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We’re Debt Free Pt 2: Our Debt Numbers

Not long ago, I shared the emotional story of How We Got Out of Debt (and I wish We hadn’t)….Yes. It sounds crazy that I wouldn’t want to be out of debt, but you have to read the story here to understand.  But I decided to share the breakdown of the debt numbers because I feel that it is essential to be transparent in our financial journey. I plan to write though ALL of the baby steps!


Starting Debt Numbers:


NICU from our daughter’s birth: $3000 (our out of pocket max – the total bill would’ve been just over 50K so thank God for health insurance!)


Student Loans: 185,XXX (Breakdown: 25K mine, 160K Travis = 185K ours. note: I’ll probably write about this eventually. The huge difference in our loan totals was extremely hard to deal with at first, but I had a lot of help along the way.)


Personal Family Loan (Travis borrowed from parents while in college): $5,700

Total Starting Debt: $193,7XX in February 2016


From February until June 2016, we were single income. Technically I was finishing my last undergraduate class remotely and I officially graduated in May 2016.  I began work in June. We lived with my in-laws from January 2016-September 2016 while we were (slowly) searching for an affordable place to live. We were very lucky to have this option and I can’t stress that enough. It gave us thousands to put towards our snowball, and allowed us to find a steal of a rental.


From March 2016 until May 2017 we paid off $56,700 in debt on our own. We were gazelle intense with a {payoff date calculatedto be December 2019 assuming no promotions or extra income. In 2015, my Grandma passed away, and from her estate we received $20,000 in July 2016.   My mother reached out to us in mid May 2017 and offered to pay the rest of the student loans (117,XXX). To say I was shocked would be an understatement, but the backstory is that during this timeframe, my father passed away. My mother is now in Baby Step 7 and she felt it was time to help us (again, read that story HERE). We then were able to pay off my in-laws in only a couple of weeks. 

Some obstacles we faced:

  • Two cars: Yes TWO. The first actually was an even trade at first, but we ended up having to cash flow $2500 in repairs until it finally died. A 2005 Subaru Outback with only 110K miles. The engine got destroyed out of nowhere and the quote was $5400 for just the engine. Trust me it’s a sore spot! We replaced that vehicle with a TrailBlazer about two months ago and we love it! It’s just a gas guzzler but otherwise is excellent.
  • Emergency tickets home: I don’t think I’ve talked about this, but I am originally from Alaska. We now live in the eastern half of the United States. Due to a family emergency, we all had to get last minute tickets home. Trust me, last minute tickets to AK are not cheap (and every single airline that flies to Alaska refused me any emergency/bereavement discount trust me, I tried!). Then while home we ate out a lot and paid for other’s meals here and there. Really money was the last thing on anyone’s mind. The tickets were $2700, and we spent about another $500 over the few weeks in restaurants and miscellanoues.

So that’s it. Those are our debt numbers. We are debt free. And I don’t know if I quite believe it yet. 


– Rachel

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