Monday, December 14, 2009

Baptist Bill

So a while ago I posted about Charlotte's hospital bill that I THOUGHT had a zero balance, and has since come back to haunt me. Being almost $10,000 we were really freaked out about it. I filled out the financial assistance forms and TODAY we got a letter saying that we received assistance and that her bill has a zero-balance!! :-D. This makes me so so so happy. It is a big relief off of our chests and now I feel much more happy about paying extra on my hospital from her birth. So, we will start doing that. I will be so happy to have that paid off because then we only have my student loans and those seem much more manageable.

I think that the letter gave us a much needed feeling of hope and that we can do this and even though it may be a while, it will feel AMAZING to have our debt paid off!!

We are one tiny, little step closer. Yay!

Oh and one more thing, Dave Ramsey is doing a "25 days of Christmas" thing or something, where he has a giveaway every day. So far I have seen products, $1000 (for a mini-efund or to help someone) and today is $5000. So as much as I DON'T want to tell you about it because we could use it so badly, I thought I would share :). Just go to his website and you will see it.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Our Debt-updated Sept. 2009

Our Debt: **We are not including this crazy hospital bill thing that is going on**

$2616.32 - Hospital Bill MIN: $100/month
$3426.95 - MS&T Student Loans (Anna's student loan) MIN: $32.97--was $40 and the school changed who they did the loan through.
$5145.80 - Direct Loans (Anna's Student Loan) MIN: $63.30
$10950.03 - MOHELA (Anna's Student Loan) MIN: $131.18

Total Debt: $22,139.10

Total paid off: $13,332.63!! (More than the last amount because we have paid debt on the above bills, just haven't paid them off completely.)

Another Loan Down!

We paid off another loan!! It was the last of Phil's student loans, so his education is completely paid for, yaay!

So, we have paid off a grand total of $11,946.02 since January 2008. We also paid for our wedding!! It feels good to look at the number that big, however we did get a tax return of almost $5k, which really helped out a lot. I have no idea what will happen this time around, I hope that we'll get something!

The next goal is to pay off the hospital bill! It WILL be paid off in January at the latest because that is when Phil gets an extra check, and we should be able to pay off more than enough to cover what the extra check won't pay. So, there is just over $2600 on that one!!

We also haven't heard a lot about the big hospital bill, that was just under $10k. Hopefully the most we will have to pay on that one is $1200. They had us fill out a financial request form, so I'm crossing my fingers that it will all be written off. I guess we will find out!

I'm going to update what we owe here too. I just have to find the current balances on everything.

Friday, September 4, 2009

My mom made a good point yetserday... concerning that hospital bill thing. That "agreed upon rate" between the hospital and the insurance company, is/should be between the hospital and the insurance company... not what I have to pay, she thinks the hospital is just giving me a load of crap. And that that rate is what the insurance company agrees to pay the hospital, and that they can't negotiate what I am to pay them. So I guess I'm ready to start talking to the insurance company Tuesday and see what I can figure out. I just wish someone else could do all the talking, I hate dealing with crap... and stupid people (to be blunt). So I really hope that is right. That stupid hospital is not going to get more than what is right, and that is $1200. (Is that a bad way to look at things? ha)

Thursday, September 3, 2009

One more thing!

I found someone down here who is also doing Dave Ramsey! She is actually the person who recruited me for Pampered Chef and it was great to talk to someone going through the same things we are!! But she is ALMOST done! Only about $2k left!! I am so jealous. She is looking forward to calling in and screaming "WE'RE DEBT FREE!!"

I can't wait to do that... someday.


I know it has been forever!!

Not a lot has been going on since we paid off the Credit Card. It is such a HUGE relief to have it gone though! We are slowly chipping away at Phil's last student loan which is right at $800. It has been so frustrating because we would have had enough money to have had it paid off if pesky little MURPHY hadn't shown up! I swear he has shown up the past few months, meaning we are sitting here stuck making minimum payments (or a tiny bit more). The good news? We haven't had to touch the e-fund!!!!!! (Just not able to put money towards our snowball). But I think we are putting this on hold... see below.

I also started working part-time selling Pampered Chef. This started a few days ago, and I'm stoked. I am hoping to make an extra $750/month to put towards our Debt Snowball!! If it doesn't work out, I guess I'll be stuck finding a job at Wal-Mart or something, but its not forever!! I am ready to get this debt paid off.

