101 in 1001 · During Our Marriage

30. pay off debt by 2015

Hey! Happy Monday!  Guess what?

debt free | Atwell AdventuresThat’s right! We’re debt freeeeeeee!

Its been almost two months since we paid off our debt, but it still feels so good – and so unreal – to type that.

I never thought that we would be able to pay off everything as quickly as we did, but looking back, it’s a great reminder of how the Lord provided SO much for us these past few months! From G being offered a job and an early start date allowing him to take leave time he built up in the USMC, to a rental house that was within our price range, there were so many answers to prayers and we are grateful for the opportunity to be living without the burden of debt.

When we began to work on paying off our debt in September {read: paying more than the monthly minimum on what we owed}, we hoped that we would be able to pay it off by our first anniversary but tried to be realistic and give ourselves until the end of 2014 to pay it off, just in case life happened and we had to put money towards other things. After all we didn’t really know what our next few months would like with G finishing up in the military.  

Some of the things that we did that were key to us paying our debt off more quickly:

  1. Pay off smaller debts first. We read about this idea through Dave Ramsey, and it truly did give us momentum.  And who doesn’t put a cross through a line of debt once its paid off?
  2. Create a spending budget off of less than your income.  If you make $100 a month, create your budget based on $60 and put the other $40 towards debt.
  3. Reduce “fun money” spending. This may sound like a no brainer, but we worked over our budget a few times and tried to cut out things we could do without. While it definitely wasn’t fun to cut down on our “fun money” spending {clothes, home stuff, eating out more than once a week}, it was very worth it.  It even gave me time to gain new perspectives on needs vs.wants, buying things I love, and investing in quality items.  I’m definitely still learning though!
  4. Evaluate spending every month. Each month, we would list out how we did on our budget, and make notes if we went over in certain categories.  This helped us stay more accountable and be realistic about our spending.

We still have a long way to go in learning about money {giving, saving, and planning} but we’re grateful to be doing it now without the worry of a payment!

What are some ways you tackle debt? Any tips?

ps – Want to read more about how we got started? Last fall during my 31 days series, I wrote about how we deal with moneycommunicating about moneygoal settingbudgeting 101a helpful tooleasy ways to save, and settling into a home on a budget.  

During Our Marriage

celebration station

Valentine’s 2014 and G’s 27th birthday are in the books. This was our first Valentines together {last year G was in California, and the year before we hadn’t even met!} so I was happy we were able to spend both days together this year!

I knew G was getting me something for Valentines but I wasn’t sure what it would be. He just told me I wasn’t allowed to look at our bank account for the days leading up to Valentines Day {#JointCheckingProbz}.

A delivery man showed up on Friday with these beauties and some chocolate while G was at work. So sweet!  I decided not to get him flowers but instead went with an Olympics themed Valentines {because nothing says love to a guy like “USA! USA! USA!”. Wait, what?} I made him a “I won the gold when I met and married you” card, “gold medal” cookies, and found a Team USA Olympics tee. Practical, no?

Valentines | Atwell Adventures 2

Friday night was spent at home as planned and I wouldn’t have had it any other way. Grilled pizza, brownies, and You’ve Got Mail? Yes, please, and thank you.

Saturday night we ventured out to the mall for some window shopping and then we pre-gamed dinner with UNO {yes, the card game} at Barnes & Noble. Again, wouldn’t have had it any other way 🙂 Valentines | Atwell Adventures We headed to a late dinner and sometime after our soup, things started to get a little foggy for me.  I remember not feeling 100% when I was eating my entree, but by the time I got home I thought for sure I had food poisoning. Ha! Thankfully, I think it was just the combination of eating a very full meal later than normal.  By morning I was golden.

When Sunday came around it was time to switch over to celebrate G’s birthday mode!  While he was taking a nap, I snuck out for “groceries” but really just went to pick up Krispy Kreme.  How cute is this tin that Krispy Kreme was selling? Maybe doughnuts will be a birthday-eve tradition?

G 27 | Atwell Adventures 5

For his actual birthday, we had dinner at The Chop House.  The atmosphere was a little different than expected, but we both really enjoyed dinner and the service. And bless, he even smiled for a picture with the cake that he didn’t want them to bring.G 27 | Atwell Adventures 4

At dinner, I gave him a card – the first part of his birthday present.  It was “tickets” to a Braves game of his choice.  I thought it would be a good idea to let him decide what game he wants to go to most and I’ll take the rest of the planning from there. The second part of his present was hidden at home in our guest shower – a Braves basket, complete with foam finger!  This was fun basket to put together, minus the baseball cookies I made that qualify for the “nailed it” website.G 27 | Atwell Adventures 3

I’ll give you one guess which ones were store bought…G 27 | Atwell Adventures 2Since G had dessert at dinner, I decided to wait and serve his cake last night at dinner.  Since it was just the two of us, I made sure to sing Happy Birthday as loud as I could.  By the expression he is making in the picture below, I obviously “nailed it” on the song!  

G 27 | Atwell AdventuresSo glad I got to celebrate you, G!


During Our Marriage

in sickness and in health

So remember a couple of weeks ago when I wrote a note to my mr. and thanked him for putting up with my whining while I was sick?  And then I told you about my visit to the doctor before the marine ball?

Well I finally got an answer for my unexplained yuck after I went back to the doctor with an earache last week.  After some more bloodwork the nurse said I should probably come back and talk to the doctor.

Because I had MONO. 

Happy holidays and moving to us! {I say “us” because there may have been some germs/drinks/kisses shared over the last month.} Thankfully, I think the worst is over.  My energy level is still lower than normal, but I can handle that over headaches/fever/earaches.

As for G*, he’s yet to have any of my symptoms {whewwwww!}.

*But watch your back, Atwell, one wrong move and I may get generous!  And on that note, want to watch Pride & Prejudice {again} tonight? I promise to make you some more of my special brownies!