This year we spent $20,924 on debt and $10 each on Christmas.
Things have been rather quiet on the ol' debt front here. We haven't updated since we decided to keep our stupid money-hungry car. In all honesty we fell into a bit of a depression. We didn't want to do another update of bad news, we didn't want to disappoint anyone. But finally, for once in the past year, we have some good news.
One year ago Tell Me Something Executive Producer Jeremy Allen wrote this:
"Dylan and Keri will be sharing their stories of living modestly and putting everything they have towards this enormous debt. They will be learning about what is important, what is necessary, what is silly and working toward a debt free life. This is simply a documentation of the struggle of our generation. 'The Debts of Young America'. We don't need to carry this with us. A lighter load is better for the soul. Simplify. Unify. Spotify every Andrew WK song."
It's true, this year has been something. We got the first year of marriage under our belts, a firm-ish grasp on our finances, ate at El Pelon a minimum of 15 times, got a better understanding of what is important and have listened to a lot of Andrew WK - it's been pretty rad. With the smell of the holidays still floating in the air - and the upcoming New Year! - we thought this would be a good time to give you all an update on how the snowball has progressed over the past couple months.
First, in order to do that, let us tell you about Christmas. It's that time of year that celebrates the birth of 'Tickle Me Elmo' (is that still a thing?) and the warm feeling of being trampled to death by men and women in a Wal-Mart, you know, the holidays! This year we decided to go the homemade route for gifts for our loved ones. We cross stitched funny things, wrote and recorded songs, drew pictures and gave ourselves a limit of $10 to spend on each other. So much better than iPad minis.
After the yard sale this past summer we made an effort to declutter our lives. Things, we decided, will not make us happy and shouldn't make us happy. Paying off our debt will make us happy. Not having possessions will make us happy. Now, we both have very nice families who would not accept this notion. When they would ask "What do you guys want for Christmas?" we would say "Nothing." then they would say "No, but seriously... What do you guys want?" and we would say "Nothing, really." and then they would say "I'm not kidding. Tell me what you want or you'll get nothing." and we said "That's what we want." "What do you want?" "Nothing." "Is that something?" "No, it's nothing." "What's nothing." "It's what we want." "So you do want something..?"- it was like a really bad Abbott and Costello routine. Eventually we caved and let our families know that if they really wanted to get us something, they should think about gift cards for food and groceries. That is what we really need. We really didn't want "things"...
Maybe we had gotten to the point where if we had nice things, or we were given nice things, it felt like we weren't committed to the snowball - like we would be cheating on our plan and our future. What we came to realize after Christmas is that you can't be too proud to accept a gift. If someone wants to get you something, just let them. We see that now. And we also now have a Nespresso Citiz...
The $10 limit for us proved to be the best option (Dylan tends to go a little spend-crazy for presents). We used coupons and called in favors, created things from scratch and got each other presents that matter. Keri is now the proud owner of a Spa Robe (thanks failed Groupon Honeymoon refund) and Dylan is now the proud owner of a glass jar for spare change. Look, we know that may not seem like a big deal to those of you who had to find a place that sells giant bows for the car you got your wife but these gifts were just perfect.
That brings us to the end of the year update. Keri is smart lady. She knows stuff. She knows math. She knows that Dylan is a visual person and also kind of a dumbbell and so as part of his Christmas gift Keri created a PowerPoint about our past year doing the debt snowball. Genius.
We're going to share that PPT right here because it so perfectly articulates what we are doing, why we are doing it and where we are going.
We want to thank you so much for your support over the past year, and encouragement, and suggestions, and thank you to the one guy who emailed something rude and had a 3 day email conversation with Dylan - we're glad that we both came to the realization that you were a jerk. Here's to 2014 and the next ???? years of Student Loan Debt. Merry Christmas.