Month 11 of Our Journey to Become Debt Free: November 2013

Month 11 of Our Journey to Become Debt Free November 2013

This is the 12th post in Our Journey to Become Debt Free. To read the others, click here.

November was a great month. I didn’t think it would be, but it ended up being pretty eventful in Our Journey to Become Debt Free. We were waiting for Lucas’ hospital bills from October to be finalized and I was in the middle of opening my Etsy store. Both of those equate to a lot of nervous anticipation and money money money.

Here is the monthly progress we have made:

Totals through October 2013

At the end of October, this is where we stood:


At the end of October, Lucas stayed overnight in the hospital with Croup. He recovered very quickly, but it was a very scary ordeal for us. I was also terrified of receiving the hospital bills. Even with insurance, medical bills make me sick to my stomach.

Throughout November, I signed on every few days to our insurance’s website and looked at what claims had been filed. At one point, 2 claims for some doctor were filed for a total of $78.00. The insurance discounted and paid and we were left with $13.73. Then, the pediatrician’s claim was filed for $249.00, processed and we owed $216.23. It would have been less, but we still had a $500 deductible left to satisfy. Next, the Emergency room company filed for $617.38, insurance processed and we owed $274.37. At this point, at a total of $504.33, our deductible was covered but I knew the hospital itself still had not filed a claim.

Finally, the week before Thanksgiving the hospital’s claim was filed. It was a whopping $10,080.98! I estimated we’d have to pay about $1,000 of that and the $504.33 for a total of around $1,500. I had not made most of our Snowball payments in October and did not make any in November. I carried over $430.53 in the Snowball budget category from October and set aside $256.76 in November for a total of $687.29 to go towards the medical bills. Then on the Friday after Thanksgiving, I looked and we only owed $322.91 to the hospital!!

With the other claims and the hospital, it was $827.24 for his ER visit and hospital stay. A little over half of what I thought it would be! I decided to use the $430.53 from October to make a payment on the CR-V and carry the $256.76 over to December for Lucas’ medical bills.

Another great thing happened; I received my final refund from the OBGYN’s office for overpayment for my prenatal care from Lucas. It took over a year, but at least I got it. That was another $420 to put towards the hospital bill.

We spent $393.54 on groceries in November, which is great! I blew my $100 Etsy/Blog budget though, coming in at $176.94. Yes, you should go to my Etsy store and buy something to help me make it up. Just kidding, kinda..?

We made a goal to pay off the CR-V before the end of the year. Although the $827.24 hospital bill was less than I thought it would be, it definitely threw a wrench in those plans. I’m not sure we’re going to make it.

We’ve caught up the Our Journey to Become Debt Free series! Starting in January, I will post a summary of our debt payoff activities for December and will continue to do that monthly for the month before. Right now, I have December’s post scheduled for January 3.

Have you ever been pleasantly surprised by a medical bill being LESS than you thought it would be? Or started a new endeavor, Etsy for me, that cost you to start up and you didn’t see any results at first?

Month 10 of Our Journey to Become Debt Free: October 2013


This is the 11th post in Our Journey to Become Debt Free. To read the others, click here.

Oh October! October was a very spendy-rific month. You get to the end of the year and just lose sight, I guess. We are inching closer and closer to becoming debt free though, so I just need to look at it that way. 🙂

Here is where we stood at the end of September:

Totals as of October 2013

And here are our monthly snowball totals:

Monthly through September 2013


Let’s start with groceries, they were a whopping $769.63. Maybe it was another of those months where we ran out of everything? I really don’t know why but that’s crazy high. I do know that October is the month that Lucas stopped nursing. {insert Mama tears here} He seemed less and less interested and got more and more teeth and it would take some adjusting for him to get used to the new teeth when hey started to come through. Then, he got sick over and over again and he bit me two days in a row and then just wouldn’t latch anymore. It was really bittersweet. I hadn’t gotten to that, “I want my body back” phase. I still enjoyed the closeness tremendously and having him slow down long enough to snuggle and nurse. Now he’s too busy to slow down for anything. Haha!

My point is, I think that could have brought the groceries up a tad because we started weaning him to whole milk and buying a few more grocery items for him. Not $370 worth though.

October was the month that Lucas was sick several times so we had a couple of co-pays and prescription costs and then at the end of October he was hospitalized overnight for Croup. I got worried about the hospital bill and how much it would be, so I didn’t snowball at the the end the month whatever was left like I normally do.

Which means, we only made an extra $137.50 on top of regular monthly payments for our Snowball. We carried over $430.53 to November though.

