Not Impressed With Our Debt – Update

The last time I did an update on our debt was in my March 27th post. In that post I updated that I had gotten my medical bill paid in full and paid our Town/County taxes. The goal for April was to pay off the Bank of America credit card but I was a little leery because of the pandemic and whether I should just make minimum payments to keep a flow of cash if needed.

That was a short lived thought for me! I paid off the Bank of America card two weeks later which was about $1300. Not only did I pay off the BOA card but I was also able to pay the NYS and Federal taxes we owed from our 2019 tax return. Don’t worry I definitely stimulated the economy with our stimulus check but I also took it as an opportunity to pay off some debt!

Now the next goal will be to pay off Scott’s Honda which sits at about $1600. My goal is to get it done in July because we have five paychecks that month.

I have been working to pay down our debt for almost two years now. I am not completely happy with where we are after two years but I will talk about that in my July update. For now I plan on working hard and getting that car debt paid in July.

How are you doing on your debt? -MM

Hello Again!

I have been absent for a long time and for that I apologize.

I am  fine and my family is well. I just haven’t felt like posting because frankly I felt that anything I had to say would be a bit frivolous considering the situation we are all in.

But after many weeks and months of not posting because of busyness and now this horrible virus shutting all of us in, I figured I better get my thoughts out somehow so I decided to get back at blogging and updating my website.

I feel a bit guilty because while many of my friends are having to shut their businesses’s doors or are losing their jobs my family is managing because we are all essential workers. It does make it scary for us though. Do we risk ourselves to work or risk not having a paycheck? I don’t really know what the answer is for that.

Meanwhile life is keeping on. Here is a small update:

Debt: before all of this happened I paid off the medical bills and our Town/County tax bill so yeehaw two less bills! Last update we were at $992 for the medical and I was able to pay it off a month early. The Town/County taxes were about $1200 and I paid them at the beginning of this month. So almost $2200 worth of debt gone. The next thing I am going to tackle is the Bank of America Credit Card which is $1300. But I do have some reservations about paying it off completely in one month. With the virus in full swing here in NYS do I just pay the minimum and save some money aside just in case or do I go for it? I am still thinking about that.

20 for 20 Update: I’ll do this in another post

Gardening/Food storage: We still have many items in our pantry from canning this last summer for which I am grateful for. I have planted radishes, lettuce and spring onions so far but the weather has not been very nice yet. Still too cold most days and very windy others. We will get there though.

There is so much I want to say but I think I will let certain things come out on here as time goes on. I have so many ideas, dreams, goals, sorrows, fears, thoughts and triumphant revelations but there is just too much to post about right now.

How are you all doing? I hope all are well. The world has a job to do and we will get it done. Until next time…

-MM

Not Impressed with Our Debt January 2020 Update

Originally I had a good solid “plan” when I started this journey of paying off our debt. Unfortunately that plan is in need of a change.

The momentum that I started with has changed because I am not working 55+ hours a week anymore. I have decided to adjust and take a different approach to this whole debt thing, which is exactly what we should do if things are not working out, right?

From this point on I am just going to concentrate on one debt or “goal” at a time and do one monthly update at the end of the month. I might update you on things that strike me in between but other than that, it will be a monthly update.

Last update I was paying on that pesky medical bill which was at $2,500 and I am very happy to say that it is now at $992.00! I have paid off about $1500. Two more months and we will be done with it!

I do have some great news to share on the money front! I have been offered a job with the 2020 Census where I will be the Field Operation Supervisor for my county and will be able to do both my regular job and this position. It means back to 55+ hours a week but I hope to get at least 2 to 3 debts paid in full during this period. Very exciting! I start the Census job in a couple of weeks.

We will see where I am at the end of February which even with the extra day makes it a short month.

Until next update…. -MM

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Photo by Negative Space on Pexels.com

 

Not Impressed With Our Debt Week #69

I apologize for not giving you an end of month update for October. When I ran the numbers I was disappointed in myself and couldn’t figure out why the numbers were not adding up correctly. So I just let October go.

