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We're Debt- Free!!!!

July 25th, 2010 at 04:19 am

Two weeks ago we sent in our final payment on our car, making our goal of being debt-free by our final Financial Peace University class! I know that if we had not had the concrete goal we would still be paying on it. It was so nice to celebrate with everyone at our closing dinner.

We had a potluck dinner before viewing the final lesson together. My husband has a co-worker that makes cakes so we asked her to make us a credit card cake that everyone could cut a piece out of for dessert. Everyone loved it! Here's the cake:



It sort of seems anti-climatic to be debt-free now. Maybe it hasn't sunk in because I haven't had the chance to enjoy NOT writing that monthly check.

We are now started on our fully funded emergency fund. We have a little over half of a month's worth of expenses so far. I'm anxious to watch that balance grow.

Updates & Coordinating a Financial Peace University Class!

March 3rd, 2010 at 06:13 pm


Well, once again it's been several months since I've been here. It's been a busy time. I'm still taking classes toward an accounting degree. This semester has been particularly tough.

A couple of weeks ago DH and I chaperoned our youth group on a trip to NYC to work with The Relief Bus. It's a mobile soup kitchen based out of Newark, NJ that provides soup, bread and clothing to the poor and homeless in NYC. They also refer them to shelters, job opportunities, health care and counseling centers. It was a really neat few days. It was awesome to see the youth in our group (2 of them our own) step out of their comfort zone and reach out to those less fortunate than themselves. We were all blessed, probably far more than those to whom we ministered.

And some exciting news for us: In 3 weeks DH and I will be facilitating our first Financial Peace University class at our church! This has been a dream of mine for a long time and I'm so excited to finally be getting to do it. We have 20 families signed up so far. I am really looking forward to it. If it changes one family's life as much as it has ours, it will be so worth it!

We are getting so close to being debt-free (except the house)! I can't wait!!!

Murphy Strikes

August 15th, 2009 at 03:53 pm


Thanks to LuxLiving for checking on me. We are alive and well. Last month was a bit of a strain, mostly emotionally.

On July 2nd our middle son (19), who is an EMT in a city 2.5 hours from us, was cleaning some basement walls in his fiance's house and ended up spilling ammonia in both eyes. He had set the bottle up on a pillar above him and when he grabbed the bottle it tilted and poured in his face. He was alone but managed to flush his eyes and dial 911. The ER sent him to a specialist who assured him that the vision would return in 48 hours. 48 hours later the vision was worse. The vision in the right eye was totally gone and the left eye could only see vague shapes. He was referred to a 2nd specialist who also could not find any reason that the vision had not returned.

Finally, on the 3rd week the vision did start to come back slowly. They still wanted to know why it was taking so long to heal so we made a trip to the Cleveland Clinic to be seen at the Vision Clinic. By the time we made that trip the vision was back to 20/20 and only some cloudiness remained on the cornea, which we were told would clear up. I'm thrilled to say that it is all totally clear now. Some of you may remember the accident this same son had a month before his high school graduation when he fell asleep at the wheel, rolled his vehicle 5 times and was lifeflighted to a major trauma center. If anything is going to happen in our family, it will be this child to whom it will happen.

The funny thing is that at the time of the accident he already had an interview set up with the ambulance service that took him to the ER for the following week. He went to the interview BLIND and they HIRED HIM to drive ambulance! I told him that he is the only person I know who could pull that off! By the time he was scheduled to begin work his sight was back.

Now for our 2nd Murphy visit: On July 8th someone hacked into my email and from there, got into my Paypal and Ebay accounts which I haven't used in years. They proceeded to order an iphone and a Louis Vuitton wallet for a combined total of $1500. The Paypal account was hooked directly to both of our checking accounts, but I found out just in time to put freezes on them so that no money was ever removed from our accounts. The crazy thing is that the Louis Vuitton wallet was actually mailed to me from Australia! I refused the package and sent it right back on its way to Australia. I filed a police report but hear that they seldom actually ever do anything. We had the address where they requested the iphone be delivered. It was a medical building in Memphis, TN.

I am happy to report that, besides the mortgage, we are working on our last debt. We owe just a bit over $7,000 and hope to have it paid off early next year, if not before. I am working 2 nights a week and applying all of that income toward this debt. I can't wait to start on a fully-funded emergency fund.

Encouraging Figuring

January 9th, 2009 at 03:39 pm


My last post expressed my frustration over not being able to snowball as much as we thought we could from the beginning of this year. Well, I decided tonight to run the numbers I am going to be able to apply toward our 2 debts and found out that we should still be out of debt (except the big mortgage) at the end of next year. That really encouraged me. That's not THAT far away!



Frustrated

January 7th, 2009 at 04:02 pm


DH and I are going through FPU and we had decided that we are finally ready to take the step of stopping our retirement contributions temporarily so we can apply that money to the debt snowball. I had no problem stopping mine at work since I'm the one that does the payroll. DH went into his payroll department and was told that he can't stop his contributions until the beginning of the next quarter.

It's just very frustrating to finally have him on board and now we can't do this. It will really slow the debt snowball down. I guess I'm just anxious to get it done and get a fully-funded emergency fund.

Long Overdue Update

January 1st, 2009 at 04:17 pm


Wow, has it been a long time since I've written on this blog! Lots of changes for us in the past 7 months.

DS#1 is in his last semester of college. He is pursuing an art degree. DD#1 is taking a semester off of college and working to save money. DS#2 graduated high school and is now in paramedic school. He's working as an EMT and loves it. DS#3 is a junior in high school and working on getting his driver's license. DD#2 is in the 8th grade and is growing up way too fast!

DH and I are going through Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University. We bought the home kit and just finished the Dumping Debt lesson. We are no longer using credit cards. We should have mortgage #1 paid off this year and the car paid off next year. DH is really getting into it now that he sees it's not boring and it does work.

Our 24th anniversary is this Sunday. We celebrated by buying Walmart's cheapest DVD player ($30) because the Playstation 2 that we'd been using will not play the newer DVDs. We'll go out for dinner on Sunday and use gift cards that we received for Christmas.

I completed 2 more semesters towards my accounting degree. I have 6 more to go. This past semester I took 2 classes instead of just a single and it really worked out well so I'm doing the same this semester.

I have also met my weight goal with Weight Watchers in June and became a Lifetime member in July. Soon after I began working for them as a receptionist. I normally work one meeting a week, but sometimes substitute for others an manage to earn a bit more money. I really enjoy helping other people meet their weight goals.

All in all, 2008 was a pretty good year for our family. I'm hoping 2009 brings a lot of financial advances for us as we strive to pay off the debt.

Priorities

March 4th, 2008 at 04:28 pm


As I was working in Quicken tonight with DH's profit share check I was listening to my songs I've bought on ITunes and Casting Crowns song, "American Dream", came on. I had to put aside what I was doing for a while and listen to it.

What we discuss here about personal finance is all very important, but there are more important things in life. How many of us are so busy trying to get out of debt that we tend to neglect our families? Just something to think about.

Take a look at the video on YouTube:

American Dream. I think it will give you something to think about.

Getting a Little Nervous

February 21st, 2008 at 04:07 am


I'm getting a little nervous about only having $1000 in my emergency fund. I know the reason that Dave Ramsey recommends that amount is because most emergencies will be under $1000. But with the car repairs (if the insurance hadn't covered them) being over $500 just for struts, that's a little too close for comfort for me.

I also think he recommends the $1000 so that it will spur you on to getting baby step #2 (pay off debts) done faster. I just feel like we're not really making much headway there because there always seems to be something else coming up.

I would really like to save another $1000 just to have a higher comfort level, but then it would be putting off getting the mortgage paid off even longer.

A Sense of Urgency

February 7th, 2008 at 01:10 pm


The past few weeks I have felt a sense of urgency to get out of debt that I have not felt before.

I have been working on it steadily for about a year and a half now, but the crisis in the housing market and other economic indicators have really gotten me focused on getting out of debt as soon as possible.

The more I observe what is going on around me and hear the horror stories of couples hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt, the more thankful I am that our debt is only $65,000.

I really want to get the debt out of the way and get a fully funded emergency fund built up, just in case.

Debt Reduction Revision

January 25th, 2008 at 04:15 am


Okay, so this morning I hear for sure that the max that a household is going to get from the stimulus pacakge is $1200. So I had to revise my Quicken Debt Reduction Planner.

With only $1200 put down on the mortgage it extends the payoff date to January 2009. At the end of the year there will only be a balance of $550 left on it though. I'm betting that I can find an extra $550 somewhere this year so that it can be paid off. That will be my challenge to myself.

DH also wants to buy a coal stove for the main part of the house to replace the wood pellet stove. We have found that the coal stove in the kitchen puts off much more heat and is more reliable than the pellet stove. So the money I save each week out of his paycheck will probably end up going for that.

