My Debt Journey

100 %
Credit Cards Paid
77%
Car Loan Paid
28%
Bar Loan Paid

Follow along on my debt journey from when I started this blog, as Friday Night Shenanigans, back in 2014 up until now. Please note, that my “Total Debt” includes all my debt including credit card debt, car loan, student loans, and a bar loan.

At the beginning, I separated out my consumer debt (credit card and car loan). Once my credit cards were paid off, I broke out my bar loan to be added to my Private loans (bar loan and car loan) which is why you see a difference moving throughout.

Looking at my "Private Debt" you see a lot more progress than in the “Total Debt”, the reason being I currently owe more on my student loans than when I started. I’m currently on an Income Based Repayment plan, and my payment doesn’t even cover the interest each month, allowing my loans to grow. To say I’m fighting an uphill battle would be extremely accurate, follow along (I could use all the cheerleaders I can get)


August 2017

August seemed to last for ever, and somehow it went by super fast at the same time. But it's all good because September is my favorite month ever, it's my birthday month. Yup in less than a week, I'll be hitting the big 30. Now on to my August 2017 Debt Accountability post. 

Debt Update:

  • Car Loan: $4,618.66 difference: +$240.78
  • Bar Loan: $8,333.47 difference: +59.91 Refinancing has helped to have more of my payment go towards the principal. This progress is just due to regular payments.
  • Student Loans: $258,158.11 difference: -$1,220.30 This is just gross. Sadly IBR doesn’t even cover the interest. PSA: Don’t go to law school kids, my original student loan balance was about $193k.

SMART Goals for August

  • Pass $5k income I'm still chasing this goal  Fail, but I came so close.
  • Get $2k saved up  Fail
  • Meal plan all month - Neither pass or fail, I am getting better about meal planning but it's a process. 

SMART Goals for September

  • Turn 30 and be awesome 
  • Get blog content scheduled through the first week of November, I've got a conference this month and another one next month so I'm going to be busy and I'd like to get ahead


July 2017

July was a bit of a whirlwind, at the beginning of the month I was panicking because clients were being slow to pay me, so I took on a temporary gig that involved me spending 40 hours a week at an office. The money was good but it has been tough to balance doing that work and keeping up with my freelance work and blogging. However, I'm hoping that putting in this work now will help me to make more progress on my debt later. So without further adieu here is my July 2017 Debt Accountability report.

Debt Update:

  • Car Loan: $4,859.44 difference: +$238.05
  • Bar Loan: $8,393.38 difference: +$54.75 Refinancing has helped to have more of my payment go towards the principal. This progress is just due to regular payments.
  • Student Loans: $256,937.81 difference: -$1,080.09 This is just gross. Sadly IBR doesn’t even cover the interest. PSA: Don’t go to law school kids, my original student loan balance was about $193k.

SMART Goals for July 

  • $5k in income Fail but it looks like I'll be hitting this goal in August
  • Finish Unit 6 & 7 of EBA for LDMW, a strech for sure. Complete Unit 4, 5, &6 for Elizabethstapleton.com Draw I've been working hard and I've made progress but I'm not sure these are units you ever really finish. Though I can say I'm no where near done for elizabethstapleton.com
  • Get car loan below $4,900 Pass 

SMART Goals for August 

  •  Pass $5k income I'm still chasing this goal
  • Get $2k saved up (I've got some a bunch of expenses coming up in September and I got to save up for them)
  • Meal plan all month (When I picked up this temporary gig I meal planned and it's helped me keep my grocery costs down and allowed me to eat delicious meals with little effort throughout the week.) with a grocery budget of $200.


June 2017

In June, life calmed down a bit, which meant I had the time to play catch up on work and life. As my income is still low, I’m really only making the minimum payments on my debt, but some of those do actually mean I’m making progress. Here is my June 2017 Debt accountability report.

Debt Update:

  • Car Loan: $5,097.49 difference: +$189.92 
  • Bar Loan: $8,448.13 difference: +54.04 Refinancing has helped to have more of my payment go towards the principal. This progress is just due to regular payments.
  • Student Loans: $255,857.72 difference: -$1,148.48 This is just gross. Sadly IBR doesn’t even cover the interest. PSA: Don’t go to law school kids, my original student loan balance was about $193k.

SMART Goals for June

  • $5k in income – I’m going to try for $5k again since I won’t be taking a week off this month to deal with some personal matter, I think this is definitely a doable goal. FAIL
  • Finish Unit 3 &4 of EBA – a blogging course I’m taking, this goal is a bit of a stretch but I do want to go for it PASS, I’m actually now on Unit 6
  • Get car loan below $5,000 SO CLOSE, BUT NO CIGAR

SMART Goals for July

  • $5k in income – I’m still chasing this goal
  • Finish Unit 6 & 7 of EBA for LDMW, a strech for sure. Complete Unit 4, 5, &6 for Elizabethstapleton.com
  • Get car loan below $4,900​


May 2017

May was only slightly less crazy than April, but I still managed to make some progress on my goals. Here is my May 2017 Debt accountability report.

Debt Update:

  • Car Loan: $5,335.92 difference: +$150.35  
  • Bar Loan: $8,504.17 difference: +54.07 Refinancing has helped to have more of my payment go towards the principal. This progress is just due to regular payments.
  • Student Loans: $254,709.24 difference: -$1,267.30 This is just gross. Sadly IBR doesn’t even cover the interest. PSA: Don’t go to law school kids, my original student loan balance was about $193k.

SMART Goals for May 

  • Over $5k in Income Fail Check out my Income Reports.
  • Finish Unit 2 of EBA – I’ve got about 80 more posts to review and update, plus a few other to-dos from the unit. Pass I finished Unit 2 and am closing in on finishing Unit 3.
  • Get car loan below the $5k mark. Fail I made a little progress but not as much as I’d hoped, partly because I’m waiting on some invoices to be paid (they are overdue).

SMART Goals for June 

  • $5k in income – I’m going to try for $5k again since I won’t be taking a week off this month to deal with some personal matter, I think this is definitely a doable goal.
  • Finish Unit 3 &4 of EBA – a blogging course I’m taking, this goal is a bit of a stretch but I do want to go for it
  • Get car loan below $5,000


April 2017

April has been rough. Work wise was really good and exciting, with lots of work to do and new opportunities. But life wise, April was an absolute bitch.

