Debt-Free in 3: March Update (1 YEAR)

Part 16 Year 1 Debt-Free in 3

Welcome back to our Debt-Free in 3 series! It’s already been an entire year into our 3 year goal of becoming debt-free. There have been definite strides forward – as well as financial setbacks. Let’s take a look back at our goals and see where we are …


☑ 1. Payoff medical and tax debts before April, 2016.[SUCCESS]

☑ 2. Enjoy April vacation without going further into debt[(FUN) FAILURE]

▣ 3. Create emergency fund that is not to be touched unless in crisis mode.[WORK IN [VERY SLOW] PROGRESS]

▣ 4.Pay down credit cards to less than 30% of available credit. [WORK IN PROGRESS]
☑ 5. Continue to increase retirement fund 1% annually[ON TARGET]
☑ 6. Save minimum down payment on house by September, 2016 January, 2017. [NEW 401K LOANS]
☑ 7. Buy a house in fall of 2016 Winter 2017 Fall 2016[SUCCESS]
▣ 8. Payoff all current debt by June, 2018.
▣ 9. Substantially increase retirement fund once debt free.
▣ 10. Don’t incur any new debt with the one exception of a mortgage.



Since the onset of our Debt-Free in 3 journey, it appears that we are actually moving in the wrong direction – since we are now more than $300k further in debt than when we began. There are 3 reasons for the increase:

  1. Home Purchase. One of the primary goals – and ours is on the lower end for the area. Housing prices in Colorado are not for the faint of heart.
  2. Jeep Replacement. We purchased a used, newer model for replacement of our totaled Jeep. Our new vehicle loan balance is more than the previous, but that is due to using the insurance money to payoff higher interest credit cards instead of using it for the vehicle downpayment.
  3. New 401K Loan. Necessary for funding the mortgage downpayment. It’s anyone’s guess what the real estate market conditions would be if we waited until we had cash in hand. Four and a half years until this is paid back – if we don’t throw any additional funds at it.

From our debt balance a year ago, we have wiped out $33,657:

  1. Sold 2nd Vehicle: $16,730
  2. Medical & Tax Debt: $807
  3. Credit Cards: $4,542
  4. Student Loan: $4,042
  5. Bank Loan: $7,536

And have reduced the new debts (mortgage, vehicle, 401k loan) by $3,700.


Broken record here. The emergency fund continues to be a struggle, but we do have a tiny one started. It would have been a skosh bigger, but the day after I once again set money aside for an emergency, Zach and I had to rush to the animal hospital because it appeared our precious Neo had suffered a stroke and could not even stand.

By the time we drove through the mountains and arrived for our emergency visit, Neo had completely recovered and the vet could find nothing wrong. Apparently our precious canine just wanted a little extra attention and a very expensive car ride. At least we didn’t need to put it on a credit card.


We are down to our last 2 credit cards with a balance, and one of those is slated to be paid in full within the next month. That one would have been paid off already, but we’ve had to whip it out a few times for investment into the side business that I’ve hinted at….


Now that we’re almost completely settled into our new home and the snow is somewhat starting to melt, we have turned our attention to launching our side income!

We’re preparing our workshop (garage), to resurrect our engraving business. Our engraving equipment took up a substantial amount of space in the moving truck when we moved across the country 4 1/2 years ago. Packing it up and hauling it with each of the 4 subsequent moves – but not actually using it.

Now. Now we are ready – or at least getting ready – to get back to one of our passions. Creating sandblasted engravings in stone, specializing in pet memorials, address markers and garden stones. And speeding up our debt reduction in the process.

What side hustles have you implemented to reduce debt?? Please leave a comment if you care to share!



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