Tag Archives: debt free

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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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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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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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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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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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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November by the Numbers

As regular readers know, I was so excited for the month of November.  Since I get paid every two weeks (and we keep a monthly budget that assumes I have 2 paychecks each month) – every once in a while, 3 paychecks arrive within the same calendar month. November was one such month.

Since it’s basically a ‘bonus’ paycheck and it doesn’t fall within the normal budget, we were planning on putting the entire thing toward debt. Because the last few months were slow on the self-employed front – we thought this would give us a nice boost of progress and encouragement.

Now for the sad update….

It has been slow. Really slow. Fall is normally the busy season, but due to slow economy and general uncertainties, this fall’s busy season never really got going.

We don’t really expect it to pick up all that much, anytime soon, so we are considering this a “Crisis.”  Now crisis is a strong word – we aren’t majorly hurting, we have some backup funds, however, we are trying to plan the best we can, hopefully heading off a potential HUGE crisis.

When Dave Ramsey talks about times of “Crisis” – such as Job Loss– (which we are kind of comparing this slow time to) – he says to put a pause on the Debt Snowball.  Save up the money instead. Use it as you need in the crisis situation. The goal would be to avoid accruing additional debt during the crisis. And Lord willing- once the crisis is over, some (maybe all) of the money you saved up – will still be in your possession.  At that point, take that money you saved and throw it at the debt snowball. So this is what we are doing.

All that to say, other than paying our minimums this month, there are no numbers to report.

Total Debt paid in November: $250*

Since 1/1/2012 – Total Debt Paid off: $31,018*

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

And then (not to be too big of a downer) but this also means that we will not meet our goal to be completely out of debt by the end of the year.

However, while we won’t meet our goal, we cannot say that it was a complete failure.  We are So Encouraged! Just over 31K  paid off in one calendar year!?! (and a slow year at that!) We KNOW that we will be able to finish once work starts picking up. We estimate that we have about 16K more to go, so we are really hoping and praying that by as soon as possible in 2013 – we will be debt free.

I’ll still be updating monthly on our progress – and with minimums, we are still knocking out really small amounts of principle every month.

Thanks for following along!

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