February Debt Repayment Update

February Debt Repayment Update

I have FANTASTIC news for you all! We have officially completed our very first No Spend Challenge – which you can find out more about by clicking HERE. We couldn’t have done it without the support from all of you, your kindness and comments, and of course, our challengers who took the challenge right along beside us. Before we get all interested in how the challenge went (we’ll post a recap later this week), let’s look at how the No Spend Challenge affects our February Debt Repayment Update!


February Debt Repayment Update- www.diyjahn.com

For those who know our journey, feel free to skip ahead. For those who are new, here’s a little introduction.

So, here’s what’s going on. We plan to give these updates on a monthly basis (at the beginning of each month). This is our third one, but you can find the other two by clicking on our “Paying Off Debt & Saving Money” tab – or by clicking HERE.

I’m sure you’re wondering how we got to where we are. Well, we began our journey around the middle of September when my wife and I got married and decided to calculate our combined debt. That being said, we had been making payments for almost a year by this point, so we must have been much higher beforehand. Regardless, when we began religiously calculating our numbers in September, we came to the conclusion that we have $196,021.8 in debt: which is terrifying.

If you want to read more about how we racked up so much debt, you can read about it in our post here (click here).

But here’s a little infographic to help you see where our debt comes from:

Where our debt comes from

February Debt Repayment Update

 At the end of last month, we had $185,603.54 left in debt. Of course, due to interest accruing and the like, it has gone up some since our last update (and will do this each month). Thankfully, we were able to put a total of $1,009.67 toward our debt in December which is more than the accruing interest (though not by a ton). In either case, we still went in the right direction!

As you may remember, we had just built our emergency funds back up only to have them depleted once more for the car issues (and then brought back up again). In our New Family Fund, we had a total of $332.03 and not too much in our checking account (which is the goal). So all-in-all, December was a great month for us financially – you can read about it HERE.


Where is our debt for January?

Now, as you guys may remember, we were completing our first No Spend Challenge for the month of January and while we haven’t done a full recap yet (later this week), you can read all about our progress during the challenge by clicking HERE.

Why is this important to note?

Well, you’re going to see some BIG numbers headed toward our debt and some big accomplishments. Now, I’m not saying that we CAN’T do these numbers every month, but I want to let you all know that that’s where it is coming from. We also received a lump sum check that we put straight toward debt and that was a huge portion of this month’s payoff.

So, anyway, let’s get down to business.

First of all, I am super excited to announce that my wife and I are no longer in credit card debt! We have officially paid off our credit cards in their entirety and don’t plan to ever rack up that debt again.

How much did we pay this month?

Let’s take a look at where our debt repayment is now. During the month of December, we were able to put $1,009.67 toward debt, which is great considering the car repairs, Christmas, and travelling. However, we way more than topped that in January by putting the crazy amount of $12,918.58 toward debt!

Yes, you read that right, we put $12,918.58 toward debt this month.

This brings us up to our first $20,000 of debt repaid since starting to aggressively pay off our debt. Remember, we had made quite a few payments before this decision, but we have not counted those in. Our total debt repayment since October is: $23,259.44!


As you may remember, we reached our first goal of paying 5% of our debt way back in November. We didn’t move much from there in December, but this month we have skyrocketed to 11%! Woohoo! This leaves us with $174,814.7 (not including the accrued interest which will bring us back up a little bit).

A couple of notes about this:

  1. Our credit cards were at $3,470.59 and $3,763.07 at the beginning of the month and are now at 0! Yay!
  2. We have decided to keep the car payment and pay off my private student loan next because it’s interest rate is a whopping and horrible 9%. We started the month with it at $31,170.6 and it is now down to $26,132.64.
  3. We always make our minimum payments on the debts that are out of deferment including: my wife’s federal student loans, my wife’s college student loan, and our car payment. When the other loans are out of deferment (in roughly 16 months) we’ll make minimum payments on those as well (but maybe if we work hard we’ll have some that we pay off before then!).

Where does your income come from?

I decided to add this segment in November after reading a few income reports from other bloggers. I don’t want this to sound like bragging, but rather to help you to see that it is possible to pay back your debt on a low income (we’re doing it). You can also see that it’s possible to make money on the side (we’re doing that too). I hope that this helps you on your journey to debt freedom.

