Category Archives: family

15 days – Van’s in the shop

Well our friends came and went (so good to see them!).

My van is in the shop.  It’s been having issues with the power steering. I thought it was messed up, but then I would always think “Maybe that was my imagination? Maybe I had the wheels turned completely to the left and then I just tried to turn them completely to the right with out taking my foot off the break?”   Our friends borrowed my van while they were in town and let us know it was having issues (OOPS!). So… I’m not going crazy haha!

Took it in yesterday. A part we replaced in March was under warranty, but after they “fixed it” it had more issues last night so it’s back in the shop. We really hope they can figure it out and it doesn’t cost a ton. Plus, we just really need our van back up and running well.

My dad flies in today. Z is really excited. He has it in his head (and on repeat) that he’s “going to the zoo and maybe grandpa can come with.” That’s what I get for saying “MAYBE we could go to the zoo”.  Two year olds are so funny!

That’s about it from here. Trying to finish up more loose ends as the days continue to count down.

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Filed under cardiology, family, friends, health

May is here!

Surgery month has arrived… which means tomorrow is the only day I have nothing on my calendar. Seriously.

We have some very dear friends coming to town on Wednesday and from the moment I pick them up from the airport, it’s a whirlwind. I’m pretty sure I will blink and it will be surgery time.

Another great thing happening this month before surgery is that my dad is flying in for a visit. He is unable to be here for the actual surgery, so he’s visiting a week or so before hand. I know Z is super excited to see Grandpa.

Last month we crossed a bunch of items off the to do list (bunk beds purchased and assembled, family pictures planned and taken, just to mention a few), so now I’ve started my pre-surgery planning, which mostly consists of starting a packing list for the boys.

I had a hilarious conversation with Z this morning when I said “Hey! It’s May! Do you know what that means?”

He replied “Hospital.  [mumble…toddler words…something I couldn’t understand].”  After several minutes I finally figured out he was saying “new scar.” Which is true.

So that is where we are at, figuring out all the logistics and details of what actually needs to be done when surgery time arrives.

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Toddler in the House

And he tries to hit my keyboard every time the lap top is out. That – along with many other reasons – is why I haven’t blogged in over half a year. WOW. I do plan on continuing to blog – so it’s not that I’m abandoning this…

Quick update:

We are still working on baby step 3. It’s taken us a lot longer than expected to finish our emergency. Partly because our expenses are on the rise (mainly the cost of medical premiums) and partly because there was a slow period with work – so we had to use part of the emergency fund. But we are back on track and hope to finish it out in the next couple of months.

On a different Dave Ramsey note – this fall, we retook FPU with our community group. It was great to have a refresher and this time, have friends to discuss it with. I’m pretty sure every couple walked away from FPU having learned or changed one thing for the better.

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Where are we now

WOW! Did I really go an entire month without posting!?!

In 8 years of blogging that has only happened a few times.

I guess after doing 22 “by the numbers” and not having much to report – I took a little break.

As far as our emergency fund goes, it’s about the same – 50% done.

We did have our foundation fixed which cost 3,700 so – that was money that DIDN’T make it into the emergency fund (but it also didn’t create more debt since we cash-flowed it).

Other than that November was crazy busy!

*Z had 2 doctor’s appointments and I had one.
*We went to the Bush Library Museum & the Perot Museum
*My Parents came for Thanksgiving.
*I made my first Thanksgiving Dinner
*My brother and his family moved back to Texas
*We helped them get some painting done
*I had a birthday and we had our third anniversary.

What a great (and exhausting!) month it was.

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Filed under baby steps, birthday, blog, emergency fund, family, food, health, holiday, marriage, thanksgiving

Major Announcement (AKA October by the Numbers)

Proverbs 22:7 says “The rich rules over the poor,
And the borrower becomes the lender’s slave.” (NASB)

We have a major announcement.

We’re done.

That’s right… 22 months after we started, we are out of debt!

Seriously.  It hasn’t quite sunk in for us either.

DONE!

Feels a little anti climatic, right? 🙂

In Dave Ramsey style….. FREEEEEEEEDOOOOOM!

