What a great debt smashing month! So many of our Debt Smashers hit major milestones in August! I get so excited when each of you pays off a loan or a credit card. I’m totally cheering you on the whole way, so when you announce that you’re debt-free I’m over here doing cartwheels! Okay, not actually, but only because I think that’s discouraged during the third trimester.
I was also excited to hear from those of you who are staying strong through adversity by keeping your eyes fixed on your goals! Reaching debt freedom is a marathon, not a sprint. I love seeing your positive, stick-to-it attitudes.
Hooray for those of you who got a third paycheck in the month and put it toward your goals! My husband gets paid monthly (not every two weeks), so I hadn’t even realized that August would be a three paycheck month for many of you. Gotta love that!
For those who are new here, in 2019 we’re having a Debt Smash-athon! Everyone is invited to participate by reporting how much you paid in debt each month. We’re also keeping track of how much we invest for retirement and save for our big goals. If you want to learn more and join this debt smashing movement, you can join the fun here.
Let’s start with the numbers, even though the best part is all of your personal thoughts and accomplishments. You’ll find those after the numbers.
August Debt Smash-athon Totals
During August, we collectively put $82,378 toward debt!
Way to go friends!!
Of the 40 of you who completed the Debt Smash-athon report for August, 90% reported putting money toward debt in August. That averages out to $2,288 per Debt Smasher, with a median of $1,230 paid in debt.
As a group, we invested $18,737 toward retirement! 65% of respondents reported retirement savings.
We also put a total of $22,632 toward big savings goals other than debt and retirement. 45% of respondents saved money for a big goal in August.
When you put that all together, the 40 total reporters made $123,747 of financial improvement in August! That is so inspiring! Way to go friends!
Each month I will have a special prize for a randomly selected Debt Smasher who reported his or her progress. This month’s winner will get their own copies of You Need a Budget and Frugal Fresh Start.
August’s randomly chosen winner is Brooke who said her biggest lifestyle changes she has made to start paying off debt are that she “lowered the grocery budget, cooked more at home, and said no a lot” I’ll be in touch, Brooke!
Beyond the numbers
We all know that numbers aren’t the only indication of progress. Even with small numbers, we still make important progress as we change our course and build better money habits.
I was blown away by all of your accomplishments this month. I picked a variety of the wonderful responses to share with you below. I wish I could give you each a personal shout out, but that would make this post far too long.
“We paid off our van!” ~Daniella
“We are officially debt free! Now to work on the mortgage and cash flow a newer car!” ~Kolia
“I paid off my student loans!” ~Megan
“Paid off the last of our credit card debt and 2 more loans!” ~Beth
“Paid off 1 card. I have one card left to pay off.” ~Deb
“Finished paying off one student loan group! My freshman year of college is completely paid for!” ~Bethany
“Paid down a huge amount of debt this month!” ~Becky
“Halfway to paying off lowest student loan!” ~Alexa
“We increased our 401k amounts! We found another 25.00 to add to our fed loan payment monthly. Add it to the recurring payment to keep that savings in the right category.” ~Ashley
“Paid cash for more grocery purchases and came in under budget” ~Tiffany
“We paid cash for our oldest son’s first semester of college and his textbooks even though we’re still paying off our own student loans.” ~Amy
“My students are under $53K!” ~Danielle
“Cash flowed a deposit to rent a condo when my move out date went from 5 months away to ASAP, as well as cash flowed the move, AND ready to pay rent Sept 1st!” ~Jen
“Paid college tuition for our son without having to withdraw it from our savings account.” ~Ingrid
“Fully (re)funding our emergency fund after a home addition project that went way over on it’s estimate.” ~Sheila
“I had a great month with my side hustle and was able to put a good amount extra on my mortgage principal.” ~Emily
“We completely filled our emergency fund goal for the year with my husband’s redundancy payout. Our stretch goal was $11,000 and we have achieved that!” ~Rivkah
“Set up our budget planning with funds in advance. Looking forward instead of backwards as you’ve described in your blog.” ~Angie
What was the key to your success?