Let’s see instead where we are at week 69.

I wanted to pay off the Bank of America Credit Card in October. That didn’t happen for a couple of reasons. One: we overspent and Two: I paid $500 towards the medical bill instead, because they were breathing down my neck.

I have managed though to get $700 paid off on the BOA Credit card so that’s not so bad. It’s not $2000 paid off but hey…..

How did I get $1200 paid off between the two when it wasn’t in the budget this month? I was blessed enough to receive a bonus and a raise at one of my jobs and unbeknownst to me I still had a whopping 70+ hours of vacation time that was just sitting there for me to cash in at my other job. So I had my manager each week for three weeks use that vacation time and add it to my check. That was definitely a blessing to me!

Those two blessings added up to 1200 extra dollars which I plowed into our debt.

Right now the Bank of America is at $1392.00 from approximately $2000 and the Medical bill is at $2500 from $3000.

This next week I will be paying another $500 towards the medical. I finally signed up for a payment plan. I said I would pay $500 each month which is pretty steep but it will get it paid by March.

The total for all of the debt I am talking about on this blog still doesn’t add up to what I want again because clearly we have added debt in other areas so I will just concentrate on the BOA credit card and the Medical and then I can tackle the rest of the stuff.

In closing this post I want to put a question out to all of you. Why are we so uncomfortable with talking about our money?

The National Institute of Mental Health estimates that 40 million Americans suffer from anxiety and that financial worries are a massive trigger for this.

So why don’t we talk about money more? Couldn’t we help each other? Couldn’t we learn real information from each other? I don’t get it. We are comfortable about talking about the most intimate parts of ourselves but not about money. Makes no sense to me.

I’ll leave you with that thought. Until next time. -MM

 

 

Not Impressed With Our Debt – Week 64 of 80 – Hospital Bill

I finally had to call the grant department about my emergency room bill to find out the status of my application. Like I thought, we earn too much and we were rejected.

I spoke in depth with the woman and she suggested going on the payment plan. I told her what had happened the last time I went on a payment plan and even she agreed they were ridiculous. Her advice to me was to keep paying as much as I could monthly and if someone from the collection department called to ignore the call and block the number. I kind of chuckled at that. But honestly that’s what I have done before.

This week I will call and set up a payment plan for as low as I can get away with every month to satisfy the hospital goons. My plan is to pay as much as I can each week and hopefully in a few months that bill will be paid.

One good thing on the debt paying front is that I got $500 paid off on the Bank of America card this week and I had my husband add $20 more a week to his 401k because we got 2 more major bills paid off.

I am disappointed in not getting even a little help with the ER bill but now that I know I can concentrate on getting that bill paid off quickly.

We are back in the right direction of paying down our debt folks and it feels good! I’ll be back with an update on the 30th. -MM

 

Not Impressed with our Debt Week 62 of 80 – Monthly Update September 2019

I was waiting until I heard about my hospital bill to update you on our debt, but so far I have heard nothing.

I took the advice of my friend Kathy and applied for a grant through the hospital.

I was reluctant to apply but in the end I got all of the paperwork together and filled out the application and handed it to my friend in the billing department and now I am waiting for them to review it.

August was a wash for us financially. What I paid off in debt we spent on our trip to Ireland for our daughter’s wedding. I am fine with that actually. I wash is good in my mind.

September was school taxes so $1500 went to that.

October is looking more promising. I have a plan to pay off our Bank of America credit card which has $2000 on it at the moment. At the end of this month I can let you in on how and if I get it all paid.

Here is how our debt is looking at this point:

Last update our total owed was $32,080.81.

Right now our total is $32,647.05.

That’s a little over $500 increase but like I said between Ireland (which was lovely!) and school taxes I am not surprised.

Back on track for October!