Oh and Baptist Hospital (where we had Charlotte) decided to bill us almost $10k! Basically, the bill totaled to $1800, insurance paid $600, which left us with $1200. But the "agreed upon rate" was about $9800, and since the insurance only paid $600, they now want to bill us $9200! I am trying really hard to not go CRAZY. I mean how REDICLIOUS is that? If I didn't have insurance, I would only owe $1800, but with insurance, I now owe them $9200? It was really crappy insurance to begin with (student health insurance) and we did NOT expect to get pregnant, hence the crappy insurance. So I'm HOPING that we can settle that one for $1200... do you think that is doable? We were going to save up as much as we can in the next month or so (while talking to them to keep them off our backs) and offer them $1200 to pay in full. Anyone think it will work? I keep trying to hint at settling somehow and they just say "well fill out the financial aid thing" but I really DON'T think that a $9200 bill is going to get much help when my hubby makes $46k? Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated! I feel like we just paid off about $10k since college, and now its back!!! The thought just makes me want to cry :(. Oh and this bill came out of nowhere, we hadn't heard ANYTHING from them for a year!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

No More Credit Card!! :-)

We did it, we paid off the credit card!! I wrote the check and am dropping it in the mail today. It feels GREAT to have it paid off, no more credit cards!! I'll be very happy to get that "paid in full" statement, hopefully soon.

Next, Phil's student loan (which we'll get most of taken care of this month and the rest next month), then the hospital bill. We're still sticking with the goal of getting those all paid off by the end of December. That means we'll only have my student loans, which are a lot, but doable. And if anything happens, we can put a hold on student loans.

I can't wait to redo the debt snowball calculator. I feel like we will have made a lot of progress this year, paying off about 10k since we started in January. We also moved during that time, which put the snowball on hold for a while.


Tuesday, June 9, 2009

A big step!

I just wrote the check to the credit card company. Now it will be just about $1000!!! $5,185.34 now paid on it!! Woo!!! Next month it will be gone and we will never again have to see a credit card!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Goal for 2009

After talking a little bit tonight, we have a goal for the end of 2009.

1.) Pay off Credit Card-we will pay off all but $1000 this month, so it will be brought down from about $6200 to $1000. I am super excited about this. The rest of this will be paid off in July, which is a 3 paycheck month so we will use that "extra" paycheck for our debt only.

2.) Pay off Phil's last student loan-it is hovering right around $1000. So we are hoping to pay it off with July's money. We will use the rest of the extra paycheck, and then the extra money that we squeeze out of our budget.

3.) Pay off the hospital bill-even though it is at 0% interest, it will then be the next lowest by then and we would feel better just getting it taken care of. Plus, it is up against a $3500 loan and then the other two which are even higher :(. We would rather get it knocked out and have that extra $100/month for the other loans.

So that should be another $10k paid off by the end of this year. Granted we have an appx. extra $5k in tax return and 1.5k in an extra paycheck. We will be down from about $30k to $20k in debt!!

Also, in January 2010 we get another "extra check" and then a little later, hopefully a decent tax return, because Phil ended up claiming less than he should I think. So we will be on our way to knocking out my first student loan. So I hope that by March or so we will have my one student loan taken care of and only the two big ones to go!!

We can do it!!!

Edited to add: This is all assuming we have no mini emergencies, or ... big ones. Pray that doesn't happen!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

I'm feeling some progress!

We got our tax return a couple days ago and I deposited it into the bank today! I figured out that this month, we can pay off all but $998!! So, its on the top of our "debt snowball." It'll be good to get rid of it!! From $6200 to none, will be such a big step. Then Phil's student loan he has left is under $1000 right now, then we'll be done with that too, and left with one hospital bill (which shouldn't take too long because 0% interest, and my student loans, yuck!) I feel like we're making progress :).

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Refunding baby e-fund

I know its been forever, but we have finally made it through the move! Now we can finally refund our baby emergency fund, then start our snowball again. Everyday I wish we could just have this payed off, that it would just happen overnight. Its getting really old, and it even hasn't been that long. I'm looking forward to our tax refund, but I'm torn whether or not to put it towards the credit card. Part of me wants to knock out a few of the smaller ones, but I know the credit card would probably be more helpful. Its going to take a bit longer than I thought, because here Phil doesn't get mileage, they use company trucks. I'm going to really have to play with our budget now so we can have a decent chunk to go towards the snowball. It'll be interesting.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Renting a car and we're using the baby efund!

