Month 3 of Our Journey to Become Debt Free: March 2013

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This is the fourth post in the Our Journey to Becoming Debt Free series. To read more of them, please visit this page

 

Let me start by saying that I am absolutely loving the feedback I am getting on this Our Journey to Becoming Debt Free series. It is great to think that I am inspiring someone else to tackle their own debt to better their life. I know several of you have even started using You Need A Budget. (If you use my referral link here, you’ll save $6!)

Like Dave Ramsey says, if we’ll live like no one else now, later we’ll live like no one else.

We’re a little bummed right now about our debt payoff though, to be honest. As I mentioned Monday, Lucas had an overnight hospital stay this past weekend. Obviously, I know that it was necessary.. but I feel so defeated. Who knows how many months the bill will add to our journey!  I just need to remember to be thankful that Clint has a job that provides such a great insurance plan. Help me remember that when I get the bill, please?

So, let’s talk about March. Here’s what we looked like at the end of February:

Total Debt Month Ending February 2013 Clint gets paid bi-weekly, so twice a year he gets 3 paychecks for me to budget towards one month, instead of the usual 2. March was one of those months for us which meant a nice Snowball.

I hit just a little bit under my $440 grocery budget in March, coming in at $438.42. Go me!

We used the rest of the tax refunds and some of the Snowball and made a $500.00 payment on the Chase. I also finally went to the doctor to have some stomach issues I’ve had going on for around 3 years looked into, so we had an extra $175 in co-pays.

After all of that, we still had another $515.74 to Snowball. But I’ll admit it, I was scared. The idea of throwing every extra penny to debt is hard for someone who has always tried to save, which is silly because what’s the point in building a savings account while you’re building debt on the other side of your finances.  But I was scared, so I held onto that $515.74 into the next month. Don’t worry though! We reaffirmed our plan in April and used every bit of it. Come back next week to read about that.

Do you have a “savings” and debt? Why not just put that savings onto your debt? What do you think about the concept?

 

This post contains affiliate links. 
 
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Brownie Pumpkin Mousse Trifle

Brownie Pumpkin Mousse Trifle Dessert Recipe
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Looks yummy doesn’t it? That’s because it is! I have been on a pumpkin kick lately, so this Brownie Pumpkin Mousse Trifle was heavenly. So good that I will probably be adding it to the Thanksgiving table this year.

As a matter of fact, this would be wonderful right about now. We’ve had a very long weekend. Yesterday, we went to a farm 2 hours away to get peanuts for a Boiled Peanut sale at our church’s Fall Festival today and to go to their Pumpkin Patch. Lucas wasn’t feeling very well, but we were hoping that getting out and about would make him feel a little better. He did do pretty good, until on the way home he started getting pretty fussy. He was sweating so I took his clothes off and noticed he was having retractions. I focused on his breathing and noticed he was struggling to breath. It got worse and worse and decided we were going straight to the Emergency Room at our local hospital, which was still about an hour away when we decided. I was a nervous wreck. He is fine though– it was Croup and after receiving lots of breathing treatments and staying overnight at the hospital, he is feeling much better. He scared his Mama to death though.

This Brownie Pumpkin Mousse Trifle would be a nice treat right now. It wasn’t very difficult to make either, but would be great for a party of get together. People are always so impressed with a trifle because of the presentation. A printable recipe is at the bottom of the post.

Pumpkin Trifle Recipe Brownie Cool Whip Mousse

Start with the brownies. You can make the boxed kind or homemade like these. I like to cut them into bite sized pieces. 

Pumpkin Trifle Recipe Brownies

Then, make your pumpkin mousse by combining ….. Be sure to only fold the whip cream in and not just mix it or the whip cream might fall.

Pumpkin Trifle Recipe Ingredients

Now all you have to do is layer. I always like to put my brownies in the bottom of my trifles, because I think it makes scooping it out easier. Next is the pumpkin mousse and then the Cool Whip.

Pumpkin Trifle Recipe Ingredient Layers

Make one more layer and drop some brownie crumbs on top and Voila!

Finished Brownie Pumpkin Mousse Trifle Recipe

Have you ever made a trifle? Will you be adding this Brownie Pumpkin Mousse Trifle to your Thanksgiving Menu this year? 

