Sunday, February 28, 2010

Getting ready for Autopsy

And I'm looking forward to dissection our crazy month of earning and spending. We have the money (or we had the money) and we followed through with the plan we had established. Now with March here I can rewrite the budget, maybe tweak is a better term. Tonight and Tomorrow I will get all the numbers together and see where we struggled and where we can improve.

Life is finally beginning to take a shape that I am satisfied with and am comfortable with. Should be clear sailing from here on out!!

Friday, February 26, 2010

Over half way there!

After making the regular monthly payments on our debts plus using our checks from the state and federal government we are 52% complete (not including our student loan balances). How nice it is to see things moving along!
CC 1430.57430.57
CC 2454.3215.00
CC 3787.78765.37
CC 4687.3421.00
CC 52,195.6078.00
Furniture Card2,489.04117.00
Vehicle Loan2,866.51284.40

The second column is the amount that was paid towards each of the debts.  Some of the amounts are different from the original post just because they had to be updated after all the previous months payments posted. When I checked our online savings account it still had just over $10.00 so I just deposited enough to get to the $1000 mark.

When Hubby and I were looking at the debt repayment plan for the remainder of our debt he was shocked to see that we pay out $439.20 in debt repayment. "That's half a paycheck" he commented.

We then talked about how even though we paid off over $8000 our monthly payments hadn't changed much because only two cards with minimum payments were paid off. The rest was debt we'd just been ignoring...bad I know.

The other thing is that even if we had been making minimum payments, the whole idea of the debt snowball is that when one debt is paid you put that payment towards the next smallest debt. It does allow you a little wiggle room if you get into a pinch though.

As things stand now if we only continue to make the $439.20 our debt will be paid off in December 2011. It's comforting knowing that we will have $3896.71 left at tax time next year. We definitely won't receive the payments we did this year, but we should easily have that much. So realistically we will have our debts paid off February 2011at the latest!  If I could choke out an extra $200/month we would only owe $1800...ugh, sometimes I just can't slow my brain down sometimes.

Imagine what we could do with $425/month!! I better imagination would up and take me away and I have things to do this weekend!!


Tuesday, February 16, 2010

A good Map

I've already spent 51% of the state check. I paid off my credit card and started the emergency fund savings account. The federal money should be here on Friday so I'm going to have a GREAT weekend paying off debt!!

I almost booked a vacation yesterday...I sooooo deserve one! Hubby talked me out of it wanting to stick to the original debt repayment plan :(

I'm so glad the Baby Steps are written like a good map. There is even an "expanded baby steps" to break down each step into even smaller steps (for those of us who seem to be climbing the ladder of success ever so slowly).

Tomorrow is Ash Wednesday. We attend a small church that is out in the middle of nowhere and has less than 200 members. For such a small congregation it never ceases to amaze me what a diverse group we are. Although the members range from poverty stricken to beyond wealthy, we really are a family...feuding included. For the most part it is a very healthful place for me. I look forward to the Lenten season each year. Hearing God's word more than once a week brings me such peace.

There's another reason I would like to live in a larger city. I could likely attend a church service of my denomination everyday. I just am so much more at peace at church (even when the boys are crawling over, under, and around the pew).

Saturday, February 13, 2010


We received our state check today...aaahhhhhhhh. Can you feel the relief? All I'm going to do is deposit $1000 into an online savings account and let the rest sit until the federal check shows up. I think taking one step at a time as opposed to doing everything at once will be good for me. This way it's not going to feel like nothing was done. A succession of activities will be more psychologically rewarding.

I do wonder a little if I should only deposit $500 in to the emergency fund to quicken the pace a only changes the 'finish line' by one month. I highly doubt that paying the extra $500 now would make me feel better than the anxiety shorting our savings account would cause. I guess that answers my question doesn't it?!

I am very happy that the federal payment will come at the same time (or close enough) to payday. Essentially I will have new decisions to make as far as who will get what money at payday as most of the credit cards slated for payment with the second paycheck will be paid already. The same amount of money will be going out each month, just where the money will be going is going to change.

We will be paying out $450/month for 15 months to complete Baby Step Two. Although we could hurry it up by using the third paycheck of the month he will receive twice this year, that money will be used for property taxes, home owners insurance, and Christmas shopping.

Time for a new budget again. Most of it I know by heart, I just need it in writing to actually show my brain that we'll be okay! I'll let you know how it works out!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Settled Down (a little bit!)

