January was fabulous, but February was EVEN better!
As a group we are making some serious progress on getting out of debt and improving our finances! I am so impressed! Big numbers are great, but what’s so much MORE impressive to me is the sacrifice and hard work that those numbers represent. THAT is what we’re really celebrating here. Whether your numbers were big or small doesn’t tell the whole story. Only YOU know what those numbers really represent.
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 that you can find after the numbers.
February Debt Smash-athon Totals
During February, we collectively put $175,717.79 toward debt!
You guys! That is HUGE!
Of the 57 of you who completed the Debt Smash-athon report for February, 95% reported putting money toward debt in February. That averages out to $3,254 per Debt Smasher, with a median of $1,645 paid in debt.
As a group, we invested $18,044.68 toward retirement! 49% of respondents reported retirement savings.
We also put a total of $31,272.99 toward big savings goals other than debt and retirement. 58% of respondents saved money for a big goal in February.
When you put that all together, the 57 total reporters made $225,035.46 of financial improvement in February! That is remarkable! Way to go friends!
February is 10% shorter than January, but we increased our total financial improvement by more than 47%!
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 The Total Money Makeover and The Total Money Makeover Workbook! The Total Money Makeover was the book that really got me excited about paying off our debt when I read it back in 2013. I don’t have the workbook, but after taking a peek, it looks really helpful and I’m excited for our winner to get it!
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 ridiculously long.
Stephanie paid off her car loan 3.5 years early!
An anonymous debt smasher is now debt-free!
“Mailed the last payment on credit card #2.” ~Tiffany
Daniella paid off all her credit card debt!
Michelle is credit card debt free!
“February was my best month ever!” ~Winnie
“No new debt!” ~Heather
Linda paid 100% of her bonus to mortgage principal!
“Was able to set aside money for a family vacation AND make a large truck payment with my bonus.” ~Jessi
“We had plenty of money in our “Transportation” envelope to cover several hundreds of dollars of repair work that needed to be done on one of our cars.” ~Don
Shirley came into February in the black!
“I paid off over $1,000 in medical bills.” ~Chris
“When we received our tax refund, it went in and out of the bank account the very same day. We didn’t even let ourselves be tempted by this “extra” money. We had decided beforehand it would ALL go towards student debt and it did! That was a big win for us!” ~Lisa
“Made an extra $335.48 in side income!” ~Danielle
“Made a swap to do some work for extra loan payments on a loan from a family member.” ~Shannon
“Because we stayed on track with our spending, we were able to pay off all the debt we had planned to pay this month, and could also help our grown son pay $360 for dental work he needed done. It was nice to be able to help him without having to put our own goals on hold!” ~Pam
Lora turned her volunteer writing into paid freelancing!
Julie made double mortgage payments in January and February!
What was the key to your success?
“Don’t think about the extra money as extra money. Just send in another payment.” ~Julie
Emily tries to remember that even smaller progress is still getting her to the bigger goal.
“Saying no to wants and focusing on needs.” ~Jessica
“Doing a no spend month. Made me make do with what we already had. Got me out of the spending cycle.” ~Jane
Ingrid said her success came from following her money on a daily basis.
“Redefining wants vs needs and FINALLY using cash/envelopes!” ~Alasa
Aneta reminded herself each day that being an adult means learning to delay pleasure.
“YNAB, budgeting to give every dollar a job” ~Maggie
Tiffany says she also used YNAB to make sure her goals were a priority.
“I’ve started thinking do I really want x or do I want to put that money towards student loan repayment.” ~Amy
“Planning ahead so that we were ready for the ebbs and flows of our income” ~Jill
“We stayed on budget all last year so our tax refund we used to help us get ahead” ~Kenci
Jackie put all the extra money toward debt instead of back into the budget.
“My husband was able to work some overtime and every extra penny went towards our credit card debt! We were also more intentional with our spending. We budgeted, filled envelopes, and only spent what we had.” ~Brandy
“Took extra income and put it straight to debt. Even our tax return.” ~Ashley
“Making the decision to increase the payment toward our mortgage and just doing it. No excuses.” ~Dessa
“Trying to have as many no spend days as possible made us mindful of all of our spending.” ~Tina
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:
“Thanks for helping me have the incentive to sum this stuff up. It helps see that indeed we are making some progress.” ~Brett
“Reporting my monthly wins to this group is keeping me accountable for smashing my debt! :)” ~Kolia
“This is going to be a GREAT year!” ~Shirley
“I’m so excited for March. It’s a 3 paycheck month and I should be getting a bonus so I can’t wait to see how much debt I can smash!!” ~Jackie
“Thanks for keeping us encouraged!” ~Nancy
Well, $225,035 of financial improvement among us is awesome! I can’t wait to see what you do in March!
You can do this!