In the blink of an eye, it feels like 2016 has come and gone. Looking back at this year, you probably made some financial strides and maybe also had some financial set backs. It happens to us all, and with my goal to be transparent with this blog, I wanted to share our 2016 year with you!
Let’s get straight to it! I’m excited to announce that we paid off $30,000 this calendar year! What started out as $80,000 in student loan debt 2 years ago is now down to $28,000. About $2,000 of the amount we threw at the loans this year was straight interest and $28,000 went to the principle. I am so thrilled that we are down to $28,000 in total outstanding loans and I never thought I’d see the day.
It definitely hasn’t been easy. We’ve lived very simply while throwing 70% of our take home pay to our loans each month. We’ve had to say no to a lot of things so that we can enjoy them later down the road. We’ve tried to be very diligent in our finances and it has really paid off. We are getting closer and closer to being debt free!
While I budget every single month and have a plan of paying off our loans, there are always unexpected expenses that come up.
In July we had to replace the brakes on my car. Luckily, we were able to put a little less to loans that month and pay for new brakes in cash. My car got new brakes and it wasn’t an emergency because we used the budget to our advantage.
Also in July we learned that to renew our apartment lease, it was going up from $1,100 to $1,300 a month for our little one bedroom apartment in a Portland suburb. With that, my parents invited us to come live with them for a year to get our loans paid off even faster. We moved in with them in August and so far it’s been wonderful! We pay them rent each month but it is far less than what we were paying before, enabling us to put more money to our loans! We’ve been super thankful for my parents letting us stay with them for a little bit so that we can reach our goals!
This year we also had some fun! We went to Disneyland with my family in March for a week. I am a huge Disney fan so it was definitely a highlight! We also went to Vegas for the first time over a long weekend with my parents in September. We didn’t do anything crazy, but we did see an awesome show, walk through some amazing hotels, and enjoyed some sun!
Here are some things and goals that we are looking forward to in 2017!
- Paying off Jacob’s federal loan
- Hopefully finding a house/townhouse to buy
- Taking a Caribbean cruise in October (we’ve already starting saving!)
- A job change for me in January (I’m really excited for this job and what’s to come!)
It’s been quite a wonderful year. We’ve achieved many goals we’ve set out for ourselves. 2016 hasn’t been easy by any means. It’s had it’s ups and downs. But here’s to 2017 and all the awesome things that await.
What did you accomplish this year? What are you looking forward to in 2017?
Photography by Donny Zavala Photography