It kicked off with losing my Grandpa, one of my favorite people in the world. It then was followed by viral bronchitis and then last Friday due to the bronchitis I either tore a muscle or cracked a rib.

I for one and am very glad that April is over and am hoping for a much better May. Despite a really difficult month, I still managed to reach one of my goals for April. To find out which, read on.

Debt Update:

  • Car Loan: +$5,486.27 difference: +$0 
  • Bar Loan: $8,558.24 difference: +60.38 Refinancing has helped to have more of my payment go towards the principal. This progress is just due to regular payments.
  • Student Loans: $253,441.94  difference: -$731.46 This is just gross. Sadly IBR doesn’t even cover the interest. PSA: Don’t go to law school kids, my original student loan balance was about $193k.

SMART Goals for April

  • Get Car Loan below the $4k mark. A stretch but not impossible. Fail. Didn’t do anything for this.
  • Finish Unit 2 and  Unit 3 of EBA. Fail. Still working on Unit 2
  • $4k in income, also a stretch but not impossible. PASS. Amazingly since April was a shit show.

SMART Goals for May

  • Over $5k in Income
  • Finish Unit 2 of EBA – I’ve got about 80 more posts to review and update, plus a few other to-dos from the unit.
  • Get car loan below the $5k mark.


March 2017

I know I missed February but it wasn’t all that exciting of a month anyway. March had a lot more going on. It included lots of trips to the vet for a sick puppy and a trip out to the Seattle to hang out with my sister and her kids.

Onto my accountability report and my second income report on the blog.

Debt Update:

  • Car Loan: $5,486.27 difference: +$358.63 I put a good chunk of my tax refund towards my car loan, I want this sucker paid off.  
  • Bar Loan: $8,618.62 difference: +128.40 Refinancing has helped to have more of my payment go towards the principal. This progress is just due to regular payments.
  • Student Loans: $252,710.48 difference: -$1,273.28 This is just gross. Sadly IBR doesn’t even cover the interest. PSA: Don’t go to law school kids, my original student loan balance was about $193k.

SMART Goals for February 

  • Cross the $3k income mark Fail Though I should definitely surpass it in April
  • Finish the blogging course I’ve been taking Pass Just in time to start Elite Blog Academy
  • Put an extra $50 toward debt, this is low but it is a good goal since I’ve gone to full-time self-employment and am working to increase my income. Pass I put way more than $50 towards my car loan

SMART Goals for April 

  • Get Car Loan below the $4k mark. A stretch but not impossible.
  • Finish Unit 2 and  Unit 3 of EBA
  • $4k in income, also a stretch but not impossible.


January 2017

I’m just going to come out and say it, January was a kind of a shit show on all fronts, from politics to money, and just plain life. I kicked off the year sick as a dog which put a damper on starting strong with my self-employment. I then, of course, had a ton of battles with technology. It was quite a month, anyway, onto my accountability report (not much to report because I’ve been saving for self-employment security).

Debt Update:

  • Car Loan: $5,844.90 difference: +$o No difference, like I said I’ve been focused on saving money rather than paying down debt. Since I’ve been making extra payments in the past, I’m ahead on payments and don’t have one due for a few months.
  • Bar Loan: $8,747.02 difference: +29.02 Refinancing has helped to have more of my payment go towards the principal. This progress is just due to regular payments.
  • Student Loans: 251,437.20 difference: -$2,678.72 (two months difference) This is just gross. Sadly IBR doesn’t even cover the interest. PSA: Don’t go to law school kids, my original student loan balance was about $193k.

SMART Goals for February

  • Cross the $3k income mark
  • Finish the blogging course I’ve been taking
  • Put an extra $50 toward debt, this is low but it is a good goal since I’ve gone to full-time self-employment and am working to increase my income.


December 2016

2016 was an insane year, I’ll be honest I’m glad it’s over. 2017 holds a lot of uncertainty for me as I embark on the journey of self-employment. But a lot of uncertainty also means a lot of opportunities.

I’m excited to see where it might lead. But before I can see where I might be headed and improve on what I learned in 2016, I need to review where I’ve been. So here is my 2016 review along with my 2017 goals.

Debt Update:

Beginning of 2016

Car Loan: $7454.58

Bar Loan: $9,590.76

Student Loans: $241,011.76

At the end of 2016:

Car Loan: $5,844.90 difference: -$1,609.86

Bar Loan: $8776.22 difference: -$814.54

Student Loans: $248,758.48 difference: +$7,746.72 Because Income-Driven Repayment plans don’t even cover the interest. PSA: Don’t go to law school kids, my original student loan balance was about $193k.



November 2016

Just a few weeks left in the year. I skipped the October 2016 Accountability post because I’ve stopped focusing on debt repayment and started focusing more on saving since I will be entering the world of self-employment come Jan. 1st. But I wanted to share where I’m at and my goals for the month. I’ve also decided that I will be sharing income reports in 2017.

Debt Update:

  • Car Loan: $5,844.90 difference: +$o No difference, like I said I’ve been focused on saving money rather than paying down debt. Since I’ve been making extra payments in the past, I’m ahead on payments and don’t have one due for a few months.
  • Bar Loan: $8,874.22 difference: +138.24 Refinancing has helped to have more of my payment go towards the principal. This progress is just due to regular payments.
  • Student Loans: $248,758.48 difference: -1,549.93 This is just gross. Sadly IBR doesn’t even cover the interest. PSA: Don’t go to law school kids, my original student loan balance was about $193k.

SMART Goals for October

  • Get my E-fund up to $4,500, right now it stands at just over $3k Success
  • Side Hustle over $1k, I’m participating in the #1kHustle challenge Pass I did $1k worth of work, even though I haven’t actually been paid for all of it. The pitches I sent out in October are still paying off, as I continue to get responses 2 months later.
  • Get the Bar Loan under $9k Success

    SMART Goals for December

  • Land 2 new Freelance Clients
  • Get savings to $5k
  • Enjoy the holidays, be present rather than focused on my impending career change


September 2016

Wow this year is flying by, so much so I didn’t even post for half of September. Sorry about that, FinCon a financial bloggers conference took up a lot of my attention.

