Making big moves!

Its been just over a month since I last posted, and wow has a lot happened since then!

You didn’t really think I gave up, did you?

Here is what was complete as of my last post (somewhere around late September):

1. Credit cards were paid off, resulting in freed up cash $300/mo
2. Winding down the Lending Club account started, should add income of about $450/mo
3. Stopped contributing to emergency fund and misc saving accounts…freed up cash to pay down debt: $650/mo
4. Downgraded AMEX Platinum to AMEX Green Card, saving $30/mo
5. Disposed of BlueGreen Timeshare, saving $70/mo
6. Cancelled Crossfit membership, saving $100/mo

Since then, I’ve been quiet on here, but also quietly making moves in the background, so let’s catch you up really quick…

7.  Sold Buick LaCrosse!
Payoff:  $16,378
Sale Price:  $12,000
Cash to sell:  $4,378
Prep to sell:  $758
 Total from cash:  $5,136

8.  Bought a 2010 Volkswagen Jetta SE with cash!
Price:  $4900
TTL:  $295
Total from cash:  $5,195

9.  Paid down highest APR personal loan by nearly $3,000
Original Balance:  $17,185
Today’s Balance:  $14,252
 Total from cash:  $2,933

7+8+9 = 24, right?  WRONG…it equals $13,264 less cash, but damn it feels good to be a gangster (name that song?)…

On a serious note…these last three moves hit our cash reserve hard.  Despite that, the extra cash freed up from items 1 through 6 mean it won’t take long to start reaping the benefits.

Speaking of benefits, I had 41 payments left on that Buick at $372/mo.   So, 28 months from now I’ll have recouped my cash outlay from both that sale and the purchase of the Jetta, while also cutting 14 more payments totaling $5,208!!!

Here is the progress we’ve made in just a couple short months…

PRI $340,000 $329,935 $326,860
SFH $80,460 $69,351 $68,794
CONDO $100,000 $94,790 $93,460
DUPLEX $185,000 $181,688 $180,572
PL1 $16,000 $14,233 $13,370
PL2 $25,000 $17,612 $14,260
CAR1 $40,127 $26,483 $25,386
CAR2 $24,149 $17,031 $0
HEL $18,664 $10,498 $10,339
401k LOAN $35,000 $31,082 $29,891
TSP LOAN $15,000 $13,627 $13,163
TOTAL $879,400 $806,330 $776,095


Think you can’t find ways to save money? Think again!

Save money

Trying to Budget is hard.

It takes more discipline than we thought we had, but little changes can make a big difference, and we are focusing 110% on paying down debt ASAP…have a look:

What we did

1. Credit cards have been paid off, resulting in freed up cash $300/mo
2. Winding down the Lending Club account has started, should add income of about $450/mo
3. Stopped contributing to emergency fund and misc saving accounts, resulting in freed up cash for debt payment: $650/mo
4. Downgraded AMEX Platinum to AMEX Green Card, saving $30/mo
5. Disposed of BlueGreen Timeshare, saving $70/mo
6. Cancelled Crossfit membership, saving $100/mo

None of these things were incredibly hard to do – frankly I think all of this could be done in a few hours, though we took a couple of days to identify the targets.

How the savings add up

In the end, this adds up to $1,600 a month in cash we weren’t missing anyway that can be immediately directed toward paying down debt!

I’m thinking this $1,600 goes on top of the $17,000 personal loan (PL1) with interest rate of 10.75%, which would pay that off in 9 months.

Next would be the $14,000 personal loan (PL2) with an interest rate of 7.5%.  Combining the $1,600 with the $450 freed up by paying off PL1 would pay that off 5 months after PL1 is paid off, or 14 months from now.  I’m assuming the balance on PL2 is around $2300 lower 11 months from now.

I’m also making repairs to sell the SFH we currently rent out, so proceeds from that sale could change everything above depending on how much we net there.

Here’s the bottom line

This is pretty aggressive but should be doable considering we were living without this money one way or the other anyhow.

If we can make these changes after living with no budget for years, you can too!  It’s actually become exciting to see how fast we can pay off this debt!!!


August Budget Report: The Good, the Bad, the MMM

August Budget report

A lot has happened since I posted our July budget numbers, so let’s get right to it.

