Despite the many challenges 2017 brought us, we still made progress!
With all of our payments now accounted for, I figured I best slip in one last update for 2017. We drew the final line in the sand just twelve months ago. Hard to believe we have already been at this digging out of debt journey for an entire year! Starting debt was $55,749.69 (ouch, I know!) and finished the year t $46,408.39. Ouch on that final number, too, but dumping $9,341.30 is still quite remarkable considering the year we had.
I remain very confident going into 2018. In December alone we managed to dump $1,568.50 of debt. Now that we are no longer paying insane amounts of interest, I feel this amount (or more!) will become a trend. At a minimum, we are reaching to pay off $18K in 2018.
The many challenges we faced in 2017 taught us a lot, and we have made what we deemed appropriate changes in our 2018 budget. Some of the changes we made were:
- Adding $2,650 (max allowed) to our FSA account. Doing so will also save us on taxes as the funds are pre-tax. When health issues come up (and at our age, don’t they always?), we won’t be scrambling with how to pay the bill. We are fortunate that Hubs company also adds $840 to our FSA account. Our health insurance has a combined deductible/max out-of-pocket of $5,000, so with $3,490 now set aside, we should be okay in that area.
- Increasing Hubs short and long-term disability. With Hubs needing a month off for an unplanned surgery, we learned very quickly that $200/week doesn’t go very far.
- Adjusted our retirement contributions…again. Hubs currently contributes 7% and has a 3% employer match. I am contributing 6% and have an employer match of 6%. With my extra hours, I had initially added an additional $100/check going into my account but have decreased it to $50/check for 2018. Ultimately we felt it was “middle ground” considering the other changes we made that will affect our paychecks. Bottom line is we need to keep paying off debt a priority.
- For now, I have also ditched Sling TV. While it is only $20/month, it is still $20/month! I’m not saying I’ll never add it again, but for right now I’d rather see that $20 go towards paying off debt. I am finding plenty to watch on YouTube and Amazon Prime. If it weren’t for our long snowy Winters, I not sure I’d watch much of anything.
No doubt there may be other changes we will need to make as the year progresses, but I feel we are off to a good start going into 2018. Having last year as a guide will also be extremely helpful when it comes to our monthly budgets.
Happy New Years!