That’s it folks! Only 2 more weeks left and then we will be caught up and you’ll get to see if we are going to actually be able to pay off the CR-V by the end of the year. The rest of the year has a lot of spending going on so I’m hoping and praying. Be sure to check back next week for November’s post 😉

Oh, and don’t forgot to like me on Facebook or Subscribe for future posts.

How are your holiday preparations going? Is everything ready for Christmas at your house?


Linked up at Living Well Spending Less’ Thrifty Thursday.

Holidays = Busy, Busy, Busy

Merry Christmas Yall

I’m having a rough month. In a good way and bad. The holidays are just such a busy time of year.

When I first opened my Etsy store, Aqua Anchor Designs, I didn’t really think it would take out at first. So I made one of everything just to have pictures and everything was going to be made to order with a 3-5 processing time. Well now, I’m busting my butt to keep up. Out of 16 sales, only 2 haven’t been shipped the very next day though so I’m doing good. But I am certainly not complaining. It’s such a humbling feeling to know that people actually like your stuff enough to pay for it. 😉 Of course, I’m a perfectionist, so I’m anxious the whole time I’m packaging up every order, thinking “oh no look at this little dark spot” or “they are not even going to like this”. I need to pray about that…

I also have some stuff going on with my job. 😦 Nothing that I’ve done, but just some rearranging of positions and basically what I’m doing is being eliminated. Which stinks, because I really do like my job. My plan was to stay there until we were ready for me to stay home. I could stay at the place I’m at though, just doing a job I don’t particularly like. So now, I’m looking to go part time somewhere. It’s not staying home, but it’s better than full time. Although, it will affect Our Journey to Become Debt Free. I would really appreciate thoughts and prayer on this, please.

So– I hate to do this… but I’m taking a break from Not Your Mainstream Mama.

You can do anything but not everything

Ooh, it pains my heart just to type that. This is NOT one of those, “Hey, I’m taking a break… and never coming back” either. Haha! I’m just taking a break through the end of the year and plan to be back the first week of January. I will continue to post every Wednesday for the Our Journey to Become Debt Free series though.

And to make it sweeter, I’ve got a giveaway planned for January.  So be sure not to miss it!

I will post to my Facebook page, Instagram and Twitter though so you should follow me there. You should also SUBSCRIBE for future posts so you’ll get them right in your Inbox when my break is over. 😉

Have you been overwhelmed this holiday season? Do you have any special projects going on?

Month 9 of Our Journey to Become Debt Free: September 2013


This is the 10th post in Our Journey to Become Debt Free series. To see the others, please click here.

Hello everyone! I hope all of your Christmas preparations are going well, and that you aren’t spending too much money. 😉 We’re almost caught up with the debt series! September was a great month. No major expenses, no emergencies, good spending habits. All in all, I’m pleased.

Oh, and if you do need some more Christmas presents, be sure to check out my Etsy Shop Aqua Anchor Designs. I have listed a bunch of new Shotgun Shell and Bullet Casing earrings and have a bunch of choices in the Fabric Button Earrings and my Coffee Filter Wreaths. And don’t forget to use the coupon code AQUA5OF20 for $5 off a $20 order. You’ll need to order your item by this Friday, December 13 to receive it by Christmas.


But back to September, this is what we looked like at the beginning of September:

Debt Totals through August 2013And here’s what we had done monthly:

Monthly Totals through August 2013


We did really good on groceries in September, only spending $400.15. It’s crazy to me that last year I was spending $600-$800 a month. What was I buying?!

 One big thing we did in September, besides celebrate Lucas’ 1st Birthday, was clean out our tiny storage room in the carport. It’s the only outside storage we have and it’s where our Water Heater is. It was all part of our cleaning to get ready for Lucas’ party. And it was necessary because it looked like this beforehand:  Carport Before We couldn’t fit everything back in that room, especially not organized, so we went and bought a little Rubbermaid shed for our patio. It was on sale and was $200.15 after taxes. Lucas seemed to really enjoy helping Daddy:He’s so much more grown up already. 😦 But this is what we ended up with:

Shed and Storage Room After

Since we did good on our spending and only bought the shed as extra, we were able to snowball…. $858.38! Woohoo!! And it all went towards the CR-V. Working on getting it paid off by the end of the year. 😉

Aren’t “boring” months the best when paying off debt? No big expenses or emergencies and it all going right to debt! Have you had one lately?

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To Santa or Not to Santa?