“I kept putting a little bit extra each month toward my student loans and over time it made a big difference.” ~Megan
“Received a 10,000 windfall and put it all straight to debt. This put the finish line so much closer, we can finally see the end in sight.” ~Jen
“Not getting discouraged by setbacks–unexpected bills keep coming up, but we made sure to still put the money towards our Big Goal that we’d planned and found other ways to cover the expenses.” ~Torrie
“Honestly, three paychecks in one month, but beyond that, mindfully planning how we use our money.” ~Sheila
“Focus and make weekly debt payments. I can see the balances go down faster.” ~Deb
“Stayed with the budget, ignored desire to impulse spend” ~Linda
“Received a 10,000 windfall and put it all straight to debt. This put the finish line so much closer, we can finally see the end in sight.” ~Beth
“Getting on the same page with goals. And having insurance. We used our health insurance quite a bit in August and I find myself glad we have that in place as a piece of our financial security.” ~Shannon
“It was a tough month but we didn’t give up and still met our savings goals” ~Nancy
“Just continued monthly planning meetings that have now become a part of our schedule and routine.” ~Angie
“When you realize you’ve gotten off track, simply stop! Adjust your mindset and get back on track!” ~Miranda
“Being diligent to track spending” ~Gloria
“An extra paycheck! It just helps get us ahead of the curve.” ~Dessa
Join Us in the Debt Smash-athon!
It’s not just me who’s excited about this. This is what fellow Debt Smashers are saying:
“This group rocks!” ~Kolia
“I love the accountability and opportunity to share my on-going progress.” ~Danielle
“I’m so excited! I’m DETERMINED to be debt FREE by the end of the year!” ~Diane
Well, $123,747of financial improvement among us is impressive! I can’t wait to see what you do in September!
You can do this!
I’m so proud of each and every one of you!!!! I know how HARD this road is and how FANTASTIC it feels when the work is done and there is NO DEBT ever again!
We did this yard work starting in 1987 at the brink of bankruptcy…yes, our debt load was that huge. We hunkered down AND I discovered the book “Your Money or Your Life”. We did the work in that book and learned to live simply rather than living the “Jones lifestyle”. As many of you are doing, we paid ourselves first. Retirement investing is important!!!! I can’t yell that loud enough. 2nd was servicing our debt-we smashed it monthly. NO $ spent on entertainment (including meals out) for 5 years!!! We were down to mortgage and cars. We maxed our allowable retirement contributions and allowed some entertainment again. We continued on this journey committed to zero debt.
All that work allowed a dream: we purchased a small dilapidated mountain home (good structure but awful condition inside). We slowly started fixing it (cash only) $100 at a time…… Meanwhile, pounding on both mortgages. And then we did it! Mortgage FREE early in 2010. We never quit saving that money though…..and now we were saving all of that debt service $ as well.
Is it fun? NO! Is it easy? NO! Is it worth it? OH YES!
And here I am at age 58……newly RETIRED!!!!! I take a small monthly payment out of savings and that’s all we need right now to pay our monthly expenses.
All of our financial planning was aimed at both of us retiring at age 55 so continuing to work was optional based on wanting to continue our careers. I decided I was done this summer. Hubby thoroughly enjoys his work so he is continuing for now. I am focused on being homemaker, a gardener (food preservation is a love), a quilter, a reader, a volunteer, an exerciser (none of this working 55h/week) ….and a relaxed human. Most of all, I don’t have a calendar jammed with appts and commitments.
i hope you each of BIG goals out there in the future that your daily and monthly accomplishments will help you achieve.
I share our 32 year story to give you hope and encouragement that your hard work and sacrifice will reap big rewards down the road. I look back now and think “wow, this wasn’t as painful as I expected”. We adjusted to the lifestyle quickly. We’ve had a lot of fun along the way and that 5 year restriction/jumpstart in the beginning made it possible . And we’re plenty young to enjoy the results!
I wish you all JOY in every day living and achieving your goals and dreams 🙂