creating a debt free life

Living the lifestyle

I have not been posting much and for that I appologize. Not much to write about honestly. We are  just doing what we are  supposed to be doing. Making minimums and paying off the next bill on the list. Four down and five credit cards to go, so that is very exciting !!

We have had our share of emergencies. Close to 2 grand in car repairs, weather warming up and we both realized we are at our biggest weight and needed some clothes , and some repairs that have to be completed on our house.

Currently we are saving to move. We had moved up  by my husbands work to save money on gas but the combination of being so far away from everyone we know, a full hour plus and living in an apartment with a pretty bad upstairs neighbor, we are moving when the contract it up. I have reached my limit. Loud walking is one thing, but a kid leap frogging himself all over the apartment as late as eleven at night, we are done. It is so stressful, words cannot even describe it. No complaints have worked up to now. The manager sent them a letter right before we left for five days, so we will see if it worked. This kid is up until as late as one in the morning on school nights, it is crazy. We just  have to get through a few more months,  and hopefully by Aug 1 we can be in a house back in our home town. We will rent down there until our kids and our son in laws parents purchase a house together and we can move back into our house.

We both  cannot wait.

We have 1400 in savings. I had more but we just spent 1200 on the  lastest car repair. That one hurt. Manifold gasket and it needed a tune up very badly. Air was bad and we had them put dye in when they charged it last summer which allowed them to find and repair the leak. In North Texas, air conditioning in your car is not a luxury !! We replaced the car that was destroyed in Feb, no payment due until June. Hated to take on a payment, but we have to have a more energy efficent car or the gas once we move will be around 500 a month. the car cuts that in half so it only costs us the differance between what the gas was and what it is with the car. About 131 a month. Insurance is only another 39 a month. Great credit and great driving records. We had not planned to buy yet, but an end of month deal under the value of the car was just something we could not turn down at this point. We will need this car come Aug 1 if we do not want him driving his 15 year old full size pick up a 100 miles round trip a day.

Anyway. We are still doing good. Buttoning down our groceries at this time. Beans and rice for a bit, and I am being literal. Beans, rice, a bit of meat and veggies, that will be most dinners . We have to get about 4 grand in the bank, 1000 to 1200 first month rent for a house, and then the same amount as the deposit. We are hoping for less, but planning on the highter amount !! Then the amount we need to rent a U haul and move ourselves, which should not be a lot. Most of our stuff is still at our house. We have a good size storage barn, a gardening shed and a work shop. They are all full !!!

Big building in back is our storage barn, white buiding in back is our gardening shed. Cannot wait to move home, but it will be up to two years.

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just one side of the fence we have to repair. Only the posts are good, all the slats and stringers are bad. About 800 hundred bucks  to do the entire fence  when all is said and done, but about 30 bucks a section so just a bit at a time.  We hope to finish by the end of summer. When we bought the house eleven years ago we were told it was just lightly sprayed after it was put together, with nails So, raw wood on raw wood and the neighbors sprinkers just rotted this side completely . The other two sides are not as bad, but still pretty bad as the previous owner had all the sprinkers aimed at the fence. It was only a few years and we havce owned it 11 years, but the damage had already started.  So, we are doing it right this time, thick coats of paint on each piece before they are screwed together and put up with L brackets. It should last a lot longer this time. We will also be able to take off bad pickets easily and replace them and bad panels will be easy to remove in the future.

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The opposite side

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the front which is the best of the three but still pretty bad.

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We have two front windows, old sash windows that no longer are openable  and we have to replace them but that will not be much . We will replace for now with the  inexpensive windows the previous owner used on the rest of the house. Our dream one day is to replace them all with the old fashioned, but new dual paned  sash windows, but that is a ways away !! So many other things to do first. Really, once these two projects are done, the rest can wait until we move back into the house in a year or two. Debt paying will be our priorty and then that six to eight month emergency fund.