We will probably also need to put a new roof on the main section of the house this year. The garage roof also needs replaced. Ack! So many expensive projects. It's going to make it a real challenge to pay off that mortgage, but I keep telling myself that it will be well worth it.

Stimulus Package

January 24th, 2008 at 04:04 pm


According to Voice of America DH and I could be getting $2700 we weren't counting on this year. That's banking on reports that it would be $300 per child, with no limit to the number of children.

I reran my Quicken debt reduction planner, and if that is correct, mortgage #1 can be paid off this November and the car payment could be retired November of 2009.

Another Year Older, but NOT Deeper in Debt!

January 10th, 2008 at 04:04 am


Today is my 41st birthday and it's nice knowing that I'm in better financial shape this year than I was last year at this time.

I really have this site to thank for that. I may not post as often as I used to, but I still check it out from time to time and get encouraged to keep on plugging along paying off those debts.

Thanks to all of you for the encouragment that you offer to others!

2008 Goals

January 3rd, 2008 at 05:28 am


I updated my goals and debt totals for the new year. I decided to focus on only 2 goals this year: get total debt below $60,000 and get the smaller mortgage paid down to only $3,000. Wouldn't it be great if it was totally paid off this year! That gives me something to really strive for.

I've picked up an extra bookkeeping job this week for one of the libraries in the area and have the possibility of another that I'm going to find out more about this week. That will give me extra money to apply to the mortgage each month.

My bookkeeping business has tripled in the past couple of weeks! Either word of mouth is going around or treasurers are getting desparate and realizing that with the end of the year passing they need to get their books in order for Annual Reports to the state! LOL! So I'm putting in a lot of hours at home on these part-time jobs.

The first library that asked me to do their books had not even balanced their checking account in at least 2 years! It took me 6 hours to get them straightened out and so far, another 5 to get a financial report designed to meet their needs. The treasurer told me that she didn't pay the 3rd quarter payroll taxes because she "doesn't understand them". What????!!!!! You don't just NOT pay the government!!! Yikes!!!

Wintery Day

December 3rd, 2007 at 06:33 am


I got a call early this morning from my boss telling me that she was not going into work today and neither was I. Hey, who am I to argue with that??? LOL! The weather today is terrible and since I had an accident last year getting to work on a day like this, I think she worries about me traveling over the hill. So I have an unexpected day off. I plan on spending it working on my homework for the week and reading.

We have started Turbo Tax in my class now. I'm not quite as familiar with it as QuickBooks, but I have used it before so I don't expect any problem with it. Only about 3 more weeks and this class will be done.

I probably won't be going to Weight Watchers tonight. With the roads so bad, it's not worth the drive and I can't stay for the meeting anyway. Tonight is DS#3's first basketball game of the season so I would need to drive 12 miles one way just to weigh in and then leave.

It feels so good to have the furniture debt paid off! Every time I think of it being paid, I smile.

Sure Looks Good

November 29th, 2007 at 05:02 pm


I was just noticing tonight that I like the looks of that list of debts in the sidebar. There are only 3 there now! I started off with 2 credit cards, furniture, 2 mortgages and 2 car loans. That's pretty good for a year!

AND...Another One Bites the Dust!

November 21st, 2007 at 06:06 pm

The furniture is paid off as of today!!! One more debt eliminated!

Still Plugging Along

October 27th, 2007 at 02:35 pm


I haven't been around much for months. I am still here and still paying down our debt. We will have the furniture paid off next month as long as the overtime continues like it has. Then it will be time to start on the car.

I decided to pay off the car since I checked the Blue Book price on it and it was nowhere near what I had thought it was. So since it is a depreciating item and the house isn't (well, depends on your take on the news lately!), I decided the car was the next debt to focus on.

I am in the middle of my accounting applications class and really enjoying it. Right now we're learning QuickBooks, which I use every day at work, so it's been a breeze. Next up is Turbo Tax. I'm really looking forward to that one.

Today we went car shopping with DS#2. He will be getting his license back soon since it's been 6 months since his last seizure. He has a job, but no car so he's looking for some wheels. It's very hard to find a car in his price range, but he's searching. He's found quite a few on a local site so we checked them out today. One of them is a strong possibility.

I found out a few weeks ago that I'm getting a nice merit raise next year, along with a cost of living raise. That will really help with the budget. I reworked my spreadsheet so that the items that are desperately under budgeted will have more funding.

