I recently announced that I would be featuring at least one budget profile each week, including bloggers. For those of you who may be new to this site, I encourage others to bare their budgets so we can all benefit by seeing how everyone else is (or isn’t) making it.
This week I am super excited to be featuring Stephanie from Six Figures Under!
The name says it all. After acquiring over six figures of law school debt, Stephanie, along with her husband and 4 kids are well on their way to becoming debt free, partially thanks to the thousands of dollars she is making online. I asked her a few questions based on her current financial situation that you can read below.
Follow the link below to check out her budget profile (will open in a new window).
Six Figures Under Interview
1. What is your current financial goal, and when do you plan to reach it?
Our current financial goal is to pay off what started as six figures of student loan debt. We were debt-free before my husband decided to go back to school for a JD/MBA. At the end of the 4 years of school we had over $130K of debt! At our last calculation, we had just over $67K remaining. We set the goal about two years ago with the deadline at the end of 2016. We’re not sure exactly how it’s going to happen, but we’re giving it our all!
2. I find that many people paying off their debt are concerned about their ability to still have fun. How have you and your family managed to have fun over the past few years while working toward your goal?
Honestly, we’ve never really worried about our debt preventing us from having fun. My husband and I are both fun people who can have a great time doing just about anything. For us, fun has never had a dollar sign next to it.
Many of the things we love to do don’t cost much. We love going on walks and hikes. We take weekend camping trips and go swimming in the river near our house. We build things together and play games together. Our kids love climbing trees and playing at the park. We read books and watch movies. My kids help cook and love experimenting in the kitchen.
In nearly ten years of marriage we have never even been to an amusement park, though I do think it will be fun to take our kids sometime. We have plenty of fun, it’s just not expensive! We’re both naturally pretty frugal people, so it’s actually more fun not to spend money on fun, even before the days of debt.
3. It looks like you are only a few months away from being net worth positive! Is that something you’ll celebrate?
As a personal finance blogger I probably shouldn’t admit this, but we actually don’t track our net worth right now. We have tunnel vision for getting rid of this debt. It was only as I plugged all the numbers into the budget profile form that I realized we were getting so close (well if $10K away is close) to having a positive net worth. We weren’t planning on celebrating, but now that you mention it maybe we should! I will take any excuse for brownies and ice cream!
4. You guys recently had a new addition to the family! How would you advise others who are on the fence about having a baby because of their debt situation?
Yes! Our newest little one is three months old already (our others are 7, 5, and 3). We really didn’t let our debt figure into the decision to add to our family because for us, having a family is a higher priority than paying off debt. My advice would be to base your decision on your priorities. We all have different priorities– don’t make decisions based on someone else’s priorities.
Anticipating some criticism for our decision to expand our family while paying off massive debt, I wrote a more in-depth article Should you pay off debt before having children? to help my readers and critics understand our perspective.
5. I’ve had several people post their profiles recently (including a few attorneys) who are either 5 or 6 figures under. It seems so overwhelming in the beginning. What words or advice or encouragement would you give them?
Take ownership for your finances– even your debt. Don’t let yourself fall into a victim mentality. Recognize that every choice you make will impact your finances. You are in control of your money, not the other way around. This may not sound like “encouragement,” but it really is! Taking ownership for your finances will empower you and give you real motivation to reach your goals.
Live simply. It may be tempting to live a more extravagant lifestyle after finishing school, especially for those who are bringing in a nice salary with their advanced degrees. You’ll feel entitled to splurge after working hard in school or because you suddenly have money coming,but resist that temptation. If you stick with a student budget and student lifestyle a little longer and you can take care of those loans once and for all.
Your turn to bare your budget
So there you have it! Thanks to Stephanie for this glimpse into her life & finances and her amazing insights. For those of you worried about on having to give up all of your fun to get your financial lives in order, just look to her as an example.
I am currently taking submissions for people who are interested in being featured. If you are interested, post your budget and send send me an email.