In September, I did make pretty good progress on my debt but moving forward for the next couple of months I will only be paying the minimum on my debt in order to build up my savings. The future of my career is a little murky right now so I want to be sure I’m prepared with a very healthy emergency fund.

Now, onto the September 2016 Debt Progress Report.

Debt Update:

  • Car Loan: $5,844.90 difference: +$503.53 Finally under the $6k mark! I feel like I’m in the home stretch with this loan.
  • Bar Loan: $9,012.46 difference: +59.09 Interest is still eating up a lot of my payment, but I’ll finally be below the $9k mark soon.  
  • Student Loans: $247,208.55 difference: -715.69 This is just gross. Sadly IBR doesn’t even cover the interest. PSA: Don’t go to law school kids, my original student loan balance was about $193k.

SMART Goals for September 

  • Side Hustle $1,200 I hit the halfway mark last month, hoping to do better this month, though I’m traveling like crazy in September, so fingers crossed. NOPE Not surprising given the events of the month.
  • Relax and do no work on my birthday, the 13th PASS!
  • Get my car loan under the $6k mark PASS!

SMART Goals for October 

  • Get my E-fund up to $4,500, right now it stands at just over $3k
  • Side Hustle over $1k, I’m participating in the #1kHustle challenge
  • Get the Bar Loan under $9k


August 2016

Oh hey, there September! I did have overnight travel for the day job 3 of the 4 weeks in August, which always makes time fly faster. Anyway here is the August 2016 Debt Update. I’m slowly but surely making progress.

Debt Update:

  • Car Loan: $6,348.43 difference: +$198.5 I’m getting there, I feel like I’m in the home stretch with this loan.
  • Bar Loan: The bar loan has been refinanced the starting balance: $9,165.01 Current Balance: $9,071.55 +93.46
  • Student Loans: $247,208.55 difference: -1,062.31 This is just gross. Sadly IBR doesn’t even cover the interest. PSA: Don’t go to law school kids. 

SMART Goals for August

  • Side Hustle $1,200 it will be tough but I’ve broken it down into manageable goals. You’ll have to sign up for my newsletter to see if I meet this goal. Fail. I hit the halfway mark, though.
  • Get 2 recurring gigs Pass
  • Set up annual check-ups for both me and the Doug. Not Quite Doug got his check up, I did not.

SMART Goals for September

  • Side Hustle $1,200 I hit the halfway mark last month, hoping to do better this month, though I’m traveling like crazy in September, so fingers crossed.
  • Relax and do no work on my birthday, the 13th
  • Get my car loan under the $6k mark


July 2016

WTF, how is it August? I’m pretty sure I tried to write March as the date two weeks ago. I did have overnight travel for the day job 3 of the 4 weeks in July, which always makes time fly faster.

Anyway here is the July 2016 Debt Update. I didn’t make quite the progress I had hoped, partly because the constant travel impacts my side hustle groove.

Debt Update:

  • Car Loan: $6,546.93 difference: +$150.47 I’m getting there, I feel like I’m in the home stretch with this loan.
  • Bar Loan: I’m in the midsts of refinancing this loan, I’ll update you on it next month 
  • Student Loans: $246,146.24 difference: -802.39 This is just gross. Sadly IBR doesn’t even cover the interest. PSA: Don’t go to law school kids.  

SMART Goals for July 

  • Make $800 in side hustle income, this is a big amount but I am determined. If you want to find out just how much I make in July join my monthly newsletter, I’ll be sharing income reports there.
  • Get Car Loan down to $6200 Fail but I will get there by the end of August.
  • Work out three times a week. I really do need to focus more on taking care of my body, I’m going to include doing my PT three times a week as well. Pass I’m slowly getting there, I was definitely more active this month so I’m going to give myself a pass. 

SMART Goals for August 

  • Side Hustle $1,200 it will be tough but I’ve broken it down into manageable goals. You’ll have to sign up for my newsletter to see if I meet this goal.
  • Get 2 recurring gigs
  • Set up annual check-ups for both me and the Doug.


June 2016

Um, where did June go? No, I’m seriously asking, I tried to write May as the date last week. I guess it didn’t help that I had overnight travel every week in June, somehow that seems to make the time fly by faster. Did June seem to fly by to you too? Without further ado here is the June 2016 Debt Update:

Debt Update:

  • Car Loan: $6,697.40 difference: +$286.1 I’m finally getting my groove back.
  • Bar Loan: $9,086.16 difference: +62.21  The interest rate on this loan increased slightly so more of my payment is starting to go to interest. boo. 
  • Student Loans: $245,343.85 difference: -408.94 This is just gross. Sadly IBR doesn’t even cover the interest. PSA: Don’t go to law school kids.

SMART Goals for June

  • Land 1 recurring freelance gig, by getting better with my time, I think I should be able to get at least 1 freelance gig Tentatively a Success I actually may have landed two.
  • Get the car loan down to $6500 Fail, but I’m getting there.
  • Average 50k steps per week, I’m going to give this goal another go, not quite.

SMART Goals for July

  • Make $1800 in side hustle income, this is a big amount but I am determined. If you want to find out just how much I make in July join my monthly newsletter, I’ll be sharing income reports there.
  • Get Car Loan down to $6200
  • Work out three times a week. I really do need to focus more on taking care of my body, I’m going to include doing my PT three times a week as well


May 2016

It feels good to be back to monthly updates. I didn’t make the progress I’d hope for this month. However, because of that, I’ve started changing how I go about things to work smarter not harder. You may have noticed a whole new look to the site, after playing Goldilocks with various themes the last year, I finally found one I really like.

Debt Update:

  • Car Loan: $6,983.50 difference: +$25.92 I had to pay my LASIK bill, which cut into my debt paying efforts.
  • Bar Loan: $9,148.37 difference: +69.87  The interest rate on this loan increased slightly so more of my payment is starting to go to interest. boo. 
  • Student Loans: $244,934.91 difference: -991.22 This is just gross. Sadly IBR doesn’t even cover the interest. PSA: Don’t go to law school kids. 

