So here we are again, month two of our 36 month journey of hustling and sacrificing to become debt free. February was a big month for my family and we’ll get into the details below.
To recap, January 2016 saw my family earn an overall “B” grade in our first ever Debt Free Hustle Progress Report. In each to these reports, I aim to give an honest and thoughtful review of the progress my family has made towards paying off all of our debt. Let’s get right into it.
The first piece of good news for our family in February was I received my annual performance bonus from work, meaning I saw a large cash windfall which we used to fully pay off three credit card balances. This is an annual bonus, so we do not expect any additional large cash payments for the rest of the year. We will be back to our normal debt snowball plan for March. It’s also not a guarantee each year that I’ll receive this bonus, so I normally don’t work this amount into the budget.
Debt Free Hustle Progress Report 2 of 36
In our January progress report, I shared with you the five factors that effect our monthly Debt Free Hustle Progress Report. To recap, here’s the five factors again:
- How well we followed the financial plan?
- How many milestones did we reach?
- Did we use credit for any purchases?
- Did we hustle to earn extra money to accelerate our debt reduction?
- Were we able to cross off any major goals?
Here’s what our debt snowball plan and order looked like back on January 1.
- We completely paid off three credit cards; Retail Charge #1, MasterCard #1 and Retail Charge Card #2. This was a total of $7,534.87 total debt paid off in one month!!
- We did not add any additional debt to our balances.
- I again deferred my student loan payment for February and chose to put it towards the next credit card in our debt snowball, MasterCard #2
Individual Grades for February 2016
Following the Financial Plan: B+ (7 points)
Our annual performance bonus was announced back in January so I knew it was coming in February. We were able to successfully put 90% of the money towards debt reduction and then set the other 10% aside for something in the future. I am giving us a harsh B+ in this category because I think we can do much better in cutting out the waste in our monthly budget, mainly our eating out. We went a little overboard for the month of February.
Reaching Milestones: B- (5 points)
While paying off three additional lines of credit in February is a great accomplishment, we did not reach our first milestone of 10% of overall debt paid off. Still a solid month in paying down debt but we need another milestone to push our grade higher.
Using Credit: A+ (10 points)
No additional debt was added in the month of February. Enough said, we get an A+.
Hustle: F (0 points)
This damn performance bonus I knew I would be getting really gave me an excuse not to hustle to earn extra money in February. I know, it’s a sorry excuse but I just allowed that mindset to sink in that I didn’t have to do anything extra in February because I was getting a large amount of money. I can’t let this happen again.
Major Goals: N/A
A longer post is in the works to lay out my major goals in this debt free journey. It’s still too early to hit any of the major goals so we are not using this category in our scoring quite yet.
Overall Grade for February 2016: B- (5.5 points)
My grade was really drug down by my lack of hustle in February to earn more than I have budgeted coming in. I honestly feel guilty about it and vow to never do that again. The hustle it takes to pay off $106,000 in debt is the backbone of this blog and I can’t be slacking anymore if I want to get this done in 36 months. In order to do that, I have to take on side hustles and try to earn extra money where I can online or offline to put towards paying down debt.
The books are closed for February and there’s nothing I can do buy look forward. We’re already several days into March and it’s time to get to work on cleaning up this mess.
Until next time, keep hustling because the short-term sacrifices will be overshadowed by the long-term benefit of no debt.
P.S. We found out in February also that my wife is pregnant again. We’re expecting our second child later in 2016!