20 for ’20 Challenge – October Update

October has been a busy month and with a wedding, three funerals, a sinus infection and 2 colds, Scott, Doug and I are glad October is over.

Despite all of that I did get a ton accomplished. Here is an update on my goals.

1. Build a new garage – Nothing going at the moment

2 – Major cross-stitch projects completed.

I started the HUGE Modern Folkart, Fraktur Hex project and just the one single outside border I stitched was 1073 stitches. yikes!

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

Did not have any time this month to work on these.

4 – Books read a month.

I only got two books read, the fourth installment of Factory Girl, by Stephanie Bond and Virgins, by Diana Gabaldon.

Virgins is an Outlander Novella which was kind of fun to read. If you are an Outlander fan it tells the story between the time Jamie was so severely flogged and when he met Claire gor the first time. It was pretty good. Nice short read!

5 – Windows replaced in our house.

Waiting until Spring on this one.

6 – Blog posts a month.

I got 7 blog posts done yippee!

7 – Movies at the theater with my family.

Nothing new on this one.

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

It’s been an interesting month for number 8. I only got about 4 hours in but what I have learned so far has been amazing.

I signed up for a free course with Herb Mentor and then I liked it so much that I decided to subscribe to the whole shebang.

It’s a monthly fee for 12 months but I will always have access to it and the information they provide is well,…overwhelming at first but as I start to implement what I have learned I think it will be less overwhelming.

Rosalee Delforte is the herbal teacher and I am really enjoying her style. One thing I am concerned about though is that there are multiple mini classes you can take which are not included in the subscription price and they tend to push that a bit.

I want to see first if that information is already in what I am currently subscribed to or if that information is in addition.

The cold and flu section is of course something we should all be interested in learning about right now.

I’ll keep you updated on my experience and progress.

9 – Birthday cards sent out to 9 friends. Nada so far.

I really have to do better on this.

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

Nothing new

11 – New herb varieties planted for the year.

This again is for a Spring project but I have been doing some research on what I want to plant and how I will use the herbs. The above course I am taking will help determine the varieties I choose.

12 – Recipes I teach to my son.

I have been spending more time engaging my son in at least helping me cook but I did teach him how to make homemade teriyaki sauce. He seemed to enjoy doing that so I will keep at it with him.

13 – Minutes of exercise a day.

I know in my heart I am just not going to do anything with this goal. I am not a traditional exercise kind of gal so I am going to think on a different goal to do for #13. I’ll update you next time.

14 – Walks a month.

I got 10 wonderful walks in! What a lovely time of year for walking.

15 – $15,000 in debt paid off.

I got $1000 paid down on our debt this month. Check out my update tomorrow.

16 – Proper dates with my husband (planned).

My hubby loved the musical we went to last month so much that he wanted to see another this month. We saw The Book of Mormon at our local Broadway Theater. We had a good time. The music and costumes and dancing were wonderful but I thought at times the story was a bit disrespectful but what else can you expect from the writers of South Park. Lol

17 – Etsy Listings posted a month.

I got 29 listings done! On one of my sick days home I laid in bed and got 25 listings up and I already sold one of them ๐Ÿ™‚

18 – Books of the Bible read.

Still working on this.

19 – New Recipes tried.

I posted about the recipe I tried in this previous postย Butternut Squash Green Curry rice noodle bowl

20 – Visits with people.

See my post –ย 20 for ’20 Visits Update

Well that’s it for now. As always I will keep you updated! -MM

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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 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 Iย  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

Not Impressed with our Debt – Week 39 of 80 – April 2019 Results

April was catch up month for us so as expected the results are not spectacular.

We started off the month with $25,421 and as of today we are at $24,750. That’s down $671 which is the lowest I think I have had so far. But hey, it’s still forward progress right?!

I was only able to make a regular payment to the home equity this month so that debt went from $900 to $578. In the month of May baring anything unforeseen we should be doing our happy dance for paying it off! Fingers and toes crossed.

Even though April was less that productive in my mind I did realize something very exciting which will keep us motivated and moving forward in getting our debt gone for good.

I really started all of this paying off debt stuff in August of 2014. Our starting point was a whopping $143,775.35. Totally embarrassing right? Keep in mind that part of all of that is our mortgage but only about $50,000. That means over $90,000 was pure car, credit card, and home equity loans. Yikes right?

But here’s the cool thing, in less than 5 years, we have paid off an astonishing $71,300! Our total debt right now including house, car, credit cards, and loans is down to $72,475.

I couldn’t believe it when I tallied it. I have kept a white board since 2014, diligently marking down our progress every week and month for each debt when have. Cars have come and gone and credit cards have been paid off one by one.

My husband and I are pretty proud of what we have accomplished. It makes it worth the hard work we put into it. Hopefully some day we can pay for a vacation by swiping our debit card and not our credit card right?

We will see what May brings! See you next update. -MM