creating a debt free life

Posts tagged ‘eating at home’

Finances for life

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I have discovered that working on your finances and working to get rid of debt is the same as trying to diet to lose weight. There are no shortcuts and diets do not work.

The only way to lose weight is to figure out what works best for you long term. What changes you can make to your eating habits that you can sustain for life and  make a plan based on those changes that will help you not only lose weight but  maintain that weight loss for the rest of your life .  It is that simple. Make a plan, based on what is working to get you to your goal and then maintain that plan to keep you were you want to be. Small fun rewards should be factored in, a planned meal that is not in your plan, but really IS in your plan becausae you figure it in. That is how to lose weight, and keep it off .

The same is true with personal finance.We came in all excited last year. We were blessed with a wonderful couple to be our debt coaches. We applied to win a debt scholorship and were working hard to pay off debt. It was not sustainable. It was not sustainable because our heads were not completely in it right.  We thought we had our heads on straight, but we were still in that diet mentality. We had not gotten it , not really.

LIfe is up and down, and changes day to day . YOu have to have a plan that you can maintain and that you can adjust to help you through all of lifes quick turns.

We were living in a lovely house we had owned for ten years. Our daughter and her husband and kids had moved in with us from out of state where jobs were few and they needed to find a new life in an area where they could afford to live and find jobs. After three years they were ready to move out and on thier own.  Before they had moved in we had talked for years about moving up an hour away closer to my husbands work.  He has been at that job for ten years this month. We thought we would love him having a short drive and enjoy having more time together. So, we told the kids they could rent our house as long as they needed for our mortgage payment, as that was way cheaper than the rents in our town for a house that would work for them until they were ready to buy thier own house and at that point we would make our house a rental. That had been our plan since we bought it in  Feb of 2002 eventually buy another house and rent out that house, so everything was falling into place.

We loved the change and the excitement of moving for about three months. Then the holidays hit and we were an hour away from our kids and grandkids. We missed them and the holidays were not that fun being so far away. We k new we would not be staying up there but would be moving home. We just had to wait it out until our 14 month lease was up Aug 11 , 2013.

Early this  year we bought a nice used car , a  2011 Passet ,  because we only had one car and when that car died on a thursday, my husband had to rent a car to drive to work for the  weekend until it could be repaired so he did not lose an incredible weekend of overtime and his regular pay on Friday. We knew we had to get a second car and we bought that nice used VW Passet from a dealer. It was a dealer owned car, a loaner car that buyers used when thier new passet was in the shop for maint or repairs under warrenty.

here is the picture the dealer took for our personalized  calendar the day we bought our first Passet.  Yes, I said first.

picking up our car

Great car, wonderful price, we had just bought it when we got our debt program started and we had such regrets about that purchase and wondered what we had been thinking but what was done was done and we had to live with that decision, and then three weeks later, we were involved in a pile up on the high way. My husband missed hitting the pile up in front of us, but we lost our car anyway because of a car coming up behind us, swerved to miss us and his large enclosed trailer hit the back corner of our car and it was totaled. We were so excited when he was able to stop and then bam, what a shock !!!

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most of the car was pristine, just that back corner totaled it. We thought it would be okay, but on the road, we could not see the full damage.

When we went to see it at the repair place , we were devestated, we did not even recognize it as we walked up.

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We had not put a dime down and had not made a payment on this car and we still ended up with some money to put toward debt and that is what we did. We paid off a few grand in debt, we were thrilled. We did get another car, a trade in from the same dealer but it was a horrible car and we had to keep taking it in so after a month, still no payment, no  money down, we traded it in for the 2013 we are driving today.

Ironicly, we got the personalized calendar weeks after we lost the car !! I still have it but we never did use it, lol !!!

This all happened end of Jan through March. IT was a crazy four months. Who buys three differant Passets in four months ? We did.  But we ended up with a good car but like Dave Ramsey says, we paid a big stupid tax for it. We had to trade in the trade in and even thought it had only been a few weeks, we lost some money on it in the trade in. We did  get a great interest rate at 1.90 but we have a high balance for six years.  Not ideal for paying off debt and wealth building and if we could go back we would do the entire thing over. I console myself that the thousands we got from the accident more than covered  what we lost in the trade in. But it was still a dumb situation. We do love the car, and it looks very much like the one we lost, but has much better features because it was a new 2013  model. We plan to drive this car for at least 10 year and probably longer to be honest.

The car is a blessing now that we moved. David drives it to work and the savings in gas from not having to drive his 1998 GMC full size extended cab pickup to work pays for aabout  half the car payment so that is a good thing.  Not putting those kind of miles on an already old truck is good too. We hate using up our 100,000 mile warrenty in four or so  years instead of the seven allowed, but it saves us a ton on gas.