SMART Goals for May 

  • Put together my first income report for the month of May to be sent to those subscribed to my newsletter. Fail I just didn’t manage it this week.
  • Average 50k steps per week, I have a pretty sedentary job so I’d like to work on building more activity into my day, I’ll be tracking this with my Fitbit. Not quite, I averaged 47,159 a week, but it is an improvement over April.
  • Make $500 from Freelance Writing. I’ve been working through a course on freelance writing and I’m excited to apply what I’ve learned. I’ve been haphazardly writing for other sites either as paid or guest posts but now I’m looking to get serious. Nope, I traveled a lot for work in May and have yet to find a way to get everything done. But I’m hoping that switching to more video-based content will help speed up the time it takes me to write posts on the blog. Allowing me to free up more time to focus on freelance writing and guest posting.

SMART Goals for June 

  • Land 1 recurring freelance gig. I think by getting better with my time, I think I should be able to get at least 1 freelance gig
  • Get the car loan down to $6500
  • Average 50k steps per week, I’m going to give this goal another go


April 2016

It feels good to be back to monthly updates, even if this one is a little late. I’ve made some progress on a lot of things. You may have noticed a whole new look to the site, after playing Goldilocks with various themes over the last year, I finally found one I really like. 

Debt Update:

  • Car Loan: $7,009.42 difference: +$389.76 Finally starting to make progress again.
  • Bar Loan: $9,218.24 difference: +96.86 The interest rate on this loan increased slightly so more of my payment is starting to go to interest. boo.
  • Student Loans: $243,943.69 difference: -1,097.14 This is just gross. Sadly IBR doesn’t even cover the interest. PSA: Don’t go to law school kids. 

SMART Goals for April

  • Give up spending on alcohol for the month Success! I actually gave up booze entirely for the month.
  • Get Car Loan balance under $7k Close! I was about $10 shy of reaching this goal.

SMART Goals for May

  • Put together my first income report for the month of May to be sent to those subscribed to my newsletter
  • Average 50k steps per week, I have a pretty sedentary job so I’d like to work on building more activity into my day, I’ll be tracking this with my Fitbit.
  • Make $500 from Freelance Writing, I’ve been working through a course on freelance writing and I’m excited to apply what I’ve learned. I’ve been haphazardly writing for other sites either paid or guest posts but now I’m looking to get serious.


Q1 2016

Long time no see. I used to publish monthly debt updates, but I decided this year to do a quarterly 2016 debt update. However, after looking at this first quarter I’ve decided to go back to monthly updates on my debt and do quarterly updates on my 2016 goals. I found that by doing the quarterly update I just wasn’t as focused or motivated to pay off my debt.

Admittedly even had I done monthly updates I still likely wouldn’t have made much more progress since so much of this first quarter I was focused on my move.

I made the decision to move in January after my current place let me know it was going to raise the rent, where I was living wasn’t worth the raise in rent, and to be frank it wasn’t the safest of neighborhoods. While nothing actually happened to me, I did have some moments of uncomfortableness walking across the street at night.

Yes, I’m spending more in rent now, but you can’t put a price on safety and peace of mind. Moving meant incurring an application fee, deposit (hopefully, I’ll get the deposit back on my old place), prorated rent since my leases overlapped by 10 days (it was like double rent that month), a pet fee (some of it refundable, some of it not), and other moving expenses such as renting a Uhaul etc. This means pretty much all my extra money from this first quarter went towards my move.

The bright side is that I didn’t have to dig into my savings at all. So while I may not have made much progress on my debt, I did move without incurring any more debt or my savings taking a hit. Onto the quarterly 2016 debt update.

Debt Update:

  • Car Loan: $7,399.18 difference: +$55.40 Like I said, I didn’t make a lot of progress this first quarter. 
  • Bar Loan: $9,315.10 difference: +275.66  I’ve continued to pay a little extra on this each month. In case you were wondering a bar loan is a loan you take out to help cover the cost of taking the bar exam, sadly it has nothing to do with drinking at a bar.
  • Student Loans: $242,846.55 difference: -1,834.79 Because sadly IBR doesn’t even cover the interest. PSA: Don’t go to law school kids.

SMART Goals for January 

  • Implement the blog strategy I’ve set forth (it is a bear of a schedule but I’m pretty pumped) So far so good, I’m getting better about things each month
  • Bring in any kind of additional income #getmyhustleon Success I’ve been selling stuff
  • Stop being sick (I spend most of December sick, I plan to take much better care of myself this month) Success

SMART Goals for April 

  • Give up spending on alcohol for the month
  • Get Car Loan balance under $7k
  • Hustle $500


December 2015

Given that I did set some goals for 2015 early last year it would make sense for me to review them. However, if 2015 was anything, it was a lesson in change. As so many of the goals, I set last year were no longer applicable by the end of the year.

For example, I set a goal to save enough money to be able to move in 2016, three months later in March 2015 I ended up moving to an entirely different state. For that reason, I won’t be reviewing my 2015 goals on the blog.

However, I will share my 2016 resolutions/goals which I hope are better and will remain applicable throughout the year. Anyway onto the nitty gritty of my December 2015 Accountability numbers and then I’ll share what I hope to accomplish in 2016.

Debt Update:

  • Car Loan: $7454.58 difference: +$1,639.48 Finally some progress. The reason for the jump was that I managed to sell some pottery stuff that has been hanging out in storage. It reminds me what an impact a little hustle can make, which is why I plan to be hustling a lot more. 
  • Bar Loan: $9,590.76 difference: + 0 No difference, simply because of the timing of my payments and when I pull the numbers for this report. In case you were wondering a bar loan is a loan you take out to help cover the cost of taking the bar exam, sadly it has nothing to do with drinking at a bar.
  • Student Loans: $241,011.76 difference: -694.93 Because sadly IBR doesn’t even cover the interest. PSA: Don’t go to law school kids.
  • Percentage of Income Towards Debt: 56% My general goal is to be able to live frugally enough so as to have at least half of my income go towards my debt. This month was a success.

SMART Goals for December

  • Draw out my plan for 2016 financially, professionally, and personally. Success
  • Have all my holiday packages done and mailed by Dec. 12th (I don’t like last minute stress) Fail But I did still manage to get everything out on time.
  • Get my car loan under the $8500 mark BIG Success That little hustle helped me blow this goal out of the water, which means I am officially past the halfway mark on my car loan.

