If you're reading this and you are lost financially, or you feel like you could be doing more, I'm going to direct you to Dave Ramsey, to his book The Total Money Makeover, to his baby steps, to his fantastic class, Financial Peace University, and to his movement, The Great Recovery.
Now, on to where we are. We took FPU in February of 2008 at our church in T-town. Then we moved,had two children, and bought a house in the middle there. And we just kept trucking along, adjusting our monthly cash-flow plan and debt snowball (Baby Step 2) to roll with the punches. Almost a year ago, we paid off my student loans. Earlier this year we paid off our both our credit cards. Aside from the mortgage (which is Dave's Baby Step 6), the only debt we have left is student loan debt--$52k of student loan debt. Feeling disheartened, thinking that we haven't made a very big dent in the overall debt, I decided to go back and get all the records I could from February 2008 to present and find out how far we've come, and I'm equally excited and pained to say that we have paid off more than $53,000 in debt in 44 months (thank you, homeowner's tax credit, for the boost)! We are halfway there!
I went onto the forums on mytotalmoneymakeover.com (subscription membership is so worth it for the entirety of Dave's daily 3-hour radio program) looking for motivation while staring at defeating our remaining debt, and someone suggested breaking that debt into small chunks and working it from there, using a debt thermometer to track progress. Excellent idea!
I hereby declare war on our chunks, $10k at a time. So, I'm going to post our progress on each of 5 chunks of $10k in the form of a debt thermometer, updated monthly (or more often if I'm particularly inspired). And yeah, it still might take us 5 years to pay it all off, but I'm hoping it doesn't! And yes, there will be more than 5 chunks of 10 once interest is said and done, but we have to start someplace, right? So, in October of the year 2011, we start with our empty, new chunk: