Week 11 of 80 – Not Impressed with our Debt – Monthly Payment Schedule

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You may wonder if we use a written budget to stay on track with our debt.

I have tried many things over the years and while a written budget with fancy spreadsheets or instant calculation apps are exciting at first, they lose their excitement for me after a few weeks.

The only thing that has worked for me is a good old fashioned hand written notebook. I love lined notebooks. I love the potential of what can be written down on those blank pages.

Each month I write down by week what I need to pay when, taking into consideration due dates and the amounts of the payments.

Here is a generic example of what my schedule looks like this month:

Pay days for us are Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays. Having four jobs and all different paydays helps us feel like we are not living paycheck to paycheck.

You may notice that our mortgage is weekly. This is because with so many other big payments its easier to save weekly for our mortgage rather than pay it in one large sum.

Old Navy will be paid four times this month. I plan on sticking to that unless something else comes up that is an emergency.

Please keep in mind this is only the payments that are due each month. I don’t consider this a budget. This does not include school lunches and haircuts and doctor visits and repairs and entertainment and gifts, etc.

This schedule tells me what I HAVE to pay.  As one debt goes away it frees us up to put more into savings and repairs and such. After the Old Navy is paid my husband and I will be redirecting some of that money into more savings and retirement.

Well that’s about it. This is what I look at every Wednesday to see what needs to be paid first before we do other things.

I am used to it so it doesn’t scare me anymore!

What do you do for a schedule to pay your bills? Do you do something similar?

See you again in week 12! -MM

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Week 10 of 80 – Not Impressed With Our Debt – October Dinners – Meal Planning

October is already 7 days in, but here is what I am planning for dinner for the rest of October.

Oct 7th                            Oct 8th                   Oct 9th        Oct 10th              Oct 11th

Smoked Pork Chops    Chicken Salad     Breakfast     Crock Pot            Soup & Garlic Bread

Oct 12th                 Oct 13th                 Oct 14th             Oct 15th              Oct 16th

Wing it                Rot. Chicken            Pork Roast         Stuffed Shells       Tacos

Oct 17th                Oct 18th                Oct 19th             Oct 20th              Oct 21st

Burgers                   Soup                    Wedding             Wedding                Pot Pie

Oct 22nd              Oct 23rd               Oct 24th             Oct 25th               Oct 26th

Subs           Pork chops & mushrms   Crock Pot             Pizza                  Night Out

Oct 27th                  Oct 28th                Oct 29th            Oct 30th             Oct 31st

Stuffed Peppers    Veggie Stir Fry       Left Overs            Soup                  Wing it

There are a couple of things to note: We have a wedding we are participating in so dinners those two days are already covered and when I put generic meals like “burgers” I don’t just serve meat and cheese on a bun. We go all out for burgers, particularly because I prefer real ground turkey breast for my burgers and the boys like their beef burgers. We try all kinds of toppings; cheeses, bacon, mushrooms, etc.

Also pot pie in our home is made from scratch. No processed frozen pies. Homemade crust and many times veggies from our garden plus either beef or chicken. It’s soooo good!

I will try to get some videos done of a few of the meals that we make this month or at least some recipe posts with step by step. If you are interested in some of the things I grow, check out the live feed I did from Facebook a couple of days ago of my Garden Harvest

Oh and by the way, I paid another double payment to that pesky Old Navy card this week!

See you next time 🙂 – MM

Next Week’s Post – What our monthly bill payment schedule looks like.

 

Week 9 of 80 – Not impressed With Our Debt – September the Results

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I knew September would be a difficult month for getting any extra debt paid off because our school taxes were due.

Amazingly for the first time in about 8 years we not only paid our school taxes in full and on time but we also got some debt paid too!

Our Old Navy balance started this month with $4710. I only got $300 paid down on it so right now its balance is $4410.

Last month we ended the month with $33,387 in debt and after all the payments we had including the Old Navy payment, we paid off $903.00 in debt. So our ending balance this month is $32,483.

Not bad considering it was school tax time!

Total paid since starting this journey 9 weeks ago – $3441!

I am thrilled about this month’s progress even though I always want more paid off haha!

How are you doing on your debt? See you next week! -MM

Next week – Week 10 – October Dinner Meal Planning

 

 

Week 8 of 80 – Not Impressed With Our Debt -Testing Our Resolve

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I wanted to give up many times this week. So many things have come up and have tested my resolve about paying off our debt, but we have pushed past those feelings of doubt for now.