Fast forward to June and we knew we were going to be moving when our lease was up Aug 11. We also knew our house was not an option. Our son in laws parents had moved from out of state too and were staying with them until they got settled and ready to get out on thier own, a plan we knew about when we offered to rent the house to them  and partly why we wanted them to rent it. No landlord in our area would rent even a large house to five adults, two kids, two cats and three dogs. We , knowing what  incredibly clean and responsiblle people they  all are, had no qualms about   it, they will leave that house cleaner than they got it. But that option being off the table we could either rent in our town  and pay upwards of 1000 a month or purchase a second home, IF they would let us.

So, we decided to try and we were able to do it. So we ended up with a 750 payment instead of a 1000 rent. It might go up a bit once the tax people find out we paid more for it than the previous owner did, so that 750 will probably go up next year to 800 to 850 but still much less than rent would be.  We were able to buy another  inexpensive house, more of a starter than the one we already own. A bit smaller, although much bigger living areas that our other house which is wonderful , but  only one bath and three bedrooms in comprarison to the two baths and four bedrooms and two living areas we had in our other house. But it is ours, no landlord and the money goes toward our own home ownership and not  to another  person to pay off thier house. We had to save up 3,500 to pay off our old 401 k loan from five years ago, and get a new one for enough to put down 8 grand on the house , with closing costs, and pay for the basic  move. We had borrowed a grand of the money to pay off the loan so the first grand of the 401 k went back to  our daughter who loaned us the money. We closed on our house the start of Aug and moved in Aug 5, with a week to clear out the apartment we camped with basics as David took stuff home after work every day and then we moved on the 10th with a moving van.

We have been in the house two months and buying another older house has been expensive. We had to replace mini blinds, light fixtures and  put in some shelves and buy paint , it has been ongoing. No regrets as we just hated renting for that 14 months we moved away so we are so happy to be in our own house, but the maint., and repairs on two homes is a bit overwelming at times, but we are ever grateful we have both of the houses. We have a lot of updating to do as we can do it. There is a huge pantry closet that is set up to be made into a second bathroom with sewer already set up under it . We have to put in a slider door in the living room where a window is,  to get out into the backyard from the house as it is not practical going thorugh the garage to get to the back yard , so we basicly do not use the back yard. There is also no fence between our neighbor, the lady that sold us the house and her house, which was her moms house and why she sold us ours, to buy her moms. We need to put up a fence as her dog is in our yard and barks under our windows ,  and I am uneasy letting the grand kids out there with a dog, even a nice dog . for now we are going to put up a ranch type wire fencing and steel stake fence until we can justify spending what we need to on a six foot privacy. The door and second bathroom will have to wait, and with our son moving in this month, also planned, one bathroom will be a huge challenge for sure !!

Our debt payment, beyond minimum payments, went on the back burner and we actually added a lot of debt to our list, washer, dryer, fridge, microwave, all for no interest for 36 months, so at that is good. We started getting into some bad habits again, eating out way too much and not paying attention to our spending.  Unfortunately, our default setting. What we have always done. We pay our bills, that is never an issue, but we spend, not save or pay off debt when we are not paying attenion. We spend any extra.

It had to stop.

My husband was able to get a new credit card and we put almost  all our old debt on it , every single card but the Best Buys that the appliances are on and one large card I have that I also had put some debt on  at at a much lower interest rate . His new account is interest free for 18 months on those transfers, It has a lower interest rate than all the cards have even if we could not pay it off, but we have to get that paid in the 18 months.

We have a new plan. Take his bonus the start of the year and pay off our personal loan that we took out to help our son start school and helped with our move up to by work.  With the 260 per month  freed up, we will attack that 18 month debt to get it all done by the time the 18 months is over. Then we will attack the card I paid bills off with and  the Best Buy debt. If we stay with our plan, we should be debt free except for the car and houses by the end of  2015, probably  even sooner, but that is a good and achievable date to have it all paid off.

All our credit debt, the transferred, old debt on my card,  and current Best buy comes to 16,300. 00. This does not include the loan we will pay off next March, 2014 . It does not include the 401 k loan either. After paying off the loan which will be 2500 by the time he gets his bonus, it should be enough to  pay off another 1500 to 2000 if his bonus is what it usually is. Lets just  say 1300 for easy math,  which will take us to $15,000 left on our debt.  That is a great start and then we will have the 260 a month times  nine months in 2014 and 12 in 2015 which is 21 months and comes to 5460 to put toward that debt, and then that gives us a balance of aprox 9540.00  Another bonus in 2015 should erase at least  3000 and  most likely more, but I am being conservative here, and that leaves a balance of 6540 to pay off over the 21 months. That is only 311 a month total, including the minium paid on the interest free cards  so the more I bring to the table each month, the sooner those can be paid off.

Our emergency fund got hammered by several big car repairs, along with the move,  and so we are rebuilding it. I should have it back  up to 1500  this month due to some wonderful and unexpected overtime . I am going to do 2000 instead of 1000 because of the fact we do have two old homes and three cars, our son drives one of them until he can buy a car. That one , in fact, is the one that has cost us so much. It is an 89 and a good little truck , but a lot of maint type repairs hit us all at once. We still have a few small ones to do, but they will fit in our budget.I should be able to get that 2000 by the end of the year.  We are keeping the holidays really cheap, and plan to stick to that plan no matter what !!

