Saturday, February 22, 2014

ETSY Shop is Up!

We finally have the ETSY shop up. We are still working on some of the final details, but the items are up that we are offering. We will add some more in the future, but for now, we have two scarf designs and mittens. Later today, we will have a pillow cover that is beautiful! My wife is doing the final touches on it. We would love for you all to check out the listings -

I will keep you all updated on new items that make it into the store. We will be adding some winter hats that would be considered "beanies" in the next week or so. So check back to our blog or ETSY store for the new items.

If you have any questions/suggestions, we are always here to listen! We would love any insight you could provide from a buyer's standpoint. We would also love for you to buy something, too. :) All of the money made from ETSY will be used to pay down debt. The more items we sell, the more debt we pay off!

On a more infuriating note, we got our dues for our neighborhood association this week...$450! Normally, it is $85 a year. The reason we wanted this house was because there was no homeowner's association. The reason for the increase is because they want to do some sort of work on the front entrance sign and they received a quote for $17,000 for the work. The part that is infuriating is that they did not send out a vote to the homeowners. They just took it upon themselves to restore the front of the neighborhood. There was no warning to people about an increase of almost 500% on dues. Some people need to budget for that kind of money. Not everyone has this just lying around extra every month. Anyway, we think the front looks fine. Sure, it could be pressure washed, but there is no reason to replace it. I will try to post a picture of it later so you can see what I am talking about. 

I can't leave you all hanging on a down note, so our loan payment for my wife's loans were $125.47 this month! I am so excited about that. Considering we started this journey at $341.23 a month for her loans, we have made quite an improvement. We are right at the $9,000 mark now. We may go out to dinner to celebrate. I get so excited thinking about the possibility of these loans being gone by summer.

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend! We have some beautiful weather in Atlanta and I plan on being outside to enjoy it! 

Friday, February 14, 2014

Taxes Back

We got our refund back today! Woo hoo! BUT, we owe the Fed $565 and received $1,075 from state. So, we are only netting $510 back. However, this is excluding the cost of H&R Block to prepare our taxes for us. This cost us $430! I will NEVER go back to them. The only reason we used them was because we sold some stocks with some sizable gains and I was unsure of how to file those. I watched the tax guy's every move and I will prepare our taxes from now on. So, in total, we are only going to get $80 back. I will stick that in savings for a rainy day, I guess. I always strive to break even each year on taxes. I don't like getting a lot back because that means the government is your bank holding your money with no interest earned. And, I don't like owing for obvious reasons.

Now, on to more exciting things. The loan we paid off posted to our account and we are now 52% done with this debt! Also, it turns out we have more money than I thought I did. So, we will not be overdrawing or reaching an uncomfortable position. This month, we have cleared about $150 in monthly payments off of our student loans. That is sure going to be nice to pay towards our current balance on the 21st. That debt snowball is really rolling now and we should see some major progress.

When the weather was gross, I calculated how much money we have saved in interest by paying off some our loans 9 years early. In total, we have saved $6,670.61. Talk about a nice vacation when these things are done. We have talked about going on a cruise through the Mediterranean as a celebration to us for our hard work. The figure we have saved in interest will pay for it on its own. It is pretty exciting stuff.

I hope that provides all of our readers with some encouragement to pay off these loans and no longer be a slave to your debt! 

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Snow Day Blues

As you see, it is a boring day here in Atlanta. The whole city shuts down when we get a little snow and ice, so I will not be going anywhere. With this being the case, I thought I would write another post.

When I am bored, I try to find things to do, which is probably not a good thing. So, I logged into our student loans yesterday and found one that was nagging me with a measly $300 balance left on it. It is a loan we are currently spending $50 a month on, so I decided I would go ahead and pay it off. I don't think we really have $300 at the moment, but I got so annoyed thinking about how small of a balance it was, and how it was not paid off. So, I decided I would just pay it off. I think we will be ok, but the peace of mind about it is worth it to me. I will update the debt totals tomorrow once the payment is processed.

Now, we are going to start knocking down a $4,200 loan. I would like to have this paid off by July. We have some summer money coming in, so I definitely think it is doable. That will free up another $40 a month. Once that one is gone, we will have just under $4,000 left on my wife's balance. It has been a tough road to get her balances down, but has definitely been worth it. Once they are gone, that is $350 a month back in our pockets. That will be our vacation money next summer.

Once her loans are gone, we will start to pay mine slowly. We will be eligible for the $17,500 loan forgiveness for teachers in Title 1 schools in 2 years. I currently have just under $34,500 left on them, but of that balance, I will only need to pay another $17,000 to get them at the forgiveness limit. So, we will pay slowly and make sure we do not pay more money than we have to. I have heard some people say this is not the easiest process to go through. If anyone has any experience with it, I would love to hear your story. Feel free to drop a comment.

Anyway, if this storm is in your area, I hope you all are safe and warm.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Debt Update

We just posted another $400 payment and have eclipsed the 51% paid off mark. It seems like every little payment puts such a huge dent in the total that it motivates us even more. I am looking forward to saving that $100 we would have otherwise spent to a loan. If it snows enough, I may calculate how much money I saved us in interest over the term of the loan. I think that number would be cool to see and provide you guys with motivation to pay these things off!

In other news, my wife is going to be starting an ETSY site where she will be selling scarves, gloves, hats, and other items that are crocheted. Once she has her site up and running, I will be passing along the link so you all can check it out. Everything she sells on there will be used to pay down the debt. It is something she enjoys a lot, so why not make them, and sell them (hopefully) to pay down more debt? It is a no-brainer.

We are going to be doing some landscaping in the back yard in the next couple of weeks. I will post some before and after photos of it so you can see. We will be getting a retaining wall made, a new walk way, sod, grading, and sprinklers. Afterwards, we will slowly start filling in with some different plants and trees. We are really looking forward to it. We have been saving some money for it for a while and I think it will add immense value to our home.

I hope to be able to get you all more information on the ETSY page this week. Hope everyone is safe with this winter storm.