Debt Free Puzzle September 2015

Debt Free Puzzle: September 2015

My husband and I are on a Debt Free Journey to pay off $94,000 of student loans. We created a puzzle to help us keep track of our progress-because a thermometer tracker just wasn’t good enough for the graphic designer in this family…

  • Each piece is equal to about $200.
  • We took off 30 out of the 500 pieces before we started to equal our $94,000 worth of debt.

Each month we post an update on Instagram and Facebook depicting how many pieces we took off or what our thoughts are on this journey. Because I share this on Instagram, my updates are short and sweet so I am going to start sharing them on our blog as well and give a few insider stories to our journey as well!

Debt Free Puzzle. Frugal living to pay off debt and become debt free
Debt Free Journey Puzzle-The Beginning. How to pay off $94,000 in debt.

Debt Free Puzzle September 2015

Matthew and I are starting a Debt Journey. While college was great, it’s ruined our lives in the form of payments and 30+ years of it. We decided to kick debt in the teeth and get it out of our lives once and for all!!! In order to give ourselves a tangible way to track this journey, we made a puzzle! Each piece of this 500-piece puzzle represents a certain amount of a payment. At the end of each month, we get to take off a piece and write the date on the back. Underneath our puzzle is a collage of pictures from Iceland-this is our reward! Once we are debt free we are going on vaca to Iceland! We had Matthew’s sister create the collage so it’s a complete surprise for us! We are determined to be debt free and no longer slaves to our debt.

Pieces taken off: 180

Months passed: 0

Money still owed: 58,000

Money Paid off: 36,000


  • Matthew designed and created the picture for this debt free puzzle. If you would like one, we can send it to you for free!
  • The company we used to make the puzzle is (No affiliate link) We used them because they had the right size picture and amount of pieces that we wanted. I did look through many other puzzle companies as well but this was probably the cheapest one.
  • Matthew had about $20,000 in his savings accounts that we threw on our debt immediately.
  • Jacynda cashed in her mutual funds and put another $16,000 on loans.
  • All savings were zeroed out up to $1,000 emergency fund
  • We had 14 different loans to pay off
  • Our monthly interest accrual was $497.19…we were paying $500 in interest alone!!!
  • Our minimum payments at this point for loans was $800 (only $300 was actually being paid on the loan because of that $500 in interest.)
  • We paid off 3 loans with the $36,000.
    • $19,527.00 at 8.5%
    • $13,113.00 at 8.5%
    • $3,616.00 at 6.8%

Background info:

Matthew’s debt equaled to $80,000 out of our total $94,000. When he went to college, he and his dad signed up for a Parent Plus loan. It was backed by the government and a very bad idea. Having something backed by the government allows businesses to hike up their prices because they will be paid one way or another. It’s a terrible idea for the consumer and destroys the point of a capitalistic market. Just look at Wall Street and the banking crisis…but let’s not get into that just now.

Anyway, by the end of a 4 yr Graphic Design degree, Matthew and his dad ended up owing $80,000. The majority of it was on his dad’s name-which was very unfortunate and we attacked those first. For whatever reason, the largest loans and highest interest rates were on his dad’s name as well. So we didn’t follow the Dave Ramsey principles of paying off the smallest to largest because that interest (8.5 % on $19k and $13k) was killing us.

Debt free puzzle, common sense, frugal living

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