With the holiday season passing and the new year beginning – I’m ready to ramp up my good guy army to pay off this trifling debt! Here are my updates from December for the war on debt.

Planned Army Statistics by Year (Unchanged from July):

In July, I posted to officially declare war on debt. Although the battles began discreetly in January, it was time to publically announce the commitment to destroy the greedy barbarians. Before getting into August updates, let me share the three-year plan to rid ourselves of these bloody fools.

3 Year Loan Pool / Investment Plan

YearCumulative Student Loan PoolCumulative Student Loan PaymentsCar Loan PoolCumulative Car Loan PaymentsAnnual IRAAnnual 401(k)

I will be around 3K short at the end of 2019 for my student loan pool, meaning that in the next 3 years side hustles / arresting expenses will be required to hit the goal.

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Army Updates for December 2017

  • Bad Guys:

    Student Loans of the East
    • Army Size: 30.2K (was 30.4)
    • Growth Rate: Avg of 5.5%
    • Weakness: Although large in numbers, the army lacks trained fighters. Each month they lose 433 men
    Auto Loan of the West
    • Army Size: 8.5 (was 8.6K)
    • Growth Rate: 5.5%
    • Weakness: Sickness infects the army to reduce its size by 160 each month

    Good Guys:

    Loan Pool Savings of the North
    • Army Size: 8.3K (was 8.6K)
    • Growth Rate: 1.0% (Capital One360 savings)
    • Weakness: Early career salary means an average of only 375 greenbacks soldiers graduate to fight each month

Side Hustle Income for December Update

I didn’t have any income from side hustles in November but will be working to continue on my January gig, plus look for new opportunities for the new year. 2018 will have a huge focus on side hustles and side income, hoping to share any lessons learned with you all!

Lessons from December

“Mistakes are lessons in disguise”

My Huge Automation Mistake That Cost Me Debt Savings!!

Automating your finances gives you extra time to focus on other hobbies and actions. It helps you achieve savings or retirement goals by not having to make the self-discipline decision each month and reduces the extra maintenance when managing your finances. All of these are great benefits….unless you make a dumb mistake like I did this month.

Quick Background Story

Recently I decided to purchase a new phone due to an upgrade on camera technology and overall performance. I utilize the convenience of phones through many apps and set mine up to enhance productivity. The phone was in total, $685, a pretty big chunk but I took the offer from our phone company – an interest-free 24-month loan.

Some may disagree with this decision since one philosophy states we should only use cash for purchases, but a new phone without changing my budget was my main deciding factor. Plus, purchasing a new DSLR camera cost more than the phone so after looking through some mental models and making a final decision, it arrived a week later!

Setting Up Automated Payments

Let’s start with credit cards. Both of us Dukes have made BANK from sign up bonuses and points within the credit card point systems. Since we track our expenses, we make sure to never spend more than we can pay off at the end of the month, meaning we haven’t paid interest on any credit cards opened.

Typically with a new card or loan, I head straight to the online site, make an account, and sign up for full-statement automatic payments. Easy-peezy.

With the new phone loan information sent over, I headed to the account and entered the necessary information to do the same thing. “Full statement payment each month” check!

The full statement of my phone was not the monthly payment…

Waking up one morning to a new email notification of a large charge happening in my bank account, I check to see the date to make sure it’s just rent being paid. Welp, it was not the end of the month when the new rent check is usually mailed. Instead, it was a $685 “pending” charge being withdrawn from the loan distribution company – only that it wasn’t pending. The charge had posted!

Surely, this was a mistake because I didn’t want to pay the full loan balance, only the stated monthly amount. I assumed (you know what happens when you assume right?) the statement balance would be the monthly payment of $25. Not so. The statement amount was the remaining balance! Seeing as this was my first month paying it, that meant the full phone was now paid for!

Lessons from the Automation Mistake

  1. Double check how the automation works for new accounts when setting it up
  2. If you’re going to pay for your phone in full, do it with your credit card so you at least get points
  3. Be thankful for your financial habits that let you adapt by transferring over some savings and salvaging the month!

In actuality, I was able to save around $300 for my student loan pool in December. It doesn’t show in the chart due to having to transfer the $685 out!

Concluding Thoughts

Overall the holidays have been great at the Duke of Dollar Kingdom. We’ve updated our site and goals for 2018. There are some posts in draft-mode waiting to be published and our first guest post on the site is coming next week!

I’ll be updating the investment plan above with actuals. There’s a new category to be added to my plan, aka HSA – adulting means adapting. Adapt with us and win the war!!

How has your debt war been going? How are you doing as we approach the end of the year? Have you ever made an automation mistake? Let us know in the comments!