creating a debt free life

Posts tagged ‘paying bills’

The true key to getting debt free

DSCN1865

We have been working on getting debt free for a while now, and we are doing good, some steps forward and back, but now that our move is complete that should be done and it should be all forward now.

The importance of having that emergency fund has become very clear to us this past few weeks and we are going to make sure to get that in place again.  But sometimes an emergency fund does not help if you are not thinking.

The key I am going to get to starts with an experience we had this past weekend.

We were on our way to our grandaughters third birthday and were supposed to stop for ice. We wanted to wait until we were close to get it and found a store not far and on the way. My husband gets out of our truck to go buy the three bags of ice and does not even get around the front of our truck and comes back a bit panicked,  ” I forgot my wallet !!! “”

He had changed into new pants and forgot to put his wallet into his pocket. This is completely out of charactor for him.

I jump out to use my card , we get the ice, get to the counter and then I remember, oh crap, I lent my debit card to Cam  ( our collage age son, just moved home and tight the week he started a new job after the move which broke him. I gave him my card to put some gas in his car to start his job. He is delivering pizzas so would have cash each day after that one fill to take care of it.

I remembered then that when the new credit card came for the one I cut up, I put it in my wallet in case of emergency as we have no savings right now, and I got it out and paid for the ice and we went on our way. No problem I will pay it off when I pay the bills next week, it is only 8 bucks.

So, I get online today, and pull up my balance and I am shocked …. 68 bucks, ?   WHAT  ???

So, I start searching the site and then I find it, a 60 dollar fee to have the card. What in the heck was I thinking to pay that per year the last few years, I was not happy .

I called, canceled the card, paid the 8 bucks and the card is getting added to my wine glass.  Cut up smaller than this, but it is a start, but this time it is a truely dead card. No way to use it and no new card coming.

DSCN1861

So, pay attention, the cards are out for thier benefit, not ours. The banks make a great deal of money on us just on interest, and yet, they feel the need to add fees to that pile they already make.

DSCN1863

They could not do it if we did not agree to it and pay it.  I do not need that card, I do not want the debt and I will not pay it.

So, look at your accounts, even if you cut up your cards and make sure , I would have gotten a bill for 25 bucks if I had not made that purchase and went to the site to pay it.

No one cares about your money like you do ,

piles_of_money_200991

So, what is the key in my title you ask ?

The key to getting debt free is paying attention.  We need to pay attention to all the little things we do that add up. How many people have more than one card with a fee ? They could be paying hundreds a year. This sixty bucks was for a small 600 dollar credit card, that is insane. I consider myself an intelligent person but have not been acting very intelligently when it comes to money and credit.

So, my advice is to check out all your cards. Get rid of the ones with those fees even if you are not getting rid of all your cards. Shop for a better card to transfer any balances too and then cancel that card and be done with the fees.

There are many cards with no fees and in fact,  Capital One, the card I canceled has many cards without fees, so I could in theory find another Cap 1 card that does not have a fee and apply for that, but I want to be debt free and that is not an option for me.

So, just be smart with your money and pay attention. It is so easy to nickle and dime those fees and over time it really adds up to a lot. Although 60 bucks IS a lot.

Thanks for stopping by, I would love to hear your thoughts on credit card fees !!

Stephie

Advertisements

What does wealth mean to me /you ?

 

IMG_9641

Another blogger posed the question, what does wealth look like, or mean to  you. I did not have to think long. She suggested some things, among them nice cars or house, but to us, that is not what we are going for.

 

IMG_9627

IMG_9638

Wealth to us, my husband and I means security. Freedom. When you owe money, you are in many  ways, working for the  company you owe. You work for them, not yourself. You have to plan your life around work you have to do to pay those debts every day. Now, I know there is money you make that does not go to them. But  if you have substantial debt, you have a lot of hands held out each month and often times, when you include your mortage, they get a lot more  of your check than you do. Period the end.

We have dreams of course. We want to pay off our house and we want to buy a building downtown to start a business. With no mortgage, that is possible. With a mortgage, possible but stressful and not probable.

Retirement for us  has never meant to stop working and just play golf and sit around be lazy. Quite the opposite. We want a business to run, something we love to do when he retires from where he works now,  so we keep active and busy . We want reasons to get up every morning. A purpose. We want to be part of the community and get involved with community events and enjoy being out in the world.