Part of our problem was we were weary from working so hard and not having a day off. It’s hard work paying off our debt but I want to keep going.

Work issues, family issues and maintenance issues on our home have become overwhelming so taking a step back to think about them before reacting has been helpful.

It’s funny though every time I want to say “forget it!” something unexpected happens and I tell myself to keep going.

That unexpected thing this week was a little something extra in one of our paychecks for a job well done. It was a boost to our spirits for sure!

Next week will be a better week. I even plan on paying the school taxes tomorrow. Yes!

Next week is the September monthly update. See you then. -MM

 

 

Week 7 of 80 – Not Impressed With Our Debt – September Dinners – Meal Planning

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Already in September life in the bakery department has been brutal. Two huge weddings and one to go next week and an unexpected order for 50 cookie cakes this week have put me way behind in my personal life. However, I am still plugging away at our debt!

The thing that gets us into trouble the most with spending money is food. It will suck the money out of your wallet quicker than anything! To combat this you need to be organized and that means spending a little time thinking about meals.

Unfortunately it’s probably the same in your house as it is in ours, the question being, “what’s for dinner?” I ask it every afternoon to my husband and son and my son always says, “I don’t know,” or “I don’t care, whatever you want to make” and my husband says burgers or pizza.

*Sigh* Not too inspiring right?

I have tried meal planning before and I have even blogged many times with “What’s For Dinner” posts which I will link later but I still get frustrated and try too hard sometimes to make the perfect meal for us.

What I am going to show you is just a calendar of dinner ideas for the month of September for us. Each day I can look at it and see just “tacos” or “crock pot” or “baked chicken”. It just gives me something to go by for dinner. It’s not a complete meal plan by any means but sometimes you just need an idea. I even took a photo of the meal plan on my phone so I can reference it when I need to bring home the appropriate ingredients if I don’t have them. If I don’t like what I wrote down or it doesn’t fit our mood I just switch the day out with another. Again this just gives me ideas so I am not just standing there in Aisle #3 wondering what to make.

Here is our meal plan for the month:

Sept 4th                    Sept 5th            Sept 6th             Sept 7th                 Sept 8th

Rotiss Chicken         Crock Pot           Stir Fry               Wing it                    Tuna Noodle

Sept 9th                    Sept 10th           Sept 11th          Sept 12th               Sept 13th

Turkey Dinner          Grilled Sands.    Leftovers           Crockpot                Tacos 

Sept 14th                  Sept 15th           Sept 16th          Sept 17th               Sept 18th

Wing it                      Pot Luck              Chili                   Pizza Breads          Soup

Sept 19th                  Sept 20th            Sept 21st         Sept 22nd              Sept 23rd

Meatloaf                    Big Salads           Wing it              Rotiss Chicken      Pork Roast

Sept 24th                 Sept 25th              Sept 26th         Sept 27th              Sept 28th

Breakfast                 Pork chops             Crockpot           Chix Kiev             Wing it

Sept 29th                Sept 30th

Pot Luck                 Spaghetti 

I didn’t get started doing a meal plan as you can see until the 4th. Most of these are pretty generic. Soup could be anything that sounds good or that I have on hand at the time. Pot luck is just a reference for me that it is Euchre night at friends and I have to bring a dish to pass. Rotisserie chicken is something easy I can bring home from the store for dinner. Breakfast for dinner is most likely scrambled eggs and toast because it will just be the hubby and I that night.

Friday “Wing it” nights are nights we are just going to figure it out. Probably just a take out night or leftovers. Crock pot and stir fry are also whatever I want to go into the crock or frying pan.

As you can see this is just a reference. Something to look at and go by. It has already changed a lot so far but it helps me.

Hopefully by the end of this week I will have enough to pay our school taxes. Yay!! New York residents got our property tax rebates in the mail last week and it covers almost a third of the bill for us! I was not expecting it and it certainly was a blessing.

By next week we will be back to paying down the credit card.

Do you have a meal plan or any kind of food plan you use to make your life easier? I would love to hear about it! -MM

If you are interested in reading my previous blog posts about “What’s For Dinner” here are the links

What’s For Dinner Week 1

What’s For Dinner Week 2

What’s for Dinner Week 3

What’s For Dinner Week 4

What’s For Dinner Week 5

Week 6 of 80 – Not Impressed with our Debt – Read your Mail

If you are like me, going through your mail is pretty boring. Not much to look at. Mostly advertisements and credit card offers and bills.

One day I actually decided to read all of my mail. I opened up all of those credit card offers and looked over all of the advertisements.

