Debt Free by . . . 2012? Maybe?

Prior to moving to NC three months ago we had 3 credit card bills (totally around $7000), a school bill, and a couple of store credit cards with anywhere from $100 to $300 on it at any given time.  We were having a hard time making ends meet.  It seemed like we just never had quite enough to make it to the next paycheck.

And that would mean more put on the credit card.  So it was like it didn’t matter if I even paid anything on that credit card because by the end of the month I’d be putting a week’s worth of groceries on it.  Or gas.  Or whatever else came up.

Even after I decided to become more frugal and started cutting coupons and we started cutting back it still wasn’t enough.  It was frustrating and stressful!  I don’t think we ever would have gotten ahead if we hadn’t moved.  That wasn’t the reason that we moved . . . it was just one of the good things that came along with it.

We were able to pay off all of our debts when we sold our house except for the van (well, and of course our mortgage).  This one looming debt over our heads is the one that I HATE paying every month.  Don’t get me wrong–I love our van.  Never thought I’d say that but I do.  It is so convenient for long trips or even just getting groceries.  And it will be very handy for having 3 kids.  I can’t imagine squeezing 3 car seats in the back of our old Taurus.  Where would we put Buddy (and our stuff!) when we went on vacation?!

We took out a 7 year loan when we bought the van to get our payments to a reasonable amount.  Seven years!!!  We bought it in 2007 which means we are only now approaching year number two.  I don’t want to pay $350 a month for FIVE MORE YEARS on this van!  Trading it in is not an option as we owe about $7000 more on it than it is worth.

So . . . I want to devise a plan to get this thing paid off as quickly as possible.  Obviously we need to pay more a month on the principal.  If we can double our payment will that decrease our time left to pay on it in half?  I’m not sure but it certainly will get paid off much quicker.      Here are few ideas to help bring in some extra cash:

  • My photog business.  Once I get it going, every dime above operating costs will go towards the van payment.
  • Sell stuff on Craigslist and have a yard sale.  We did a lot of decluttering before we moved but I know there is decorative stuff in the attic that we are not going to use around the new house.  So it needs to go!  I also have a dryer in the shed along with some outdoor toys, etc. that can go.
  • Sell stuff on Ebay.  I have a lot of books that can go.  I also find deals all the time so I think I may start trying to pick up some of the better deals and sell them on Ebay.  Gotta spend a little money to make a little money.
  • Along those lines….I often find new or very gently used items at the Salvation Army (yesterday I picked up about 10 items for Annagrace that were all either Gymboree or Gap brand things) that I could easy bring home, wash and resell at Once Upon a Child or Twice is Nice.  Or even put together “lots” of clothes on Ebay and sell them that way.  Kids clothes seem to sell very well on Ebay.
  • Sell items on Etsy.  Not sure what those items would be . . . jewelry?  Photo prints?  Baby items?  Camera straps?  Just a thought that is still stirring around in my head.
  • Cancel cable and home phone.  Already discussed this one earlier this week.  This will free up about $80 a month.  Some of that will go to dance and piano lessons for the girls but we will hopefully have a good bit left over that can go to the van payment.

That’s all I’ve got so far.  Anyone have any other ideas?

I want to really look at our budget and try to squeak out as much from it as I can.  I must, must, must get our grocery costs down!!!  Some weeks I do great–spend about $80 total but the majority of weeks (even when using coupons) it comes out to about $120 a week.

So that is my plan.  I’m going to try to set up a running log on my blog of how much we pay off each month and I hope to really see that total drop over the next few months!

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9 Responses to “Debt Free by . . . 2012? Maybe?”


  1. 1 Alison August 11, 2009 at 3:54 pm

    Dean and I recently read Total Money Makeover. We’ve sold TONS of stuff and paid off our truck last month. Now we’ve just got Dean’s student loans (over $20K), his motorcycle (interest free) and our mortgage. He’s slowly selling off music equipment and we’re chipping away at it all, little by little…

  2. 3 Jennifer August 11, 2009 at 9:17 pm

    We are also using the TMM. We have lots of debt, but are going to get it paid off. I would really like to stay home and teach my kiddos and have my husband as a full time church planter instead of bi-vocational. We struggle with adding money to the snowball each month right now, but have been paying everything on time so for now that’s a BIG plus to me!!

    • 4 lsaufley August 11, 2009 at 9:56 pm

      Is this a church planter wife Jennifer that I know from FB? Just curious! If we had not moved there is no way that I’d be working part time. I felt very STUCK. That is what debt does….it enslaves you to the point that you feel stuck with no choices. We could not have sold our house and bought a cheaper one in the town where we lived. We couldn’t have sold our vehicles. Really our only option would have been for me to pick up more hours at work and for Aaron to get a second job. I was happy that it did not come to that before we moved! Hang in there and know that there are so many of us out there in the same boat (and trying to get out of that boat!).

      • 5 Jennifer August 19, 2009 at 8:42 pm

        I am a church planter wife in Spotsylvania VA. What is funny is that we lived in Greenville once I graduated high school in 1992. I was born and raised in Kinston and then went to school at ECU. WE moved to VA in 2001 and becamae church planters in 2008. When I found your blog it felt like a small world. Greenville is such a nice place:)

  3. 6 Baker Family August 12, 2009 at 9:55 am

    Sounds like you are well on your way. Good job!! One big reason I began with Premier is to pay off our vehicle by Christmas. It may be later than that, but that’s where all my profit will go. Then, all we will have is our mortgage!

  4. 8 Heather and Reber August 13, 2009 at 9:10 pm

    Heck yeah! I LOVE (and I mean LOVE) my car but totally hate my car payment. It was a 5 year loan that we took out in July 2006 but we’ll have it paid by the end of this year. I started paying double payments in January. I hardly pay anything in gas and no repairs so far (well, one but it was under warranty). That’s pretty much our only “annoying” debt. The other is just mortgage and student loan but they’re going down slowly but surely. We’re spending a lot more money now that Reber is off on weekends. It’s easy not to spend money when I’m by myself, but now we’re always going out and about and spending more. If you don’t go in the store, you won’t spend any money!

    PS – I’m watching the STEELERS right now!! Woohoo football season!!!!! OH and i’m taking a cake decorating class which is pretty cool. That would be awesome to make some extra money at that but I’ll need to get much better first (although my first cake turned out pretty awesome). It was only $27 for 4 classes at Michael’s!


  1. 1 Latest debt news – Debt Free by . . . 2012? Maybe? « Counting My Pennies | DEBT RELIEF EXPLAINED Trackback on August 17, 2009 at 4:13 pm

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