So, that is what we are up to. We took our entertainment, and  blow money , for the month and our weeks food and gas to drive out of state to my husbands cousins house, we are very close to them and had not seen them for five years. They had some wood and flooring they wanted us to pick up so they could clean out thier garage and it gave us some great stuff for the house. Win win. . We had a nice trip and did not have to spend a dime while we were there . We ate at home and the meal  we had to eat on the drives each way, were covered by the  money set aside. We had never really budgeted for a trip before so this was very exciting. It was the most relaxing and fun trip we have ever taken because we knew our budget and stuck to it.

So, anyway, this is what we are up to. I will make sure I post at least weekly. For now, work on house and save every penny When the savings is where we need it to move in three months, then back to attacking the debt . Five more cards to kill off and then a credit union loan. Very exciting !!

here is a couple of pretty pictures for our drive

We left at five thirty am, so we got to see the sun come up , so pretty !!

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just one of the amazing meals they served us, we were spoiled rotten by good home cooiking , thanks so much guys, you are the best !!

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drove into the sun set on the way home !!

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We are in awe of how far we have come. Never in our married lives have we had an emergency account to cover a, well, emergency. We lived check to check and ever had a dime between pay days. It did not seem to matter how much income came in, it was spent.

Well, we had to get our emergency account in place before we started to pay off debt, and what a blessing that has been.

Yesterday my husband was late coming home, he had to stop by the auto parts store to get coolant as it was all gone in his truck. We have a brand new radiatoar, thanks to our brand new emergency account a few weeks ago,  and now here  we are with another issue. He called around and found out it is possibly a head gasket but the truck cannot be driven and we cannnot get it into the shop until Monday, an already scheduled vacation day and so he had to call Hertz to pick him up for a rental car as he has some overtime coming up this weekend, plus work today , so he had to have a car.

So, after he  had made arrangements with our mechanic for Monday , and we made arrangements with our daughter to borrow her husbands truck for the week when he is down there to drop off the truck with the tow truck , as our son in law is in Kuwaitt right now, so we only need the the rental for the weekend, and got home with the rental , my husband looked at me and said. Wow. This has been amazing. When have we ever had such a huge emergency, 114 for rental, possible 850 for car repair could be less if it is not the head gasket , although it probably is,  and not had to use a credit card or panic trying to come up with the money to get it fixed. We have the money in the account , so no stress. It is amazing !! We actually had a few hundred extra we had  not anything with yet, so it will helpe us a lot so we do not have to take our entire emergency account.

We are so happy with this journey we are on. We are slowly getting the debt paid off, and for the first time in years, paid the IRS off on the 15th, $2900 bucks instead of paying it off over the next year with high interest and penalty fees each month, and have managed to take our deductions down enough so we will not owe next year and may even get a bit back. We have a set budget and though we have been paying all our bills every month for the last ten years,  and have good credit because of it, we seem to have more money every month because we are not spending every penny left over like we used to. With our balances being paid off, our credit score is going up every month ,  as our large balances were keeping our debt high so that third of of credit score was low because our debt to income ratio was bad. Now, four cards gone, an old utility bill  paid,  old and new medical bills paid and some balances lower on the other cards and more cards will be knocked out each month until they are all gone. We are shooting for the end of the year being debt free !!

I am so grateful to our wonderful debt coaches, Jeff and Robin and to  Jeff Rose from the Debt Movement who set us up with them , as we are so motivated by all the help  and advice we have gotten from thier experience.

This is a great journey to be on. I strongly urge anyone reading this, who is in debt, start now.  The benefits are great. The feeling of being in charge, instead of the bills being in charge, is amazing !! We have so much hope for the future now and feel that we can accomplish so much !!

Emergencies have no power over you when you are prepared. Of course in time we need a bigger emergency account. 1200 is a good start, but  if a roof needs to be replaced, if you h ave a  AC or heater go out, 1200 will not cover it. But once we are debt free, first thing is geting it up to a six month emergency fund.   It is a great start !!

Anway, wanted to share how great an emergency fun makes you feel.  It did what it was supposed to do, covered an emergency and kept us stress free. It is a wonderful feeling !!