I have officially closed my credit card!! I got the confirmation letter in the mail the other day, and it is a DONE DEAL! Now we have NO credit cards to even tempt us!!!!

A funny story, Phil's company reserved a rental car for us to use while in Florida, and since neither of us is 25, we called to make sure it would be ok. Turns out for this company... Payless... that you HAVE to have a credit card to rent a car if you are under 25. A debit card (with the VISA or whatever symbol on it) won't cut it. Thankfully, they got it transferred over to a company that will let us (Enterprise). Stupid rental car companies!

If you haven't been keeping up with my other blog, we're moving to Florida this weekend... so its a good thing that we have that baby e-fund. It all came so quickly. We went down there the 21st to 23rd, and then they said, this weekend would be great (beginning of May)!

So, we're going to empty out the baby e-fund, use what money we haven't paid towards our snowball the past few months, and we're going to have to use what we've stored in a few envelopes, ie: pets, charitable gifts (we have no church here), gifts, etc. I'm keeping track to whats in each of them, and we're planning on filling them back up to what they were once we get the tax return. Phil's company is also giving him $1k to start, and will reimburse the other expenses afterward. I'm sure that we'll have some of this money left over, but its good to know that its there just in case.

Unfortunately, the branch Phil will be working at doesn't travel as much, and they use the company trucks, so we're not going to have any more big expense checks.

After our move, I'm seriously considering finding a part-time job (if I can find one!). I'd probably do it for 6 months, then reevaluate for another 6 months and go from there. I feel that would help a lot in our snowball. I CANT wait to get that done!

Friday, April 17, 2009

Town Hall for Hope

If you haven't already heard, Dave Ramsey is doing a "talk/question-answer session" called Town Hall for Hope. I highly recommend you to check it out and get some hope for this economy!! I can't wait!!! I know it'll be really inspiring and hopeful. Many churches all around the country are hosting it, and I've even noticed that some have free childcare (and of course the event is free), so no excuses, go listen and watch, and get some HOPE!

For more information or to find a location near you, visit

Oh and its April 23, 2009 and 8 p.m. Eastern with a west coast delay at 7pm PT.

Friday, April 10, 2009

A few random thoughts...

So, if we don't have to spend any money moving (fingers crossed), or can just pull it out of our budget, then we'll have $5649.44 to put towards our debt snowball (we just learned how much we're getting back in our tax return, yay!) That number is from what we have now and our tax return.

So, we've been playing with how to use it. We could pay off Phil's last student loan, the hospital bill, and half of my lowest student loan... or we could pay off ALMOST all of the credit card with $591.64 left on it. Plus, its at 15.99% interest, which would save a lot of money because of interest over time. Either way, it would put the same amount of money to roll into our debt snowball, $155 (credit card) or $50 Phil's student loan plus $100 hospital bill. Then of course, the CC would be our lowest debt, and we'd hopefully be able to knock it out in one month, and knock out the other two pretty quickly.

Any thoughts are always appreciated and welcome.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Debt Free Date!!

Oh and I forgot to share, but my friend Katie gave me a link to this really cool debt snowball calculator.

If we stay at the rate we're at, minimums plus just under $300/month extra, we'll have everything paid off by December 2012. That seems like FOREVER away!!

Hopefully, we'll step it up a notch. If we paid an extra $1000/month we'd be debt free by February 2011, or if we did it in order of interest (not smallest to largest), it'd be January 2011. But, we're going to stick to the plan, smallest to largest.

And say we get a $10k bonus? And paid an extra $1000/month, we'd be debt free by July 2010. Now where can I find that extra $10k??

Oh and here's the link for anyone interested:

So, I think I'll make our official debt snowball date July 2011. That's us paying an extra $700/month and in order from smallest to biggest. It also doesn't include any other extra random money.

So, 27 months (hopefully shorter)! WE CAN DO IT!!

Debts Update

So, for a little motivation, I need to update my Debt Snowball list...