I've relaxed a bit after my rant the other night. So maybe selling his pickup is not in our best interests right now...but $3000 cash just gets my juices flowing!!

So now I am back into my 'follow the budget and everything will be fine' mode of thinking. Nothing short of winning a major lottery will make this debt go away over night. I just have to remember that every little step counts and as long as we continue to chip away at it steadily the results will be noticeable.

I have to remember that our payments from both federal and state governments will be enough to not only catch us up but to pay a significant portion of our credit card debt.

I start to get worked up when I think about paying off this first $15,375.19 and knowing we have nearly twice as much in student loan debt to pay AFTER that. I wonder how people stay focused on the finish line when it is so far away.

I hear of people sacrificing luxuries for years to pay off I don't know how I'm going to get through the next 12 months and people have done this for YEARS? That's what I call dedication.  I have no doubts that we will get all this debt paid, I only wonder when will we be able to sit back, relax and finally not have any regular monthly payments other than utilities!

Pay day was today, maybe that's why I have been able to relax a bit. I love payday!

Tomorrow is Faith's due date. Although I am at peace with her passing, I miss her terribly.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

On Board...sort of

Well, Hubby just got a call from #1 (19 yo ds). A friend of his just had his pickup break down and offered $3000 for ours...CASH!!! Hubby said no. WHAT?!? I knew I should have taken the call!! The title would have been signed before the kid got here!

We could easily buy a clunker for him to drive back and forth to work for less than $1000 and use what is left to get closer to the end.

One of the things Dave Ramsey says is that to finish the first two baby steps ($1000 baby emergency fund and debt free except the house) is to sell anything and everything...sell so much that your kids think they are next. I have no problem with this concept; I elect to not cause an all-out war.

In my eyes, Hubby is okay with paying off the debt as long as he doesn't have to give anything up. He won't sell his pick-up, golf clubs, golf cart, guns, bow hunting stuff, anything. Maybe that can be our next 'in depth' conversation; what is he willing to do?

Being out of debt would bring me so much security. We could begin baby step three (building an emergency fund worth 3-6 months of expenses) and it wouldn't even take very long. Does my sense of security not matter? Why do material possessions mean more to him than the financial well being of our family (and our marriage). Does he not understand that everything can be replaced and not have debt tied to it? What if the house burned to the ground? What would be important then?

I'm going to make a list showing the value of everything we can sell and see if that makes any difference in his thinking...don't worry, I won't hold my breath!

A Definite Plan (Maybe)

After going over the numbers last night (isn't that how everybody wants to spend their Saturday night) I think I've figured out a way to spend out tax return that brings some relief.

If the debts are paid in the following order:

Debt                          Balance              

Savings 1,000.00
Lawyer 2,480.32
NSB 863.3
Taxes 1,711.81
Gas Card 391.29
CC 1 430.57
CC 2 443.33
CC 3 787.78
CC 4 700.00
CC 5 2,211.24
Furniture Card 2,489.04
Vehicle Loan 2,866.51

We will be able to bring all our bills current and pay off everything up to and including CC 5. This will be FIVE less bills each month, and I like that! I haven't figured out yet how long it will take to pay off the other two bills, but am pretty sure it would be within a year...if we can put $600/month towards the remainder then the final payment would be December 2010. Wouldn't that be a neat Christmas gift to ourselves!

Hubby did suggest (and I had thought about it earlier) that we pay off up and including CC 4 then take the kids for a weekend to the Mall of America. Yep, that would be fun, we've done it before and it was a great experience for the entire family. I just can't justify spending $600+ knowing we are trying to pay off debt. Is it so hard to grasp the concept of sacrifice and saving for things you want? I'm tired of being in debt. I want to be free to go places and buy things without the "I can afford X monthly payments" mentality. I don't want payments, I want a huge savings account. I want to build wealth and leave a legacy for my children. I want to be able to leave my grandchildren money for college. I want my children to learn that debt is dumb. I want to be able to pay for their college...

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Tax Time

FINALLY...I've been procrastinating this last week. I've had all my paperwork finished, I just haven't been able to click the 'submit' button. Doing our taxes brings such mixed emotions. Between federal and state they hand us a ridiculous sum of money. Being a low income family we pay no taxes all year and still, they send us a check.

