One of the reasons I started Money Manifesto was to share our personal financial journey.
At the time, I hoped to inspire others and show them what is financially possible with a bit of planning and hard work. Of course, a little bit of luck didn’t hurt either.
Rather than scroll through pages of posts looking for the specific posts that detailed our personal financial journey, I thought I’d go ahead and round up all of our most personal posts in one place.
This way, those than want to read more about us and what we’ve been through financially can do so easily.
Paying Off $80,000+ Of Student Loan Debt (2011 – 2014)
First off, I want to share our personal journey of getting out of $80,000 of student loan debt. Here are the main posts that talk about this journey.
My wife graduated from college in 2011 with over $80,000 of student loan debt. In December 2012, we started sharing monthly debt pay off reports detailing our progress.
At first, we shared our strategy of how we wanted to pay down the debt. After that, you can find a list of all of these reports on our student loan debt pay off journey page.
In total, it took us just under 3 years to pay off the student loan debt. Over that time, we had quite a few times where we were unsure whether we should keep paying down the student loan debt aggressively or make other financial moves.
We also faced some set backs that delayed the pay off. Here are a few of the posts that detailed our thought process at the time and the speed bumps we encountered.
- How I Bought A House On A Whim And Why You Shouldn’t – We bought our first home, a small townhouse, in late 2011 before paying off the student loan debt.
- How Disability Insurance Helped Us – My wife needed foot surgery to correct an issue in her foot in the Fall of 2012 and the short-term disability insurance we had provided a partial income while she was out of work.
- How We Lost Sight Of The Big Picture – We considered buying a beachfront condo to live in during early 2013.
- Why We Decided Against A Beachfront Condo – We ultimately decided not to buy it.
- Change of Plans – We’re Buying A House – We bought our second home in early 2013. It was a larger home than our townhouse and we thought we’d live in for a long time. We turned our townhouse into a rental.
- Don’t Mix Family, Friends and Money – Our Townhouse Rental – I share how we almost rented a townhouse to friends and why mixing family, friends and money is a bad idea.
- Short-term Disability Rears Its Ugly Head Again – My wife’s foot surgery failed and required a second surgery to fix the issue in early 2013. Out of work, disability helped cover our expenses again.
- Returning To Work From Disability Can Be Difficult – After the second short-term disability stint, my wife’s work was giving her problems about returning to her previous position in the summer of 2014.
- Should We Treat Ourselves While Paying Down Student Loan Debt – We discussed just how extreme our debt pay off should be. Should we be allowed to treat ourselves occasionally?
- Should We Destroy Our Debt Or Create A Consistent Pay Off Plan? – We discussed whether to slow down on our debt pay off plan or continue destroying it as fast as possible.
- How We Paid Off $80,000 Of Student Loan Debt In Under 3 Years – When we finished paying off the student loan debt in early 2014, we shared exactly how we did it.
How We Make Money (2011+)
Keep in mind, during the student loan debt pay off journey, I was working full-time as was my wife.
Additionally, I was earning extra income from the blog. I started sharing my online income in January 2016. You can see all of my income reports here:
We Got Married (2013)
My wife and I got married a few months before we finished paying off her student loan debt. We shared:
- 5 Reasons We Won’t Keep Separate Finances When We’re Married
- How Getting Married Changed Our Finances
What Happened After Student Loan Debt Freedom (2014+)
After we paid off the student loan debt, we still wanted to share where our financial journey was taking us. Here is some insight into what we were thinking after the student loan debt was destroyed.
- What We’re Doing With Our Money Now That The Student Loan Debt Is Gone – Our thoughts a month after paying off the student loan debt.
- What We’ve Accomplished Since Paying Off $80,000 Of Student Loans – What we accomplished within two months of paying off the student loan debt.
- We Reached Our Big Money Goal. So, What’s Next? – Our thoughts 8 months after paying off the student loans.
- Why I’m Happy My Wife Had $80,000 Of Student Loan Debt – Reflecting on the good things paying off student loan debt taught us almost two years later.
- The Huge Mistake We Made While Paying Off $80,000 In 3 Years – I share the biggest mistake we made while paying off the student loan debt.
We also shared our biggest annual expenses for two years including the year we finished paying off the student loan debt and the year after.
- Our Top 10 Spending Categories of 2014 Revealed
- Here Are The Top 10 Things We Spent Our Money On In 2015
I Took A Leap And Left My Job (2015)
In November of 2015, I made one of the biggest leaps of my life. I left my day job to blog full time and shared my thoughts at the time in this post.
Our Home Buying/Selling Experiences (2016)
The student loan debt isn’t the only major debt pay off we’ve accomplished. In fact, we once paid off $203,230 of debt in just 66 days. Of course, we had a contract on our new home, so we wouldn’t remain debt free for long.
In between selling our home and our rental property, we had to move into an apartment while we were waiting for our home to be built. Here are a few posts on our short period of apartment living along with things we learned while building our new construction home.
- America’s Biggest Money Wasters – We Got A Storage Unit – When we rented a smaller apartment, we had to store our stuff somewhere until our home was finished.
- Who Knew Renting Was So Difficult And Expensive? – While searching for an apartment, we figured out renting was much more expensive than owning a home where we live.
- The Benefits Of Apartment Living We’re Excited About – While apartment living was more expensive for us, there were definitely some benefits we enjoyed.
- Are Homeowners Associations Good Or Bad? It Depends – After living in a neighborhood with an HOA and one without, as well as an apartment, we share our thoughts on HOAs.
- Surprise Costs Of Building A Brand New Construction Home – Throughout our homebuilding process, we discovered that quite a few costs aren’t included in the base price builders initially give you.
Our Car Buying Experiences (2010 & 2017)
While not quite as big of a financial event as buying and selling a house, we’ve bought two cars since graduating from high school. Surprisingly, the numbers came out to where buying new made sense at both times.
- Why I Bought A New Car – I bought a new Honda Civic the year after I graduated from college.
- Is Buying A New Honda Odyssey Cheaper Than Buying Used? – I share how we came to this conclusion.
Expanding Our Family (2011 & 2016)
Over the years, we have added to our family since my wife and I started seeing each other. At first, we got a puppy after moving into the townhouse we bought. Unfortunately, she hasn’t been a cheap dog. Here are a few posts about that:
- Pets Are Expensive – The History Of Daphne The Dog
- Dogs With Allergies Are Expensive
- This Weekend Is Exactly Why We Have An Emergency Fund
More recently, my wife and I decided to have a child. Our son was born right before we closed on our new home we were having built, which made for an interesting few weeks. We shared:
- Big News – We’re Having A Baby And What It Means For Our Finances
- How Our New Addition To Our Family Will Affect Our Finances
My Wife Switches To Very Part Time Work (2018)
In 2018, we made the decision to have my wife stay home more to watch our son grow up. It was a tough choice and required some financial sacrifices I hadn’t thought about before, but overall we’ll be fine.
Only time will tell what comes next. To keep up to date with the latest posts here on Money Manifesto, you can subscribe to our newsletter, bookmark our website or simply check back every now and then.
I’ll keep updating this post as we add more about our journey.