I’ve got some exciting news! Starting today we’re going to start featuring some real-life Spending Fasters! We’ll still be following along with Melanie, Jenn, and Kelly’s Spending Fasts and Spending Diets but this new column with be more of one-off posts. We’ll get insights on how these Spending Fasters got started with their Fast, why they decided to take the Spending Fast or Spending Diet approach, how it’s been going, what the future plans are, and other fun stuff like that.
I get so many awesome emails from you all, and it always blows my mind what you’re accomplishing with the Spending Fast and Spending Diet. I’m super excited about sharing more of the awesome getting of of debt inspiration with you! (Btw, if you’d like to share your story in this new column shoot me an email with the subject line: Real-Life Spending Faster! to firstname.lastname@example.org)
Today, we’re going to get the party started with Nancy! – Anna
Real-Life Spending Faster: Nancy
My name is Nancy. I’m 40 and have been teaching in the same district for 12 years. I take home about $1,000 a week, which is decent pay, but I live in Westchester, New York. In case you’re not familiar, Westchester is a suburb of NYC, and living in Westchester takes serious money. My awesome husband works in the city.
After two years of expensive (and exhausting) fertility treatments we still have no children. (We do have one round, sweet, old kitty cat.)
My husband and I have our finances semi-separate. We have access to each other’s accounts but we each maintain our own except for an emergency savings fund that we make joint decisions on. Both of us pay any credit card charges in full at the end of each month – YAY!!! We have no car payments thanks to our thrifty philosophy about vehicles (to be expanded upon at a later time…)
· Mortgage on two-bedroom condo in Westchester approx. $83K (My husband is in charge of this and is paying extra towards the principal each month)
· 1st mortgage on my old house that won’t sell (5+ years vacant) $69,347.60 at 4.625% interest rate
· 2nd mortgage on same $48,453.03 at 8.65% interest rate (ouch!)
· Old consolidated student loans $8,534.99 unsubsidized and $31,544.05 subsidized – 6.75%
· New student loan 1 – $15K + 977.13 accrued interest – 5.41%
· New student loan 2 – $20,500 + 263.32 accrued interest – 6.21%
The focus of the spending fast this year will be the 2nd mortgage and the student loans, which equals $125,272.52 (hahahahaha – nervous laughter)
And Then We Saved: When did you start your Spending Fast, and how long have you been doing it so far?
Nancy: I started the Spending Fast on January 1st and was able to send $1,000 to the student loan company on the last Thursday of January. I will send spending fast payments to the loan company on the last Thursday of each month for 2015 and tack on extra money to the second mortgage payment each month.
ATWS: What compelled you to do the Spending Fast?
Nancy: Your blog, And Then We Saved, of course. =)
ATWS: What other methods have you tried for getting out of debt in the past?
Nancy: I put credit card debt to rest once and for all five years ago using Dave Ramsey’s Snowball method. My husband never carried credit card balances and I didn’t want to bring any into the marriage, so I was motivated.
ATWS: How’s it been going? What obstacles and successes have you run into so far?
Nancy: It’s been going well considering January is a tough month: property tax due, car insurance due and Christmas shopping bills… In the first week of the spending fast, the pocket on my only pair of jeans ripped beyond repair and a quick check online showed $45-$75 to replace the same brand. So I dragged my 80-year-old mother to Goodwill with me to hunt for jeans. It ended up being a great success! I only considered jeans that were half off that day and purchased four pair for $15.49. (In retrospect I only needed one or two, but the shop-‘til-you-drop mentality is tough to break out of.) Mom got a pair of corduroys for $2.65! =)
ATWS: What solutions have you been utilizing to propel your get-out-of-debt mission?
Nancy: Repeating the Mantra: Use it up, wear it out, make it work or do without. And I’m systematically (and slowly) going through all my stuff and paring down. It feels amazing!
ATWS: Have you done things to increase your income?
Nancy: I listed most of my books (135 approx.) on half.com – January profit was $22.07 (better than nothing!) and I told the secretaries at work to call me for class coverages when other teachers have to leave unexpectedly. I get $45 to cover a class during my lunch.
ATWS: What struggles do you anticipate coming up? How will you deal with those?
Nancy: My biggest worry is burnout. I’m in year one of my doctoral program, so that means three more years and $20,500 per year in loans, which equals $61.5K in additional student loans! Plus, my husband and I agreed we would pay for the summer session this year in cash to avoid more loans, so we are saving for that expense. I am dealing with this by focusing on the present.
ATWS: How have you dealt with social situations and situations with your loved ones and family?
Nancy: Thankfully, January was cold and everyone hid inside. February has already cost me $116 in eating out for my mom’s 81st birthday brunch and dinner – I love my mom so much, and she is my greatest weakness. She has done so much for me and I want her to have everything!
ATWS: How has your family responded to your Spending Fast? Are they onboard and supportive?
Nancy: The friends I’ve told so far are supportive because they all have debt, too! My husband and family just raise a suspicious eyebrow at me because I am a natural spender and they have witnessed my epic ability to shop both online and in stores!
ATWS:vHow will you feel when you’re out of debt? What will your life look like? What will you do?
Nancy: Right now I feel like a wage slave. I’ve been wanting to move into a job closer to home (I have an hour commute), and changing jobs feels so risky because of the heavy debt. When I am out of debt I will feel free. I will hopefully land a job as a lecturer or assistant professor at a college or university in Westchester or NYC!
ATWS: Would you like to share anything else with us that we haven’t asked? :)
Nancy: After I paid off my credit card debt, I didn’t give the mortgage or student loans a second thought because I was always taught that these are “good” debts. It wasn’t until I went back to school that I realized all debt is slavery. Had I realized this sooner, the $40K in old student loans would be paid off. Although I cannot change the past, I would like others to know that it is a good idea to tackle student loans aggressively right away!
What other tough debt issues have you struggled with and finally gotten under control? What successes are you celebrating?
P.S. Ready to get out of debt ASAP? Check out the Spending Fast Bootcamp!