Tag Archives: budget

12 Weeks Post Op

There’s that.

Recovery update: 

Still hurts to cough and sneeze, but not as much. Laughing and singing also still hurt, but it’s greatly improved. Yesterday, I became aware of the fact that bumps in the road, when I’m not driving, no longer hurt! Hooray!

House update:

Selling side. We closed yesterday, so we are now officially renters. We are allowed to be here until September 26th.

Buying side. We saw around 20 houses (I probably lost track of the exact count).  House #19 looked really promising, but the night we went to see it, a rain storm knocked out power. Even seeing it in without electricity, we thought it was a strong possibility.

We set up another viewing for the next day along with house #20, that popped up as a new listing. Honestly, house 20 looked just ok online, so we figured might as well take a quick look at it in person before we go back to 19. We recruited my husband’s brother to join us because we wanted his opinion on 19 (and as the carpooling worked out, he saw 20 as well).

To our surprise, 20 was so much better in person than in pictures. It had a great layout and was more move in ready than 19. House 20 was also located in our preferred side town. By the middle of the day, house 20 became our new favorite.

We wasted little time and put together an offer on 20 by the end of the day.

Because of this market, we knew it they would probably get multiple offers. We were told they would be deciding at 7pm on Monday.

We didn’t hear anything yesterday so went to bed thinking “I bet they chose someone else’s offer and we are the ‘break up’ call they are putting off until the morning.”  To our surprise and delight, they accepted our offer!

So here we go… we are in the option period and if all goes well, we hope to close at the end of September, just in time for when we need to be out of our “Rental”.

2016 – the year that God continued to surprise us over and over and over again.

*Bonus Info* it’s a 4 bed, 2.5 bath! Just like I mentioned in my previous post, it’s what we really preferred. A little higher than our goal price, but we stayed in our reasonable range, just shy of our maximum.  And for what it’s worth, our maximum was determined by us, based on how much a month we want to pay/can afford per month for a monthly mortgage, NOT based on how much the banks would let us borrow.

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Filed under cardiology, health, housing, moving

GULP

Has it been over a year since I last blogged!?! We’ve been in the trenches, grinding out baby step 3.

A summary of 2015:

Chasing a toddler around while trying to survive the Texas heat, while pregnant. That’s right! We added on! In August we met our second little boy.

And seriously – paying medical bills, being pregnant, keeping the toddler alive, meeting the new baby, dipping in and out of the emergency fund because of slow work & medical expenses sums up all of 2015.

SO…. I picked the blog back up as things start to settle down.

AND because we have a new update!!!

Quick summary from when we started this journey in January of 2012 until now (4 years):

*Paid off 46K in debt in 22 months (Read our “by the numbers” posts starting in January 2012 to see how we did that.)

*Paid for items without going into more debt: A minivan, foundation repair, new hot water heater, a couple of mattresses, a washer, as well as a garage renovation

*We welcomed 2 children into the family (which resulted in maxing out our deductibles 2 of the last 4 years. 6K and 12K!)

*Experienced 1 layoff – and from that point on have only had one income

*Experienced a couple of slow work cycles

This last year (2015), similar to when we were paying off debt in 2013 and our first son was born, we were really cautious. We also had to pre-pay my OB early in the year. After the deductibles were reached, and we got our pre-pay money back, we were able to put a little bit more toward the emergency fund. My husband had a couple of large projects come up in the fall, right as we were calculating medical expenses.

Overall, we ended 2015 being a little discouraged. In rough estimates, 2015 resulted in 25% drop in income.

One super positive note from this stat is our extreme gratitude that God continues to provide for our needs. We have the four walls (food, transportation, shelter/utilities, clothing) covered no problem. We are so thankful for starting this journey 4 years ago, it gave us the tools and skills to keep a close eye on every dollar in, every dollar out. A 25% drop in income is very likely to cause disaster. For us, it did not.

The year ended and we were relieved to see it and it’s expenses go away.

And then, something unexpected happened.

January 2016. A couple of big, outstanding checks arrived. We never know when checks will come in – and honestly, we almost have to live as if they won’t. Having a client owe money is very different, and less secure, than having your employer owe you a paycheck.

When the checks arrived, we were amazed. It was what we needed to FINISH OUR 6 MONTH EMERGENCY FUND.

That’s right— we are FINALLY DONE with baby step 3!

*Phew* big sigh of relief.

We can now move on.  It’s possible we will have to dip into the fund again, and finish it, and use it, finish it, etc. – but we are choosing to mentally move on. We won’t abandon the fund and be without a safety net, but we also need to start focusing on some other items.

Our specific plan is a little in the air.  It will be some type of step forward, perhaps baby step 3b, or baby step 4 (or a combination of the two).

Baby step 3B is a down payment.  We would like a slightly different living situation. While we do “own” our home, the equity if sold today, will not be enough for a 20% down payment for the type of home we are looking for in our area.

Baby step 4 is investing 15% of  income to retirement, making use of all tax-free options as best as possible.  We have invested in the past, and have made small contributions in the last 4 years, but we would like to get that up and rolling to the full 15%.

And with that – while we are not done with the baby steps – I’m probably done blogging about our baby steps journey. The first three steps are the hardest, but they are also the most measurable. For more info on the baby steps – and to see how you can get started, visit Dave Ramsey’s website.

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Filed under baby, baby steps, budget, debt

What’s Next?

When I blogged about our goal for 2012, we started out by saying we were going through Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University.