Brownie Pumpkin Mousse Trifle

Ingredients

1 box prepared brownies
1 can pumpkin puree (15 oz)
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1 box French Vanilla instant pudding (3.4 oz)
1 container Cool Whip (16 oz)

Directions

  1. Cut prepared brownies into bite sized squares.
  2. Mix pumpkin pie spice, pumpkin puree and pudding until combined. Then fold in half of the Cool Whip.
  3. Arrange half of the brownies into the bottom of a trifle or large bowl. Then, add half of the Pumpkin Mousse mixture from step 2. Top that layer with half of the remaining Cool Whip.
  4. Use the remaining ingredients to make another layer. Use any crumbs from the brownie pan tp sprinkle across the top of the trifle. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours, or as long as overnight.

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Welcome Home Wednesdays

Pastor Appreciation Month & A Gift Idea

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Timothy 5-17

Did you know that October is Pastor Appreciation Month? October 13 was also Pastor Appreciation Day. Have you done anything special for your pastor to show your appreciation?

We are extremely thankful that we have a Pastor at our church that is definitely “worthy of double honor”. Clint and I went through a rough patch a few years ago and he helped us through it and we will be eternally grateful to God for placing him in our lives when he did. Sometimes I wonder, what if he hadn’t been the pastor at our church at that time?

Besides that though, he and his wife are great friends to us. We both know that if we have something we are struggling with we can pick up our phones and call or text them and they’ll be there for us.

We’ve always wanted to do something special for him but have sort of never gotten around to it. We’ve thrown ideas around and that’s been the end of it. Recently, since he is human, I felt like maybe he needed a little encouragement and to know how much our family appreciates all that he does. I decided I was going to make him…something. I just wasn’t sure what. I headed to Mr. Google and searched Pastor Appreciation Day and to my surprise it was October 13. What perfect timing, right?

So I started brainstorming and knew I wanted to make something out of wood. I know he used to be some kind of Forestry guy, so it just seemed fitting. I thought a wall plaque or maybe something he could put on his bookshelf in his office would be best. I text his wife and asked her what some of his favorite verses were and she thought it was a great idea.

I hadn’t thought of anything besides that something planked would be cool. I had planned to make a trip to Home Depot or Lowe’s closer to time and pick up some wood for Clint to cut down for me. Then, I was driving home one day and saw a crib all busted up outside of a storage unit. I jumped out and took a side of it–perfect sized slats! Clint sanded the finish off of the next day and then cut them off.

Slats Collage

Then I mixed up some different paint colors I liked and added some water to thin it out and put it on each slat. I didn’t like the first color, but I did like that each slat was a little different.

Slats Painted

So I mixed up more paint and went over them again. I really don’t think it was possible to mess this up, just keep painting over it until you kind of like what you have. Here’s the consistency with the water added.

Paint Consistency

After they were dry, I laid them out the way I wanted (upside down) and glued 3 staggered slats onto the back. Sorry– I forgot to take pics of that part. Hopefully you understand what I’m saying. I didn’t have any screws short enough so we were going to just glue it and get some screws later. I left that over night to dry.

The next day, I grabbed an ugly old paint brush and barely dabbed the bristles in white paint and brushed them across the front of the slats, parallel to them. I loved the way it looked so I kept going. Here is the design I made for the verse we chose of his favorites:

Verse Design

I printed that out on transparency paper and used an overhead projector to project the design onto the plaque on the wall. Impatiently, I used a pencil and traced the outline of every single letter.

Transparency Trace

Last, I used a little brush like this and black paint to fill in all of the letters 2 or 3 times.

Paintbrush

It was EXTREMELY sturdy after we were done, so we decided against the screws. We were very pleased with the finished product and our Pastor seemed to be really pleased too. Here is the photo he posted to Facebook. 🙂

Robby's Picture of Plaque

Have you ever considered that your Pastor is human and probably needs encouragement, just like we do? Have you done anything special to make you Pastor feel appreciated this month? 

Month 2 of Our Journey to Become Debt Free: February 2013

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This is the third post of the Becoming Debt Free Series. If you’ve missed any of them, you can find them here.

