Let’s Throw Some Money at Our Problems: June 2013 Check-In

Summer! Who’s dipping into their savings to take a vacation?

It’s time to check in on our debt payments and savings goals again. If you’re joining us for the first time, you can read about our decision to publicly keep track of our debt here.

Also: It’s been exactly one year since we decided to start doing this every month! Billfold pal @ThatJenn analyzed what the community has paid off so far. In one year, the Billfold community participating in monthly check-ins has paid off at least $281,952.85 in debts, including:

• $151,821.36 in student loans (this includes one family who paid off $68,000 in one fell swoop)
• $88,769.14 in credit card debt
• $19,774.00 in auto loans
• $5,500 in medical bills (this probably has some overlap with credit cards)
• $2,877.85 in back-taxes
• $2,810.06 in mortgages
• $4,488.92 in other forms of loans and lines of credit

Jenn writes: “There’s some stuff I noticed, having now read through all the comments from all 12 check-ins: nearly every time someone paid something down significantly due to a windfall, not needing to pay some other bill that month, or any means other than just their regular income, they qualified it as “cheating” or otherwise minimized it. It really made me reflect on how I think about leaps forward in financial stability. We are comfortable recognizing sudden financial setbacks as a normal part of life, but we’re largely uncomfortable accepting that sometimes the financial winds turn because of something good. I think at least some of it is due to that American ethic (well, commonly associated with Americans, anyway) that hard work is the only true and virtuous way to succeed.

“This check-in (and the site in general) has been incredibly important for me, and I’m sure for others, as well. Being able to talk about it when I’m proud of myself for making a good financial decision, being able to celebrate the windfalls and overcoming emergency expenditures, and being able to ask questions about where my priorities should be — that’s made it way easier to actually make those good decisions. This is my first time actually managing to keep my emergency savings untouched for more than a month or two, and I 100% believe it’s due to the savings check-ins, where I get to see my progress each month (it inspired me to change my direct-deposit so that about 10% of my take-home pay gets put directly into savings).”

Thanks to Jenn for doing the analysis, and here’s to another year of throwing money at our problems!

Let’s check in for June.

Logan’s paying off a Barclay Card, which currently has an APR of 22.24 percent, and a minimum monthly payment of $47.
May 2013 Balance: $967.27
June 2013 Balance: $835.41

I’m paying off one of my Sallie Mae Private Student Loans, with a current interest rate of 4.5 percent, and a minimum monthly payment of $55.
May 2013 Balance: $768.00
June 2013 Balance: $685.57

May 2013 Vacation Savings: $300.00
June 2013 Vacation Savings: $350.00

Remember, if you pay off one of your debts, email me your address and I’ll mail you a note to congratulate you. I owe a few people some cards, I know. I’ve run out of notecards at the moment and need to pick some up (my one thing!).

See previous months here.

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