So, I am optomistic that we can pay off all our c redit debt by the end of 2015 and my goal is to do it much sooner !! then we will hit that 401 k loan with the debt snowball, all the minimums from the paid off cards  and that 260 a month, plus the bonus, and then the car. I would love to pay off that car a year and a half early and that will be my goal as we get the other debt gone.

I am hoping to be able to bring in some income. I am working hard on my jewerly and eventually I want to get a job but right now it is just not going to happen.  But I am going to make sure every dollar I can make, and every dollar my husband can make goes to where it is supposed to go.

I made a promise to be transparent when we started this journey. I have not been here on the blog much and have not said much about our mistakes because I wanted to speak to Robin our coach first, I owed them the truth before I put it here. She was wonderfully supportive and I promised her we would make them proud .

We had messed up and fell into old bad habits.  Grocery shopping and not keeping on budget and eating out too much and picking up stuff for the house, needed stuff, but stuff we should have budgeted in over time.

Stupid , old habits.  Just like going off a diet, it causes shame and frustration with ourselves.

We are now actively working on both weight loss and the debt repayment and are excited about our future and what we can accomplish in the next few years. We have a lot of dreams and goals and before we can even start working on those, we have to get the debt taken care of.

But now we have a plan, one that is maintable, one that can take us to our goals. We had that before, but now our heads are on straight and we finally “get it  !! ”

So, I wanted to update and  tell what we have been doing and about our journey and our future goals.  I want to have a place to be accountable and to keep track of our progress . I wanted to be completely honest about our mistakes and now we plan to fix them.

Thanks for stopping by, I appreciate whoever takes the time to read my blogs ,  and always love any advice or personal stores people would like to share here , so please comment if you want to share !! I would love to hear from you !!!

Stephie

love this old avon bottle I found at a friends yard sale

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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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One Week later today

It has been a week since the accident and things are still a bit crazy but we are starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

We have had so many hoops to jump through and calls to make and questions to answer to get the loan paid off, and the gap insurance to fill in the , well, gap !!

We had to cancel the extended warrenty and the hazard insurance , sign and next day papers to our insurance company as they are going to get the car paid off and then get reimubursed by the other insurance company. We still have to get copies of the doctor bills and get the cars info from the insurance company for the gap insurance company ,  once they take possesion of it. On and on and on, wow !!

The end result will be however, the car will be paid off in full with no money out of our pocket. We put no money down and had not yet made our first payment, which is not due until March 12th . So, we basicly got to borrow the car for three weeks. So sad, but true. Not how we expected this to turn out. As much as we had regretted the purchase when we started with our debt coaches not long after we purchased it, we had planned on attacking that payment as soon as the other bills were paid. We loved the car and it was what it was and we would have paid it off as soon as possible. We are choosing to look at this sad situation, seeing a beautiful brand new car destroyed is never a happy day, as a blessing in disquise in our pursuit to be debt free. Now we can get out of debt much sooner and pursue our dreams even faster !!

We did spend a bit more than we should off on convience eating, something we tried to avoid, but the sheer exhaustion just made cooking hard a few days. We are back on track with home made food and will take that into March.

I am so grateful we bought the GAP insurance, that was something we made sure we had. That was not an option. We have never needed to use GAP on previous loans, but that is the nature of insurance, you hope you never need it, but prepare in case you do !!

We are trying to get back on track with our assignments with the debt coaches too and that is a priority now that things have settled a bit. David still has to take a couple more vacation days to get the rest of this stuff taken care of. He cannot take care of the calls at work, as he can make calls, but no one is ever there when he calls and the nature of his job is he is working all over the buliding and is not able to answer the return calls. Phone tag is the result. So, he will take off the next two days to get all our ducks in a row. We also have to get that rental car back as well.

Anyway. We are just as determined as ever to get debt free. We had planned on dealing with the car loan after the rest of our debt is gone but now the car payment is gone and we will not buy another car any time soon. Not on our radar at all , not anytime soon.

The main lesson for us, is how wonderful having that emergency money was !! No stress when the truck radiator blew the day after the accident, and that was huge !! we have to build it back up and that is our first goal, then the first bill on our debt snow ball will get blown up !!

The only sad thing for me is, we had gotten the car for me to have some freedom and to get a job, I only got to drive it once, home from the dealer. Never got to go job hunting. So, gonna work hard on my jewelry and blogs and do my best to earn a bit each month to get the debts paid OFF !!I hate being home bound, but until we can get rid of the debt, no car for Stephie, lol !! Just how it has to be for now !!

I appologize for not being around much, but over the next week you will see more from me as I get back into the swing of our lessons and sharing them with you !! We will be making up our March budget as well and that will be fun, never used a spread sheet before !!

Thanks so much for stopping by !!

Stephie