Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Debt Free Journey Check In

Boy oh boy is this not spending thing is HARD!  I have never really been “on a budget” and now that I am, there are days where I’m fighting it tooth and nail.  I’m constantly second guessing myself on what I should or shouldn’t buy.  Usually if that’s the case, I don’t buy it.  Even if it’s a candy bar.  I’m more cognizant of what I’m spending when I’m using straight cash.  It definitely has helped me be more aware of what I need or don’t need.  I have moments where I “jones” to shop.  When that happens, I make myself stay home and read or clean until the urge is over.  I also have to admit, I have fallen off the wagon a few times, but I just get right back on and try again.  I recently saw a post on Instagram from Health Magazine that said “Every morning that you wake up is another chance to get it right.”  Something I need to remind myself of daily!

The best part about all this is that Joel and I are communicating like we’ve never communicated before.  Every little purchase we tell each other about and we sit down together to go over the budget to make sure we’re still on track.  We don’t always agree and I’ve given the reigns over to him to handle it more so than me.  After all, I’m the main reason we got into this mess.  He’s now my banker.  LOL!

We recently paid off a few credit cards.  Although a nice start to our debt snowball, we still have a long way to go.  He reminds me all the time that we won’t be debt free overnight.  Oh how I wish I were Dream of Jeanie!  I’d twinkle my nose so fast and it would all be gone just like that.  I can dream, right?!

Just like the train……”I think I can, I think I can, I think I can.”

We are still attending Financial Peace University.  The first few weeks were a repeat of all we’ve been reading in Dave’s books and listening to on Dave’s podcasts.  Last week was all about insurance.  What an eye opener!  Because of my parents and their education and guidance, we are on the right track so far with having life insurance and wills in place if anything were to happen to us. 

This week’s class is on retirement and college planning.  I’m hoping to get a lot out of this class since we’ll be putting two boys through college in 10-12 years.  {Sigh}  Those years are going to FLY by!

Back to the baby steps.  One day and a time.  There is light at the end of the tunnel.  It’s brighter than it was a few months ago.  Back to the journey….

Friday, September 4, 2015

back to school.

The boys started first and third grade.  Josh is in his final year of the multi-age program.  Gavin starts traditional first grade.  They had a great first day!  

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Gavin said he's enjoying lunch and specials (art, music and PE).  It's a struggle to get him up in the morning.  The boy is a sleeper.  He has melt down moments at the end of the day.  I'm hoping he'll adjust soon.  

Josh is the oldest in the multi-age program, so he's big man on campus.  He came home with his first textbook that needed to be covered.  I don't think I've covered a textbook in 20+ years!  They have new sleeve-like covers that he requested.  A simple paper bag just isn't cool enough......even if you can draw all over it.  My how times have changed.

I also need to make the statement that they are both in school all day.  All day!  Gone from 7:30-2:35.  No more half day anything.  If that isn’t something to rejoice about, I don’t know what is!  Don’t get me wrong, I love my kids, but being with them all day long takes a toll after 10 weeks of monotonous summer days.  I'm working three days a week to keep myself busy, but those two days I have all to myself to run errands, do chores or just sit on the couch to watch a movie are so nice.

We're back to daily routines - my happy place!

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Eviction Notice

Dear American Express and Citi,

This is official notice that your services are no longer needed and you've been evicted from our household.  You've been a terrible tenant.


**Three credit cards paid off!  Still chugging along on the debt snowball.  A little step closer to seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Summer Vacation

On our new quest to become debt free, we have to streamline our vacation.  Luckily my father in law has a house at the river we can borrow.  And a boat!  Our neighbors came down for the weekend.  We fed the swans.  We watched old men play air guitar at the local watering hole  We went to shark tooth island and found lots of treasures.  We watched the sun set on the deck with a cold beverage in hand.  What a fun relaxing weekend!

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Thursday, August 13, 2015


My nephew turned one on July 12.  While we were on vacation last month, we went to visit him to give him his birthday present.  We got a chance to have some quality family time with him and I couldn't help but snap a couple pictures of him.  He's so adorable I could punch him!  

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Eating ravioli and yogurt.  Messy kessy!

