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Archive for May, 2016

Removed Some Debt

May 31st, 2016 at 10:18 am

I love this community. I know I am not a frequent poster or commenter, but I feel like I know some of you personally. And I LOVE how supportive everyone is. As for MN State Fair, we're close enough to visit semi-frequently, but far enough away that we need a hotel or stay at a friends for a long weekend. The Twin Cities Area is one of our favorite places.

Now for the important news: We decided to cancel the siding and windows. While the windows are on the "really do need rather soon" side, we can wait. Siding, while it would have been convenient to get it done (our house is old clap board and UGLY), it isn't necessary. It was more of excitement to be done and be done. We could sell the house faster if we had the new windows and siding, but we don't need to, so we can wait. Found it was hard to talk ourselves out of the convenience. But we did it!


THE NEW DEBT NUMBERS:
$96,972.85___Mortgage (29yrs left, $784.42/mo, 3.875%)
$24,569.93___Van Loan (39mo left, $641.89/mo, 0%)
$13,886.77___Home Project Loan (6.5yrs left, $220.89, 7.99%)
$_9,000.00___Student Loan (no payments while in school, $?, 6.8%)
-----------
$144,429.55


I feel better about the numbers. I might take the extra monthly payment I was going to put towards the siding and apply it to the Home Project Loan. I thought I could handle the extra payment, so why can't I use it this way? Maybe I'll go even farther and take every spare penny that my husband's raise brings in and apply it. Hmmmm.... I might just do that.a

Debt and Denial

May 28th, 2016 at 10:24 am

I've started to write several blog posts, but I've never gotten to the point of finishing. Life and denial keep getting in my way.

I have to admit, I'm in denial. And denial. And DENIAL. I guess it would be best to start coming "clean" again. Hello, My name is Tarwalker, and I am in debt.


THE DEBT:
$96,972.85___Mortgage (29yrs left, $784.42/mo, 3.875%)
$26,243.00___Siding and Windows (10 years, ~$262/mo, 2.99%)
$24,569.93___Van Loan (39mo left, $641.89/mo, 0%)
$13,886.77___Home Project Loan (6.5yrs left, $220.89, 7.99%)
$_9,000.00___Student Loan (no payments while in school, $?, 6.8%)
-----------
$170,599.70


THE EXCUSES:
We were debt free in August 2014 after paying down something like $60k. For a month or two max. Then we bought a new van because two kids in rear facing plus a Golden Retriever and a 6'something husband... Then mid-2015 we bought a house because apartment and living with parents weren't working. That needed repairs. And then husband went back to school to get in a new field. And then he took a huge paycut to get his internship requirement completed. And both my kids have health issues and are autistic.

Just a roller coaster of a few years. Time to stop. Time to get my kill the debt intensity back.

(Side note: The siding and windows were the LAST big cost project for the house. Everything else we have the materials and just need to put in the sweat equity. There might be some small costs here and there left, but that's it! I'm so excited. Beyond excited!)


BUDGETING:
Income is tight right now with husband being at such a low income for the internship. He's completed his requirements, so is job hunting for full time work. Really anything with benefits would be a HUGE bump up right now.

We have cut down on our fixed costs as much as possible. Changed phone plans to Cricket which will save us somewhere around $50 per month. We are cutting back on electricity and water consumption. We got our internet cost dropped down.

We've switched budgeting techniques again for variables. I just don't have time to do quicken anymore, despite my love for it. Putting expenses on credit card and paying it off in full ended up to be too easy to overspend a little here and there. When I watched it frequently, it was different.

So we are on a variation of the envelope system. My take-home pays for the solid costs every month: mortgage, utilities, cell phone, internet, car loan, home project loans, and personal allowances. It's all on autopay, with me checking in before and after it hits. Hubby's little pay has to cover all the discretionary items, so we calculated what he brings home weekly, and then rounded down a bit for fluctuation, and then left our weekly gas money in checking. We left the gas there because it's so much easier with two little kids to pay for gas directly at the pump with a card than to run inside to pay.

The remaining gets divided up into Groceries, Restaurants, Boys' Stuff, Dog Stuff, and Misc Who Knows. First three weeks worked ok. It's definitely making me hesitate to buy things, because A) I don't carry the cash with me everywhere and B) I don't want to use cash. It's strange because it used to be that if I had cash, it was GONE, with no clue where it went. Now I hesitate to use it. Oh, how time changes us. Trying to count dollars as I go thru the crowded grocery store to make sure we stay under is interesting, but definitely helping curb the grocery budget.


LEFTOVER CASH:
If we have leftover in our cash envelopes, we are throwing it into a jar to save for hopefully a nice long weekend trip to the MN State Fair plus at the end of August. We will see if we can swing it. It's something we look forward to every year, but don't always get to make it. It's something that brings us so much joy, and will be a much needed break from therapies. If I didn't NEED that break, I would use save or pay down debt...

BUT I REALLY NEED THAT VACATION. It shouldn't be terribly expensive and anything left over will get thrown at debt. I'm an introvert with multiple therapists coming six days a week to my house, and I am taking the kids to special therapists for two hours to four hours a week. And then working in between and then trying to cram errands and chores in the one last day of a week. I am overwhelmed by people. TOO MUCH for me. If it wasn't doing absolute wonders for my oldest, I would say no thank you just for my personal sanity.

So knowing I just have to make thru the summer months before I get a good five day break, oh, how much that has helped me breathe. If we don't get the money saved up, we'll just stay around here. But cabin fever is getting a hold of me, so we'll probably find something to do somewhere cheap.


KILL THAT DEBT:
I do really well with the snowball method. I am going to do a mix of attacking the high interest first and the lowest amount first. The kill order is van loan (by virtue of how many payments left, no extra since it's zero percent), Home Depot loan (7.99%), siding and windows loan (2.99%), Student Loans (6.8% - since we don't know exact how much or when payments will be I am leaving this on lower priority, will re-evaluate later), then the Mortgage.

If I just plan to roll over our debt payments as each gets paid off (except for car), we will be debt free in fifteen, including mortgage. Less than ten if we include the car payment. Ideally, husband should have a HUGE increase in income by next summer at the latest (please cross fingers). That means we could be completely consumer debt free in three and mortgage free within 5 or 6 years.

I feel better knowing that there is a light in a tunnel. It won't be thirty years before we climb out of this hole we have dug.


CONCLUSION:
Not the best choices lead to where I am. I am not making the greatest choices in getting out. But I am going to make progress. And I am going to get out of this hole. I feel better coming clean and confronting it. Thanks for "listening". I really needed to do this.