SMART Goals for January

  • Implement the blog strategy I’ve set forth (it is a bear of a schedule but I’m pretty pumped)
  • Bring in any kind of additional income #getmyhustleon
  • Stop being sick (I spend most of December sick, I plan to take much better care of myself this month)


November 2015

Um, can someone please tell me where November went? Anyone else freaking out about how quickly the year is coming to an end? Just me. Ok then onto my latest November 2015 Accountability post:

Debt Update:

  • Car Loan: $9,094.06 difference: +$554.78 I’m getting back on track 
  • Bar Loan: $9,590.76 difference: + 74.63 As this isn’t my priority I’ve just continued to make my usual monthly payments. In case you were wondering a bar loan is a loan you take out to help cover the cost of taking the bar exam, sadly it has nothing to do with drinking at a bar.
  • Student Loans: $240316.83 difference: -642.21 Because sadly IBR doesn’t even cover the interest. 
  • Percentage of Income Towards Debt: 71% November was a great month in this respect. It is slightly misleading because I had an extra paycheck at the end of last month but didn’t pay bills until this month. How much I made in November vs how much money I put towards debt is a bit more inflated, which also accounts for a not so great October.

SMART Goals for November 

  • Get organized, the reason I failed on the pitches last month was that I didn’t have a system set up to track my progress and ensure I got it all done. Pass I took off a couple of days to may my Thanksgiving break 6 days, I used the time to prep for the holidays and get more organized for December and 2016.
  • Get my income percentage towards debt back above 50% Pass
  • Side hustle $100 Not quite ended up with $76

SMART Goals for December 

  • Draw out my plan for 2016 financially, professionally, and personally.
  • Have all my holiday packages done and mailed by Dec. 12th (I don’t like last-minute stress)
  • Get my car loan under the $8500 mark


October 2015

I spent the entire last week of October traveling and then I thought it would be fun to travel for work again this week too. Anyway here is my October 2015 Accountability Post, I’ll be honest it was not my best month.

Debt Update:

  • Car Loan: $9,648.84 difference: +$60.55. All the travel and preparing for the holidays has slowed my progress, but it should pick up soon.
  • Bar Loan: $9,665.39 difference: + 124.39. In case you were wondering a bar loan is a loan you take out to help cover the cost of taking the bar exam. Sadly it has nothing to do with drinking at a bar
  • Student Loans: $239,674.62 difference: -699.25 Because sadly IBR doesn’t even cover the interest. 
  • Percentage of Income Towards Debt: 30% ugh, my lowest yet. Though I did have some holiday expenses to pay up front. Still, this is why I’m already starting to evaluate my spending year to date to set some better goals for 2016.

SMART Goals for October

  • Strategize my holiday shopping/crafting plan Success  I’ve known what I’m making and what I need to get.
  • Get back to posting regularly on Mondays and Fridays. Not quite. I missed Friday Night Shenanigans last Friday, what can I say, I had too many shenanigans happening.
  • Send out 15 pitches Fail I didn’t keep track which is why I came nowhere near succeeding.

SMART Goals for November:

  • Get organized. The reason I failed on the pitches last month was because I didn’t have a system set up to track my progress and ensure I got it all done.
  • Get my income percentage towards debt back above 50%
  • Side hustle $100


September 2015

Ok, so I realize my September Update is a bit late. I’m still recovering from September. I did not spend a single weekend at home by myself the entire month and while all the travel was definitely worth it (OMG FinCon) it was also exhausting.

So I’m just starting to get back into the swing of things, so better late than never here is my September 2015 Accountability post.

Debt Update:

  • Credit Cards: $0 difference: still zero! Woot! Woot!
  • Car Loan: $9,709.39 difference: +$85.23 Like I said last month I had a lot of travel going on in September which meant I didn’t put as much toward my car as I would’ve liked.
  • Bar Loan: $9,790.32 difference: + 167.49 In case you were wondering a bar loan is a loan you take out to help cover the cost of taking the bar exam, sadly it has nothing to do with drinking at a bar
  • Student Loans: $238,975.37 difference: -912.06 Because sadly IBR doesn’t even cover the interest.
  • Percentage of Income Towards Debt: 45% definitely, not my best, but with all the traveling and the fact that my bar dues were due in September, I’ll take it. Check out the rest of my Debt Journey.

SMART Goals for September 

  • Continue Posting, which will require a lot of planning ahead since I am constantly traveling this month for both personal and professional reasons. Though I’m most excited about meeting my new nephew in Seattle and meeting all the other great PF bloggers I’ve looked up to at FinCon Fail. I missed some Friday Night Shenanigans posts, I underestimated how exhausted I would be from all the work and play travel.
  • Stick to my budget for each trip PASS
  • Side hustle $1000, I know this seems like a lot but part of my trip to Seattle will involve cleaning out a storage unit and hopefully selling most of what’s in it. Anyone interested in a kiln, wardrobe, upright piano, or my beanie babies? Fail While I did clean out the storage unit, I haven’t sold any of the stuff yet. 

SMART Goals for October 

  • Strategize my holiday shopping/crafting plan
  • Get back to posting regularly on Mondays and Fridays
  • Send out 15 pitches


August 2015

Was it just me or was August the longest month ever?! Seriously, in my head, I’m half way through September already. Anyway on to the August 2015 Accountability updates.

Debt Update:

  • Credit Cards:  $0 difference: still zero! Woot! Woot!
  • Car Loan: $9,794.62 difference: +$182.82 I have a lot of travel coming up so I’m saving my extra money for that and will hopefully make up for it come October.
  • Bar Loan: $9,957.81 difference:-$3.83 I was ahead on payments so skipped this month and gained a little bit of interest, again this will be changing soon (In case you were wondering a bar loan is a loan you take out to help cover the cost of taking the bar exam, sadly it has nothing to do with drinking at a bar)
  • Student Loans: $238,063.31 difference: -626.42 Because sadly IBR doesn’t even cover the interest. On the bright side, I paid off my Perkins loan!! One loan down a gazillion to go.
  • Percentage of Income Towards Debt: 40% definitely, not my best, but still progress and I’ll take it.

