Our Debt Confession

We have debt. There, I said it. We are working on paying everything off so we can live the way we want. We spent years working on becoming “normal” only to realize that we didn’t want to be normal. We are breaking down our debt into small payoff goals. I touched on this in our January goals post. I started this website to completely share our journey into our new life. Our long-term plan is to be debt free, travel with our kids, and buy a house someplace warm that feels like home. This all began with a conversation while on vacation. My husband and I talked about what we would do if we could do anything. What would our lives look like if we were living our dream life? Our dreams included lots of travel, beach days, sunshine, and time spent with our kids and each other. We were not surprised by this. We do travel quite a bit with our girls but not as much as we would like. We went a step further and constructed our dream life. We would sell the majority of our stuff and live out of backpacks for a year while traveling the world with our kids. Then we would travel the United States for one to two years while I work as a travel nurse and Michael works at temporary jobs or stays with our kids. We spend that time getting to know our country and decide where we want to live. We buy a house near the beach someplace that feels right. Wow! That sounds amazing, right?

Do you know what happened after this dream planning? My crazy husband says “Let’s do that.” while nodding his head. Like it was completely doable. Like we just discussed having tacos for dinner. Did I mention that my husband is abnormal? I literally rolled my eyes at the man. He looks at me incredulously and asks “What? If that’s the dream, let’s do it.” I respond to this like any sane human being with “We can’t.” His response…”Why not?” Please keep in mind this is an intelligent, grown man. My response…”Because.” That is where the conversation dies. We left it right there for ages and we could have left it right there forever. That is the place most dreams are abandoned. I mean, we are adults. We can’t just go live our dreams.

For some reason, we revisited this conversation. I like to think it was because we both really want the same things in life. This time we really discussed the reasons that come after that because. We are currently working on the first big hurdle, our huge mound of debt. We want to be really upfront and honest about what we are facing so these are the exact numbers. I hate when I read websites that are about debt payoff, preparing for long-term travel, or budgeting and they do not include the actual numbers. They’ll say things like “Let’s just say this is $100. That’s a nice round number to work with. I also hate when people who only discuss debt payoff after it is done. I love to read about how somebody paid off $50,000 in 14 months or whatever but I wish they were writing the whole way so I can read their entire journey. I want to share all of the details from start to finish with you. So here we go:

We actually sat down together and wrote out every debt. We didn’t know exactly how much we owed. The number makes me want to vomit.

Our Debt

  • Loan – $1,202.67
  • Credit Cards – $17,973.94
  • Student Loans – $49,278.68
  • House – $115,766.18

Grand Total – $184,121.47

We are starting with paying off our credit cards. We have picked out the order we plan to pay them off in. We will continue to make the payments on everything as normal while working on the first credit card we are attempting to pay off. The personal loan will be the next thing on the list if we don’t pay it off while paying on the credit cards since it is so close to being done anyway. The student loans will be next. We are using the snowball method except there are a couple of credit cards that are out-of-order from least to most because we want to pay them off before the interest-free period ends. We have a long road ahead of us but we can do it!



No trip to the south is complete without a trip to Whataburger.  I love this place!  They have great onion rings.  Their burgers aren’t half bad either.  This particular stop was near Destin, Florida.  This place is good for families and extremely budget friendly.  It’s a great place to stop for lunch.  We ate there and enjoyed the break from the heat.


Isabella was happy to find out that her kid’s meal included a cookie.

What do you spend your money on?

A big challenge for most of our wallets is figuring out where the money actually goes. Everyone of us can ramble off a list of the basic bills we pay. It’s the little things that run our bank accounts dry and keep us from saving for the things we really want. The challenge is to start keeping track. This does not have to be a huge event. I went for the save your receipts policy. Every purchase I made I saved the receipt. At the end of the week I took them all out of my wallet and went through to see what I spent money on without thinking about it. Do you know what this little exercise taught me? It taught me to think about those little purchases because they were adding up big!

I already posted that I have started packing my lunch, drinks, and snacks. I also realized that we were spending too much on unintentional grocery purchases. The things we didn’t really need but bought on a whim. We now stick to a strict shopping list and bring an envelope of the coupons we intend to use. I bring the extra coupons in a separate envelope incase I stumble upon a great deal that was not advertised. Our stores do occasional markdowns that you do not know about until you get there.

The one thing that shocked me was how much we spend on late fees at the public library! We all think of the library as being free but those late fees can really nail you if you forget to renew or return things. We were spending at least $4 a month in late fees. Just by returning our books and things on time we will save $48 a year!

We occasionally stop for a quick dinner, buy a toy or clothing item, or go on an outing without considering our budget. We have now decided to make a budget section for these kind of things. That way we know we can do them from time to time but we have to consider them in regards to our budget because when that money is spent we are done for the month.

Please remember that your bank account is not an endless well (If yours is so large it feels that way then you don’t need my advice).

Budget Challenge #1 – Lunch

Between work and school I tend to eat a lot of lunches at restaurants and out of vending machines. Not only is this really bad for me but it’s also really expensive! This week I began packing. I packed lunch, a small snack, and a couple drinks in reusable bottles. The couple early days I even took my breakfast with me to class. The financi breakdown looks about like this:
Lunch out $5
Drink from the vending machine $1.50 each (I typically get two)
Snack from machine $0.55-$1
Total of = $7.05 to $9.00 a day

Packed Lunch $1
2 drinks $0.50
Snack $0.25
Total of = $1.75

That’s a savings of $5.30 to $7.25 a day! That’s an incredible savings!