 

Happy Wednesday!

In February, the pace started to pick up a bit. It was so exciting!

Although we made small payments on both credit cards and payments on the car notes, our total went up from January to February because of debt charged to the credit cards and interest charges. Here’s where we stood at the end of January:

Total Debt Month Ending January 2013

First things first, since we were without living room furniture, I scoured Craigslist every day for a leather living room set. Leather seemed like it would hold up better than the microfiber we previously had with a new baby in the house. I did not want to spend over $400 though, and I did not want furniture someone left outside for their cats to scratch up, so my options were limited in that price range. Finally, I came across a nice set for $250 and it included a nice big glass coffee table. I wasn’t actually interested in the coffee table but I knew I could resell it and I did, for $80. I basically got our new living room set for $170 and I had sold the other set for $600. Not too bad, huh?

We both got our W2’s at the end of January and I completed our tax returns. Since we had Lucas last year, our tax liability had gone way down so we were set to get back $2,774 from federal and $1,136 from state. Right after I filed our taxes, I estimated what our tax liability would be for the next year and we immediately adjusted our withholdings to have less tax taken out of our paychecks. I mean, of course it’s nice to get $3,910 all at once. But can you imagine having another $325 each month throughout the year to pay on debt?

Another big thing in February was our garage sale. As I said in my last debt series post, we had gone through the house and rounded up anything and everything that we did not need or use so it was a pretty good garage sale. Lots of waffle makers and dishes. I can’t remember the exact number, but we made between $300 and $400. $220 of that went directly into our BEF, which completed Baby Step 1.

Now that our BEF was complete (such a great feeling), we could move onto Baby Step 2: Pay off all debt using the Debt Snowball. By all debt, Dave Ramsey means everything but your mortgage. The idea here is to pay off all of your debt from the smallest balance to the largest balance. I know it’s weird, but we didn’t take any interest rates into consideration. Dave Ramsey says that 80% of debt payoff is behavior and I completely believe that. You want to pay off your smallest debts first so that you build up motivation and momentum and get excited about paying off debt.

Using our newly scrutinized budget created in Baby Step 0.3 and entered into our handy dandy YNAB software, we knew that we should be able to use our “extra” $45 every month to go towards our Snowball. We knew $45 wasn’t much though but we were working on cutting other items in our budget. We were realistic in our budgeting though, we knew there was no point budgeting $300 for groceries if we knew we were really going to spend $500. Our grocery budget was one of the biggest ones we needed to cut. In 2012, I spent anywhere from $500 to $800 a month of groceries. That is WAY too much for 2 people. In February, I got it down to $473.37. Go me!

Another thing we considered was that once we did pay off some of the different debts that it would free up those monthly payments we were making on them and that money would be available for the Snowball. Oh, and February was our first month without a Cable bill. I did not miss spending that $50 one bit.

When our tax refunds came in, we paid off the American Express and Lucas’ surgery, which were our two lowest debts. We also made a $70 payment and redeemed $25.35 in reward points towards the Chase. It felt amazing!!

Do you get a large tax refund every year? Do you use it to pay off debts or in a needed area?

 

I hope you’ll be back next week as I share our March 2013 report in Our Journey to Become Debt Free.

This post contains affiliate links. 

Crockpot Pumpkin (Apple) Butter

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I love Fall! It’s my absolute favorite time of the year. I just love cooler weather. It’s also the season that my birthday falls in, as well as Lucas’ and Clint’s. My birthday was yesterday and Clint’s is the 29th. For our birthdays, we decided we wanted to go to eat breakfast in New Orleans and to the zoo with Clint’s parents so we went Saturday and the weather was great. Well, it rained all morning but by noon it cleared out and the temperature was great. Lucas really seemed to enjoy it and we all had a great time.

zoo

Another reason I love Fall is the food. Thanksgiving’s my favorite holiday. No– really. To welcome the cooler weather (and hope that it sticks around) Shaye and I made some Pumpkin Butter. Well, it was going to just be Pumpkin Butter but I had 2 apples in the fridge I hadn’t done anything with so we decided to throw those in there too.  The results = amazing!

