As we approach the end of the year, we’ve been keeping a close eye on our finances. This is partly due to holiday expenses and partly due to my realization that it was time to take a closer look at the monthly budget. I’m coming up on a year past graduation, and we’ll reevaluate my student loan repayment options. That’s going to hurt!
We’ll also start 2011 aggressively attacking our personal debt—we’ve got to get this more under control. Sure, I’m always frugal about our purchases, but we’ve made mistakes. We’ve had a lot of unexpected things happen to us. We’ve accumulated more debt over the last 14 years than either of us really recognized, but we’ve come a long way. Now, we’re determined to eliminate it altogether.
I can see the light at the end of the tunnel, and it really helps me see how beautiful life could be if we were debt free. Our two family vacations (gifts, btw, not increased debt!) earlier this year were completely amazing and made me want more. A debt free life means more room in the budget for family fun, annual vacations and those much needed date nights. It’s time to get serious, create a plan & make it happen.
The Credit Card Accountability Responsibility and Disclosure Act of 2009 makes it easier to see how quickly we can pay off debt. At first, seeing the details of what our debt is costing us in black & white was a little daunting. Now, though, I’m using it to decide which cards to attack first—one of our balances has zero difference between the required 3-year payoff listing and the minimum payment payoff.
Therefore, we’ll pay the minimum amount on that one and focus our funds where they can have the most impact. Of course, having extra money to attack our debt will be a big part of the plan. We’re going to start 2011 digging even deeper into our budget. Careful tracking will also be key—the hubby has been using Mint for quite some time, but either we’re not working together properly or it isn’t a good fit for shared budgeting.
The Moneydance review I read last week reminded me that there are other financial planning & budgeting tools out there. Getting stuck in our ways is pretty much how we got into this mess in the first place. We need to find something that works for us—allows multiple admins, available for the Mac & PC and has an iPhone application for on the go tracking. Also, I like pretty graphs but I suppose that’s not a deal breaker.
I have until January 1st to decide so we can start the year off right. I want to carefully track our spending & debt elimination. I also plan to share some of it here for accountability, support & inspiration. Anyone else joining me in debt elimination next year?