Welcome to July’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.
[table caption=”July 2017″ colalign=”center”]
, June, July, Change, Percent Change
Car Loan (USAA), 14617.03, 14352.46, 264.57, 1.81%
ECSI, 7764.77, 7736.22, 28.55, 0.34%
Upstart, 2658.89, 2426.09, 232.80, 8.75%
Combined Debt, 25040.69, 24514.77, 525.92, 2.10%
Traditional IRA,1566.91,1608.66, 41.69, 2.66%
Roth IRA,8165.08,8409.15, 244.07, 2.99%
Combined Retirement,9731.99, 10017.81, 285.82, 2.94%
Not-an-accurate-net-worth, -15308.70, -14496.96, 743.64, 4.85%
Car Value, , 12974, ,
Still-not-an-accurate-net-worth, , -1522.96, ,
I added some fun new metrics this month. You know, data is my thing. Scratch all the goals I laid out last month because we need to get really serious for a minute.
I was catching up on the Budget & Cents Podcast this week and really appreciated an exercise they went on, which I thought I’d take on here as well. I’ve preached that spending is indicative of your values. How often, though, do we think about our spending- actually sit back and reflect on how the spending went? I reflect weekly and monthly on my goals, but since my budgeting system has been, well, let’s call it in transition, I haven’t spent all that much time reflecting on my purchases.
Here are the last five things that I bought:
1. Beats Solo 3 & 2. Dell Ultra HD 4K Monitor P2415Q 24-Inch Screen LED-Lit Monitor
My new job gave me a hardware bonus to start. My monitor is a couple of years old. Even though it works, the ports are wonky and screen distortion is at 💯. It makes a great second or back up, but since I spend close to a third of my life (8 hrs/day) working from it, it only makes sense that I make it great. This monitor is a 4K monitor and my computer doesn’t support 4K, but in 6 months I will be upgrading computers, so I’m looking forward to the future with that.
The headphones are headphones. I found them refurbished in a price that fit the remainder of my budget. I really like over the head earphones and have been looking for Beats in my price range for a while. I’m so excited to have gotten these!
3. Chasing Excellence by Ben Bergeron & 4. The Vanishing American Adult: Our Coming-Of-Age-Crisis by Ben Sasse
Remember how I said I wasn’t going to buy books this quarter? #mybad I’ve sucked at that and have bought seven (including these two).
The former here is written by a Crossfit Coach who preaches on mindset, something I’ve not really shied from admitting I’ve been struggling with lately. I enjoy Ben Bergeron’s podcasts and am looking forward to his book.
The latter was mentioned in association with Hillbilly Elegy by JD Vance on a podcast I listened to and I just immediately knew I wanted to get my hands on it.
5. Rx Bars
I’m really impressed with the quality of Rx Bars after trying them based on a friend recommendation. They’re a quick convenient snack and they’re only made with “Real Food”, aka Whole30 compliant food.
When I decided I wanted to get more, I found a 20% coupon and ordered my favorite flavors: mango pineapple, mixed berry, and blueberry. I like fruity sweet things!
Is my spending aligning with my values?
This is, of course, the key question. The last five things I bought were two pieces of tech, two books, and food. Yes, I’m okay with this. While the Beats were definitely an indulgence, they were a calculated one- I think having reliable headphones will make my workflow better, but I didn’t need them so I wasn’t willing to splurge on them. Since they were going to be reimbursed, they will be a worthwhile add-on.
The two books are two I’m really excited to read as soon as they come in. I’ve been crushing through books lately and they really have bringing me joy, as I’ve been trying to pry myself away from my cell phone lately. (I really think maybe I need to get back into fiction?)
Since I’ve decided to do this Whole30, I might as well work to make it work for myself.
But what does this mean for how I did in July?
Right now I need to be in maintenance mode. Since getting out of credit card debt, my spending is a little bit out of control. I spend less than I make, but I still spend more than I would like to. I didn’t have a big debt pay off month because I spend $100 on Rx Bars and because I spent $30 on books and because I spent $80 on Stitch Fix and because I impulse-bought concert tickets to Florida Georgia Line two weeks ago and I bought tickets to Sam Hunt last week and every little thing adds up. I’ve absolutely destroyed this quarter’s categorical spending ban.
I added those other metrics up there because they make me feel better. Sure, I might still have 14K in a car loan, but I also have 10K in retirement. While these two don’t cancel each other out, it gives me hope and a grounding to remind me that the end of the world is not coming just because I’ve decided to pause on paying down debt so I can get some serious travel in for the next three months.
Speaking of which, that’s what the next few months look like- I will be road tripping from North Carolina up to New York over the course of 8 days in August for my VFA graduation. I’m also hoping to get out to Nashville for the Solar Eclipse later this month. In September, I’ll be visiting Brasil for my cousin’s wedding with a day layover in Bogota and a couple of days visiting y dad in Florida on the way back. In October, I’ve got MilspoCon and FinCon. And we expect a PCS to be coming later this year. Trust me it feels like I’ve got a lot more on my plate than just a couple of sentences worth.
What does this mean for my money? That I expect a couple of months of minimum payments for a while. I know that I’m going to be cashflowing these expenses and I just want to be realistic about it. Sure I could pay down extra on my upstart loan, but when I run out of money at the end of the month I’m going to end up swiping something on my credit card.
So things are on pause right now. Even though this slow down is super disappointing, it’s something I feel I’ve known in the back of my mind for a while but have been reluctant to admit. As frustrating as that is, it’s what I need to do right now, so it’s what I’m going to be doing. I would like to see that Upstart loan gone soon, so my goal is going to be finding extra money (from freelancing, sponsored posts, the couches, babysitting, etc.) to go towards this. At the very least, this loan needs to be gone before Christmas.
Here’s to three months of a whole lot of living! And then back to the grind.
Emilie is an Army Wife, Data Engineer, and CrossFitter with a love for working through her thoughts in this space on the internet. She lives with her husband Casey and their pup Bo in Savannah, GA.