$1048.51 Phil's student loan, $50/month, 4.210% interest
$2816.46 Hospital Bill, $100/month, 0% interest
$3575.29 Anna's MST student loan, $40/month, 5% interest
$5358.95 Anna's DIRECT student loan, $63.30/month, 6.8% interest
$6241.08 Credit Card, $155/month, 15.99% interest
$11403.37 Anna's MOHELA student loan, $131.18, 6.8% interest (they 'considilated' it so two are at that and the other is at 4.2% interest or something).

Grand Total: $30443.66

I hope that next month we'll be below $30k!!! Since we put a hold on the debt snowball though, I think it'll be another month. Then we'll never again be over $30k (except when we buy a house because the 100% down plan just isn't gonna work for us).

I wish we didn't have to put this snowball on hold, but after the move (assuming we do), everything left over will be put on the snowball. And, that should be something because we're going to get our tax refund. I'm a little behind on taxes. I send them to the accountant tomorrow morning (got them all done today), and we are expecting around $2k.

Now if only Phil would get a $10k bonus or something for this project he's on. Then we'd be below $20k!!

I hate debt :(

Monday, March 30, 2009

Debt Snowball on Hold!

So, we're putting our debt snowball on hold. With the possibility of moving, we're going to need our baby e-fund, and/or any extra money we would put towards the snowball. So... we're waiting to put anything towards it. Once we get moved (hopefully we do), we'll have a big check to write towards a couple debts. I'm hoping it all goes through ok and quickly and that we get some sort of moving package to help us get down there, like maybe they'll come move all our stuff!!

Monday, March 2, 2009


Its payday! Well, was on Friday, so today I get to go and take out all the cash and refill our envelopes, oh how I love that! I feel rich, until I go to the store and spend it :(. But then I remind myself that we have to eat if we want to exist.

I'm also going to take the advise of Kate, go and buy some clippers. They'll pay for themselves after two uses, and this way Phil can get his hair cut a little more often... like he wants. (Every 4-6 weeks not 8). Lets just pray I don't screw it up, or we'll be shaving him bald. But, that could be interesting!! And we'll save a bunch of money!! YAAY! Now if only that would work for me... but I haven't had a hair cut in a ridiculously long time, boy do I need one!

Looks like we're at $429.86 for our debt snowball this month, unless we come across any more cash... my fingers are crossed. We also need to get our taxes done. I need to call Mike and get stuff sent. We should get $2000 and that will speed up the debt snowball a bit! Yay!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

March's Budget

Here's our Budget for March...

As always, suggestions are welcome!! I'm always looking for ways to cut things, and a second set of eyes never hurt anyone.

TAKE HOME: $2960.29 (Yay, it went up, we adjusted for taxes).

Charitable Gifts: $50
Rent: $808
Renters Insurance: $13.08
Water: $53.62
Electricity: $139.60 (yaaay, this went way down!)
Internet Service: $27.45 (Still need to call and cancel)
Grocery: $300
Car Insurance: $77.22 (Still not paying for Phil's, we need to talk to his parents).
Repairs and Tires: $30
Gas and Oil: $50 (We have over $100 left from before, and Phil uses no gas while in Clarskville).
Children's Clothing: $30
Adult Clothing: $0 (We have $40-ish left from last month and neither of us really NEED anything).
Health Insurance: $210.17
Miscellaneous: $10.00
Household: $115.00
ID Theft: $11.67 (We're starting a sinking fund for this, so we can save money by paying yearly instead of monthly).
Hair Care: $14.00 (Cost of haircut plus tip at Great Clips-Phil).
Mops: $10.00 ($5/meeting, twice a month).
Gifts (Incl. Christmas): $20.00 (I don't think we're going to have a big Christmas again this year.)
BLOW Money: $25.00
Pet Supplies: $20.00
Credit Card: $155.00
MOHELA-Anna: $131.18
Direct Loans-Anna: $63.30
MST-Anna: $40 (This is new this month, it was in its grace period until March).
Direct Loans-Phil: $50 (Currently first on debt snowball)
Hospital Bill: $100
Debt Snowball: $405.99 (Extra money we squeezed out of the budget for the Debt Snowball. Whatever random money that we find will also go towards it).

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Free Quiznos!