Santa Picture 2013

I don’t want a heated debate with anyone and I don’t want any rude comments, but I am seriously considering Not to Santa. Originally, Clint and I discussed it before kids and both agreed that we didn’t see anything wrong with our children believing in Santa. Now that I actually have a child, I think about things a lot differently, though.

Actually, until I read an old friend’s Facebook post about why she chose not to teach her children about Santa, I hadn’t even thought twice about that particular subject. She made very valid points though, and when I shared those with Clint, he almost agreed. Then, I guess he went back to reality and said he didn’t think there was anything wrong with Santa.

I’m not thinking that there is anything “wrong” with Santa, I would just rather focus more on other things I suppose. Like, I don’t like the idea that Santa brings all the biggest, baddest, coolest gifts. Mommy and Daddy worked hard for those gifts and instead of getting any Thanks out of it, it’s all going to some imaginary guy. Clint says that’s selfish, but I still feel that way.

Also, I know as a child that Santa’s existence was always a hot topic on the school playground. If we let Lucas believe in Santa Claus, he may start questioning his existence because he hears other kids questioning it. And then, what if that leads him to question Jesus’ existence. That seems like a logical tie-in in a child’s brain to me.

Not only those two things though, but Christmas has become so commercialized. I don’t want that for our family. I guess since we’ve started on our debt-free journey, all the overspending I see associated with the holidays really disturbs me more too.

I can only hope that Lucas will be a thankful little kid like Clint was. Clint got everything he ever asked for but still appreciated every single thing. I got most everything I wanted, and still wanted more. I still have a hard time working against my selfishness now.

Maybe I’m reaching here, but I just want to protect and facilitate his salvation and appreciative personality traits to the best of my ability and in every single way possible.

I think Clint and I have decided to sort of split the decision down the middle, but haven’t made any definite decisions yet. We agreed to wait until next year to really decide, since he won’t remember this Christmas anyhow. I *think* we will probably tone down the commercial aspect of Christmas every year and do our best to teach the message of Christmas as a Christian one.

Like I said, these are only my opinions. If you celebrate Santa or even a Leprechaun or Bunny Rabbit on Christmas, those are your parenting choices.

Do any of you have similar views? Do you teach your children believe in Santa? Are there any traditions in your family that would make Christmas and Santa easier to not be so commercialized and more of a Christian celebration?

Distressed DIY Chalk Paint Media Center

Buffet Turned Media Center with Distressed Chalk Paint

Oh aqua, how I love you!! By far, my favorite color, can you tell? Aqua Anchor Designs and now, aqua furniture in my house. Chalk paint is my kind of paint. Although it’s taken me several weeks to get this finished, it was pretty easy to do!

Just to remind you, this is what I started with when I picked this up at Goodwill:

Media Center Buffet Before
Luckily, I had vision. I told you a few weeks ago in my Living Room Inspiration post that I planned to paint this bad boy aqua.

Of course, I made my own Homemade DIY Chalk Paint. The store bought stuff is EXPENSIVE! To make mine, I mixed 3 tbsp water and 5 tbsp Plaster of Paris into a slurry. Then I mixed that with 2 cups of latex paint. This paint color is a combination of our Sunroom and Lucas’ room and I think some white too, so I can’t tell you exactly what it is, sorry!

First things first, you do not have to sand furniture you are going to paint with Chalk Paint. However, I was also told you didn’t have to prime a fridge for Chalkboard Paint and I’m still a little bitter about that. So, Clint sanded it for me the week we got it and it’s been sitting in the carport.

Media Center Buffet After Sanding

Most of my pictures are not in good light, because I work and weekends are hectic so I just use whatever chance I get to work/take pictures, sorry.

Shaye and I painted one coat on, thick, one night and this is what it looked like. Luckily for me, I was already going for a distressed look because we painted in the dark with only the carport light.

Buffet Media Center after One Coat of Chalk Paint

Then, we let that coat dry… For 2 weeks. Lol No that’s not necessary, but I just haven’t had time to finish it. By the way, this paint stores very well as long as it’s sealed air tight. I had mine in an old Cool Whip container with Press’n Seal on the top. You may have to add a little water, but I didn’t. Also, make plenty of paint! If you have to add to it, it gets clumpy and makes painting difficult– ask me how I know.

Finally, I put a second coat on (in the daylight) and I thought it looked amazing. I almost didn’t even want to distress it.

Buffet Media Center after Second Coat of Chalk Paint

I didn’t (by accident), but if I were you, I’d sand in between coats. Most imperfections and brush strokes come out pretty easily with a light sand.

After the second coat, I sanded it pretty heavily because I had a lot of brush strokes. I wonder if a foam brush would’ve been better? Any experiences to share?

