And the rain, rain, rain came down, down, down….

Okay, so the water heater was fixed and ended up only costing $135 instead of the $200 we were planning!!! YAY!!! Always nice to know you owe less than you thought you were going to have to pay!!!

Well….today on the way to work I rolled my driver’s window down a little to get the stuffiness out of the car, when I went to roll it up, nothing happened. At all…it could go down more, but not up. When I got to work I disassembled the electrical panel in the door and made sure everything was securely connected, which it was. I went inside and checked online and was immediately presented with the information that if that specific issue happens then it means the switch is bad and needs to be replaced. I had this done before about 2.5 years or so ago….and it cost somewhere between $200-300…

I swear sometimes I feel like just the fact that we are doing everything we can to make our financial situation better, things keep happening. It’s so frustrating sometimes. I am glad that we shredded our cards so we can’t falter and just throw it on the cards, but I hate seeing our emergency fund yoyo-ing all over the place. I will not give up, I will not give in to defeat, we CAN do this!!! Regardless of the obstacles and challenges being thrown at us, we WILL be debt-free!

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There goes the water heater…

Sigh….every time I feel like we take a step forward we end up taking a step back.

On Tuesday I realized that we had no hot water….I figured it was because I had been running the dishwasher, washer, etc.

Wednesday the problem persisted so much so that I asked my poor hubby who had thrown his back out if he could check the pilot light on the water heater. It was out, so he relit it and we figured it was fixed.

Thursday, the water was still ice cold….hubby came home and checked and found the pilot light was out again and that there was now water coming out of the pipe on the side of the water heater. The floor of our utility room was puddled. We got the pilot light relit, got showers and called our home warranty that we have renewed each year since buying our house (this is an extra thing we have in addition to our homeowner’s insurance). The warranty company said we would get a call from a repair company on Friday.

First thing Friday morning I got a call from the repair company saying they would be there between 1-6pm the same day. Later that day, we got the diagnosis…our water heater was shot. Apparently due to normal wear and tear it was unable to be repaired. I was glad this happened at a time when we have the extended warranty since we only have a $60 deductible for the warranty….however….apparently codes have changed since this water heater was installed. So, in addition to the $60 we paid for the deductible we also have about $130 in things that need to be updated so it can be brought up to code.

So…on Monday we will be getting a call to find out when we will be getting the new water heater. I am glad we are only spending approximately $200 instead of the full cost of a water heater, but it’s still $$$ I would rather not take out of our emergency fund.

One step forward, two steps back….

New balances…

As I posted in my last update, we paid off hubby’s credit card!!! Unfortunately (well, fortunately really…I’ll explain in a minute), we now have a $5625 balance on it again. Basically we have been reviewing our bills and my credit card that had the largest balance also had the highest APR. We owed around $9100 on my big card which was sitting at an APR of 19.9%. Yes you read that correctly. 19.9…..

So we decided to call hubby’s card’s company that we just paid off because we knew that card held the lowest APR at 8.9%. We called and found out they had a deal going on that if we transferred a balance to that card by April 15th then it would have a 1.9% APR for a year and then go to the regular 8.9%. So needless to say, we transferred $5625 to that card….because now instead of paying 19.9% interest we will be paying 1.9%. It was sad to see that on my big card I have paid $450 since January…just in interest. That I pay approx $250/month to that card, which left very little going towards the principal of what we actually owe!!!

It feels good to know that we are going to be saving $$$ every month which leaves us with more to put towards our snowball!!!

How is your journey going?

Thank you Uncle Sam!!!

Well we usually have extra taken out of our paychecks to make sure at tax time we don’t owe the big man. This works well for us and although we live on a little less throughout the year, we also avoid having a big bill when income taxes are due. Of course since we are doing “Total Money Makeover” we used our refund to help us pay down the debts we owe.

First we paid the $200 we owed for hubby’s emergency room visit in December and got that bill paid in full.

Then we called and paid off hubby’s credit card balance, that was close to $3300!!! What a nice feeling to have 1 of the credit cards paid in full!!! I even let hubby have the honors of writing “PAID IN FULL” next to it on our dry erase board.

I did struggle with the payment since I knew we could use that money in SOOOO many areas, or even use it to get things we’ve really wanted. However, we knew the best decision was to spend it to pay down/off part of our debt!!!

Something we have found that really works for us is having a small dry erase board on the refrigerator in the kitchen at eye level. That way every time we get a drink, make dinner, etc we see our

Setback….

As we all know, life happens. Unfortunately that is even more frustrating for someone who is attempting to pay off/down their debt.