For anyone out there looking for free stuff (as I always am), Quizno's is giving away one million free subs... and there's no strings attached!

Go to...

and sign up for your free coupon. Its limit one per person and you have to have an id. You will get an email with a link to the site and you can only print your coupon once. Once printed, it will expire in 5 days. There's only 400,000 left, so sign up and enjoy a free sub.

I think we're going to go tomorrow for dinner and drink water... we might just bring them home and eat our own chips :). (Because I'm not buying them there!)

Tuesday, February 24, 2009


Sometimes, its hard. Its most definitely not easy. I see friends buying houses, and I want to buy one, or people buying houses and using credit cards that shouldn't. It makes me want to holler and scream and tell them that they're not doing it right! That they need to work on other things first and slow down a little, that there will be a time for a house and a nicer car and more spending, but right now isn't the time, not when you have $50k + in debt.

Sometimes it makes me jealous, I often wish that we hadn't discovered Dave Ramsey until we had bought a house, and made some other mistakes, but I know that in the long run I'll be happy. Our future house will be a blessing, not burden and we'll have it paid off within 15 years... at the most! And we'll be millionaires by the time we're 40! We won't have to worry about Charlotte's school or our retirement. I know we'll get there, but somedays I just want that house, with a fenced yard and a big garden, oh and an attic for storage. I really hope we can afford one by the time Charlotte is in Kindergarten. I think I'll be more sad if she starts school and we haven't bought one, or aren't in the process of it.

I also don't understand why EVERYONE isn't doing the Baby Steps... it doesn't matter where you are in life, you can still do them! But then, its working for us and I like it, so shouldn't everyone?

Well the baby is waking from her nap, I best go get her.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Where to start YOUR Voyage

If you are thinking about going debt free, I HIGHLY recommend reading "The Total Money Makeover" by Dave Ramsey. I'm sure you're local library probably has it and you can find it at almost any bookstore. (Though the library is free, yay!)

After we read the book, we decided to enroll in Financial Peace University (FPU) and I think that really helps too. You can find locations and times on his website (and if you have kids, most everywhere has free babysitting). It is a 13 week course that teaches about all kinds of things. There are lessons in emergency funds, going debt free, the importance of different kinds of insurance, investing, and the list goes on. It was very motivating and helped us meet some people who were going through the same things that we were (and some people in completely different walks of life too). It was very very informative and really interesting, but then I kinda enjoy that kind of stuff.

I will warn you, reading the book and going to FPU makes you look at all the mistakes that you have made and sometimes its really hard to face those. I hated the fact that we ran up a credit card and that I took out so many student loans... if I had only worked a little harder or gone to a cheaper school. Since, I have overcome them and I'm happier that we found Dave Ramsey and know what to do with our finances now, instead of making mistakes and not discovering what the right thing to do with our money is until 10 years from now (other sentences will be better than that one, I promise!)

I think that a financial plan is SO SO SO important. Before we started this, we had no plan. We lived paycheck to paycheck, and we're trying to figure out what we wanted to do. Thankfully, we discovered Dave and have changed our lives and our lifestyle, forever! We will be millionaires by the time we're 40! That feels GREAT to say!

PS-Thank you for the comments, they keep me motivated! Its such a joy to see people I don't know reading what I write!!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Debt Snowball-February

So, we just wrote our check to the loan that's next on the debt snowball for a grand total of......



I worked on next month's budget too, and we will be paying an extra $445.98 towards our debt next month. (Unfortunately, we won't be getting any expense checks for the next few months because of Phil's job). Plus whatever money we happen to find, or have left over in our envelopes (only a few) at the end of this month will go towards it. And when we get our tax return... there should be another 2k or so to go towards them too, woohoo!!!!

Monday, February 16, 2009


We signed up for Identity Theft Insurance!! Its through who Dave Ramsey recommended, Zander Insurance Group. Its $140/year. So I paid for it all up front and we are going to create a sinking fund in order to save for it so we'll keep paying for it by the year (it would cost us $10 more a year if we paid monthly).

We also received our Last Will, Living Will, and Power of Attorney today in our email. We will have to work on filling them out and finding a couple people to witness (can't be related, in the will, or receiving anything). They will then need to be notarized, which I believe I can take to the bank. Phil will have to find some time in order to get his notarized... during bank hours. Maybe someone at his work is a notary.