We got quite a bit of home improvement work done this summer. That's why the net worth chart took a dip. We put on siding and a new porch roof. Now we're working on the kitchen addition.

Guess that's about it for now. Just wanted to drop in and say I'm still here. I hope to have more time to blog from here on out.

3 Debts in 3 Years

August 4th, 2007 at 02:08 pm


According to Quicken's Debt Reduction planner I will have 3 debts paid off in 3 years if I can continue to funnel as much money to them as I am now.

The furniture can be paid off in December 2007.

The smaller mortgage can be paid off in December 2008.

And the car loan can be paid off in December 2009.

That would be awesome! The only debt that would remain is the larger mortgage and that could be paid off in February 2013. Not bad at all!

New Goals

June 28th, 2007 at 05:50 pm


It's time to set new goals for the year since I reached one of my goals and surpassed another already this year.

So, the new goals to reach by the end of 2007 are:

#4: get mortgage #1 balance below $6400
#5: pay off furniture

Under $70,000!!!

June 27th, 2007 at 02:07 pm


I just wrote the check for the mortgage payment and our total debt is now below the $70,000 mark! My goal was to accomplish this by the end of the year and I've done it 6 months early! Yeah!!!

Aiming for the Bull's Eye

June 22nd, 2007 at 03:03 pm

I should be knocking out Goal #3 next week. I'll be paying an extra $260 on mortgage #1 which will bring overall debt below the $70,000 mark.

I have to seriously sit down now and come up with a set of goals for the rest of 2007.

Friday Round-Up

June 8th, 2007 at 05:41 pm


Rolled $6 in change this morning and deposited it in the Emergency Fund after work.

Came home from NYC with the worst sinus infection I've ever had. I've been sick all week and seem to be getting worse. I'm now on antibiotics but woke up this morning with very little voice. The family is enjoying that.

Tomorrow there is a motorcycle dice run to benefit Sydney, my cousin's 18-month old daughter that had the seizure. She has been off of life support for quite a while now and is still breathing on her own. Her eyes have begun to respond a bit to light even though the doctors said it would never happen. She's had a feeding tube inserted and the family is either going to bring her home next week or take her to a nursing home near them.

Getting anxious to get that $248 paid to drop our total debt below $70,000.

DS#2 called from camp tonight but a thunderstorm was rolling in and we lost the connection. DH had time to ask him if he was taking his seizure medicine like he should and that's about it.

DS#2's salvage title FINALLY came for his wrecked Toyota so I faxed that right off to the insurance company so they can mail him the check. Maybe that whole mess can be done soon. It's only taken 3 months...

Debt Payments

May 29th, 2007 at 05:46 pm

On Thursday I will be paying an extra $233.90 on mortgage #1 and doubling my payment for this month on the furniture loan. This will bring our overall debt total down to $70,505.08. We're closing in on goal #3!


Only $921.66 More...

May 10th, 2007 at 03:06 am

to reach goal #3 of getting our overall debt below $70,000 this year! That is definitely within sight! Now I'll have to come up with some new goals. Hmmm...putting on my thinking cap.

Changed My Mind

May 6th, 2007 at 04:49 am


I've changed my mind on what debt I'm attacking next with my debt snowball. I've decided to roll my credit card payment onto mortgage #1 instead of the car loan. The mortgage has an interest rate of 9.38% and the car loan is 7.09%.

I can have the mortgage paid off in March of '09 at the rate I intend on paying. My challenge to myself will be to pay it off even sooner with extra money I can save and find.

This mortgage is the one that has our taxes and insurance escrowed into the payment. They are the bank that decided they weren't paying our fall taxes and never notified us so we were turned into a collection agency. I'd really like to be done with them as soon as possible.

Credit Card Debt Wiped Out!

May 1st, 2007 at 03:35 am


It is official: our credit card debt is gone as of today!!!

I paid the remaining $208.85 on the Discover Card this morning. We are credit card debt free!!!!

There is light at the end of the tunnel...

Catching Up

April 28th, 2007 at 04:13 am


It's been a while since I've been here. Life just seems to not want to give us a break.

DS#2 had another seizure on Tuesday. This time there was no doubt it was a seizure so he has lost his driver's license for at least 6 months. They did another EEG on Wednesday and found seizure activity on both sides of the brain. He goes for blood tests on the 3rd to test his Depakote levels and then we will have a follow-up with the doctor before DS#2 leaves to work at camp for the summer.

