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March 2017 debt snowball

The debt snowball is moving ever so slowly right now in the Gerken household.

For the month of March we only made our minimum payment on the student loan; however, we were able to put a considerable chunk of change towards some other areas of our budget.

In March we were able to earn $55 extra from selling items that we have been decluttering thanks to the Lenten Declutter Challenge.

That amount doesn’t seem like much, but we’ve also donated hundreds of items to the Salvation Army and Goodwill. The feeling of having less stuff around our house is priceless.

One of many trips to local donation centers

We did get a sizable refund check, which helped in many areas of our budget. We did some additional giving in the form of a donation to our St. Vincent DePaul Society which helps local families in need. (They use an interview and home meeting process to determine how they distribute funds so we know our donation is being spent well).

Giving is important to us and we don’t feel like it has to wait until we’re debt-free, although I’m looking forward to being able to give in a lot more ways once we are debt-free.

We were able to put money aside for a wedding that 3 of the 4 members of our family are in. The wedding is for two dear friends so there was no question we would stand up. However, if you are asked to be in a wedding, you must consider the financial responsibility.

This is not to say you shouldn’t be in the wedding, but you absolutely should put money aside.

just married sign

We created a budget for this wedding that includes bachelor party, bachelorette party, gifts, attire, hair/make-up, hotel, and bridal shower. This way we will be able to enjoy the wedding and all events leading up to it because we know that we have set aside the money in advance.

A considerable amount of money was also put towards our vacations this summer and a little bit towards some garage repairs that Brian needs to do in order to make his wood shop functional in the garage.

While we did not make big progress on our debt snowball we did put money into areas that needed to be funded right now. After April the wedding and vacations should be fully funded so we’ll be back to making major progress on our debt snowball.

Remember our 2017 goal of reducing our food spending to $650 per month, well it’s still a huge struggle!

This month we spent $920 on food, ugh.


I am starting to wonder if $650 is even realistic for us. Brian and I talked about it and he said he’d rather we keep our goal ambitious and miss the mark than raise the budget and attain it. Why not challenge ourselves? We agreed to keep trying instead of increasing this budget line item.

We are going to try some different methods of keeping us within budget and see how they work. I just signed up for a grocery budget makeover course online, so that will be our first attempt at making some change. This is a 5-week course so I will give an honest review after we’ve completed it.

If you have a system that you have tried and it works or something you’ve always wanted to try, let me know. I’d love to try it out and report back.

So here’s the update for March

Income report from March

Money from Varage Sale                                     $    55

Tax refund                                                           $2,600



Total extra income                                               $2655



Current outstanding student loan debt               $33,679

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