It was a bit eye opening. In that mail that particular day, I read something that really got the ball rolling for us in our quest to pay off our debt.

Have you ever gotten mail from a local car dealership saying they wanted to buy your used car from you? They would pay top dollar for it because they needed to add to their used car inventory? Usually I just toss those offers in the trash thinking they are scams.

This time though I really read the offer. It was from the dealership I bought my used car from so I called them and asked what the deal was with these advertisements. The very nice salesman (of course he’s nice) said that so many people are now buying used cars instead of new that they are always looking for low mileage, in good condition, used cars. The offer was they would buy my car from me at Blue Book Value and of course sell me another car.

In the end I did not sell my car to this particular dealership. But I did sell it.

The car we are speaking about was a 2010 Buick Lacrosse, black, with a custom pinstripe. It was a gorgeous car. One that I could never have afforded if it had been new. It was my dream car. I was a Buick girl and it was my fourth Buick.

Unfortunately I was in way over my head with it and I knew it. I had signed a six year loan which I never normally would have done but I wanted that car. Here it was three years later and I still owed a whopping $8000 on it. By the time I paid it off it would be eleven years old and what would I have? An eleven year old car…with low mileage of course, but it would be worth nada. It was worth something right now so although it killed me I traded it in.

Let me explain a couple of things about this money driven, last minute, out of the blue, decision. I knew if I didn’t trade it in now I would regret it. At eight years old I was starting to have to put some real money into it other than the usual brakes and tires. In a 6 month period I had to get the tires, brakes, water pump fixed, and a new exhaust was on the horizon. It was sounding like a truck. $1400 in that six months for repairs and more to come.

I decided to lease a car. First time ever. They gave me the low lease rate but I still had to make up for the amount I owed on the car so in the end my monthly payment went up by $100 from the current loan I had but at the end of the 3 year lease I will owe nothing and I will have the new vehicle’s trade-in value.

I needed to give up my car to put us in a better position. It will be worth it. Though after I said goodbye to my car I cried like a baby and wanted it back. I got over it.

So what did I get? A brand new 2018, Subaru Forester. Yep, trying something new. Never had a brand new car either. And boy can I pack stuff in it!

So in the end reading my mail really helped me see that there are alternatives out there. Not everything is a scam. Lots of people jump from one cable or phone provider for a better deal, same with insurance companies. I also know plenty of people that payoff a high interest credit card with a zero percent one. Some people are even downsizing their homes, look at the tiny house movement!

You have to be diligent when it comes to debt. Yes, I believe in the snowball debt idea but making specific, money driven and happiness improving decisions will help relieve the pressure faster and so far I have not regretted any decision.

As far as getting debt paid off this week, I am working on it. Like I said school taxes are due this month and I need to get them paid first but I will definitely get some paid down before the end of the month.

Week #7 – September Dinner Menu Planning

See you next week! -MM

Week 5 of 80 – Not Impressed with Our Debt – End of August, the Results

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Well it’s been an interesting month. Not only have we paid down our debt but we also managed to pay for new tires and brakes for my husband’s car AND finance a trip to Boise, Idaho to pick up a car for my son.

I started out this journey by stating we had $35,924 in debt we wanted to get rid of in 80 weeks and that my first debt I would tackle in that total was the “Old Navy” balance which I switched to a new zero interest credit card to save on interest.

That balance started off at $6500. It’s current balance is $4700!

I managed to pay $1800 on that balance! Holy Cow! Amazing. Seriously. Being able to pay $1800 towards that credit card is just unbelievable. Hard work really paid off this month.

However, $1800 is not the only amount on our debt I paid down this month. Remember all of our other payments are still ongoing while I pay on that credit card.

The rest of the debt I managed to get paid off added up to $737.00.

Grand total of debt paid down for the Month of August is $2537!

Total debt owed is now down to $33,387!

Sorry for all of the exclamations but I am just so excited!

Some how we managed to pay for most of our extras in cash this month. Like the tires and breaks for example. because we paid in cash the guy gave us a 20% discount. We saved for this trip to Boise and so far have only put a few hundred dollars on the other credit card which we will pay off when we get the bill.

Every time I thought something was going to de-rail my plan, something else came along and helped us achieve our goal. I have learned to stop worrying about it.

In the Month of September I am not anticipating paying a ton down on that Old Navy balance because we have school taxes to pay but seeing what happened this month you just never know and I am excited about that.

Week 6 the topic will be: “Read your Mail”

Catch you next week! -MM