January 1, 2011

The first day of the new year seems like a great time to make a large payment. Ali managed to lock up my online loan account with too many password guesses (!) but we managed to move money around to accommodate the first large regular monthly installment. We calculated the remainder of Spencer into 12 projected payments of about $5000 each month for 2011. The secret goal is to throw any extra income we can at him every month, in order to end our debt repayment early and free up cash to apply toward saving for holiday travel in December 2011, and then a big anniversary trip in February 2012.

I chose to apply an extra $1350 to give us a strong start in January, applying a “paycheck” from my photography business toward our goal. Since my business here in Portland is only beginning, I won’t have regular business cashflow to contribute in future months. I was able to do a few family portrait sessions in Boston in late September, and just recently did my first Portland boudoir commissions. I worked really hard for that $1350, and it makes me feel good that the fruit of this labor is going toward a tangible goal.  My goal for the photography business in 2011 is to make four times as much as I spend on the business, which I know from years of experience will be surprisingly difficult to accomplish. The challenge of keeping overhead down will be my worthy opponent.
One significant business-related thing I did recently was purchase all new photography equipment which seems ridiculous given our goal of saving as much as possible. The kit totals about $5000, between two camera bodies (F100 and D700) and two Zeiss lenses. I’ve been shooting on Canon equipment for the past few years, but wanted to make the switch back to Nikon for the lens interchangeability between film and digital bodies. This was a HUGE decision for me, and I did not make it lightly.  I was able to make about $3000 back toward the new equipment purchase by selling off my Canon kit (5d body, 2 speedlites, and 3 lenses) via Amazon marketplace, and then used money I had squirreled away in my business account to make up the difference.

Spencer’s portrait for January 1:

debt snowball spencer rhino

starting total (12/1/10): $69,176.76
paid so far: $21,500.00
left to go before 12/31/2011: $47,676.76

Reader mdog pointed out that last month Spencer got pants. Now he has high-waisted GRANDPA pants. Haha, Spencer, you look stupid!

4 thoughts on “January 1, 2011

  1. Judy McPherson

    Oh goodie – since you got new cameras can I have the old, huh huh? Going to Israel, you know, and the D-70 isn’t working right any more. Bummer. I can still get picturs, but it is major adjusting with every set of pictures. Actually think I will get a little camera for Israel – don’t want to be lugging around a big camera……congrats on high waisted pants for Spencer. By the way, why is he named Spencer?

  2. Carol

    I love how inspirational this is for repaying student debt! I’m putting myself on a $2500/month budget (bills, gas, groceries, disposble, etc) and anything I make over that will go towards loans each month.

  3. rachel Post author

    MDOG, I never thought I’d hear someone say “woot for grandpa pants.”

    Judy, Ali decided that Spencer was an appropriate name for our beast. I like it because it reminds me of SPENDING and EXPENSES.

    Carol, wow! I can’t wait to hear about your progress toward becoming debt free. Are you blogging about any of this stuff yourself?


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