Stephie

I was happy this morning to pay off a very old debt, I should have paid off three years ago, and I am not sure why I did not  ? They offered me a settlement but I paid the entire thing, I owe it, and would not feel right not paying it off. It was an old utility bill and that 306 bucks I never have to think about again.

I also paid off some recent small and large medical bills, totalling $364.00 paid to file our taxes and then they will take out the taxes we owe in the next few days and we are done.

For years we have paid huge tax  bills each year because we did not have enough taken out. For some dumb reason, we thought we would have a hard time living on the amount we would be left if we had enough taken out. We relied on his bonus every  year to pay the taxes when they came due saving up the differance when the bonus was not enough and often having to give the IRS the 105 to set up payments and then we paid interest each month until it was paid.  We finally bit the bullet this year , went down to zero deductions and guess what, we are fine. We are paying off debt, able to pay our bills and eat, and once we  see that huge amount come out of our account this month,$ 2908.00 , whew, we will never have to do that again. Next year we will at the very least break even, but what I can see so far, we might even get a bit back and that will be wonderful  !! That has not happened in way too long.

It is funny how we let our fears control us and end up making dumb money decisions becausae of it. Had we just tried the deductions, we would have found, we are fine.  We would not be paying out this huge amount right now. I can only imagine how fun it will be to get  his bonus next year  and  not need to pay taxes with it !! I cannot wait !!  For the first time in a decade or more, since we had kids home to deduct, we will not have to dread doing our taxes. Even if I am wrong and we still owe, it would be so little, a couple of hundred, but I  honestly  think we might get a couple of hundred back the way it looks, so that is exciting !! It could be even more than that, but it looks like at least a couple to a few hundred back, and that is huge to me !!

So, no more fear based decsions. I think just paying off debt takes away fear. Every bill you never have to pay again, makes you feel stronger. Debt makes you feel powerless. I hate calling and getting online every month and paying those bills, each one I pay off is  ten minutes back in a my life each month, not much, but the stress of worrying about them, the weight of them, plus that  ten minutes per bill adds up and so the freedom I will feel each payday when those bills are gone is tremendous !!

So, to date our debt repayment total is, adding in our tax bill, $5,476.00, Two credit cards are paid off,  and  four more are slated to be paid off as the car insurance settlements come in so that is very exciting . Next month I will update as I get those paid off.

So, I am very happy with our progress and look forward to reporting another 2800 being paid off  and maybe even more depending on extra overtime and any money I can make on my jewelry sales !!

Thanks for stopping by, I look forward to more updating soon !!

I am sorry I have not been posting much here. Not too much to report, just waiting for the insurance money from our accident to come in so we can pay some bills off.

We are in the day to day of the plan now. Not much exciting to report, just doing what we are supposed to be doing.

I have been working a lot on my jewelry and bloggin over at  www.stephiesbeadsandbaubles.com pretty often and working at filling my Etsy shop. That has been keeping me pretty busy.
I also have posted on my other blog www.timetobeme.wordpress.com , it is just what it says, my journey to find myself. I love to hear other people stories, so please drop by and leave me a comment if you like what you read, or even if you don’t !! . I need to spend more time on that one, but the jewelry fills up my days pretty good !!

So, I am keeping busy and doing what I am supposed to be doing. It is not very exciting, but it the goals  we have are exciting and that is all that matters !!

On a more financial note, I will be paying off a few things tomorrow, a very old electric bill and a recent large doctor bill, so that is very exciting !! Any extra overtime we get, or jewely money I make, paying down the debt !!

I will be sure to check in more often !!  Thanks for stopping by !!

Stephie

End of month one

I am so pleased with our first month of snowballing our debt. Even thought our official budget plan started last week, we were hitting the debt as hard as we could. I could not be much happier with our month one progress.

Two cards, and an old medical bill gone. We paid off a grand total of $1096 this month. I had filled out a survey for  Debt Movement and shortchanged our balance, so I was very happy to find where I had written the beginning balances down and it was much more than I thought we had  paid off.