How are you doing with your debt? -MM

 

 

20 for ’20 Goals Update

I started my 20 for ’20 challenge early, inspired by a friend’s goals in another group I belong to. I didn’t want to wait until the new year to start getting things accomplished.

Here is what I have accomplished so far:

1. Build a new garage – So far my hubby and I have been trying to look at every angle to this project. Do we truly want to tear down our old garage? Could we salvage it? Could we update it and slowly fix it up in stages? Is it worth even saving? We even looked at ready made Amish built garages. We definitely have crossed the brand new, big and beautiful garage from our list. We just can’t afford that. Any advice on this one guys would be welcomed. Stay tuned.

2 – Major cross-stitch projects completed. I purchased a beautiful new chart from Modern Folk Embroidery a few weeks ago and I am ready to start it. I have a small part of the border done but am working to finish the Autumn House first. The other large project I am looking to complete is the mystery SAL that Modern Folk Embroidery Offers every year. I plan on participating in that. Hopefully I can keep up!

3 – Projects completed in our house (not to include windows). Last spring a part of our garage’s roof blew right off leave our already dilapidated garage leaking. We knew we needed to get the roof repaired but we weren’t inclined to spent a lot on it. With advice from a handyman friend my husband has been working to get the roof repaired himself as best as he can. He hopes to have it done tonight actually! There are at least 3 other projects we want to work on over the winter and Spring which I will write about soon.

4 – Books read a month. After considering my reading goals for the months ahead, I want to include magazines in this category. One of the magazines I read this month was over 150 pages and I read it cover to cover. Here is what I got read in September:

A Glorious FreedomOlder Women Leading Extraordinary Lives By Lisa Congdon – This was a fabulous, inspiring, motivating book about women over forty following their dreams and having careers and accomplishments some into their 90s and 100s. It’s never too late! I highly recommend this book.

Where Women Create – Mindful Studios – Inspiring Wellness and Beauty Magazine – This was another inspiring, beautifully photographed read for me. I enjoyed reading each article sitting on my front porch everyday with my coffee. I was disappointed when I finished it because…I wished it hadn’t ended! lol. I plan on purchasing other editions of this magazine for even more inspiring articles.

Factory Girl Part 3 – By Stephanie Bond – I admit, I enjoy author Stephanie Bond. Her writing is easy reading and sometimes that’s just what I need at the end of the day. Bond is on her fourth serial e-novella. Factory Girl is her newest along with her previous series, Coma Girl, Comeback Girl, and Temp Girl. Each of these series are six months long and you can read ahead or like me read just one excerpt a day. I look forward to my daily Stephanie Bond installment. She also writes full length fiction as well. Check her out!

Magnolia Journal – Fall 2019 Issue – At first I was really engaged in this issue of Magnolia but by the end I fell a bit out of love with it. It didn’t get into the meat of why we aren’t feeling whole and the recipes and decorating ideas were few.

That’s it for books/magazines for the month!

5 – Windows replaced in our house. Nothing on this one yet.

6 – Blog posts a month. Only got 5 blog posts in for September. This post was going to be number 6 but I am a couple of days late. More posts for October!

7 – Movies at the theater with my family. My husband and mother and I went to see Downton Abbey last week! We are huge fans of the series and were very sad when it ended so we were thrilled when we heard the movie version was coming out in September. It did not disappoint! Seeing HighClere Castle on the big screen and all of our favorite characters again made our hearts happy! Even if you have never watched the series I still highly recommend the movie.

8 – Hours a month studying herbal medicine and/or herbology. I only got about 2 hours in studying herbology this month. It’s hard to know where to begin studying because there is so much one can learn on this subject. I hope to have a clearer path to learning on this for October.

9 – Birthday cards sent out to 9 friends. None sent out this month

10 – Small cross-stitch projects done for the year. I worked on multiple small projects this month but I haven’t finished any of them yet.

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11 – New herb varieties planted for the year. I won’t work on this until Spring.

