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February 2018 Debt Update

February 23, 2018
AUTHOR: Emilie
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Welcome to February’s debt repayment update where I share with you the real numbers and the progress I’ve made over the last month in paying down debt, investing for retirement, and growing my net worth. If you’re new around these parts, thanks for joining me and my part of the web. You might be curious as to why I’d want to share all these real numbers on the blog. You can simply skip to the next section if you’re not new.

Reality kicked in soon after I started college. I tried to build my first budget and found that what I wanted to be able to spend was nearly twice what my monthly income was! Eventually I not only figured out how to start budgeting but also discovered a deep passion for personal finance. If you’re interested in learning more about getting started with your finances, I’ve got the ultimate How to Budget guide for you!

In real numbers, I shared my first debt update in January 2016 when I had $22,128.93 in student loans, starter loans, and credit cards. While I made a lot of progress on my debt over the next ten months, things changed in November 2016 when I bought a car. In January 2017 when all the dust settled, I found myself at $32315.69 in debt, almost $16K of which was the new-to-me car. I ended that year at $17444.89 in debt, totally credit card debt free with just my car loan and one remaining student loan.

I should remind you that I’m not a fan of “gazelle intensity.” There’s a time in your life when it’s possible to travel and, for me, that time is now. In the same year that I paid off nearly $15K of debt, I spent 3 weeks in Brasil, 3 weeks traveling through France, Spain, and Portugal, and took multiple domestic trips, visiting Nashville, Dallas, Orlando, New York, Savannah, Newark, Greenville, Charleston, and many other cities along the way. I have been focused on paying down my debt but not at the cost of living now.

I try to be as transparent as possible in both my successes and failures. I’m not trying to paint a rosy, unrealistic picture. I’m sharing what it’s really like to be working to pay off debt.

February 2018
January February Change Percent Change
Car Loan (USAA) 12819.28 12863.12 -43.84 -0.34%
Traditional IRA 1810.17 1757.34 -52.83 -2.92%
Roth IRA 9575.83  9353.48 -222.35 2.32%
Combined Retirement 11386.00  11110.82 -275.18 2.42%
Not-an-accurate-net-worth   -1433.28 -1752.30 -319.02 -22.26%
Car Value 13035  11298   -1737 13.36%
Still-not-an-accurate-net-worth 11601.72 9545.70 2056.02 17.72%

The Car

I didn’t make a payment on the loan this month because I didn’t have to and we had to spend some money fixing some stuff around the house getting ready for an impending move. Not a lot of movement here.


This was not a great month for the markets, but I’m glad we’re still above the 11K mark. I hope to hit 12K before my 25th birthday!


Ugh. The no car payment AND the retirement swing knocked my net worth below 10 K this month which is a huge, huge, huge bummer. I’m really bummed to see how this played out. It is what it is 😔

This was not the best month, but not all of them will be! This is part of why these updates are so important! This journey is not easy and I’d be lying fi I said I hadn’t heard about the latest dip in the market and my heart hurt, but I will continue to trudge forward. You know why? Even with the latest dip in the market, THE MARKET IS STILL BETTER THAN IT WAS IN OCTOBER 2017! Yes, you read that correctly! We merely backtracked a couple of months! Of free month growth anyway! I’m complaining because I’m human, but I’m not changing anything.

Looking Forward

March will be March. We’ll be living in our new home, which means a new budget and new expenses. I have just over a week of international travel planned. I expect it will take about a month to get settled, so I don’t expect March to have any ground breaking news. Hopefully, April will redeem both February any March!

How did your money do this month?

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