For a final ‘by the numbers’ here is how the numbers break down:
Extra Debt paid: $5,116

Total Debt paid in October: $5,362

Since 1/1/2012 – Total Debt Paid off: $46,453*

*For the purpose of Baby step 2 we are not factoring in our home mortgage

There you go.

A few more numbers to consider while letting that number, $46,453, sink in.

•22 months
•1 layoff
•6 months on only 1 income
•6 months of steep COBRA medical premiums
•4 months of slow small business income
•1 HVAC system
•3 Student loans
•2 Medical bills
•5 consignment sales
•1 garage renovation
•1 baby born

One item that has been an uncountable blessing, is the support of our family and friends. From gracious understanding on the numerous times we declined going out to eat to the boxes of hand-me-down clothing and piles of gifts for our little boy. We truly could not have done this without the support of loved ones.

Thank you LORD for providing for us.  Thank you for entrusting us with funds and teaching us to be good stewards. Thank you for giving us strength and endurance to do what is right with your money, even when we didn’t feel like it. With the wisdom of Proverbs 22:7 in mind, we choose to not become the lender’s slave.

In closing, while the monthly “by the numbers” posts are done, we will be chronicling our next steps. Dave Ramsey’s baby step 3 is an emergency fund to cover 3-6 months of expenses. Feel free to drop by and see our progress as we move forward, aiming for step 3.

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Filed under baby, blog, budget, by the numbers, debt, employment, family

July by the Numbers

Z_Birth So… once again, not a lot to report. However – This is hopefully the last month that the debt snowball is on pause!

While I was laid off in April (and now plan on staying home), the self-employed one in the house has had a tremendous increase in work. Praise the Lord!

Also, baby boy was born mid month! 🙂 He’s so precious. Yep, I’m bias, but he’s a super cutie!

And if you recall from previous “by the numbers” once the hospital bills are finalized, we’ll be able to use the Crisis Fund to Pay All the Medical Bills (creating no new debt!) and throw the rest at my student loan.

I’m guessing that the total number toward debt will be a bit smaller than I would have liked or hoped (mainly due to my not working since mid April), but every little bit helps.

I was looking at my student loan this month, and just paying minimum or a few dollars over minimum since November means we’ve still made a little progress. We are now almost under 13K for the loan. To put this in perspective, this loan was around 35K when I consolidated it into a 20 year loan, in 2008. (We’ve paid off 22K in 6 years. And we plan on having it done in less than 12 months, which is ultimately 13 years ahead of schedule.)

All that to say I can’t wait to report back for “August by the Numbers.”

One thing that was a bummer for July is that we seem to have spent a lot on food. However, this is because my mom was in town and we made trips to Costco and Sams. We purchased extra, and then she made us a bunch of meals – of double or triple proportions. Now we have somewhere between 10-15 meals in the deep freeze for simple cooking. We also have a wonderful community of friends that are providing us with meals a few times a week for the next few weeks. Which means the August food bill will be low and more than make up for the larger food bill in July.

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Filed under baby, budget, by the numbers, debt, family, food, pictures

Thankful

I just felt I needed to share how thankful we are for the generosity of fiends and family. I’ve mentioned in posts before, how we have received gifts for the baby and how the only new items we purchased are some shelving for the baby’s closet.

That still holds true.

Since those posts, we’ve received a few more gifts – a couple of which were duplicates, which actually is completely terrific! Because duplicate gifts mean I can return one and get a store credit. We are now a little over halfway to purchasing the car seat with gift cards & in-store credits.

It’s one of the few items we felt it would be best to make sure was new.

Other than that – in a week or so, May by the Numbers will actually have a bit of an update. The debt snowball is still on hold, but we’ve made some unexpected progress.

Stay tuned…

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March by the Numbers

Basically the same news as before (debt snowball on pause due to slow work & baby on the way) – with some improvement for the self-employed one of the family.  Work has been picking up a bit – so that’s really helpful. We anticipate adding to the “crisis fund” at a slightly higher rate.

Our little guy appears to be healthy as far as any one can tell at this point – so we are very thankful for that.

We are a little over halfway from his arrival, so we’ve been deep in the throws of preparing for a baby in the house while staying as cost conscious as possible.