From that, we learned the 7 baby steps. Getting out of debt (all except for our house) was only step 2. We have a long way to go. 🙂

So what’s next? Naturally, step 3, which is a fully funded emergency fund. Dave recommends is 3-6 months of expenses.

I wanted to lay some ground work for this step.

First, we will be going for an entire 6 months of expenses for our emergency fund. We felt that with the feast or famine nature of a small business, it would be better if we had 6 months.

Secondly, I will not be posting exact dollar amounts when I report on progress for this step. We felt it was a little to personal of financial information to have out there in the world, letting everyone basically know what our monthly income averages. Instead, I will be reporting using percentages, with 100% fully funded being the obvious finish line for this step.

Third (and you might get mad at us for this one), our first progress report on this step is…
We are now at 50% of our goal.

Say what!? Ok, here’s why. Baby step 1 is a $1,000 emergency fund. From the get-go (prior to our even being married) my husband has been a super saver. When, in our second year of marriage, we talked about starting the baby steps, we decided that it was ok to continue to hold the 3 months of emergency fund aside that he already had in savings and to not put it toward debt at that time like Dave says.

A few things influenced this decision.

1. The potential extreme swings of income with a small business. We did not feel at all comfortable with such a small emergency fund.

2. Part of the reason Dave says $1,000 is for motivational purposes. If the emergency fund goal in step 1 is too big, people will become discouraged while saving for that first amount and give up. Since we already had the money, this wasn’t an issue.

3. Dave really wants to put a fire under people. There can be a little bit of panic in the idea that you only have $1,000. He likes people to use that panic to their advantage and start hustling on step 2 so they can finish and get back to saving. We knew ourselves well enough and trusted that we would not have an issue hustling.

4. In situation of overwhelming amounts of debt, taking a large chunk of change out of savings and throwing at debt can be a tremendous leap forward, helping people start the process with great momentum. Before we started in January of 2012, we had an incredible Q4 of 2011. We had a great boost of momentum without raiding the emergency fund. And for our total amount of debt, it would have had only a small impact on the timeline and reduction of interest we paid.

There you go. Our intent was not to be dishonest. And with the last 22 months in the rear-view mirror we know there were a few moments where we really thought even our “Crisis Fund” would be used up and we’d have to dip into the emergency fund. Not blogging about the emergency fund helped me keep it out of sight, out of mind, so that we would continue to hustle.

We are thankful that we gave ourselves some grace, and modified the Baby Steps from the start.

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Filed under baby steps, budget, by the numbers, emergency fund

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

September by the Numbers

September was terrific!

As I’ve mentioned before, the small business has picked up considerably the last few months. Because the baby was on the way, and we had gone such a long period with the business being slow, we chose to be extremely cautious. Even with understanding the debt snowball was on hold and we were functioning with the ‘crisis fund’ plan, we still decided to limit how much we drew monthly from the business.

All of this to say, we have decided it is now ok to free up additional funds. That’s where our extra money for debt comes from this month.

We are getting so close! It is realistic to believe that we will be Debt Free by the end of the year.

Without further adieu, here are the numbers:

Extra Debt paid: $5,000

Total Debt paid in September: $5,246

Since 1/1/2012 – Total Debt Paid off: $41, 019*

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

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Filed under budget, by the numbers, debt

August by the Numbers (part 2)

Just a quick update.  The medical numbers did finish coming in and my previous post was correct.  We were able to use the crisis fund we’ve built up since November to pay all 5,714.40. This amount covers both Z & my deductibles and copays.

And then beyond that, we were able to make a lump sum extra payment toward debt of $2,591.

Which means… my student loan is So Close to being under 10K. I thought it would be years before I saw that.

Thank you Lord for providing the funds to do this as well as helping us be disciplined and focus to follow through and be good stewards of what you provide.

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Filed under baby, budget, by the numbers, debt

August by the Numbers

Ok… so not ALL of the numbers are in yet and I’m still waiting for a few statements so we can actually write checks and pay off medical bills, but we do have a pretty good idea of how it will play out.

To start with, we have to pay the hospital. The hospital bill that we are paying out of pocket for both Z & myself: 5,714.40.

That’s quite a chunk of change! But… considering it’s the largest medical bill I’ve had in my adult life, where I have not had to say “Hey Hospital, here are my financials, I have no money, please let me work out a payment plan” I’m super PUMPED! We planned well and will be able to pay this entire amount with money we saved up in the “Crisis Fund.”

Next – I went to another consignment sale. Why is this part of the numbers this month? Because when we’ve spent money that was not initially in our budget for the baby, we’ve used Crisis Fund money to do so. What!? Going outside of the budget!? In this case, Yes. We purchased some much needed items like a standard stroller. The stroller we bought would have been at least $200 new. We spent $38. 🙂

In total, we spent $135 at the consignment sale, for items that would have totaled $425 if they were all new. Also, as a side note, I made some extra income through consigning. A whopping $22.

So … we now have a much better understanding of how much extra crisis money we have and can put it toward debt.

Medical Bills paid: $5,714.40

Consignment Money Spent: $135

Extra Income: $22

Extra Debt paid: $2,591

Total Debt paid in August: $2,837

Since 1/1/2012 – Total Debt Paid off: $35, 773*

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

 

Consignment savings Running Total numbers:

Running total for used items: $393
Approximate amount if all items were new: $1,119

Savings: $726

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Filed under baby, budget, by the numbers