SMART Goals for August:

  • Continue posting every Monday and Friday and plan ahead so that even when something comes up, I’ll still be able to meet my goal PASS
  • Finish my super secret side project that has been taking up all my time mostly pass I have a few more finishing touches. But what have I been working on? A Conquer Your Finances Course that will be launching Monday, Sept. 14th. 
  • Hit 60% again, it will be tough since my brother and I are planning a joint birthday celebration by going to see the Pats play the Panthers in Charlotte. Fail  But I did manage to stick to my budget at the game and I had a blast, Pats one by ONE point.

SMART Goals for September:

  • Continue Posting, which will require a lot of planning ahead since I am constantly traveling this month for both personal and professional reasons. Though I’m most excited about meeting my new nephew in Seattle and meeting all the other great PF bloggers I’ve looked up to at FinCon
  • Stick to my budget for each trip
  • Side hustle $1000, I know this seems like a lot but part of my trip to Seattle will involve cleaning out a storage unit and hopefully selling most of what’s in it. Anyone interested in a kiln, wardrobe, upright piano, or my beanie babies?


July 2015

Ok, the year is officially flying by, goodness gracious (great balls of fire) here is my July 2015 Accountability Post…

Debt Update:

  • Credit Cards: $0 difference: still zero! Woot! Woot!
  • Car Loan: $9,977.44 difference: +$589.16 Officially dropped below the 10k mark!
  • Bar Loan:$9,957.81 difference:–$64.77  Also dropped below the 10k mark! progress! (In case you were wondering a bar loan is a loan you take out to help cover the cost of taking the bar exam, sadly it has nothing to do with drinking at a bar)
  • Student Loans: $237,436.89 difference: -717.22 Because sadly IBR doesn’t even cover the interest. 
  • Percentage of Income Towards Debt: 61%

SMART Goals for July 

  • Increase my Income to Debt Repayment Percentage to 60% Success!
  • Sidehustle $200 – Failed -Not quite, but my Etsy store picked up a bit and total side hustle this month comes to $81
  • Post every Monday and Friday- I missed one Monday due to a family emergency, but overall not too bad. I’m gonna give myself a Pass on this one.

SMART Goals for August 

  • Continue posting every Monday and Friday and plan ahead so that even when something comes up, I’ll still be able to meet my goal
  • Finish my super secret side project that has been taking up all my time
  • Hit 60% again, it will be tough since my brother and I are planning a joint birthday celebration by going to see the Pats play the Panthers in Charlotte.


June 2015

So while I thought May was the longest month ever, where the hell did June go? Here are the updates for my June 2015 accountability post.

Debt Update:

  • Credit Cards:  $0 difference: still zero! Woot! Woot!
  • Car Loan: $10,566.60 difference: +$292.9
  • Bar Loan: $10,022.58 difference:–$6.45  Since I was so far ahead on my payments I didn’t have to make any this month which meant a little interest got tacked on (In case you were wondering a bar loan is a loan you take out to help cover the cost of taking the bar exam, sadly it has nothing to do with drinking at a bar)
  • Student Loans: $236,719.67 difference: -793.82 Because sadly IBR doesn’t even cover the interest.
  • Percentage of Income Towards Debt: 58%

    SMART Goals for June:

  • Clean up the images in my Etsy store and finish listing new items. Progress– This was a much bigger undertaking than I realized, and I was naive to think I’d get it all done in a month. With 4-5 pictures per item and over 50 items, that is a lot of cleaning up to do.
  • Pay an extra $150 on my Car Loan Fail– I only managed an extra $78.71, but that is over half of the goal and something extra is better than nothing extra.
  • Increase my Income to Debt Repayment percentage to 60% –Fail – close but no cigar I hit 58% which is still nothing to sneeze at.

SMART Goals for July:

  • Increase my Income to Debt Repayment Percentage to 60%
  • Sidehustle $200
  • Post every Monday and Friday


  • May 2015

    Was it just me or was May the longest month ever? Hooray for June,  just a couple more weeks until it is officially Summer. Anyway onto what you are really here for, here is my May 2015 accountability post:

    Debt Update:

    • Credit Cards: $0 difference: still zero! Woot! Woot!
    • Car Loan: $10,859.50 difference: +$210.56
    • Bar Loan: $10,016.13 difference:+120.36 (In case you were wondering a bar loan is a loan you take out to help cover the cost of taking the bar exam, sadly it has nothing to do with drinking at a bar)
    • Student Loans: $235,925.85 difference: -419.31 Because sadly IBR doesn’t even cover the interest.
    • Percentage of Income Towards Debt: 52%

    SMART Goals for May 

    1. Bring my Emergency Fund up to $2,000 Success I’m so excited to hit this milestone. The bigger my emergency fund gets, the better I feel about my finances overall.

    2. Side Hustle $250 via the craft fair, Etsy, Craigslist, etc. Fail The Craft Fair I did had hardly any traffic. It was a bust in terms of money but I did learn a lot.

    3. Start a gig on Fiverr -Technically a success, though I haven’t done anything with it.

    4. Get my Blog cleaned up Success, you may have noticed a few changes around my blog including some toolbar reorganization and images added to most posts.

    SMART Goals for June 

  • Clean up the images in my Etsy store and finish listing new items.
  • Pay an extra $150 on my Car Loan
  • Increase my Income to Debt Repayment percentage to 60%


  • April 2015

    Wow, May already! It seems like forever since I’ve done an accountability post, and that is probably because it’s been since February. With the move and waiting for the dust to settle on my finances I never did a March Accountability post. But I’m here to give updates via my April 2015 Accountability post, which not only includes where my finances are but how my goals for the year have changed.

    Debt Update:

    • Credit Cards:  $0 difference: still zero! Woot! Woot!
    • Car Loan: $11,070.06 difference: +$437.88 Two months of minimum payment progress
    • Bar Loan: $10,136.49 (In case you were wondering a bar loan is a loan you take out to help cover the cost of taking the bar exam, sadly it has nothing to do with drinking at a bar)
    • Student Loans: $235,506.48 My new number since breaking out my bar loan from the group.

    SMART Goals for March/April:

    I didn’t have any because of this: As I mentioned before, I’m in the midst of some serious decision-making that will affect both my short and long term goals. So I won’t be posting my goals for March until I have a little more information to make some SMART goals. Fingers crossed I’ll have that for you Wednesday.