My wife and I’s pay has both risen a small amount due to annual raises. My wife makes around $1,800 per month and I make roughly $1,600 a month (both post-tax, post-health insurance, post-retirement contribution). We have taken a vow to use only my income to support us – pay our bills, our groceries, our gas, minimum payments, everything and use the entirety of hers to pay extra on debt. However, as you know, sometimes her paychecks must be used for other purposes (such as fixing the car, etc.)

This month, thankfully, all of our extra funds could go toward our debt repayment (and most of my checks, too, since we were on our No Spend Challenge). We did make an extra $200 catering which was all put toward debt and DIY Jahn made some extra fund-age for us as well, though not a ton. We are hoping with the release of our new course we will bump up our income a little bit.

Here’s what our income breaks down to for the month of January:


February Income

My wife and I work as a team and while we know that she earns more than I do, we never hold that against one another. Our money is just that, our money. For a long time I supported her on just my income, when she got a job, she supported us both. Now we are pretty close to even. While I don’t make, in cash, anywhere near what she makes, my job also pays for the house and all bills associated (repairs, utilities, etc.) – so we are fairly equal.

The thing to remember though is that even if we weren’t: we are married. If she was making nothing, my checks would still be just as much her money as her paychecks are now. We are equals in this relationship. It matters, ya know?

Don’t forget our assets!

This is one of our first full months in which we didn’t have to utilize our emergency fund at all! I’m so excited to report that not only did our emergency fund stay the same, but we were able to see our first interest gain on our savings. Okay, so it may have been only $.19 but that’s better than nothing, right?

Each month we also contribute $100 toward our New Family Fund. Because of the way our relationship works, we know that when we want to have children, we will need a large fund for this. Since we want to have kids in a few years, we’ve started saving for this now.

I know what you are thinking: why don’t you have a “new house fund” as well. Well, we have thought about it, honestly. We have looked at and fell in love with houses. We have wanted to buy houses. There’s a lot that we have tried, but it always ends the same: we need to stay where we are until our debt is paid off because right now, we can put a lot extra toward debt each month.

The difference between saving for housing and saving for kids? Well, housing could happen at any point in life. If we need to wait 10 years to buy a house, then that’s what we will do. However, there’s sort of a timeline with kids, we want to still be young enough to truly enjoy them when we have them. So, the fund starts now and the housing fund will start next year (in theory). I hope that makes sense.

February Money

Looking Ahead

 Where do we hope to be, looking forward?

First: We have learned a ton during our No Spend Challenge. It was truly eye-opening and we will be writing about that later this week during a recap. However, this has changed the way we look at finances. We have lowered our monthly budget by $100 leaving us with $200 for groceries, $40 for fun money, and $60 for gas. We have also decided to continue our No Spend Challenge for as long as we are able – which we think will get us a few weeks into February and save us some more extra funds for debt!

Second: We have recalculated where our money goes and, barring there are no giant repairs to make on our car, we should be able to put an extra $1,700 per month toward debt ever month. Woohoo! We also hope to keep earning on the side and maybe even bump that up a little bit!

Third: We have made a really big, huge, scary goal of paying off $50,000 in debt in 2016! I know this sounds crazy, but if we reach it we will be in such a better place to reach our goals super fast. I hope we can make it! It scares me to death, but man it would be nice.

So, stay tuned for more – big things are coming our way (and yours)! Thank you for joining us on this journey, supporting us, and keeping us going. We truly appreciate it.

Disclaimer: Some of DIY Jahn posts contain affiliate links. While I do earn money through Fronto, Ibotta, and other companies, and bonuses for referring people, all of my opinions on the company are 100% honest and my own. Also, please note that recipes, fitness tips, and financial tips are not given by a professional. To understand what this all means for you, click here.

13 Replies to “February Debt Repayment Update”

  1. I really want to get on board with this. My biggest challenge is that I am an entrepreneur with a fluctuating income every month. Last month was bare bones where some things went unpaid simply to make sure I had the mortgage covered. I’m trying hard to do the cash system and am living as simply as possible. I also have two kids in college and am the sole support of the family. Sometimes the pressure feels insurmountable. You are an inspiration, though, and I am going to keep trying. Thanks for sharing all this with us. It means a lot.

    1. Thank you for your comment, Amber! I really appreciate it. Being an entrepreneur does make it more difficult as well as having kids in college (or kids at all). It’s a LOT of pressure, but I know that you can do this. It’s hard, but it’s possible. I hope you’ll continue following along for more tips and tricks. I’ll be keeping you in my thoughts. It’s hard living paycheck to paycheck. Have you built up an emergency fund? I know it’s hard to get to that point, but it makes all the difference in the world having something to back you up so there is less stress about making the mortgage payment. If you ever want more ideas or to chat, feel free to contact me or leave comments!