I feel good, we're getting things done. Next order of business, life insurance! That's a big one and I don't know very much about it... eeek!

Sunday, February 15, 2009


So, I decided that its time to tackle the insurance issue!

Phil has life insurance through is work, equal to one years salary. That won't get us very far. I'm thinking about taking $500,000 out for him. That would get everything paid off, a house, and money to invest, while I find a job and can care for Charlotte. Dave recommends 8-10 times annual income, and thats just over. Of course we'll do term life insurance and I think for 20 years.

For my life insurance, I'm unsure what to do. I'm thinking just $50,000. It would take care of burial and such, and pay for a couple years of childcare. By then, Phil would be making more money and Charlotte would be getting close to school age, where childcare costs less. Does this make sense?

I think we'll pay the life insurance's this year monthly, it ends up to be a little more, but then we're not trying to find a large sum right now, thus delaying us buying life insurance.

I ordered our Will's today. The company has a combo pack that includes the Will, Living Will, and Power of Attorney. It costs $29, plus $15 to get a second copy for Phil. The payment should be approved within a day and Phil and I will need to take some time to get them filled out, copies to loved ones, and such.

The Identity Theft Protection is $140/annually or $12.50/month. I'm thinking of paying this one right now (since we can), and saving the amount each month, so that we can pay in full again next year. This will save us $10. I need to talk to Phil first, so I don't spend the money without him knowing. I'm hoping to do this today as well.

Phil also will need disability insurance. I will have to look into it some more, but that is also on the to do list. I'm not sure what his company offers at this point, so I also need to look into that.

I guess its time to go listen to Dave's lecture on Insurance from FPU!!

Our Debt

Debt we have paid off (only listed when a loan is complete):

$2000-Ring (credit card, paid during grace period with 0% interest)
$1500-MST Student Loan-Phil (paid during grace period with 0% interest, through MST)

TOTAL: $3500.00

What we have left, in order of debt snowball:

$2076.41-DIRECT Student Loan-Phil, minimum $50.00
$2567.67-MOHELA Student Loan-Anna, minimum $26.79
$3016.32-Hospital Bill for Charlotte's Birth, minimum $100.00
$3524.71-MOHELA Student Loan-Anna, minimum $41.29
$3600-MST Student Loan-Anna, minimum $40.00
$5387.70-MOHELA Student Loan-Anna, minimum $63.10
$5429.31-DIRECT Student Loan-Anna, minimum $63.30
$6369.61-Credit Card, minimum $153

TOTAL: $31,971.73

We'll get there, but it feels like its going to be a very long time!! Plus, I think part of those minimums go to interest, which I don't think is listed in the amount of the loan, so less actually goes to the principal.

Will edit to add starting balances of all debt listed above.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Consolidated Loans... Kind of

So, I was looking at one of our student loans, about 11k, and upon further investigation, it seems that it is actually 3 separate loans, lumped together... or consolidated (by the bank, not me). Reading a little more, any extra payment will be split across all three loans, unless otherwise specified. I guess I'm just a little confused on this snowball, should I pay off the lowest of those three loans (its what comes next) and have them put all the money towards that loan, then work on the next, or should I just keep them together and call them one loan? I don't think there will really be a difference financially, maybe emotionally though. One loan, suddenly turns into three smaller ones...

Anyone thoughts?

Friday, February 6, 2009

What should we do?

So with the news of Phil's office laying off two more engineers (one senior and one at his level), it makes me wonder if we should put this debt snowball on hold. I know that I've mentioned it before, but they have laid off 3 1/2 people since the end of last week, when the memo came out about layoffs, and Nashville was NOT on the list. I wonder if they just closed all those other offices? Long story short, his boss said that the office is now at the break even point, but my question is for how long? Should Phil be looking for another job? Should we be saving all of our money?

Those of you that have been through FPU, I'm the woman and I want to save money, espically when times are hard. That fully funded emergency fund is looking rather pretty at the moment, unfortunately we don't have it, we have a baby emergency fund of $1000. And I know I'd feel stupid if Phil never looses his job, and we wasted money in an efund, but I think we'd be really grateful for it if something does happen, and we need the money. One of those hindsight is 20/20 things, but unfortunately I can't jump ahead and see what is going to happen.

