debt payment to speed up our progress.
Also in September, I am looking forward to having my phone bill show a credit instead of owing anything, which is part of the way I trick myself into saving a bit of extra money. This is just one of the ways I trick myself into saving more for things that pop up during the year.
This month I’ll be using that freed up $200 I would normally spend on this bill to buy some much needed clothes for my daughter. I don’t often buy clothes, so when I do I usually buy quite a few at once. This probably happens once or twice per year.
Each month I take a look at how I’m doing on my goals. If you’re not familiar with them, you can read all about them here.
Pay Down $17,000 in Debt
The deadline on this is the end of February 2021. Over six months, we’ve paid about $12,300 on our debt, with a sizeable chunk of that going to interest.
Once we adjust for interest, I calculate that we’ve paid about $9,900 on the principal. We can expect to pay off $19,800 in debt by the end of February if we keep up this pace, which would exceed my original goal.
Chipping away at debt means we will likely pay off more than this, but I continue to leave myself a buffer in case things come up along the way.
Write 24 Pieces of Content
This goal may seem underwhelming to some, especially for those who are content creators.
I wanted to set a sustainable pace for myself as I wrote content. Even though I was excited when I started this blog, I knew that the original excitement would wane and that sometimes content creation would even be tiresome to me when I was feeling unmotivated. I wanted something I could stick to but also not a ridiculously low goal, like 12 pieces of content.
Being able to exceed my goal motivates me as well. I like to see how much I can exceed my goal by.
In August, I wrote four pieces for my blog, which puts me at twenty-three pieces of content. This means that this post, written in September, is my twenty-fourth post!
I am beyond excited to have hit this goal. At this rate, I could double my content by the end of the year.
I was wondering how I might have enough unique content to keep the blog going, but the more I get into the world of personal finance, the more excited I get about it, not less. It can be hard for me to feel confident in my blog journey since I don’t consider myself an expert, but I’m committed to sharing what I know.
My hope is that my journey inspires others to also crush their own debts. Even if you can do it faster, or slower, than the next person, you too can be debt free, and that is the message I hope to get across. I am not special. If I can crush my finance goals, you can too!
I’ve already determined the ways in which I’m interested in monetizing my blog, and so I have no immediate plans to take further action on this.
I know that I’m going be building my readership quite slowly, and this means monetization is down the line. Since I consider a blog to be active income—requiring regular input to receive output—my financial goals are not entirely pinned to blogging.
I am continuing to monitor the personal finance blogging community so I can keep up with trends. I’m also already looking at other financial goals I want to hit after our debt is paid off, including a full emergency fund and ways to earn enough passive income to retire in a ten- to twenty-year timeframe.
I’m looking quite hard at real estate investment and am therefore spending a lot of time reading books on the subject.
Half a Year In
As we’ve hit the six month mark, I thought it would be fun to include a visual of my progress. I love charts and graphs, personally, and so I put together this simple one showing the relationship between the debt we’ve paid off and the debt remaining.
Just look at those lines! I can’t wait for them to intersect, indicating that I’ve paid off more than I owe. Also notice that these lines are relatively straight, which means we’re paying down our debt quite steadily. To me, this means we’ve selected the right strategies to paying off our debt. A very positive indicator.
Until Next Time
That wraps up all my updates for this month. If you’re crushing goals of your own, let me know down in the comments. I’d love to hear about them!
View the July 2020 report.
View the September 2020 report.