David will never retire from working. He is very vocal about that. He saw his own father retire and sit in a recliner and die. He refuses to own a recliner. They are not allowed in the house. He will retire from the company he works for between 70 and 75 years old.. What age depends on where we are on this plan. How much is saved, do we have our building already, how much security do we have in place.  We have just over 18 years until he is 70. We cannot waste any time. We have  to get our debt and house paid off asap so we can make the  decisions that affect the quality of our golden years. Now a days  you can expect to live into your nineties and maybe even 100 and that is our goal, we joke we want to live until at least 110 , and we will try to do that , but we want to live until the day we die, not  be in a  nursing home or sick, so we are working on our health as well.

Some things are out of our hands, but we are grabbing  what we can control. We are working to get thinner and healthier. Can we prevent anything from happening, no, no one can, but we are thinking positive and planning for a long full life. We CAN pay off all our debt. We CAN save up a huge nest egg both for emergency and retirement. We CAN walk and eat right. So, we CAN do a lot. We also CAN plan and plot and come up with a great retirement business that will keep us alive and happy and excited to get up every morning.  Something we can do together.

So, this is step one, which is very critical. Pay off our debt.  Every single dime, including the house. Then save. Save money like squirrels save acorns.

IMG_9622

Once we have an 8 month emergency fund and have enough money going into the 401k, then we start saving again for our business. There is nothing romantic about our plans. Nothing edgy. It is just staying the course and making sure we do what we need to do to make things happen the way we want them to happen.

We recently read a quote that said something to the effect of , dreams without plans are wishes. I have no clue who to give the credit to, but it is so true. If you dream, but never make a plan for that dream, it really is just a wish. It will probably never come true.

Things happen and that is okay. As long as we have our emergency fund, it is all good. Occasionally our savings will be  redirected to emergency to rebuild if something like a blown water heater, or air condiioner malfunction happen, but then we just rebuild what we had to spend and, once done, back to where we were at. Simple. Easy to follow.

Lets face it. Budgets and diets are both alike in many ways and people resist them for the same reason. It is more fun to not do them. Eating and spending what you want sounds like fun, but is it really ? At the end of the day you are fat and/ or broke and that is certainly not fun.

We had  50 grand in the bank once. Years ago.  An inheritance. What an amazing feeling that was. But getting laid off and being out of work for months before he had the job he has now,  and having to do major overhauls on two baths that were close to unusable, and some foundation repair and put up fences, and and loaning to our grown kids who were in need at the time, who did pay back every cent within a few years, just kind of ate it up. Very sad.

I want that feeling again. It was so fun to walk into a store and KNOW y ou could buy anything you wanted cash, but are choosing not to. It was fun to know we could pay cash for a car, but did not !! We loved that feeling and cannot wait to have it again.

So, we know how it feels, so we are working toward that feeling  of security that money gave us at the time.  Wealth to us is many things, but not fancy cars and houses. If we have those one day great, but they are not high on our list no matter how wonderful they are !!

So, what does wealth mean to you ? How do you define it ? It can be a very defining question !!!!

Hope you enjoyed my scrabble piece and chain  play and my modge podged acorns, I love playing and making things to put on my blog !!!

Thanks so much for taking the time to come by, it  means a lot to me !!!

Stephie

IMG_9645

 

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.

IMG_8937MA29551897-0014

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.

IMG_8893MA29551897-0007

The opposite side

IMG_8869MA29551897-0003

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

IMG_8888MA29551897-0008

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 !!

IMG_9013

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 !!

IMG_9040

IMG_9027

drove into the sun set on the way home !!

IMG_9331

Debt updates, and why do we let fear make our decisions about money ?

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 !!

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

 

Just a quick post

This is just a quick post to update and then Monday I will write a lot more.

We were able to talk to our wonderful debt coaches Jeff and Robin  at Debt Free  Squad , please check out their site,  the link is to the right of this page, you will be so glad you did !! We got the budget hammered out and given our instructions for the week.

It was interesting to look at at a budget in a new way. Figuring in just a bit of money to blow and some entertainment money built in , that is something I would never have done on my own and it would have caused us to crash and burn !! I will explain that more on Monday, it is very exciting !!

I have to read the first two chapters of Total  Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey and my husband has to as well, tonight !! I already read it while he decorated sugar cookies with our grandkids and now it is his turn. Sundays are a  no money talk day and that is great by me, we all need a day off and then Monday I will jump in and really get going. I will post what we are doing in more depth and tell you how our budget is looking.

We discussed the debt snowball and what we are to work on first in paying down the debt.

So, until Monday, that is a quick update but Monday I will give you more info and  tell you more of what they taught us tonight. It was a very enlightening conversation and we are really excited to get started this week !!

So, everyone enjoy your Sunday and I will be back Monday to talk about what we are going to be doing, how we are attacking our debt and what steps we will be taking .

Thanks for stopping by !!

Stephie