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September 2017 Debt Repayment

September 29, 2017
AUTHOR: Emilie
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Welcome to September’s debt repayment update where I show you the progress I made on paying off my debt over the last month. If you’re new to Burke Does, you may be wondering why I would want to share these very real and personal numbers on the blog. You can simply skip to the next section if you’re not new here.

This all started soon after college when I tried to build my first budget and had no idea how to do that. While it took me a while, I did successfully start budgeting and get a grasp on my debt. In January 2016, I shared my financial status. At the end of the year, I shared my Financial Year In Review. I try to be as transparent as possible in my successes and my failures. Just real, no fluff or BS here.

September 2017
August September Change Percent Change
Car Loan (USAA) 14057.43 13796.28 261.15 1.85%
ECSI 7675.07 7506.22 169.07 2.20%
Combined Debt 21732.50 21302.28 430.22 1.98%
Traditional IRA 1600.15 1641.09 +40.94 2.56%
Roth IRA 8367.50 8572.70 +205.20 2.45%
Combined Retirement  9967.65 10213.79 +246.14 2.47%
Not-an-accurate-net-worth  -11764.85 -11088.49 676.36 5.75%
Car Value 13908 13966 +58 0.41%
Still-not-an-accurate-net-worth 2143.15 2877.51 734.39 34.37%


Slow and steady progress here. While I had originally hoped to have my ECSI loan paid off my December 2017, I now have a wedding to cashflow. Since we’re committed to cash flowing the whole thing and expect to pay for all of it ourselves, I’m going to be making the minimum payment on my car ($288) and double the minimum payment ($93) on my student loan ($200). The rest of the money that I’d usually debt snowball will be going towards the wedding. I’d rather over-save and be able to pay off a chunk of debt with leftover money after we get married.

I feel like $500/month towards my debts isn’t that bad, and Casey is on-board with the plan to just get it all done after the wedding. We both feel similarly about debt and hope to not take out debt again (except for maybe a mortgage here or there in the future). That being said, I still have over 20K in debt and $500/month in payments would mean over 40 months of payments. That’s four years! No, no. I see this set as 15 months of work when we’re focused on it, if not less, so after we get married, that’s the goal.


Because I was feeling some sort of FOMO about not contributing to retirement, compound interest, and low-interest rate debts (both my student loan and my car are below 5%), I have started contributing $50/month towards my Roth IRA. When we’re debt-free, both Casey and I will actively work to max these out, but for now this $50/month will help me tap into the magic of ~* ~compound interest.~ *~

Of course, this $50/month will get buried in with regular growth, and the market has been doing weeeeeell lately. While last month was a down month, this month was an up month. I try not to get too buried in the market, though, because I’m so far from retirement that it would just be a waste of energy.

In case you were curious, I personally use Betterment for my Traditional and Roth IRAs. I think Betterment makes it easy to get started investing, so much so that I also have Casey, my sister, and my mom investing through Betterment! If you sign up with my affiliate link, you get six months free!

When I first started investing for retirement, I was exclusively doing so in a Roth IRA. My Traditional IRA is from rolling over the match portion of a Roth 401K that is saved in a Traditional 401K. Eventually, I would like to roll this over to a Roth 401K. I estimate this will cost less than $500.


I highlight that this is not an accurate net worth because it fails to consider cash, savings accounts, and sinking funds that I’ve set aside. That being said, it’s a quick way to figure out how I’m doing by seeing how my debt fares against my retirement assets and my car.

You’ll notice that I bolded a couple of numbers in the table above- a first for me. First, note that I paid off over 2% of my debt this month. Again, not spectacular but it’s progress. Second, note that my retirement investments grew over 2% this month. This means that my inaccurate net worth measure that I show here actually swung over 5% in the positive! To be honest, this is the metric that matters most and I’m really excited about. Five percent month-over-month growth is phenomenal, and I will take it.

For the second month in a row, my car’s value on Kelly Blue Book went up, even when I updated the mileage to reflect it’s current count (27K, I also updated the link). I’m not really sure why my car’s value would go up, so I’m going to do a little bit more industry research here. Not a huge jump here, though, so it’ll be interesting to see how this changes over the next couple of months.

Looking Forward

As I shared last month, October is going to be a lot of the same craziness as September. I’ll be on the road from October 4th through the 30th or 31st (depending on how up to driving I’ll feel).

Here are some of the things that jump out to me as I type this:

  • I still have to pay for a hotel and food for MilspoCON, but these will be business expenses and will not come out of my personal budget. I will reimburse myself for the mileage to and from Wilmington.
  • I will have mileage for the drive to and from NJ as a business expense that I will reimburse myself for, but I will still need to up-front the cost of an oil change and gas.
  • I have set aside about $800 for me to up-front any costs of my trip to Europe and Dallas, but both of these trips are work-related and I will be reimbursed by my job for almost all of the Europe-related ones.
  • I have had the cash for my Milblogging/FinCon hotel room sitting in a bank account since JANUARY. I’ve found a third roommate to help subsidize the room a little bit more for a couple of days, but I’d love to find a third roommate for the other days, so that I can save just a little bit more of that cash. This will be a big ticket item and it will help be unlock a bonus on my business credit card, which I’m excited about.
  • I still have my casual spending money for October which I don’t expect to have touch at all, though I plan to use part of it on my maid of honor and matron of honor gift baskets (eek!).

Looking even more forward to November, we’ve decided not to travel for Thanksgiving, but that means we’ll definitely have to travel for Christmas. Otherwise, I expect it’ll be a quiet-ish month unless we decided to do something for Veteran’s Day.

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