Last week we took our furbaby Fenway to the vet, he had dandruff that was getting progressively worse and I noticed that he all of a sudden had bald spots. Wednesday we took him to the vet to get him checked out, our initial thought was that he had somehow gotten mange. We were wrong. We found out after a $230 vet visit (which came out of our emergency fund) that he has hypo-thyroidism. Now anyone who knows anything about this knows it’s treatable. We ended up getting him on a special shampoo and he has to be washed twice a week, special antibiotics and anti-microbial wipes…all of this was for the skin infection caused from not diagnosing the hypo-thyroidism early enough. From here on out he will only have to be on a pill twice a day for the rest of his life. The thyroid medication only costs around $21/month. Totally doable and worth it for such an amazing dog. I figured we had gotten lucky and was glad to have a diagnosis so we could work on his recovery. He is already doing MUCH better, he is more social than he’s been in 2 years, wags his tail alot more and just seems more alert in general. We are glad to see him on the road to recovery. We do still need to take him back in for a followup thyroid test in about 2 weeks to make sure his levels are returning to normal.

Yesterday I got a bill in the mail from when hubby went to Urgent Care in December, he threw his back out, and went to the place we always go. Usually we pay about a $25 deductable anytime we go there. Yesterday I got a $250 bill in the mail for EMERGENCY. Apparently when he was there they took him to the emergency room at the attached hospital for X-rays. So, instead of billing us for the normal Urgent Care amount they are billing us according to a Emergency room visit. I have already called and left messages arguing the charge, but one lady in billing told me that since he received _____ service from them, we still owe the $250 regardless.

So over the course of a month, we have had 2 bumps in our journey to being debt-free. Our $1000 emergency fund we had built up is now at $740 and we are paying $25/month for the next couple of months towards the emergency room bill. I know we can do this. It’s just so frustrating when we were doing well staying on target for paying extra towards our snowball and all, and then this messes it up. So according to Dave Ramsey’s plan, we now go back to Baby Step #1, get our emergency fund BACK to $1000, THEN we can continue with Baby Step #2…paying down the debt. It’s a long road, but if we live like noone else, then later we can live like noone else.

Keep your eye on the prize…

Today I had the first time that I really wanted to splurge and get something for myself and not put all of the $$$ towards our payoffs. I wanted to get a $99 Apple iPhone since my cellphone is not working well. Fortunately my hubby talked to me and reminded me of what we are working towards. Even though Christmas just came and went I didn’t feel tempted then to splurge and buy all kinds of stuff. I worked my butt off and traded items to get gifts for my family and friends. I figured that helped by supporting other small businesses and keeping my costs down.

So today I went into Verizon and checked out the cheapest iPhone they had since I would love to have one to download apps for the princess and be able to surf the internet when I am away from home. Well they basically told me that in addition to the $99 phone they were going to charge me another $20 for an “early upgrade fee”. I went home thinking I was going to purchase it as soon as I got home online, where the fee was not applied. Instead, I got home and thought twice about it and hubby said that he thought we should stick with our plan and I had to agree. He stood behind me if I chose to get the phone anyway since I’ve been working quite a few hours and got some Christmas money, but I think in the end it’s better to wait.

So, is it easy? No, I prefer instant gratification many times over what the “right thing” would be. Today, the “right thing” won. Tomorrow is another day….

One foot in front of the other…

I can hardly believe how slowly the past month has gone!!! We have made a difference in our income in the last month…as Dave’s saying goes “Live like no one else so later you can live like no one else”. Sadly we were not able to take on our debt-free challenge on the budget and income we were at. Sure we sold items from the house and things to have extra money to try to make ends meet and put towards the snowball. But trying o make up $800/month by selling random items isn’t easy and it’s not something you can count on. Sooo….I got a job. I will be working part time in the evenings to make the extra we need to live month to month and put all extras toward our debt snowball.

Last month I was on Cloud 9 since we had just paid off our first small debt, it was invigorating, but reality had to take over. This month we will be making more than our “normal” payment on our next debt we are tackling, but it’s not going to be paid off in a month or two. That was something I found myself having to come to grips with. Driving down the road the other day there was a radio contest and the winner would get $1000 cash. And I found myself dreaming (and dialing) to attempt to win….needless to say, I did not win, but I had already thought in my head how nice it would be to put $1000 this month towards our next smallest debt that we only owe $1600 on. Then when some other jubilant person won, I had to settle with the fact that I would be making payments on it, and I would have to keep working at it.

I guess the fact that our baby step #1 was taken care of so easily and the extra money we got from selling stuff last month helped us pay off our smallest debt in 2 weeks instead of 5.5months got me off on a slightly disillusioned foot. I know now that this is going to be a long process. Some days I know that I will count the 30ish days between bill paying cycles and feel like my next snowball payment is light-years away, but we can do it.

What about you? What are you doing to take charge of your finances? How is your journey going?

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