Just in time for the New Year I have decided to take a new direction with my blog, which is more of the direction I had originally planned in my first blog post.
I recently heard an interview in which Andrew at familymoneyplan.com stated that he didn’t try to blog about how to get out of debt, but how HE got out of debt. That really hit home for me. I have been slow at posting lately because I struggled to come up with detailed, well thought out, informative posts for my readers when my mission was to document THIS family’s journey to have a positive net worth.
So, going forward I will document our wins and losses as I always planned to do. Let’s start now.
Today I was in touch with our credit union to request the interest rate reduction on our personal loan, and was advised that we could transfer our loan for our Dodge Dart from Huntington at a 4.49% interest rate to the credit union at a 3.99% interest rate.
Christmas has us just a little “short” on bills. I say this even though we never pay our bills late. My strategy as the family accountant is to save our paychecks all month long, and on the last pay-day of the month we pay all the bills that are due the following month regardless of their due date. So at the end of December, we would have been $650 short on paying 100% of all the January bills, so I would have to pay 2 of the January bills on 1/8, and those 2 were due 1/10 and 1/11. No big deal, but I don’t like when this happens! It’s a signal to me that we have mismanaged our money this month.
When our credit union told me the terms of the new loan agreement, the payment amount dropped about $40 a month but mostly because the term is now 60 months. On the old loan our terms were 54 months. Also, our first payment will not be due until 2/4, so we are skipping the January payment. The financial side of me knows that it’s a bad idea to skip a payment and to extend the loan, but in the short-term it really helps! I figure once I catch up and pay off things that are costing us more money in interest I can work this down quickly.
We also added GAP insurance for $399 since we owe more on the Dart than it is worth, so we will see the balance owed on the car go up again this month.
I have also created a list of all the loans we have currently that cost us interest. I have a plan of attack which basically amounts to the debt avalanche method (paying off highest interest first). Whenever I start thinking about these plans I get excited and carried away and start planning the next debt, and the next debt until I find myself planning budgets for 3 years in the future! I’m not joking!
There is some marital discord because my husband wants to buy a new home because the one we are living in now is really a starter home. I would like to stay modest in the home that we have and spruce it up to our standards. I also want to buy rental properties, but my husband wants us to be in a better home first. I can’t plan too far in to the future (ie: past 10/2017) because at that point I would really like to be throwing all I can at my student loans, and my husband would like to pile up money for a down payment on another home. I usually do go with what my husband wants first, because as long as he’s happy then I can go about doing what I want! What do you think the best course of action would be? The more I have been thinking about it, I start to think that maybe we can halve our savings between a down payment on a new hone, and paying off student loans. But I have also heard a saying, “If you aim at many targets you’ll miss them all’, which basically means to focus on one thing at a time.
It’s killing me not to be able to look ahead. I guess all we can do is take it one day at a time…And I’ll continue with the small home improvements here and there to make our humble abode ever so slightly less cumbersome.
Today was No Spend Thursday and I started the day off by buying a $2.12 Extra Large coffee from Tim Horton’s because I knew I had a big shipping project to work on at my first job. Then, I went to my second job at the dance studio and bought crackers and a soda for $1.50 with $2 I found in my husband’s pocket while I was sorting laundry 😉 So we had a tiny bit of a fail for No Spend Thursday and it was all on me!
I’m writing this just before noon in my PJs sipping on a coffee from a Santa mug. I’m going to have a busy day today. We need to:
- Grocery shop for Christmas Eve dinner
- Put up the Christmas tree
- Finish wrapping the Christmas presents
- Clean house
Luckily only one of these costs money! Christmas Eve dinner shouldn’t be too bad since I coupon a lot, I have a lot of the stuff I need stockpiled, and some stuff left over from Thanksgiving. Here’s what’s on the menu:
- Small Turkey Breast
- Ham with Pineapple
- Mashed Potatoes
- Macaroni and Cheese
- Green Bean Casserole
- Hawaiian Rolls
- Apple Pie & Chocolate Pudding Pie
- Watergate Salad (made by my mom!)
An update from Future Dolores: Christmas Eve dinner cost about $50, and we got all our goals accomplished this day. Win!
One of our big splurge events happens on Black Friday. This is when we give ourselves the green light to go ahead and buy things that we really want if they are on sale. Some of the things we bought this Black Friday were:
- An electric fireplace for my daughter – $38 marked down from $70 (the heat doesn’t quite reach up to her room in our old drafty home)
- A pair of boots for myself and my daughter – $20 each, marked down from $80 each
- 4 pairs of leggings for my daughter – $5 each marked down from $20 each
- 2 boxes of Tupperware – $10 each
- Decorative baskets – $10 (I have a thing for baskets and boxes)
- 2 double slow cookers – $20 each
I can’t remember what my husband and son got! Anyway, last night we had our traditional Christmas Eve dinner and I was finally able to use those double crock pots for the first time. All other Thanksgivings and Christmas Eves in this home we have had disposable tin foil pans laid out along the table and I would be stressed out trying to time everything so it got done at the same time. This year I was able to cook the stuffing and green bean casserole early and just throw them in the crockpots on warm. In the other crock pots I put the mashed potatoes and macaroni and cheese. I wasn’t too worried about the turkey and ham, but then my mom came over with her Christmas gifts, and what did she give me? A 3 pan warmer! I was a little disappointed at first because I really liked my slow cooker set up better, and my mom comes to all the holiday dinners so there’s no way I could get out of using it without hurting her feelings – but then I discovered that it perfectly fit our turkey breast, ham, and dinner rolls!
The picture doesn’t do it justice; I snapped the picture quickly before my phone died, but Christmas Eve dinner looked so beautiful and stayed warm for everyone to get seconds and thirds, including my nephew who couldn’t make it until 8pm due to work. Truly a wonderful Christmas Eve.
I hope your holidays were just as great!