I love getting Raisin Toast at Waffle House and putting Apple Butter on it. Apple Butter ain’t got nothing on this Pumpkin (Apple) Butter. If I would have known it was this easy to make, I would have made it years ago. Besides, I love eating Raisin Toast. It brings back memories of my Memaw, who also loved Raisin Toast.

Crockpot Pumpkin Butter (w/ Apple)

1 can pumpkin puree (15 oz)

2 apples, cored and diced

1/4 cup apple or white grape juice

1/2 cup sugar

1/4 cup brown sugar (or you can just do all white, your choice)

1-1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice

 

Combine all of the ingredients in crockpot. Cook on low for 5 hours.

Pumpkin Butter recipe

The diced apple will still be chunky, but soft. If you want it chunky, you could eat it as is. I wanted mine smoother though, so we pureed it in the blender.

blender

This can be stored for 2 months in the fridge or frozen for up to 6 months. I’ve stored mine in [amazon-product text=”Pyrex storage bowls” type=”text”]B0000CFTB0[/amazon-product] and would recommend something like that. If you freeze, be sure to only fill it 3/4 full since things expand when frozen.

You can also leave out the apples, but I would up the juice to 1/2 cup if you do that.

I think I may make a large batch and freeze some in [amazon-product text=”Ball Wide Mouth Mason Jars” type=”text”]B005T6FBOK[/amazon-product]  so I can make it once and enjoy it all year long. I’ve only had it on my Raisin Toast so far, but I want to try it on waffles, pancakes, french toast, and in my yogurt… and on anything else that I can think of that sounds reasonable.

finished  

Do you like apple butter? What about pumpkin? Then what are you waiting for?! Go make this and please report back to me about how amazing it is. 

 
This post contains affiliate links.

The Mother of All Meltdowns Review and Giveaway

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I cannot wait to share this sponsored post with you! When the writers of
The Mother of All Meltdowns asked me to share about their new book, I was so excited because it sounded like a good read for you and me!

But let me tell ya,–it’s even better.

No, really. It may even make you feel like a better mother. How?

Well…

Because you’ll realize that the insanely over-dramatic meltdown you had a few days ago- yeah the one that involved poop .. everywhere- was just part of being a Mama.

And in case you’re still in denial: meltdown

Are we on the same page now? Thought so.

In The Mother of All Meltdowns, thirty women share:

Real Stories of Moms’ Finest (Worst, Completely Awful) Moments

resulting from anything and everything but all ending in the one.. The Mother of All Meltdowns. Whether it be from that first positive pregnancy test (because you know you actually took 7 more) like Danielle Herzog at Martinis and Minivans; unwelcome vacation guests like Jennifer West at PinkWhen; stranger’s UNwelcome parenting advice like Debra Cole at Urban Moo Cow or from poop .. everywhere like Natasha Peter at Epic Mommy Adventures. Come to think of it, why does parenting involve so much POOP!?

I really did enjoy this book. I laughed and cried throughout the entire thing. And it’s the perfect read for a busy Mama because each story is only a few pages long, so if you only have the 5 minutes while sitting in the waiting room at the Doctor’s office, you can actually get through one Mama’s entire meltdown.

And it was encouraging. Sure Lucas is only 1 right now, but I have read (and laughed at) several other Mamas worst moments and can somewhat expect some of the completely awful events that could lead to my mother of all meltdowns someday. The book even includes tips on how to make it through meltdowns!

Sounds like something you’d want to read, doesn’t it? Well you’re in luck, I’m giving away two copies to two lucky NYMM readers. Entry below.

If you don’t want a free copy or are too anxious to wait, you can also buy your own copy of The Mother of All Meltdowns, either the paperback here or the Kindle version here.

Leave a comment and share your mother of all meltdowns!

Congratulations Rachael M. & Stephanie B. for each winning a copy of The Mother of All Meltdowns!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Month 1 of Our Journey to Become Debt Free {January 2013}

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This is the second post of the Becoming Debt-Free Series. If you’ve missed any of them, you can find them here.