Two bills I never have to pay again. The cards are gone, and when I paid off the second one yesterday, which will post today, they asked if my card was available and I said no. I just had to answer some security questions, lol !!

here are my cards in case you missed it,

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They are gone, cut up and I am working on something creative to do with all those little pieces !! The jewelry artist in me is going to come up with something fun !!

So, end of month one, I could not be happier to have such a great start, we are on our way.

We  have set some lofty goals for next month, but with money saved in the bank toward the largest bill for next month, the IRS, we just  might be able to pull it off. We recently finally, changed our deductions and should not have to pay the IRS anything other than payroll deductions ever again.

So, our  goals, with an almost 3 grand IRS are  $ 4773.35  I know that sounds like a very lofty goal, but we have money coming in from a car accident, ie, wage and medical bill reimbursement, and some debt being paid back by our kids, and most of the IRS is in savings, so I am shooting high and we will see how far we can get, but that is what I hope to pay off  next month, which would eliminate three more cards, an old electric bill and the IRS.

So, in a month I will let you know if we made it, but if we aim high, we have a better chance to hit and should do well regardless, but we are  sure going to work  hard to hit this goal !!

My husband and I are very excited and so ready to get this debt gone !! He is working hard to get all the overtime he can and I am working hard to fill my etsy store and make lots of sales . I believe I have a link to the side to at least my jewelry blog, if not my store, I have some  lovely wine charms and a mix of jewelry. Any money I earn, is going toward our debt snow ball. The jewelry blog has a link to my store. I hope you will check it out, I do custom work too, usually at no extra charge !!

I have to once again give our debt coaches Jeff and Robin Ehrlich over at Debt Squad huge thanks  for all thier support and knowledge. Having them work with us, has kept us accountable and helped us so much. I have thier  link on the side bar too, be sure and check out their website, they have so much amazing information there to help you get started and get your debt paid off !!

Well, off to work on some listings for Etsy, thanks for stopping by. I will be keeping this site updated and also work more this month on talking about how we are cutting our expenses and staying on track, I guess more of the process .

Thanks for stopping by !!

Stephie

Week one, officially

This was week one officially on our new budget plan. I moved money to savings for half of the rent, half of the car insurance and the direct tv bill money as they are all paid next week.

We withdrew cash for our groceries, blow money and entertainment, which was low this week, but that was okay. We went to a book store and I got a book I wanted about diet and nutrition for us, and then we went to the store to pick up our groceries and we paid cash, and actually put back a couple of things we  went over on. It was actually a good feeling, we were not bothered at all and purposely held back the things last on our list, just in case. I tried to keep track but somehow messed it up. In the past we would have just bought what we wanted and spent whatever we did not need after bills. It feels good to have a plan and to know our debt will be going down every month !!

It is also a great feeling to have 1000 in savings for emergencies. It is a nice feeling to know we are okay if something comes up, although we will try very hard to not use it if we do not have to !!! IT is nice to know we are going to be getting away from living check to check. That is not a fun feeling at all !!

So, it feels very good to have our budget for the next four weeks. All we have to do is follow it and we will be doing great !!

updates

Been off line a full week  because of a week of visting grandkids.

This week we start our official first week on our new budget. Robin,  one of our debt coaches set up our new budget and we have a set plan for every dollar. Our spend every penny plan. S E P .  This past week we took the first bit of money from our car accident  accident and paid off our first card of our debt snow ball. How exciting to finally see one debt gone. I will be paying another hundred today on the second bill and  will be chipping away until it is gone, which when we get some more insurance money  should take care of it, and number three. I am so thrilled to see the snow ball starting.

So, starting  this week it will be tight, but we are not the least bit upset about the tight budget, we are so excited to see this process starting . We look so forward to seeing the debts disapear !! Once the bills are paid off, what freedom we will have !! We are determined to get there as fast as we can !!

So, as we go along I will share what we learn and our progress here. It was hard to be offline for a week, but I am back now and excited to be seeing the debt snowball start !!

Stephie