Monday, April 25, 2016

Where Are We Now?

We read Dave Ramsey's Total Money Makeup in July 2015 after knowing about the program for a year. We have Dissed a good amount of debt over the past 9 months. We made every effort to cut expenses all around. We reduced our utilities, cut back on groceries and saved money in envelopes for common overly spent categories. This allowed us to place $500 on each current debt per month.

Honestly this hasn't been easy. Dave Ramasy said that if you are making people made around you and have people looking at you like you're crazy, then you are doing it right. Well we must be doing it right because our families cannot understand why we are dealing with cash and tracking every payment.

I learned about Dave's plan is unusual ways and I keep sharing him in unusual ways. I have told people in stores, at social events and even to employees. Everyone deserves to know that living in debt doesn't have to be your norm and that living debt free isn't a dream. It's a reality. It takes a lot of work, but you have to keep trying.

So what have we done? Below is the list of deb that Hubby and I had and knocked out.

Medical Bill: $303
Medical Bill: $831
Credit Card #1: $730
Credit Card #2: $2,400

We've Dissed $4,264 Worth of Debt in 9 months!!!

We aren't done. We still have the bulk of our debt to go, but it feels good knowing that we don't have to keep up with those 4 monthly payments. Most importantly, we are proud of ourselves. We could have been further along if we had started in 2014, but no looking back.

Bills and Debt that are in progress (original debt amounts):
Forgotten Medical Bill: $1,141
Surgery Bills Total: $1,618
IUI Medical Bill: $1730
Private Student Loan: $5,273.53
Car Loan: $11,818.01
Student Loans: Still A Mortgage Worth!!!

Sometimes things happen and it's out of our control. In February Hubby had a surgery. His recovery time had him out of work for two weeks and was restricted at work for a week after that. We calculated sick leave and possible charges before agreeing to the surgery. We have to pay $1,618. We were slightly prepared for that, but that's where the emergency fund comes into place. We looked at the various bills that came in and sorted them by price. We paid the bare minimum on the remaining original debts so that we can knock out the new bills. It was a plan that worked. We didn't fret nor argue. We threw everything right into Dave's plan and kept going.

If we stay on target, we figured we can finish paying off all medical bills and the private student loan by the end of the year. We will then move onto the car and hopefully pay it off one year early. I'll update you guys on our progress later in the year.

Please let me know of your success below. Have you jumped on Dave's plan and started kicking debt out of your household? Have you freed yourself from the chains of debt yet?

We have!

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Too Proud to Beg

Two weeks ago I was chopping pineapples with a friend from church. We flew from one topic to the next during our two day shopping trip and 4 hour brunch prep. I got to learn a brand new side to her and her life. She, like many women had a hard time getting pregnant. She lost a baby in the first trimester and it took another two years to conceive again. I finally opened up and told another person, that Hubby and I have been battling infertility for 5 years. Holding back my tears, I placed on a smile and explained how we are just defeated for trying so much. I explained our road and how we are dead broke. I told her that we are on to plan C, adoption. I went on to explain that its so expensive that I'm surprised it's legal. She told me that a family member of her's adopted 10 years ago and everyone chipped in.

She gets it! She knows what it's like to go years and years without something that you worked and prayed for. She even had a family member to go through the same struggle.

Hubby and I came up with an idea to raise money, but I'm too proud to beg. Rather, I'm too ashamed to beg. More like embarrassed. I have read countless comments from people saying when they were pregnant, they didnt ask people for money. My favorite comment was 'why is it our responsibility to help them have a family, no one helped us'. The only answer I can come up for those type of questions is to ask, did you spend your life savings just to get pregnant? That's the difference, in a nut shell. Hubby and I saved $3000 for our insurance deductible when one has a baby. We just knew that sometime in that first year of trying, we would get pregnant, so we started saving. Well, years later, we spent that and much more trying to get test done, blood drawn, ultrasounds and x-rays taken and appointments after appointments.

So yes, you fertile gems out there, no you didn't need to ask someone for money before you had your baby. Perhaps, you asked after that lovely hospital bill came in. However, I and women alike, only have two choices to (pay) have a family. We either ask for donations or Hubby and I take 2-3 years to save for one child.

So my sweet friend said the thing I needed to hear on Easter, "Don't be too proud to ask! So many people will help."

Monday, April 11, 2016

Allowances for Yourself

Give yourself an allowance. You know you deserve it!

What is an allowance? It is a set amount of money that one can spend anyway they chose.

Children are often associated to this wonderful concepts, while adults forget to pay themselves. Wait! We get up early, get dressed against our inner will, drive to work in questionable conditions, earn money and then don't pay ourselves?! That is backwards right? (I can hear the peanut gallery now..)

A great tip for everyone is to pay themselves. Hubby and I carve out $40 a month in our budget for ourselves. We buy whatever we want or save it if we please. Can you say coffee on a lazy Saturday afternoon or lunch out with my friends? An allowance is freedom to enjoy things when life is on a strict budget. It's freedom to enjoy spontaneous activities and events without regretting it the next month.

This amount is not a set percentage of our income and it changes when we redo our bills biannually. At the end of 2015, it was only $25 each. But the best part is, it MINE, ALL MINE. I don't ask my hubby what can I do with it or when or where I can spend it. He doesn't bother running anything past me either.

Now, if you are in the beginning of your Dave Ramsey journey, dissing debt is your number one priority. We have often taken our allowances and paid a bill or purchased non-fun items such as cough medicine when the toiletries envelope was empty. Don't feel obligated to save a certain amount just to play with. Think of it as a luxury item that can be placed on the budget. If you are heading for a change in the budget, like we are this summer, perhaps an allowance will have to take a backseat. Just remember that you earned your income and you are the one (with your spouse, if married) that can determine the best use of it.

I hope you keep your eyes on the ultimate prize, but just don't forget to throw in a little fun here or there.

Until Next Time,
From Maruki

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