One of the common questions people ask is what theme the nursery will be. Our answer… Ah? Mustard yellow walls with a twin bed & desk?  We aren’t “themeing” anything really. Not painting. Not really buying new, fancy furniture. Our changing table will be the desk that is in there now. We added a bit of additional shelving in the closet for better organization of new baby stuff – but that’s about it.  We went with generic blue, green, and random animals in the things that we registered for – so – that’s our theme? I guess if you can call it that.

Mostly, as I mentioned last month, I’ve been hitting up a few consignment sales. It really helps to be in a large place like DFW where the suburbs support multiple sales.  Check out these numbers…. Money spent at consignment sales: $135

Approximate amount if all items were purchased new: $466

Some of the items that we purchased:

  • Assortment of bottles
  • ‘Snap & Go’ type caddy/stroller
  • Bathtub
  • A few additional needed clothing items for me
  • SwaddleMes
  • Highchair
  • Nursing Pillow
  • A couple small toys/books
  • Towels

And last, but most certainly not least, we have a wonderful community of family and friends who have given us so many helpful and much-needed items.  Just a few of the items are listed here. Some are straight up baby gifts, and some are “hand-me-downs” from those who have gone before us on the adventure of having kids.

  • Crib & Mattress
  • Pack & play
  • Bassinet
  • Bouncy Seat
  • Car mirror
  • Breast Pump
  • Mobile
  • Towels & wash cloths
  • Glider chair & footstool
  • Bumboo seat
  • A tub of Maternity Clothes
  • Books – Educational and Product research/money-saving tips

So yes – as you can see – we are doing our best to be frugal; to not give in to the culture & emotions of … got to have the biggest and best, nicest nursery with name brand, new everything.  We are so thankful that our family and friends are helping us so much.

When I listen to the Dave Ramsey show – there seems to be a lot of  individuals who did not have supportive friends and family. They had people in their lives that thought they were foolish or a bit nuts to be working to be completely debt free. We are thankful to report that is not the case with us.  Everyone has been more than supportive of our long-term financial goals.

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A Debt Snowball Setback

So… in November I posted about how we were putting the debt snowball on hold due to a slower than expected fall. This was, and is still true.

However – we also had a second reason – which we could not share at the time… and while it’s a debt snowball setback – it’s also terrific news.

We’re expecting a baby!

Due this summer – so our debt payoff is on hold – but we couldn’t be more overjoyed.

And we are so thankful for all the hard work we put in last year.  Baby will be born into a family that is only a few more payoffs from being debt free!

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December by the Numbers

To start with – no new progress was made on debt this month. We are still putting the debt snowball on hold due to lower than expected income.  We are adding to our “crisis fund” which we hope will we will convert into debt pay-off one day.

One specific number I thought I could highlight from this month was our Vacation Fund.  We planned since May to go to Washington State to have Christmas with my family. Every month, we put aside money for the vacation. From this fund, we paid for our plane tickets, our rental car, and all of our on trip expenses and purchases. We still worked to be frugal on the trip, not spending excessive amounts. We are pleased to report we were at least $600 UNDER budget.  SWEET! Because you know what that means… the extra $600 goes into the Crisis Fund.

Since I don’ t have any other numbers to report, I thought I’d do a quick summary of 2012 by the numbers.

This year, we sold items on CraigsList, re-purposed gift cards, and turned coins into the bank in order to drum up some extra income. We also had several items come up that we had to figure out how to cash-flow. We cash-flowed enough money to cover a Garage Reno, an MRI, a Washer, a mattress set, and the closing costs on our home refinance. And of course, squeezed every cent we could find out of the budget for extra debt payments.

Extra income for 2012: $2,121

Cash-flowed in 2012: $6,181

Over and above debt payments for 2012: $27,304

Total Debt paid in 2012: $31,018

Amount of Debt left – Aiming to be paid off in 2013.  Approximately $15,500

I look at those numbers and I think wow. You mean… we put enough toward debt to pay for a new car?

I find it SO encouraging. No, we don’t have that money to use now – but yes, we are avoiding even MORE than that in would-be-interest.  And once all the debt is gone, we have already established really great financial habits which will help us reach goals like paying cash for a car a lot quicker than we ever thought we could.

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Filed under budget, by the numbers, car, debt, family