First, I joined the Mr. Money Mustache forums and posted a case study there about our situation.  We’ve received a ton of great feedback there about how to tackle our $800,000 in debt, including some great budgeting tools to use.  You can view the post here – you might want to grab a cup of coffee and settle in though – there have been over 115 replies to the thread already!

We also signed up for Mint, and imported all of our accounts there.  What a time saver that has been!  After a bit of category tweaking, I’d say it’s close to a full accounting of our spending.  I really enjoy the ability to compare month to month spending, so I’ll be using Mint for most of my budget posts going forward.

Some big budget changes coming in September, but in August things were pretty much still “status quo” – lets take a look:

Spending by category

Green is the August budget numbers, and yellow represents July.  I’ll break out a few of these so you can get a better idea of what is going where, but you can see that we spent less overall in a number of categories.










Notably, travel and pet expenses were down quite a bit from July numbers, when we took a trip to Disney.  I’m hoping that over the next few months we’ll have a better sense of average spending in each category.

While overall spending in August was down about $1500 from July, when you back out the vacation expenses, it’s close to a wash.  At least we consistently overspend.  :o(

Big Spenders

There’s a lot of info here, so just let me know in the comments if you’d like to see the details of any categories and I’d be happy to share.  For now, let’s break down the three highest spending categories.


Our biggest spending category is Home at $6,353 in August, which includes not only our Primary mortgage, but also the three rental properties.  We purchased some garage storage shelves in August, which is why the Home Improvement category bumped up from July.  Literally can’t even walk in the garage.

Food and Dining

Food and Dining is our second largest spend at $2,072 in August, and one category where we definitely need to cut back.  Spending over $1,000/mo on Restaurants, Fast Food, and Alcohol/Bars is just crazy…thats over $30/day on top of our grocery spending!  This is way more than I thought we were spending.  One big step I will also take is cutting back on Craft Beer purchases – it’s just not necessary spending.  How much do you typically spend on Groceries and eating out?  Please share in the comments below.


Shopping was the third highest spend coming in at over $1,000 in August, mostly on Department Stores and Clothing, which is consistent with last months spending.  There are definitely savings to be had here.

 Assets, Liabilities, and Net Worth

Both assets and liabilities moved in the same direction, down 🙁

I had to get more realistic with the value of our used cars and real estate values dipped slightly.  Credit Card debt increased, while total loan balances went down.  Things should looks better in September as I start taking positive steps toward paying down debt.

As a result, Net Worth dropped by about $10,000 to $346,949.

Next Month:

As we roll into September, I’ve got some exciting news to share in our upcoming budget report.  Since signing up with Mint and joining the MMM forums, we’ve already make some big moves toward paying down our debt.  Here’s a hint:  credit card balances will be $0!!!

Be sure to sign up below to get the latest updates on our journey to find budgetary bliss!

Mr. Money Mustache Forums: a place to grow


On August 29th, 2017 I posted a case study on the Mr. Money Mustache (MMM) forums at the recommendation of a fellow blogger, @theoneindebt who has a blog called Stupid Debt that is tracking their journey to pay down over $70k in debt!

All I can say is thank you…and WOW.

As of today (September 13th, 2017) my case study has had over 6,500 views and 100 replies.  

The quantity and quality of the feedback I’ve received is invaluable.  

So free plug @mrmoneymustache – your forums are chock full of amazing talent and resources that have already changed my life for the better, so thank you!

If you are looking for advice on investing, taxes, entrepreneurship, debt, budgeting, want to post your own case study, or just browse around and see what other people are saying, check out the MMM forums here.

To check out my case study and follow along, click here.  I look forward to continuing my journey toward Financial Independence (FI), and know that I’ve got a great group of people over at MMM ready to face punch me into submission if I stray too far from the course.

Check out my budget blog here!

Cheers to FI!

Our journey to FI starts right now.


I can’t say enough about the Mr. Money Mustache forums.  I posted our situation there as a “Case Study” at the recommendation of a fellow blogger, @theoneindebt (  The amount and quality of the feedback I’ve received thus far has been nothing short of amazing, so thank you all. It really means a lot and I’m taking everything I read to heart.

