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

yeah printed white board

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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

 

Week 2 of 80 “Not Impressed With Our Debt” – The Rules

credit-card-bill

Last week I wrote about the Plan for eliminating a big chunk of our debt. This week I want to write about the Rules I have set for us along this journey.

Plowing large amounts of money into your debt each week can get pretty intense and if you don’t have rules set up for yourself you will definitely fail.

When I was coming up with this plan I gave myself these following rules:

(RULE #1) As I am paying off one of the credit cards (right now its the Old Navy) I will pay only the MINIMUM monthly bill on the other two cards. I understand this is traditionally not sound advice and the experts would say pay the card that has the highest interest rate first.

I think that advice is stupid. Why? Because for me it’s all about cash flow. If I can get the lower or no interest rate card paid off first it frees up money quickly that I can put into another debt faster.

(RULE #2) While I am paying off one card I can still use the other cards in very small amounts.

Again not a good idea say the experts.

(RULE #3) If at any time we have an emergency, like the hot water tank goes or the car needs repairs I can take the amount we would have put towards the current debt for the week and use it for that emergency. Now, If I have a REALLY big emergency like something in the thousands I can take that amount for a month and just add that on to the end of my plan. So instead of 80 weeks to pay off my debt it may take me 84 weeks.

Does that make sense?

I know this plan is not fullproof and the experts say to have an emergency fund of six months salary or some other advice but realistically could I even save that much?

Also the experts say to pay more than the minimum each month on your credit card. I have paid more than the minimum for YEARS and it has done nothing for me. I called the credit company on one of my cards one time and asked…”I have been paying $200 over the minimum for over 2 years. Why has my cash advance balance not gone down in that whole two years?” You know what they said to me? “What you pay over your minimum payment is not enough to make up for the interest charged” What?? I don’t even own the car anymore I took the cash advance out for!

So I am done paying more than the minimum for the other two cards. Lets see what happens if I pay a lot on one card and the minimum on the other two.

As far as the emergency aspect of this plan, Let’s just use an easy number like $500. If I pay $500 a week into my Credit Card and an emergency comes up like the hot water tank goes and it costs $1000 to replace it, I would just take the $1000 I would have put into the credit card for the two weeks and pay the hot water tank bill. I wouldn’t charge it on my credit card and I would put the two weeks on to the back of the plan so it would take me two extra weeks to pay my debt. Not so bad, right?

Hopefully emergencies won’t come up very often but your never know.

Lastly I want to address using the other credit cards while I am paying off the one.

I am not talking about going crazy and buying a bunch of clothes and stuff. What I am talking about is while doing this “paying off debt” thing it can get pretty frustrating at times and instead of going on a super duper spending binge and blowing the whole plan, I am talking about blowing off a little steam and maybe taking the family to the movies some afternoon for $50 on the credit card. That’s all.

You have to give yourself some sort of reward every once in a while or you will have a breakdown and then you will give up.

I guess that’s just three rules but they are important ones.

Believe it or not I made my first extra payment to Old Navy last week and after paying the rest of the bills for the week I still had money in the bank account. That’s amazing for us! Today I will make another payment. Can’t wait to see what happens this next week!

Week 3 of 80 I will write about what is different this time around for us and why I think this plan will work. See you next week! -MM

 

Week 1 of 80 “Not Impressed with our Debt” – The Start and the Plan

Credit-cards

Yesterday’s post laid it all out. “I am not impressed with our debt” “This is for the birds”

I said I wanted to tackle about $35,000 in debt in the next 80 weeks. Here is the starting number, give or take.

$35,924

The plan is pretty simple. We are going to take the majority of my husband’s paycheck and plow it into the debt each week and live off of my paychecks. I’ll talk about what we do for a living in another post. Now keep this in mind, we have, in the past, lived paycheck to paycheck so closely that most weeks even going out to the movies would break us. So what has changed? Again that’s for another post 🙂

Each week I will pay a large amount into just one of our debts. The first debt I am tackling is my Old Navy Card. This isn’t a store card it’s a Mastercard. With 28% interest!

Believe me I have tried for YEARS to get rid of this card and I swear it has never gone down, no matter what I tried to do. I called them to see if they would give me a better rate of interested and they flat out said NOPE. They do not give a lower interest rate, period. So I fixed them! I applied for a credit card through my local credit union and transferred the entire amount to the new card with 0% interest for 12 months. That 12 months is up in November and I want to get it paid off before the interest starts again.

The balance on that is about $6500.