    SMART Goals for May:

    1. Bring my Emergency Fund up to $2,000

    2. Side Hustle $250 via the craft fair, Etsy, Craigslist, etc.

    3. Start a gig on Fiverr

    4. Get my Blog cleaned up



    February 2015

    February 2015 has been a roller coaster of a month. Lots of highs and lows and I was definitely thrown for a couple of loops. Unfortunately, the ride is not over, and I have some big decisions that I will be making soon. These decisions would definitely impact my financial goals for the both the short and long term.

    So I’m afraid I won’t be sharing March goals with you just yet, because I don’t know what they will be. I’m hoping to do a post on Wednesday outlining the change in my goals for both the short and long term. Anyway onto how I did with my February 2015 Accountability post:

    Debt Update:

    • Credit Cards: $0 difference: +$814.78 That’s right folks I’m credit card debt free!
    • Car Loan: $11,507.94 difference: +$217.85
    • Student Loans: $244,084.43 difference: +$37.29 While the vast majority of my student loans continue to creep up; this number currently includes the bar loan that I’ve made my number one priority to pay off since becoming credit card debt free which is why the number went down overall. Starting next month, I will break out the bar loan into its own category.

    SMART Goals for February 

    • Finish paying off the last of my credit card debt PASS I’ve been celebrating this win for a while now.
    • Sell three more items– keep downsizing/decluttering PASS I sold a few more books and some furniture I wasn’t using.
    • Get one freelance job– not necessarily a paid job, but something to help dip my toes in the water. PASS– I signed up for text broker, it isn’t ideal but it is something (and every little bit counts).
    • Stick to a budget when I’m in D.CClose enough. My budget for a trip to DC was $250; I came in at $253. I’m going to call it win.

    SMART Goals for March 

    As I mentioned before, I’m in the midst of some serious decision-making that will affect both my short and long term goals. So I won’t be posting my goals for March until I have a little more information to make some SMART goals. Fingers crossed I’ll have that for you Wednesday.



    January 2015

    January 2015 has brought quite the new wave of thinking for me. The second week of the month I found out about an opening within my company that would have me moving to North Carolina.

    I’ve officially applied (fingers crossed I get it), so my mind is in a constant state of trying to determine how far in advance to make plans. If I get the job I may not be there for whatever plans I make etc. 

    Anyway, this all came up after I had set my goals for the year, and a move would obviously impact them. So if I do get the job, you can expect an updated post on my goals for 2015. Anyway onto how I did with my debt with this January 2015 accountability post:

    Debt Update:

    • Credit Cards:  $814.78 difference: +$854.69
    • Car Loan: $11,725.79 difference: +214.24
    • Student Loans: $244,121.72 difference: –$390.63 Because IBR repayment doesn’t even cover the interest, which means this will continue to creep up until I pay off my consumer debt.

    SMART Goals for January:

    1. Pay off half of Credit Card #3 remaining balance (approx. $835) PassThough I cut it close, it took getting the last of my 2014 variable comp on Jan. 30th to meet this goal.

    2. Post twice a week, and plan ahead- Technically pass, I definitely got better at planning ahead and I did technically have two posts a week, but the posts weren’t always when I had planned, I need to do better at sticking to my plan.

    3. Sell three more items via fb, craigslist etc. Pass! Sold books to sellbackyourbooks.com and a bunch of old CDs to FYE, though I’ve yet to get the checks yet. Lastly, I sold an old space heater on a local FB yard sale site.

    SMART Goals for February:

    Every month seems to fly by but with only 28 days, this one legitimately does fly by, so here are my goals for an albeit short month.

    1. Finish paying off the last of my credit card debt

    2. Sell three more items- basically, keep downsizing/decluttering

    3. Get one freelance job- not necessarily a paid job, but something to help dip my toes in the water

    4. Stick to a budget when I’m in D.C.



    December 2014

    Okay, so 2014 is officially over. I didn’t start this blog or really tracking my progress until August/September so I won’t be doing a look back at the entire year. But I will be posting about my 2015 goals later this week.

    For now, I’m just going to look back and see how I did in my December 2014 accountability. I’m excited by the progress I’m making. I may not have reached my stretch goal of paying off my credit cards in 2014 but I’ll get them paid off early 2015 for sure.

    Debt Update:

    • Credit Cards: $1,669.47 difference: +$842.53
    • Car Loan: $11,940.03 difference: +219.30
    • Student Loans: $243,731.09 difference: -$498.38 Because IBR repayment doesn’t even cover the interest, which means this will continue to creep up until I pay off my consumer debt.

    SMART Goals for December 

    1. Pay off half of Credit Card #3 remaining balance Fail. But I did manage to pay off more than 30% of the remaining balance, which is some definite progress.

    2. Post twice a week, and plan ahead so that I have posts during the holidays (utter fail over Thanksgiving). Fail. For December anyway, but I have started planning ahead for my posts in January. So maybe this was more of a success, just one that started a little late.

    3. Sell three more items via fb, craigslist etc. Fail. I did post plenty of items on fb, but none sold. Time to try craigslist.

    4. Set financial goals for 2015. Success. I’ll be sharing these later this week.

    SMART Goals for January 

    • Pay off half of Credit Card #3 remaining balance (approx. $835)
    • Post twice a week to the blog and start to plan ahead so I’m not writing something to be posted same day
    • Sell three more items via facebook, craigslist etc.
    • Post financial goals for 2015 and how I’m going to achieve them


    November 2014

    Okay, I’ve finally accepted that the end of the year is near. With one major holiday down and one to go, I’m not hating the sound of holiday music yet and am hoping to get and decorate a Christmas tree this weekend.
    So with that let me take a look back to see how I did in November, here is my November 2014 Accountability Post:

    Debt Update:

    • Credit Cards: $2,512.00 difference: +$2,495.54
    • Car Loan: $12,159.41 difference: +220.25 
    • Student Loans: $243,232.71 difference: -$1,207.31 Because IBR repayment doesn’t even cover the interest, which means this will continue to creep up until I pay off my consumer debt.