I just wish the economy would jumpstart and get going again. The past few months has really started to hurt people, and I'm so afraid that we're next. Especially with a baby and a lease and bills... its getting really scary out here. I wish Phil didn't have this Clarksville job, so that I could get a job at the local Kroger or something for nights and weekends. We'd have a lot more money for our debt snowball and/or money to save. But with him gone all the time, I could only work nights, and thats not goint to happen. But at least he has his job!!!!

Any and all advice is welcome. Should we continue with our debt snowball and only $1000 in a baby efund? Or should we put it all away to save? Or do some of both?

Monday, February 2, 2009

February Budget

So in order to look back, I want to track our budget month by month. If anyone has any tips or thoughts on where we can take money out for our debt snowball, feel free to let me know.

* We have $300 in a Health Savings Account or something (doesn't roll over year to year, but we can use it now... comes out pretax, each paycheck).
* Monthly take-home income is: $2793.28 I think it will go up because Phil changed his claims from 2 to 6 today... being married, having a child, etc.
* A " * " next to the category means we are using the Envelope System.

*Charitable Gifts: $50
Rent: $808
Renters Insurance: $13.08
Water/Sewer/Trash: $47.86 (changes by a few dollars every month)
Internet Service: $27.45 (Will go down to $20.45 in 6 months, we are paying $7/month for 10 months for our modem. I think we will cancel this as our neighbor lets us use hers and it works fine. We would have to pay off the modem, but that would save $20/month).
*Grocery: $330 (I've been playing with this number from $300-$350... $300 is now not enough with Charlotte using some formula for cereal, and $350 was too much last month).
Car Insurance: $77.22 (Right now this is only mine. Phil's would be $65 for everything or $45 for comprehensive).
*Repairs and Tires: $40.00
*Gas and Oil: $0 (We had almost $300 in here, so we put most of it towards our debt snowball. We usually budget about $250 since gas prices have gone down).
*Children's Clothing: $30
*Adults Clothing: $40
Health Insurance: $210.17
*Miscellaneous: $15
*Household: $120 (I have recently upped this the past few months from $100. It covers everything that is not food. Diapers, shampoo, lotion, etc.)
*Toys: $15
*Gifts (Including Christmas): $20 (We put a lot in last month, so I put less in this month).
*BLOW $: $25
*Pet Supplies: $30 (For dog food, toys, and vet visits).
Credit Card: $153 (Minimum just went down by $2, yay!)
MOHELA-Anna: $131.18
Direct Loans-Anna: $63.30
Direct Loans-Phil: $50
Hospital Bill: $100
Debt Snowball: $204.55

TOTAL: $2793.28

Beginning in March, we will have another loan to pay back. They had a 9 month grace period. One was Phil's which we paid off in January, the other is mine. I believe my minimum payment will be $50.

Feedback is always welcome!

A little back story...

To begin, I think I should start from square one.

Most of our debt is student loans. Phil has two that he got his freshman year. His parents paid for the rest of his school. For me, I got a couple freshman year at SLU and then the majority of them came my junior and senior years at Rolla. Junior year I had gotten married and the plan was to take the loans because they had 0 interest until I got out of school, then pay them back right away because we had the money... and let it grow during that time. As we all know, that didn't work out, so I got stuck with a lot of student loans from that year. My senior year, I got a lot of grants and some loans too, since my estimated family contribution was so low.

And of course we have the credit card. It wasn't too bad until I couldn't pay for all of my school stuff, so I had to put some on there. And then moving down here, we put a lot on because we just didn't have the means to save while in Rolla, so we lived about a month or two mostly on the credit card (not rent), so the credit card is not a pretty sight right now.

The last debt that we have is the hospital bill from Charlotte's birth. Its just over $3100 and we're on a payment plan with the hospital right now, with no interest. It'll be nice to pay that one off, then I'll feel like we can think about another baby!

I've always been interested in money and have hated the idea of debt/loans/etc. I never really had a plan to pay it all off though. After talking to my dad a lot, he recommended Dave Ramsey. He then gave us a copy of Dave's The Total Money Makeover, and we read it very quickly, and became motivated, we finally had a plan!! After Charlotte was born, we signed up and have since graduated from Financial Peace University. I highly recommend it for anyone who is on the fence about attending. It is a time commitment, but very helpful and motivating.

