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I’ve Saved $18,000 Cash in Less Than a Year

Our Journey to Paying Off $20K in Debt and Getting Our Finances in Order

This is part eleven of Krys’ story. We’re following along as she starts budgeting and works to pay off $20,000 of debt. This post was originally written at the end of September 2020: after Krys’ tenth month using YNAB. 

I began my hibernation in June. September seemed so far away back then. But, I blinked, and BOOM! 

School started in August, but it is remote, so just like spring. Work is still fully remote for my husband and me. Nothing has changed, and nothing changes, and everything is the same, and where was I going with this?

I’m still employed, but still feeling insecure in my job, as more and more people in my field lose theirs. Hundreds of furloughs becoming permanent, and even more layoffs. 

Debt repayment has taken a major backseat to funding the future, but we are more stable than we have been in almost a decade.

I had a birthday earlier this month, and got a couple hundred dollars gifted to me. I will be using that money toward buying myself something frivolous (or useful but fun). I haven’t decided what that is yet, though, but it is NOT the sink and faucet we had to buy because ours completely crapped out, and we have had a bucket under our existing sink for two months now. I WAMed from the future to cover that.

Side note: How funny is YNAB language? I just said “WAMed from the future” and YOU KNOW EXACTLY WHAT I MEAN. If I said that to my parents, they’d think I lost my mind. Just another thing I love about YNAB. It feels like a club. If you know you know, y’know?

Our Net Worth Has Improved Drastically

  • Current net worth: $9,300 (started at -$13,550 pre-YNAB)
  • Current cash in bank: $20,000+ (Had just $1,355 less than a year ago)

That’s a positive swing of $22,800 in net worth AND more than $18,000 in cash in less than a year. Meet my baby, financial security. Squiffy* and I are very proud.

*Squiffy is the gold-hoarding dragon we met earlier in Krys' story to describe that feeling of wanting to save more money and have a cash cushion rather than throwing everything at debt repayment.

Status on Financial Goals

  1. Get off the credit card float. ✅
  2. Start contributing to sinking funds for known expenses. ✅
  3. Start building the $1,000 emergency fund. ✅
  4. Pay off the first credit card (credit card float/car repairs). ✅
  5. Pay off the second credit card (medical debt). ✅
  6. Get one month ahead (age our money 30 days). ✅
  7. Pay off the home equity line of credit (HELOC) that we took on to replace our window.
    Minimal movement on this. Target payoff is any time before November 2022. Assuming we go back to normal in 2021, I’ll be able to pay this off quickly.
  8. Pay off the car loan. This is priority #4 on the debt snowball.

Update on Debt

  • November 1, 2019            $19,169.50
  • September 30, 2020        $10,568.54
  • Difference                          - $8,600.96

I’m paying more than the minimum, to keep it shrinking, but I’m not throwing cash at this the way I was before the pandemic.

Age of Money: 93 Days

Age of money is holding pretty steady. No major changes in finances this month, so nothing huge changed with either of these.

Is it normal to achieve 90 days and still be unsatisfied? I want MORE DAYS! Is this another YNAB effect?

What’s Next

This month passed much as the last six have gone—instantly and over a million years. However, I permitted myself to dream a little.

I talked to my husband about starting to redecorate our house from top to bottom. We have been in the house sixteen years, and it is still decorated the same as when we first moved in. It is time for a change. We won’t start on the big stuff until after the debt is paid off, but it was so nice to share a dream, and make some plans. I might put a little toward small improvements soon.

Even just talking about it and making plans that didn’t involve masks and how to safely navigate the grocery store was surprisingly invigorating. Taking action and seeing real results (however small) could prove to be a life saver, mental health-wise and definitely worth a small investment, even while debt still exists.

That perspective may not be universally celebrated, but I'll admit that my mental health is suffering mightily during this lockdown. Merely existing for six months has knocked me around, and just the thought of changing things up around here was an incredible boost. 


Time is irrelevant. We are stuck in a never-ending cycle. But, while the cycle continues, we seem to be improving our overall financial situation, so… *shrugs shoulders*

Document your own financial journey over on our YNAB Support Forum in our journals section, just like Krys! You can be as anonymous as you want and you’ll be met with a warm welcome of encouragement from the community there.

Krys is enjoying working from home during the lockdown, because she loves spending time with her husband, daughter, and three pets. She’s been using YNAB since 2019 and has been documenting her journey in paying off almost $20,000 of debt. When she’s not budgeting, she enjoys reading, watching Marvel movies, and learning new languages. She also possesses a fierce love of bacon and sarcasm.

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I’ve Saved $18,000 Cash in Less Than a Year