Wednesday, August 12, 2015


Our little man turned 6 on Monday.  Six things he loves:

1. Spider Man (still!) and we’ve added all the Avenger characters
2. Chocolate milk
3. Having lavender sprayed on his pillows every night
4. His brother – unconditionally and with wonder in his eyes
5. Power Rangers
6. Hugging
7. Running (I added this because the child runs and runs and runs)

We had a pool party for him.  It was the cheapest birthdays to date!  Those are always the best too.  Simple.  It turned out to be a cloudy cool day that we weren't even sure that the party would happen.  But the birthday boy wanted to have it even though the entire time all the boys had purple lips.  One lucky thing because of the weather, we pretty much had the pool to ourselves!

It’s hard to imagine that in two short weeks, he will be starting first grade. 

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Thursday, July 30, 2015

Great Depression and Being Financially Fat

We’ve gotten ourselves into a pickle.  A big one.  It’s a depression and we’re fat from it.  I’m talking debt.  Lots of it.  And we’re tired of it. 

Joel and I are about to embark on a financial journey.  It’s not going to be fun during the process.  The fun will come at the end when we are debt free. 

We will be taking Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University. 

That’s a big statement right there.  I feel like we’re admitting defeat.  That we’ve failed.  What we failed at was caring – caring for our nest egg.  It’s hard to look at myself in the mirror knowing that I helped get us into this mess.  Nonetheless, many people have admitted defeat and do what we are about to do.  We are finally going to take responsibility for this mess.  We are going to hang on to each other and enjoy the ride out of the mess we both created!

It’s a nine week course that teaches us to get our finances in order.  We have debt, as most Americans do, and we are tired of wasting our extra hard earned money on interest.  We want to keep that money for ourselves!  We plan to evict the creditors one by one.  We are cutting back on as much as we can.  It’s a financial budget on steroids! 

I’ve been listening to Dave’s podcasts.  I’ve never been one for talk radio shows, but there’s something about his voice – the calmness and how sure he is – that makes me want to listen all day long.  One of the examples he shared was to put a $100 bill in front of you.  Then make it $200, then $500.  Even if you don’t have it physically in front of you, envision it in your mind.  Now envision it in your wallet and that it’s been there for a few weeks or months.  Do you want to keep it there or give it away?  I don’t know about you but I’d like to keep it there instead of giving it away for some stuff I don’t need. 

The program doesn’t start until September.  In the meantime, we are scrutinizing our budget down to every penny.  We are openly communicating about what we are spending on.  I’m more accountable for my purchases knowing that I can’t “hide” anything from Joel.  We’ve been eating at home out of the pantry and fridge/freezer instead of eating out.  We aren’t spending in useless un-needed things.  We make a list and stick to it.  We’ve been checking books out of the library instead of buying them.  We are going on free excursions rather than paying for fun.  And the list goes on.

We completed Baby Step #1 and we are currently working on Baby Step #2 – Debt Snowball.  This step is where you pay off your debt starting with the smallest debt first and tackling the largest last.  Debts include everything but your mortgage (that’s another step).  Each time you pay off a debt, you take that money and put it towards the next.  Sort of like a snowball collecting snow as it rolls down a hill.  You start small at first, and by the time you’re done, you’ll have an avalanche!  It’ll take us some time to get through this step and there will be times that we fall off the train, but as a long as we keep chugging, we won’t have to go through this ever again.  My goal is to be completely debt free by the time I turn 40 in two and a half years.  It’s a big goal, but I know as a long we sacrifice and focus our intensity, we can accomplish it.  We will no longer be financially fat!  “Aiming at the goal and nothing else is the way to win.” (TMM, pg. 120). 

We had a plastectomy – plastic surgery to cut up our credit cards.  We cut up four cards out of a total of five.  Unfortunately, we have to keep one because Joel uses it for business.  It was always used for business until we needed it to keep living at times.

I read Dave’s Total Money Makeover and Smart Money, Smart Kids books.  The tops of pages are dog eared and highlighted in neon pink.  These books are going to save our life.  I can feel it! 

Some of my favorite quotes from the book:

“A man with experience is not at the mercy of a man with an opinion.”

“We have met the enemy and he is us.”

“Money is an excellent slave and a horrible master.”

“If you live like no one else later you can live like no one else.” – Dave’s motto

“The way out of debt is to maneuver the enemy and run for our life.”

The plans of the diligent lead surely to advantage, but everyone who is hasty comes to poverty. ~Proverbs 21:5

I can do this through him who gives me strength. ~Philippians 4:13 

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To be continued......