Since discovering Dave, we have developed a plan for our finances and paying off our debt. We are following his baby steps and are currently on baby step 2. (We added in baby step 1b... pay for a wedding with cash). It is very comforting to finally have a plan. We also have a monthly budget that we stick too. It took a few months to get one that worked, but now that it does, I wouldn't do it any other way. We use the envelope system, where you put cash in envelopes for different categories. That too is very helpful, because when we're out of money, we're out of money. There have been a few months where we have to scrounge around and eat peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for lunch and whatever we can find for dinner (no we don't starve, we just discover what is deep in the freezer and should be eaten anyways!). I'm also trying to "penny pinch" wherever possible. I do most of our grocery shopping at Aldi's (just started this past month) and that saves A LOT of money. We also buy all of our clothes on sale or at stores like Ross's, TJ Maxx, or the like. That saves a lot of money too. We also have a deep freeze now, so that if I find something on a super sale, I buy a lot. For example, I haven't had to buy chicken in a very long time :).

Hopefully in the next few days I will get up our totals and write out the debt snowball and such. I hope I can find a free calculator online so we can see our "date of freedom" if we just pay the minimums... of course it'll need updated when we pay extra on them.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

What I wrote in the other blog

So, I've decided that I'm also going to write about our Debt Snowball here, so that I can look back for some encouragement whenever I need it.

For those of you that don't know, Phil and I are following Dave Ramsey's Baby Steps. We took his class, Financial Peace University, and graduated right before Thanksgiving. We haven't used any credit cards since Charlotte was born either!!!

Baby Step 1 is start a baby emergency fund with $1000. We completed this right before our class started, I believe in late August. We put the money in the savings account and its not attached to our checking account or anything. Thankfully, we haven't had to touch it.

Then, it just took us awhile to get going. We started FPU and that was great! It was nice to have a more concrete plan and someone to help us with our budget. There was a lot of good support there too.

In September we paid off my ring... it was on a credit card with 3 months, no interest. We paid it off in the 3 months and closed the account. That was during the beginning of our class, in September. There was $2000 on it (another $1000+ paid in cash to purchase it).

After that, it just took us a while to get our budget balanced. We decided that we really wanted to get married so we added in Baby Step 1b, and paid for our wedding with cash. We did not want to go into debt for it. We saved about $2000 in September-early December and paid for our wedding. The rest of December's extra money we used for gifts, because we hadn't planned very well (before September) for Christmas time.

Finally, this January we were able to start our Debt Snowball! In January, Phil got an extra check (he gets paid every two weeks, so two months a year he gets an extra check). We used it and more money that we had for our debt, to pay off the lowest student loan for $1500. It was our first thing and it felt so good to write the check. Since we paid it before February 1st, we didn't have to pay any interest on it! We then put just over $450 on his other student loan, the next smallest, which is just over $2500 with interest right now (before the $450). It looks like we're going to have another $700-800 this month to pay on it, thanks to mystery shopping, expense checks, and spending less than Phil makes.

I will be posting more documents, just outlining our debt snowball, different debts, and a few other forms that we received during FPU. They're more for me than anything for motivation... but feel free to look. I'll be updating them every few months too so that I can see the progress!

I encourage everyone to check out Dave's Radio Show. You have to put in your email, but that's so they can tell you what radio station it is on in your area. I also STRONGLY recommend Financial Peace University, it costs about $100 and its a lifetime membership (so you can go back again). It is good for all people in all different places in their life. It is often offered at a local church, but you do'nt need to be a member or anything to attend.

If you have ANY questions, don't hesitate to ask!


So, after a little thought, I decided why not start another blog exclusively about our journey to Financial Freedom!

To begin, I decided on "Voyage" instead of "Journey" because we love cruises and traveling. Someday, we will be able to go on a wonderful honeymoon cruise, until then, we're on our Voyage to Financial Freedom.

In a few minutes, I will post what I wrote on my "The Start of a New Years Resolution" blog so that its over here as well.

I am planning to update each month with the new balances on each debt that we have. I will also post any extra money that we have been able to put towards our debt snowball. I think I will also write to talk about good deals that we have had, share our budget, and any struggles, etc. that we have. It will take a few posts for the back story, so bear with me.