    SMART Goals for November:

    1. Pay off CC#1 and CC#2- Success!! Two credit cards down, one to go! Though it doesn’t look like I’ll reach my stretch goal to have it paid off before the end of the year.

    2. Side Hustle a craft fair-Fail. In looking for a craft fair to work I learned that you need to plan these things months in advance. So next year I’ll be on the look out.

    3. Spend less money on alcohol, limit to $35 for the month- just to be clear I’m not an alcoholic, but I do enjoy a beer/glass of wine after work once or twice a week. Anyways it is an area in my budget where there is definitely room for improvement. Success. Not too much to say about this one, I’ve been too busy to be able to go out lately.

    SMART Goals for December:

  • Pay off half of Credit Card #3 remaining balance
  • Post twice a week, and plan ahead so that I have posts during the holidays (utter fail over Thanksgiving)
  • Sell three more items via fb, craigslist etc.
  • Set financial goals for 2015


  • October 2014

    Excuse me, but how is it already November? Thanksgiving is in three weeks and Christmas (for those that celebrate) is next month.
    I can’t quite comprehend just how little time is left in the year. But this post is not about time, it’s about how October went. Overall it could have been worse, but I didn’t do great. Details are below in my October 2014 accountability post.

    Debt Update:

    • Credit Cards: $5,007.54 difference: +498.82
    • Car Loan:  $12,379.66 difference: +407.15 
    • Student Loans: $242,025.40 difference: -$215.19 Because IBR repayment doesn’t even cover the interest, which means this will continue to creep up until I pay off my consumer debt.

    SMART Goals for October 

  • Pay off CC#1– balance currently stands at $1,485 Fail-sort of. I submitted my invoice for the side hustle I’ve been working on and was told a check would be sent out the following Monday. After not receiving a check I reached out and was told by payroll that they pay all invoices on the 15th, naturally, I had submitted my invoice on the 16th. So it won’t be paid until mid-November at which time, CC#1 and hopefully CC#2 will be paid off.
  • No-Spend Month, with two allowed exceptions:
    1. Plane ticket, due to an ill family member I will likely be making a trip towards the end of the month
    2. $25 to spend on beer. I know, I know, but no cable means no Patriots games, so I’m allowing myself to spend $25 total for the month to grab a beer at a bar to watch the games. This means not buying food, which is definitely a challenge.
    3. Failed! There are so many reasons why I failed, an overall need to make some changes in my life also lead to me making some changes in my wardrobe. I invested in some new key pieces (I hardly every go clothes shopping and things were falling apart) I also spent money on materials needed to DIY some holiday gifts.
  • Start a new Side Hustle. Success! I cleaned some stuff out of my apartment and managed to sell it online through a local Facebook page, I’m continuing to do this as I have a few more things to get rid of. I also started looking into possibly having a table at a craft fair. 
  • SMART Goals for November 

  • Pay off CC#1 and CC#2- The side hustle money I have coming in should do the trick.
  • Side Hustle a craft fair
  • Spend less money on alcohol, limit to $35 for the month- just to be clear I’m not an alcoholic, but I do enjoy a beer/glass of wine after work once or twice a week. Anyways it is an area in my budget where there is definitely room for improvement.


  • September 2014

    This month literally flew by! I’m more than ok with that, it wasn’t the best month, so good riddance and bring on October! I heart fall and everything pumpkin, yes, I’m THAT girl. So how did I do with my goals for September and what’s next? Well overall on the money front things were a success!

    Debt Update:

    • Credit Cards:  $5,506.36 difference: +671.05 (yeah for side hustles)
    • Car Loan:  $12,786.81 difference: +0 I’d already made my September payment when I posted the last accountability post.
    • Student Loans:  $241,810.21 difference: $836.04 Because IBR repayment doesn’t even cover the interest, which means this will continue to creep up until I pay off my consumer debt.

    SMART Goals for September 

    1. Get Credit Card debt under the $6000 mark Success!! Admittedly this wasn’t a huge goal, but with two big payments (car insurance and bar dues) due in September totaling, $1,411 I knew it would cut into my debt payoff ability.

    2. Stay within grocery budget (I failed miserably in August) Successful-ish definitely a huge improvement.

    3. Work at least 1 side hustle Success! Though I have yet to be paid for said side hustle, but it has lead to another assignment, I figure I’ll start asking about being paid if I don’t see anything by the end of this second assignment.

    SMART Goals for October:

    1. Pay off CC#1– balance currently stands at $1,485

    2. No-Spend Month, with two allowed exceptions:

    • Plane ticket, due to an ill family member I will likely be making a trip towards the end of the month
    • $25 to spend on beer. I know, I know, but no cable means no Patriots games, so I’m allowing myself to spend $25 total for the month to grab a beer at a bar to watch the games. This means not buying food, though, which is definitely a challenge.

    3. Start a new Side Hustle.



    August 2014

    This is my very first accountability post. I decided to do this August 2014 Accountability post because one of the purposes of this blog is to hold myself accountable. Therefore, I should probably share the full extent of my goal. As in all the dirty details of my debt. Below is how it breaks down as of the end of August 2014.

    While August 2014 is not when I started seriously pursuing my goal of being debt free, it is when I started this blog so it is where I will start with my first accountability post. Without further ado here is my August 2014 accountability post:

    Debt Update:

  • Credit Cards: $6,177.41
  • Car Loan: $12,786.81
  • Student Loans: $240,974.17
  • SMART Goals for September 

    To keep me focused and motivated I decided to set SMART goals for myself each month.

    1. Get Credit Card debt under the $6000 mark
    2. Stay within grocery budget (I failed miserably in August, but I’ve finally cracked the code of successful budgeting.)
    3. Work at least 1 side hustle (these are some of my favorite side hustle ideas.)

    This is the very beginning of my debt journey on this site. I hope you will stick around and perhaps find a little inspiration along the way. Thank you for being here.


    Thanks for checking out my Debt Update Page. This blog all started as a way to stay accountable while paying off my debt and to share the personal finance knowledge I gained along my way to Debt Freedom. If you’re curious as to how I got to be in so much debt, you’re in luck I wrote a post:

    Once Upon a Time I Knew Nothing About Personal Finance – My Journey from Clueless Law Grad to Personal Finance Blogger

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