I had hope that with all the car accidents we had there for a while that that would be the last punch that life threw us for a while and we could relax. Guess not!

Let's see...financial side of life is going okay. I had to draw out $500 from our EF so that I can pay my insurance deductible on the car, so that's back down to practically nothing. But on the bright side the last Discover Card payment will be made in a couple of weeks. Then I'll snowball that payment to my car payment.

I am very close to goal #3 of having our overall debt below $70,000 this year so that's encouraging.

DD#1 is done with her 2nd semester of college. She will begin doing data processing for the summer for a local company in a couple of weeks. DS#1 finishes his semester in a couple of weeks and is coming home and hopefully can get his job back at the grocery store.

MIA?

January 15th, 2007 at 08:28 am


I guess I've sort of been missing in action lately. All I've managed to do is post daily spending.

The reason is that since being given the go-ahead to exericse I've really been concentrating on my health instead of finances lately. Not that I've given up the good debt fight! No way! I've just been spending more time on line reading about stress reduction and natural blood pressure control than blogging about my finances.

I've been off of the blood pressure medicine for over a week now since it took a dive to 85/54 a little over a week ago. The doctor's office said to stop the medicine altogether, except the diuretics, and keep track of it daily like I've been doing. I'm to call them weekly and let them know what it's doing.

So right now I'm controlling it with diet and exercise. I started doing my yoga again today after more than a month and my BP today was 117/75 with a pulse of 68! Very good compared to lately and excellent when you consider that's without medicines.

We are beginning to think that all this (racing heart, pitting edema, high blood pressure, etc) was caused by the blood pressure medicine! The day I quit taking it I immediately began to feel much better. My pulse dropped, the edema started to go away (I lost 14 pounds!), and I just felt much healthier.

So that is my main challenge for this year: get back to my previous good health and slimmer body! Boy, just when you've lost the weight and feel good something's got to come along to mess it up, huh?

My Sneaky, but Sweet & Thoughtful DH

January 5th, 2007 at 02:05 am


He really got me last night. It was our 22nd anniversary and when I came home there was a bouquet of 22 carnations in mixed colors. Carnations are my favorite flowers.

He took me to one of our favorite restaurants for dinner and I learned that the idea he had for buying bicycles for our anniversary was something he mentioned to throw me off on what he really had planned.

Some background first: for his 40th birthday last year I saved for months and surprised him with a trip to the Poconos to a Nascar race.

Our anniversary and my birthday are very close, 6 days apart. I'll be turning 40 on the 10th of January. I had told him that I honestly didn't want anything big and expensive because I really want to pay the CC off. So he felt like his hands were tied as to what he could do. Well, he did some good thinking.

He told me last night that our anniversary/my birthday gift is a trip to Mississippi to see my best friend that I haven't seen in 3 years! I can choose any time this year that I want to go. So I'm thinking that we'll go in mid-September or October. That gives me plenty of time to put my ING account to use (thank you Ima!) and save up enough money and incur no credit card debt.

He arranged all this with my friend without my knowledge by emailing her. He was sneaky about getting her email address. He had me provide it when I organized all the financial information just before my visit with the neurologist about the cyst in my brain. He said he wanted her address so he could let her know just in case something should happen. Ha! Keep in mind, he has never met this friend or her husband, so this is really sweet of him.

So now I have a new challenge: to save money for this trip. I set up an automatic transfer for it and will just figure it in with the regular budget.

Now for the planning....

2007 Goals

January 1st, 2007 at 06:42 am

I was looking back over the goals I had previously set for 2007 and realized that I need to adjust them. Here is what I had originally planned on:

#1: $1,000 in EF for bare minimum
#2: pay off at least half of CC#2
#3: pay off furniture
#4: pay off DH's truck
#5: look over DH's 401K investments and determine if we should change the mix
#6: max out my IRA contributions
#7: get disability insurance on me
#8: hopefully have the term insurance process finished soon!

Because of my health issues I seriously doubt that #7 is going to happen any time soon, if at all, at least until we find out what the underlying issue is. And I realized that the more focused I am on less goals, the more I'll be driven to see them accomplished.

So, here are my "adjusted" 2007 goals:

#1: $2,000 in Emergency Fund
#2: CC #2 paid off
#3: pay off furniture
#4: get overall debt below $65,000

I'm going to keep it short and simple so I can really focus on those goals.


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