Why I’ve never been so happy to be $99,604.91 in debt

Why would anyone be happy to be $99,604.91 in debt? That is a tremendous amount of debt. Yes, I know and today I’m doing a happy dance about it.

Last week, I was paying bills after we got paid. I logged into my husband’s student loan account to make a large extra payment. After the loan payment, the amount due was less than $3,000. I started running some numbers in my head. Then I started logging in to check my balances.

  • Husband’s student loan: $2,776.48
  • Home equity line: $46,937.24
  • Combined student loan: $49,891.24

Total debt remaining: $99,604.91

We owe less than $100,000! We owe less than six figures. Now we only owe five figures!

Over the last few months, it’s been harder and harder to stay focused. It probably doesn’t help that I keep getting cruise guides in the mail. It also doesn’t help that all we have left are large debts. There are fewer quick wins to keep the momentum going.

Seeing this was just the recharge I needed. Having to pay off $220,000 worth of debt is a long road. When we first started, it was a huge mountain that I never thought we could climb. The weight of it was unbearable. There were times I didn’t think it was possible.

huge mountain to climb

Then we started to hit milestones. Each small debt was another milestone. Paying off the credit cards was a huge step up that mountain. Paying off the car was another. As the debts got larger, there were fewer milestones and it got harder to stay focused.

This is a marathon. Going below $100,000 was the energy drink I needed to keep running after my legs and back are sore and I just want to get in the hot tub on a really big cruise ship.

I’m hoping to pay off the last of my husband’s student loan this month, then it is going to be a while until we get the next debt paid off. I’m going to be tracking $10,000 milestones to stay focused. The debt free date is getting closer. I can’t wait to reach the finish line. Until I get there, I’ll just listen to this:

Do you track milestones while getting out of debt? If you’ve paid off a lot of debt, how did you stay motivated?

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • Lea-Ann

    I have a debt payoff spreadsheet that I update a couple times a year, but would like to do some kind of print out that I can cross of as we make progress. I’m going to get to the mid-six figure mark and one big amount and we’ll need some momentum for that. Keep me posted!

    • Kristin Ingram

      Lea-Ann,

      We printed out our spreadsheet and put it up on the wall. Every time we pay off a debt, we update the spreadsheet and tape it on top of the old one. This gives us a lot of perspective and keeps it in front of us all the time. The student loan we will pay off this month was earmarked to be paid off in September according to the current snowball on the wall. On the original spreadsheet, we were scheduled to pay it off in November of this year. Seeing the progress we have made really helps keep us going. Here is my post about it:

      http://paymentfreelife.com/pay-it-off/put-it-on-the-wall/

  • Hello Flecks

    Congratulations Kristin! That is really an amazing feat you are tackling!! I agree with a couple of things you said.

    First, about the debt being a marathon. It is so true. There are plenty of times when you want to quit because its easier, but you just keep going because you’ve already started this. You know that moving forward is all that is standing between you and success. Marathons are the same way.

    Second, about losing steam during the bigger payments. We have the 5-figure balances left, and it is tough. We even took a small break for a while to adjust. Now we’re back at our student loans because they are just such a pain in our lives that its better to get rid of them.

    Congrats on your 5-figure success! Love the new layout too!

  • Tanara McCauley

    You go! Congratulations and keep on trucking!

    • Thanks Tanara. Since this post was written, we have paid off another $25,000. I can see the light at the end of the tunnel.