  2. I was waiting for this article and I am impressed about you success: to close 2 depths and attack the third one with a huge tax (9% for me is huge) it is a big achievement! Congratulations!
    Good job, sir, keep it like this!

    Small remark: you reduced the groceries – ok -this because you still have food in the house, but in the future the groceries budget will need to raise a little bit back.

    1. 9% IS huge, you’re right. Thank you for your support though! 🙂 I really appreciate it. We are super excited to have those two debts closed and the third in the process.

      As for the grocery bill, we are hoping that we won’t need to raise it even when the pantry is empty. With only two of us, we think we can survive on $200 a month. But we’ll see after this first month if that’s too little! We can always raise it back up 🙂

  3. more small remarks:
    1. the fun budget it is ok for you 40 dollars?We need more (indeed, we are a family with 3 )
    2. ask the banks to renegotiate the credit or to refinance it but with a smaller interest. Even your intention is to close it, you pay a lot of interest with this 9% per year – 5 dollars less per month are yours. And keep continue to pay the depths :).
    (ok, I know not all the interests are 9%, but this number is big, and if there is a chance to find on the market a refinance with lower interest than actual one: do it. Just ask, you spend nothing to ask several banks…)
    3. how many depths are in “deferment” status? how bad will be when you will arrive at the moment to pay these too? 16 months are ..in 2017, not too far. Looking to your evolution (11% in less than a half of the years) I see that you can close more 1-2 more depths until 2017, but will be nice to write an article: “how could be the 2017 without any action until there”.
    4. Another remark: from my experience, I noticed I cannot keep undel control everything: my self control is limited :). So I pay attention in several directions but I cannot control in all. You just mention in one previous article how difficult was when you avoid to stop in a gas station to buy a soda. I was there – for me what worked was idea that “I choose to not buy anything this week because I have all I need from home, but in the weekend I will cook a cake and go to a movie etc.

    1. Thank you for your comment! You always have some great insights. 🙂 Here are our thoughts:
      1. The fun budget is pretty small right now. We are hoping to keep it this way only for a few months to really lower our debts before we bring it back up a little by little. We are learning to be content with what we have, but allowing ourselves to splurge a small amount here and there. 🙂 Hopefully by a few months from now we can up it a little more! 🙂
      2. As for renegotiating the loan with the high 9% interest – this debt is still in deferment – which means we aren’t required to make payments on it right now. If we refinanced the loan, we would have to begin making payments. So hopefully we will pay it off before it is out of deferment, but if not, we will refinance then! 🙂
      3. That’s a GREAT idea for a post. I will definitely be writing that post. Thank you for the question! You’re right, it will be hard if we don’t do anything. We have the 9% loan of $26k in deferment, a federal student loan of $76k in deferment, and another student loan of $3k in deferment. If we don’t pay some of them off, it won’t be a pretty picture in 16 months. That’s definitely a motivating factor!
      4. This is great advice! YOu have to let yourself have fun sometimes too and that’s a big thing for my wife and I. Thank you for sharing this! 🙂

    1. Thank you!! It certainly is hard when you have a windfall, but it’s great to be able to throw it all toward debt and be that much better off. THank you for your comment and support!

  4. Wow, what a great month for you guys! Congratulations. We have set the same goal for us this year…a whopping $50 grand! It will feel amazing; especially because ours is all student loans so I know how you feel. So, that $40 for fun money, how do you guys do it?! Maybe
    we will try a no spend challenge and realize how much we actually throw away. I look forward to checking out your DIY projects 🙂

    1. Hi there, Erica! I’m so glad that you stopped by. 🙂 Thanks for the congratulations! January did go REALLY well for debt repayment. I hope this month goes just half as well (or even a quarter would be nice). I hope you make your goal of $50 grand! How much debt do you have in total? It will feel great to know that the debt is gone. That’s for sure.

      As for your question – $40 may seem like a very small amount for fun money, but it actually serves us pretty well. With two of us, we can usually go out to eat once or go to see a movie once… It all works out! I definitely encourage you to try a No Spend Challenge. If you need encouragement, we have a whole section o nit and how it went for us! Just let me know if you have any questions at all – I love to chat with others – especially when they have similar goals! Thank you for your comment. 🙂

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