Sanding Chalk Paint

Once I had it looking nice, I took some heavy grit sandpaper and distressed all of the corners and edges and in a few random spots on the flat pieces. It looked great while it was still outside. Now that it’s in the Living Room the distressing blends in and you can’t see it. So I may get the sandpaper out again.

After I was pleased with the distressing, I used Minwax Paste Finishing Wax in Natural to seal the paint and give it a smooth finish. I’ve never used wax before, but I’m in love!! The top of the media center is sooo smooth now. I was hoping to get a darker wax to give it an even more distressed look, but the only option was Natural.

And that’s it. Here is our gorgeous aqua chalk painted buffet turned media center.

Door of Buffet Media Center After Chalk Paint

Buffet Media Center Corner After Chalk Paint

Chalk Painted and Distressed Media Center

Clint and I both are in love with it, which doesn’t normally happen. We’re thinking about adding another shelf on the inside for better storage of the VCR, Nintendo, and PS3. Other than that, I am EXTREMELY pleased with chalk paint, aqua, buffets turned media centers and my very own DIY’ed Chalk Paint Aqua Buffet turned Media Center. 🙂

Have you ever used Chalk Paint? Was it homemade or store-bought? Have anything sitting around that would look good painted with it? I would love to see!


Speaking of aqua, I have a coupon code for $5 off $20 or more orders at Aqua Anchor Designs. I have Christmas earrings and wreaths and shotgun shell earrings in stock. 😉

Etsy Coupon

Month 8 of Our Journey to Become Debt Free: August 2013

Month 8 of Our Journey to Become Debt Free
This is the 9th post in the Journey to Become Debt Free series, click here to see the others. This post may contain affiliate links.

We got back on track, for the most part, in August. After not making any extra Snowball payments in July, I was ready to pay some debt off! Especially if we planned to have the CR-V paid off by the New Year.

As a side note, I added 20 new listings for earrings this morning at Aqua Anchor Designs! You should go check them out!


But first of all, here are our monthly Snowball totals through July:

Monthly Snowball Totals through July

And here are our balances as of August:

Debt Payoff Totals as of August

Last month, I had budgeted an extra $350 for some dental work Clint and I were both having done. After both appointments, our total was $293.50. The excess was placed in other budget categories.

I’ll tell you about all the money we spent first. We upgraded our phones which cost us a pretty penny. I budgeted $320 and carried that over to September because that’s when the bill for it would be paid.

I also had a CD player put in the CR-V and I had the windows re-tinted on it. Trust me, it was necessary. It had a tape player and the radio got lousy reception, now I have a CD player that also gets lousy radio reception, but at least I can listen to a CD or Pandora or something. Oh, and the windows—they were bad! Imagine purplish blue peeling tint that you can’t really see through. Not a good thing for me, especially since I have a hard time driving at night. All of that money came from what was left of the $3,000 personal loan we got for the CR-V purchase though. After the CD player, window tint, tag, and use taxes we had $284.02 left.

I spent a lot of August preparing for Lucas’ 1st Birthday. We got him these Melissa & Doug toys for his birthday:

[amazon-product alink=”0000FF” bordercolor=”000000″ height=”240″]B004PBSUMU[/amazon-product][amazon-product alink=”0000FF” bordercolor=”000000″ height=”240″]B000GYWXR8[/amazon-product][amazon-product alink=”0000FF” bordercolor=”000000″ height=”240″]B000SONEQA[/amazon-product]

Since we were already buying from them, I went ahead and bought for Christmas too. This is some of what he’s getting for Christmas:

[amazon-product alink=”0000FF” bordercolor=”000000″ height=”240″]B000MX7WBU[/amazon-product][amazon-product alink=”0000FF” bordercolor=”000000″ height=”240″]B000U4CUHC[/amazon-product]

On those gift purchases, I went overbudget in our Gifts budget category by $59.18. He’s worth it! 😉

August is the month that I officially bought and I paid for the web hosting, which ran be about $100. Luckily, we did pretty good on groceries this month coming under budget at $255.03.

The $284.02 left from the CR-V Loan (personal loan) and another $111.88 went towards the CR-V this month, in addition to the regular payment.

It seems like we’re starting to fizzle out here towards the second half of the year. It can be really difficult to keep your eye on the prize with such a slow process. I think that setting the short-term goal to have the CR-V paid off by the end of the year is the ticket to help us stay motivated to reach our long-term goal!

Are you working to pay off your debt? Are you setting short-term goals for yourself to stay motivated? I’d love to hear them!