I think people need goals in life. Our goal is for me to be a SAHM. After I finished reading [amazon-product text=”The Total Money Makeover” type=”text”]159555078X[/amazon-product], in December of 2012, Clint and I agreed to start Dave Ramsey’s program at the beginning of the new year.  At the end of 2012, we had $26,652.92 in debt, not including our mortgage.

That’s almost $30,000!

Here’s the breakdown:

2012

Dave Ramsey’s program is broken into Baby Steps. There are actually 7 primary Baby Steps, the first of which is to save and set aside a $1,000 Baby Emergency Fund. Before we could do that though, there were a few other things we had to tend to. The baby steps can be further expanded upon, and these are the pre-Step 1’s:

pre-step1

Most of these we already had covered before starting. We did lower our retirement contributions, but did not stop them and we did cut cable and have cut down on all of the extras like eating out and buying nice gifts for each other at holidays. Yes, I said it, we cut our cable off – and we love it!

We worked on completing Baby Step 1 in January so it wasn’t a big month in terms of paying down debt, but it was huge for us because it was the first month that we really and truly focused on where our money was going.  I’ve always been a budget fanatic and had a frugal mentality to some extent, but I’m also impulsive and impatient, as is Clint. When we want something, we get it. So in January, we really tried to not give in to those emotions and only spend the money we actually had and was budgeted.

We didn’t do great, we still created more debt. It’s really hard when you are used to spending money and living above your means, to just stop. We added another $595.30 in charges to our credit cards in January.

We definitely did not beat ourselves up, though. We were getting things in order, we were learning to live within our means, and it would take some time—we accepted that. Although we did charge some things to credit cards, we were busy busy making cash to fund our $1,000 Baby Emergency Fund, or BEF for short. Here’s what we did:

  • Set aside a measly $40 from the budget
  • Sold a name brand purse for $40
  • Sold a gaming system for $50
  • Sold our living room furniture for $600
  • Sold a dining room table for $30
  • Sold a wicker chair for $20

This brought our BEF to a total of $780, only $220 more to go.

At this point we had a bean bag and rocking chair in the living room as our furniture to watch our Netflix and Hulu since we had no cable. We were also going through the house rounding up anything and everything that we didn’t need or use to be sold in the Garage Sale we were having in February. Things were starting to get fun!

I hope you’ll be back each Wednesday to see the progress we’ve made this year. If you’re interested in learning more about Dave Ramsey’s Baby Steps, check out [amazon-product text=”The Total Money Makeover” type=”text”]159555078X[/amazon-product]. Are you ready to become debt free? What is your goal or motivation to do it?

 

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Yes, I Cloth Diaper (Part 3)

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Happy Monday! I hope you had a wonderful weekend!

So here it is, the final post to wrap up Yes, I Cloth Diaper. If you missed any, you can see them all here.

Around the time Lucas was 6 months old, I bought more prefolds. They are actually the same size as the Orange edged ones, just wider, which makes them easier to wrap around him. We use them under a [amazon-product text=”Flip Diaper Cover” type=”text”]B00469ZSTO[/amazon-product] most of the time.

alldiapers

I also bought some more pockets to give them a try. I got a really good deal on some used Alva pockets from a local Mama and I recently bought some used Fuzzibunz from another mama. The microfiber inserts that come with pocket diapers just stink, in my opinion. I can’t stand smelling them, so we’ve been stuffing the pockets with the Orange edge prefolds, which fit perfectly. This works really well for us, and is our preferred diaper choice overall.

And here’s the big one… our nighttime solution. When Lucas was younger, just a prefold and cover were fine. Then he started sleeping longer and wetting more and that just would not hold all of it in. We experimented with a few of the diapers we had and then we broke down and bought some nighttime disposables. Those worked most nights, although, sometimes he still leaked out of those. I hated using them though and the smell of them seriously grosses this Mama out! So I started looking around for a cloth nighttime solution. I know wool is very popular, but I was intimidated by it because I had never researched it at all and just assumed it was difficult.