If you want to check out the post and feedback you can read it here:$800-000-in-debt-and-where-to-start/

So, my last post there was this, which details our path forward:

Here’s what I’ve done so far, and what I plan to do soon. Any additional feedback will of course be greatly appreciated.

– I’ve signed up for both YNAB and Mint, and I am leaning toward Mint a little bit at this point be I find the app easier to use and it imports most transactions automatically…this will save me tons of setup time because I have hundreds of transactions per month. I can tell either tool will be a great resource to help us visualize our spending.

– We will pay off all credit cards immediately. This is roughly $12,000 in unsecured debt, and will return over $400/mo to our pockets, without expending too much of our cash.

– I’m exploring the sale of rental properties, starting with the SFH. We are directing some cash toward renovation (needs floors, paint, etc) to maximize it’s market value. My hope is to sell it for $120,000 which would pay off both the first mortgage and home equity loan, leaving me about $40,000 to spare. What can I do with that money to minimize tax liability?

– We’re going to start capping our spending in some of the current out of control categories – this includes dining out and craft beer. 🙁

EDIT: We are also going to redirect the $800/mo we currently put into various saving accounts (emergency fund, etc) towards paying down our two personal loans. Since we’ve got a good amount of cash to knock these out, we’re going to split this evenly and add $400 to each loan payment – to pay them both off within 24 months. Getting these paid off will free up an additional $770/mo.

Personal Loan 1 – Bal $17,612, pymt $450, 50 pymts to go | add $400/mo, paid off in 24 mos, saving $1000 in interest
Personal Loan 2 – Bal $14,233, pymt $320, 53 pymts to go | add $400/mo, paid off in 22 mos, saving $850 in interest

We obviously still have a lot to do, but this feels like a good start.

Let me know what you think, and thanks again all!

Bloggo July Budget is in! Crawling out of $800,000 in debt

We are over $800,000 in debt.  Yes, you read that right.

I decided to start looking into our budget because I was curious how much we were spending at the grocery store.  It felt we were literally there EVERY DAY.  After crunching through numbers for July, this has been a huge eye opener.  We make pretty good money, but we are seriously overspending.  It’s time for a budget intervention.

If you’ve been following along, I gave you a sneak peek into our July finances a couple of days ago.  I also recommend reading my Budget 101 Introduction posted last week.  It gives some great background into how we got here.

Lets start out with a recap.  Here’s the snapshot of our assets and liabilities in July:

Continue reading “Bloggo July Budget is in! Crawling out of $800,000 in debt”

Budget peek July: Net Income $1,778 | Net Worth: $356,027

Well, first numbers are in for July, and it isn’t pretty.  We are $823,000 dollars in debt! 

Net Worth July

We barely cleared our income this month, and I still have one more bank account to go through.  

I fully expect us to be in the red for July.

Want all the details for July as soon as I post them?

Sign up to get email updates today!

Check out ALL of  the reasons we need a budget, and what we are doing right (if anything) financially by checking out this blog post.  It’s pretty clear that we’ve been #ballinwithnobudget for way too long!

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Credit Score

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Budget 101: Why we need a budget, and why you do too.

Who needs a budget?  

It seems like a rhetorical question doesn’t it?  For a long time, I didn’t think we did.  I was convinced that because we made a lot of money, it didn’t matter.  

We bought the most expensive house we could afford.

We bought nice cars…because they were nice, not affordable.

The result:  $823,000 in liabilities.  Yes, over Eight Hundred Thousand dollars.  I’m sure you’ve heard the saying:  If you make more, you spend more.  Yep, especially if you don’t have a budget.

This post is the introduction to a planned series following our family while we work to establish (and hopefully stick to) a budget.

Cut to the chase?  Here are our July Budget Numbers.

Care to read about some lessons learned?  Read on…

Continue reading “Budget 101: Why we need a budget, and why you do too.”

How to install WordPress in Bluehost

If you are just getting started, check out:

Installing WordPress on Bluehost requires…well, Bluehost.  If you haven’t setup your account yet:

Once you have a Bluehost account, and are logged into the site, scroll down the main page, then locate and click on Install WordPress under the website heading.

Continue reading “How to install WordPress in Bluehost”