12 – Recipes I teach to my son. I barely saw the boy this month so nothing accomplished

13 – Minutes of exercise a day. Ok I suck at doing this and that’s exactly why I put it on the list of goals. I officially exercised once this month. See what I mean about being terrible at it? I say officially once but unofficially I get a lot of exercise. Setting up and taking down for the farmers market each week is a lot of physical work. My part-time bakery job is great exercise. My gardening is exercise, and going up and down the stairs to help out my church put school supplies away for the year is also fabulous exercise. But it’s not specific targeting exercise that I need. So I will continue to work on this in October. (Hopefully).

14 – Walks a month. Again I only got one official walk in this month.

15 – $15,000 in debt paid off. check out my update in my Not Impressed with my Debt blog series coming tomorrow.

16 – Proper dates with my husband (planned). This is an interesting one. We had two official dates both kind of planned. Basically a date for us is just being together for a couple of hours without anyone else to entertain. My husband is one of those guys that likes to be “on”. If you know him than you know what I mean. A date for me is when I get him all to myself and he is “off” for the night. No one for him to impress but me.

Our first date was getting the oil changed in the Subaru. Fancy huh? It’s an hour drive to the dealership we bought the vehicle at so it gives us time to talk and then we go out afterwards for something to eat. While waiting for the oil to be changed we checked out all of the new models which is always fun and then we went for dinner. We usually try to go to our first date restaurant but unfortunately it had closed 😦 so we headed back closer to home. We had dinner at a local diner and had fun. Hubby even snapped a photo of how much fun we had. Can you tell I am not a big fan of selfies? Of course he posted the photo on Facebook and got some teasing from his friends that I didn’t look too thrilled on our oil change date night and suggested giving me a better night in the future.

Date number two was unexpected but we were given tickets to the musical La Cage aux Folles and boy were they fabulous seats! We really enjoyed this as our date night and my husband loved it. What I didn’t realize was he had never been to a professional production of any kind, ever! We have been together for 12 years and I never knew this. Well that will change now because I love the theater and will plan more dates like this for him and I.

17 – Etsy Listings posted a month. I got 18 listings done this month. Hooray! Check out my Etsy shop here Red Mill Vintage and New Etsy Shop

18 – Books of the Bible read. I am working on the book of Daniel and will give an update next time.

19 – New Recipes tried. The only new recipe I have tried so far is the cauliflower chowder recipe that you can read about here Cauliflower Chowder.

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20 – Visits with people. No visits yet. Now that the Farmers Market is done for the season I can dig into this goal more..

That’s all I have for now. I think I am doing pretty well! What kinds of things are you all working on? Catch you next time! -MM

20 for ’20 Challenge

I read a blog post by one of my fellow stitchers about 19 for 19.

19 for 19 was a challenge she was doing to motivate herself to accomplish specific goals for the year.

I have done yearly challenges before but none quite like this.

I am coming in late to the game for 2019 so I am going to start 2020 early. Why wait, right?

I like this challenge because I have so many interests and hobbies and 20 distinct goals will help motivate me in all of those interests and hobbies plus starting now will give me 16 months to complete things instead of just 12 months.

Here is my 20 for ’20

1. Build a new garage

2 – Major cross-stitch projects completed.

3 – Projects completed in our house (not to include windows).

4 – Books read a month.

5 – Windows replaced in our house.

6 – Blog posts a month.

7 – Movies at the theater with my family.

8 – Hours a month studying herbal medicine and/or herbology a month.

9 – Birthday cards sent out to 9 friends.

10 – Small cross-stitch projects done for the year.

11 – New herb varieties planted for the year.

12 – Recipes I teach to my son.

13 – Minutes of exercise a day.

14 – Walks a month.

15 – $15,000 in debt paid off.

16 – Proper dates with my husband (planned).

17 – Etsy Listings posted a month.

18 – Books of the Bible read.

19 – New Recipes tried.

20 – Visits with people.