But finally, I looked into wool and it really isn’t all that hard. You just use a diaper of your choice, we like pockets, under a wool cover. If the inside diaper leaks, the wool cover will absorb 30% of its weight in liquid before it starts to leak. Wool is naturally antibacterial so it doesn’t need to be washed after every use, either. And don’t worry if it smells when you first take it off of the babe. Once it dries up, the smell just evaporates.

wool

When you first get a wool diaper, you prep it by washing it in the bathroom sink with wool wash and then you lanolize it with lanolin, or nipple cream as we call it in our house, in the sink and then let it dry for 24 hours and then you just do the same thing once a month or when the diaper starts to hold a smell or leak. Wool can be very expensive, to the tune of $50 or more a cover, but being my thrifty self, I bought two that were upcycled out of old wool sweaters and made by mamas for around $5 each. The maroon one is a little more fuzzy and thicker than the blue, so it works better at night for us. We are loving wool.

Ok, ok – let’s talk about the dirty word – POOP. What do we do with it? Well, we flush it down the toilet where it belongs, of course.

pail

We have two separate spots for dirty diapers in Lucas’ room. One is a pail that is a regular kitchen sized trash can with a trash bag in it. Then we put a [amazon-product text=”Planet Wise Diaper Pail Liner (Hedgehog)” type=”text”]B00A3V33TQ[/amazon-product]in it. The trash bag is to try and keep smells from soaking into the plastic trash can. This pail is for dirty prefolds, which is all cotton. We also keep a [amazon-product text=”Planet Wise Wet Bag” type=”text”]B00A3URYFG[/amazon-product], which is only for covers and the pocket shells.

I separate them because I wash them separately and I don’t want to have to sort through dirty diapers on laundry day.

When Lucas has a dirty diaper, we dump any solids in the toilet and spray it with a diaper sprayer attached to the toilet and the cover/pocket shell and prefold in their respective wetbag. That may sound nasty to you, but consider this: any time Lucas poops in a disposable, it goes everywhere! To compare, he has only had 1 or 2 blowouts wearing cloth.

[amazon-product alink=”0000FF” bordercolor=”000000″ height=”240″]B0041287A8[/amazon-product]

We try to wash laundry every other day or the diapers do start to stink. The prefolds get bleached with a second rinse and dried regular and all of the covers and pocket shells just get laundry soap and a dry on medium heat.

pockets

I love cloth diapers. I know that we are saving so much money and I just generally like them. They feel so much better against my skin than a disposable does, so I’m sure they feel much better on Lucas’ sensitive little bottom.

Would you consider using cloth diapers? Or if someone else would have done the research for you, would you have considered it? What is holding you back?

Fall Coffee Filter Wreath

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Happy Friday! This week has been a super busy week. We had our Fall Revival at church Sunday-Wednesday, and had a great speaker. We were kind of bummed that it ended. And Clint is still home because of the shutdown, so he and Lucas are spending a lot of quality time together (trying not to pull each other’s heads off).

I saw this wreath one day on Pinterest or in the blog world (can’t remember which) and immediately loved it. I love the versatility of it and I even kind of like that it isn’t burlap or deco mesh like every other wreath I see (around here, at least). I do like the burlap and deco mesh wreaths, by the way, my point is just that this one is different. So I recruited my little sister, Shaye, to come over and talk help me with this project.

You’ll Need:

A wreath form of some sort

Natural or white coffee filters (I used around 250)

Hot glue guns and several glue sticks

Ribbon/Decoration for the wreath

Let’s, get right to it. You remember the beautiful garland wrapped wreath I got last weekend?Before

First, we took off the garland. Step2

Better already,  huh?

This is the best method we found for folding and scrunching the coffee filters for the wreath, but you may find a better technique. This is just what worked for us.

First, you fold the coffee filter in half evenly.

Fold in Half

Then, while keeping your fingers pinched on the same spot, you flatten out the rest of the filter.

Pinch Flat

Then I would just make a circle around the filter and pull straight up, scrunching up the filter as I went. It’s really not technical, just sounds like it.

Scrunch

Here’s what it looked like after folding and scrunching. At first, we were folding it in half and then in half again, but I thought it looked too uniform.

Finished

Then, you just fold over the bottom and glue it to your wreath form.

Gluing

You want each filter right on top of the last. Otherwise, when you think you’re done, you’ll have lots of ‘holes’ to fill. I thought I did a pretty good job.