Each month I will give you an update on the individual debt and the whole picture. Each week I will update you on how I am doing keeping the cost of living down for us.

I make my first payment to my “Old” Old Navy today. Wish me luck!

-Next week’s post will be about “The Rules of this Game” -MM

 

2015 Goals Update Week 10

I have been working diligently on most of my goals for the year but I need to get back on track for others. Here’s how I am doing so far.

1. Renovate our only bathroom and replace the window in our son’s bedroom.

After having two different contractors come in and look at our bathroom we decided that we were going to have to work on some of it ourselves. One of the contractors gave us a quote on re-glazing the tub and putting in a new surround and fixtures. His quote came in at over $4500 and the tub re-glazing was only guaranteed for five years. The other contractor took a look and didn’t like the window we had in our shower. I didn’t have much confidence in getting a bid from him after that, thinking it was going to come in way higher than the other one.

I decided that I would re-caulk the tub myself, which was one of the biggest things bothering me about our bathroom. I had already done it twice before and it hadn’t worked, so I decided to try once more. I got a better silicone caulk this time and went at it on my day off.

Here are the before and after pics.

tub1tup2

Pretty yuck right? After spending a couple of hours scraping off the old caulk, cleaning and drying the tub and surround perfectly, I re-caulked the whole thing as carefully as I could. Taking care not to leave any air bubbles or gaps.  The instructions said that we could use the shower fully after eight hours but I left it for about 36 hours before we took our first shower. So far, so good. Nothing has started to pull away from the walls or bubbled.

Replace our son’s bedroom window. Done!

2. Catch-up on and read my favorite daily blog – “Feed Your Family for $100 a Month” by Mavis Butterfield. Also catch-up on and read a really great e-magazine “From Scratch”.

I still am not caught up on “How to Feed your Family for $100 a Month.” I read through about 30 blog posts but I am still behind by about 60. Sigh…

From Scratch is a bi-monthly e-magazine. I did read one of the issues but after reading it I was so frustrated with the poor editing that I have put it on the back burner. I love the information in this magazine and the photos are beautiful, however, if you can’t edit your spelling I tend to not to want to take you seriously. I even wrote an email to the editor but as you can imagine I didn’t get a response.

3. Journal Daily

I have kept up on my journal writing but sometimes I am a week or so behind and by the time I get a moment to write I have forgotten the details of those days. I have resorted to using my Facebook posts and texts to fill in the blanks. My goal is to write daily so I won’t forget anything. I am happy that I have written something for each day no matter how small the post may be.

4. Pay off one of our two credit cards

Here is my major focus this year. I have to say I am completely and utterly frustrated and stressed out about these two credit cards. Almost two years ago all of our credit cards were paid off and I was very proud of that fact. But life happens and yet again we are back in the vicious credit card cycle. When I had my bakery we had to put everything on hold including house repairs and waiting to buy new furniture and many other necessities. After I got my full time job as a bakery manager with a steady paycheck we faced the task of catching up on four years of back repairs and aging vehicles and household items. We needed so many things. Our couch was falling apart, my car died after ten years of faithful service, my husband got into an accident and the deductible was $1000. All of that went on a credit card because I knew now that I had a job along with my husband’s full time job we could afford payments.

Now we have the huge task of yet again paying these things off. I think about them almost every day. We will do it. I don’t know how. But we will. Stay tuned.

5. Organize our attic

Still nothing yet

6. Exercise three times a week

I haven’t done very well with this. I did work out twice two weeks ago. Does that count?

7. Read one book a month

I finally finished Fall of Giants, by Ken Follett. It only took me nine weeks to listen to it. I did also read and finish Takedown Twenty, by Janet Evanovich. I use Evanovich books as a kind of palate cleanser in between heavy novels like Follett’s, Giants. How can you not laugh at Lula and Grandma Mazur?

takedown twenty

8. Send out birthday and anniversary cards each month

All set with March’s birthdays!

9. Make copies of my Granny’s recipes and give a copy to each of our family members.

Nope. Not a thing yet.

10. Digitize my Dad’s family’s photos and make photo books and give CD copies to each of our family members

So far I have about 100 photos scanned and put on disc. It really is fun.

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11. Blog at least once a week

So far, so good!

12. Read the Bible from cover to cover with my husband

I have to admit we are behind in reading our Bible daily. We may not finish it in a year but my husband and I are still reading and growing in the Lord’s Word.

I feel good about my progress on my 2015 goals. Do you have goals? What are they and how are you doing on them? – MMR