Some of these are pretty lofty goals but I will post about my progress often.

If you did this challenge what would your 20 for ’20 goals be?

Here’s to the next 16 months! -MM

Not Impressed With our Debt Week 52 of 80

It has been a couple of months since I have checked in and for that I apologize. One very good thing happened in my time away from you and that very good thing would be I got our Home Equity loan paid off!! Yes! The last $300 of that balance and filing fees was paid in June and I am just waiting for my recorded discharge.

Even though our debt balance went up because of the medical bills and tractor, that home equity being paid in full is quite an amazing feeling. Having a debt of $17,000 get paid in full is a big accomplishment. We can handle these smaller debts much easier.

With $328 a month freed up from the Home Equity payment we can put it into the medical bill debt. When I started the medical bill debt was $3461.27. So far this month I have gotten $518.78 paid on that debt and it is now down to $2942.49. Not bad!

One more debt we have added to which I am fessing up to right now is we are going to Ireland this summer for our daughter’s wedding. Yes Ireland! Normally we wouldn’t take such an extravagant trip but this is a special circumstance. With this trip we have learned a lot about traveling internationally so far and with that came the cost of three passports, hotels, car rentals, airfare, insurance, and spending money. We paid the passports in cash because we could not charge them but the rest, you guessed it, had to go on the credit card. Hey, it’s a rare change of a lifetime and what’s an extra $3000?

So after medical bills, new tractor, and a trip to Ireland our debt is back up to $32,080.81.

Not great huh? After we get back from Ireland our school taxes are due and we need our boiler looked at before snow flies so I will probably not have much of a chance to get any extra debt paid off until October. Major bummer. However, in October there are five paychecks for each of us so my goal is to get $1000 extra paid off in the month of October.

Thanks for the support on all of this my friends. We know you are rooting for us. I’ll check back in, in a couple of weeks! -MM

I would love to hear about your debt repayment goals and what has worked for you. Message me at marymargaretripley@yahoo.com with your debt stories!

Not Impressed With Our Debt – Week 44 of 80 – Challenges

Remember when I told you about a trip to the emergency room in November last year and as of yet had not been billed for it? Well I finally got the bill…all $3200 of it. Yeah, and I have insurance and I still had to pay over $4000 for an emergency visit! This high deductible crap is getting old.

To add to our debt this month we desperately needed a new lawn tractor to mow our large yard. The one we have been using was getting too run down and the expensive repairs really didn’t fix the problems the mower had so we reluctantly bought a new one. We felt that a quality mower from a real dealer was the way to go. The initial cost is more expensive but the quality is 10 times better than a mower from a Walmart or Home depot. This new mower like the medical bill, cost us about $3200.

So our debt went up $6400 this month.

I considered giving up for a few months on these financial posts because our debt went up instead of down which just sounded awful to me and because I have two other blog series I want to pursue this summer.

However, after thinking about it more I  want people to know that things aren’t always going to be rosy when you are trying to get rid of debt. My husband told me I was making paying off our debt sound too easy and that to the reader we weren’t struggling every week. We ARE struggling every week. That is a reality for us, but do people really want to hear about reality? The bottom line is every single week we are paying off our debt regardless of the setbacks.

There is always going to be something that comes along that is a set back for a while. Vehicles come and go, home repairs from storms, new mattresses and those pesky medical bills to name a few but you can’t let it slow you down or break your commitment to paying off debt. Two steps forward, one step back? I guess that’s the case for us this time. Debt has its highs and lows.

When I started this series of posts I didn’t really think many people would read them. Do people really care that much about debt? You know what though? I have been surprised by the number of people that have come up to me and have mentioned how much they look forward to reading my debt challenge posts and to keep doing it.

Is there any good news you ask? Our home equity balance is now at $228. You know what that means right? Happy dance to come this month! I will have a BIG post when I make that last payment in a few weeks.

Keep at it my friends…keep at it. -MM