Mostly Done

But see all the bare spots around the inside?

Bare Spots

So, then I went back and filled in all of the bare spots. Have someone hold the wreath up and it’s much easier to notice the spots that need more filters. I also had to go back and add some around the outsides where it looked lopsided at first.

And that’s it! It took us a couple of hours to do, but if you don’t have an extremely talkative helper who can’t multi-task, it would probably only take an hour, tops. Here is my finished product:

After

Looks great doesn’t it? Too bad it doesn’t fit on my front door. My screen door won’t shut with it hanging on the front door. #fail For now, it’s hanging on the outside of the screen door, but I’m not sure how I like that. So now I’m trying to decide if I should gift it or hang it inside somewhere.

Do you hang wreaths throughout the year? Do you make them yourself or buy them? FYI: with the decorations, this cost me less than $9 to make.

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Introduction to The Journey We’re On {Becoming Debt Free}

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This is the first post of The Journey We’re On {Becoming Debt Free} series. To see all posts in this series click here.  

In January of 2012, Clint and I found out that we were pregnant. We were ecstatic! Our original plan was to get pregnant around June or so, but God had other plans for us I suppose. Since we were planning to get pregnant, we were putting a little money aside in preparation, but not much. So with my excitement, came anxiety.

We started putting aside another $300-$400 each month, which was to pay medical bills and buy all the baby things we would need. Eventually, we needed more than we were saving, so we put a little on credit cards. When we decided to transfer our care to a midwife at the very end of the pregnancy though, we had to pay her immediately, so that also went on a credit card. Then, as we added a new member to our family, we had also added several thousands in credit card debt.

But let me back up a little. When I did finally decide that I did want to have children and Clint and I decided that getting pregnant during the Summer of 2012 was a good time, we also discussed me being a SAHM (Stay At Home Mom). If I was going to have children, I wanted to be home with them to raise them myself. I know not everyone thinks that way, and of course, I’m not knocking anyone for the way they do things… but that’s what we wanted.

Once we got the surprise positive on the pregnancy test, I stopped dreaming about being a SAHM and started looking into an affordable childcare option. I mean, we have car payments and a mortgage to pay and my salary helps pay them.

At the end of 2012, when Lucas was a few months old, Clint got tired of hearing me complain about being a WOHM (Work Out of Home Mom) asked me what it would really take for me to stay home. I started researching and making spreadsheets like crazy and really cracking down on our budget. Our budgeting software, You Need A Budget (YNAB) was extremely helpful for this! Click on this link for a $6 discount on the YNAB software.

It was during this time, that I found Dave Ramsey. After researching Dave Ramsey’s steps a little, I read his book [amazon-product text=”The Total Money Makeover” type=”text”]1595555277[/amazon-product], which I absolutely recommend.

[amazon-product align=”center” alink=”0000FF” bordercolor=”000000″ height=”240″]1595555277[/amazon-product]This is when I had my epiphany: I was never going to be a SAHM with all of the medical bills, credit card debt and car loans we had accumulated. Clint wasn’t sold on it at first, but has definitely come around. We’re not super strict DR (Dave Ramsey) followers but we do apply several of his principals and terminology to what we do.

Since January of 2013, we have sold a car, bought an older car, sold half of our furniture, bought cheaper furniture, and sold off almost every single thing in our house that is not used on a regular basis and paid off a large chunk of debt!

paidoff

Over the next several weeks, in this series, I am going to share (in detail) exactly what we’ve done financially and how we’ve accomplished it. Since we aren’t yet debt-free, I will also post a ‘progress report’ at the beginning of each month showing you what kind of progress we made for the month prior. If you don’t want to miss then, be sure to Subscribe and they will be delivered straight to your Inbox!

Paying off our debt is extremely important to us so I hope you’ll join us in our journey to become debt-free (and a SAHM, for me).

Go ahead and order your copy of [amazon-product text=”The Total Money Makeover” type=”text”]1595555277[/amazon-product], and meet me back here next week for a recap of January 2013.Yes, I am going to be as transparent as possible and include our actual debt numbers, not fictitious numbers. Any questions for me before we get started?

 

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