I am unbelievably excited to announce that as of today, we have accomplished Goal #2 and have entered into a position of Financial Stability! Like I mentioned in my first post on goals, Financial Stability is the 2nd of The Five Stages of Personal Financial Independence, and is the stage at which your present income is just enough to cover all your expenses to live comfortably, but not enough to save for retirement.
This morning, after transferring enough to our Savings account to cover the remainder of our September 28 mortgage payment as well as our end of month banking fees, I had exactly $5.86 leftover which I elatedly used to pay down our HELOC balance. Yes, it was less than $6, but it’s the first debt payment I’ve been able to make since we started carrying a balance last November.
On the way to work, I stopped by the textbook store to try and sell off whatever I could. At first, he was only interested in 2 of the 6 books I’d brought, which was partially annoying, partially disappointing. One of the books was a style manual which I had bought for my thesis (and which had not been necessary at all, so I should have returned it when I could have :() but the buyback dude insisted they weren’t buying them back because his list was organized by author name and he couldn’t find the author on the manual. Luckily, I found the manual on the shelves and asked someone who seemed to be a bit more senior if they’d buy it back – thankfully, they decided that they would.
After racing to the bank to deposit my book money, I raced to work (4 minutes away from being late!) and quickly paid off another $160 🙂
I’m so pleased to finally see some progress on my little chart. The HELOC balance is finally starting to decrease, as are the Liabilities, while Net Worth is starting to recover (although it has yet to surpass September 5, the day I discovered all those hidden bills).
As of today, we’ve officially decreased our HELOC balance by $139.46 (1.2%).
I’m a visual person, so I also decided to try and keep track of our cash flows using a calendar I created in Excel to make sure I don’t hastily pay off the HELOC, only to have a bill I can’t cover the day after. I’ve formatted it such that the purple figure in the bottom right corner of every day automatically calculates the balance, and carries over to the next day.
Based on my current projections, I figure we’ll be in a state of liquidity for the rest of the month, so any other cash inflow can be used to really attack that debt!
What have you found to be the most effective way to track your cash flows?