What bothers me about it is that this money would be enough to take my kids on the vacation I dream of this year AND next! Instead of being able to enjoy this money I'm busy writing out checks. Every penny will go towards our debt. Can I relax? Nope. I don't feel like we are getting anywhere. For the most part our monthly payments will not change as these bills have been the ones we have ignored for months. Even though I am committed to paying off our debt, paying these bills brings me no satisfaction.

Part of me wants to pay off the debts that we currently make monthly payments on just  to have less bills to pay each month. The problem with that is part of the Total Money Makeover is getting current on everything and then paying everything else smallest to largest.

I realize, after listening to Dave Ramsey's radio show that our debt is no where near as bad as it could be and we will be paying roughly 22% of our total debt off within the next month. What about the other 78%, how long will it take to pay it off? How many more vacations do we have to postpone? I'm sure we could have it all paid off within a couple of years, I just can't see the light at the other end of the tunnel yet.

Maybe after a few more months of being okay financially I will make the corner and see the light...let's hope so!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Getting it Together

After talking with Hubby last night I still do not feel very reassured. I explained to him my feelings of wanting to live on Mac & Cheese to destroy our debt. He wanted to know exactly what that entailed.

I said no personal allowances, no 'blow money', no eating out, no extras AT ALL for six months minimum. Then I reminded him that spring is coming and he gave his Taylor Made driver to our daughter last year so he 'needs' a new one, and other little things that he may not's the little things that, if not prepared, can through you off he tracks faster than anything. Your first trip grocery shopping when you realize you DON'T get to stop for the latte you usually have, or having to come home and make supper even though you passed McDonald's on the way home and the kids begged you to stop.

I remember when I was on my own with #3. I was receiving welfare payments. When the money was gone, that was it. There was no credit card to buy X with. Every month we made it. Why is that so hard now? Should I not be able to deposit all of Hubby's paychecks into one account and withdraw a certain amount on the first of the month? For most people getting a month ahead to be able to do this would be hard, with our tax refund, it would be so easy.

Guess that means it's time for a new budget...again. Wish me luck!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

A New Year, A New Us.

Just over a year ago I decided to begin blogging about my family and our decision to become debt free.

Well, we are still deeply in debt; almost exactly where we were at this time last year. From a goal standpoint we failed miserably, as a married couple we failed miserably, as parents we fell short in so many ways.

When I was trying to decide whether or not to continue this blog I had so many things to consider. Was it worth continuing a blog that nobody read that completely ran off the tracks less than half way through the year? Could I admit to myself, and anybody else who reads this that I may be in this by myself and just can't acknowledge it yet?

I decided I would continue. I need to be accountable for my actions over the past year, and accept that maybe I can't fix it all by myself. I am having difficulty admitting to myself (even as I write this) that the family is not all on board and without at least my husband 100% on board this is an exercise in futility. Unless and until we can agree on our financial goals, we are screwed.

Yep, even just typing it makes me angry and sad all at the same time.

Here is a listing of our current debts:

Debt Balance Monthly Payment
Lawyer 2,480.32 0
NSB 863.3 0
Past Due Taxes 1,711.81 0
Gas Card
300.00 0
Vehicle Loan
2,866.51 142.20
Credit Card 1
430.57 15.00
Credit Card 2
443.33 15.00
Credit Card 3
787.78 50.00
Credit Card 4
700.00 21.00
Credit Card 5
2,211.24 78.00
Furniture Card
2,489.04 117.00
Student Loans 28,000.00 (approximately~currently in deferment)

As you can see, getting out of debt is going to take a lot more than just wishes and prayers. It's going to take planning, sacrifice, and dedication.

These are EASY for me. The planning I enjoy, the dedication I do not lack, the sacrifice is well worth it. Sacrifice is harder for some than others. Maybe I consider it easy because I'm not the wage earner.

I try extremely hard to understand the entitlement mentality. It's easy to understand that two people react differently to a given situation. It's my thought that because I had it all as a kid I really don't care as much about material possessions. I appreciate the fine things in life; what makes me different is I can do without them.

Can I get my family on board to live on Mac & Cheese for six months? That would be so much fun (weird, I know). I would love to challenge ourselves to see exactly how much of our budget we can cut and how much debt we can pay off in six months or a year. Maybe if I approach it that way I'll get more takers. Maybe a bribe is worth off "X" to receive a weekend getaway, pay off "Y" to receive a vacation to Disney World...the visual goal keeping would work wonders for the kids (and myself...I love visual aids!)

More on this tomorrow....