Month 15-18 of Our Journey to Become Debt Free: March-June 2014

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This post is part of Our Journey to Become Debt Free series. To see the others, please click here.

Money, money, money! Let’s talk finances! Our finances have seen a lot of changes this year.

As you know from this post, I quit my full time job in January and started a part time one in February making around $800-$1000 less per month. And then.. you got no more updates about Our Journey to Become Debt Free. I would love to break down each individual month for you, but since that would several weeks, I’m just going to do it in 2 parts. 😉

If you’ll go back and read our Month 14 – February 2014 post, it may refresh your memory a little.

MONTH 15 – MARCH 2014: March is when the “part time” income really started to affect us. We only paid down $491 that month and $234 is our regularly budgeted amount- so really NOT MUCH. That brought the balance down to $6,765.27.

Through June 2014

MONTH 16-18 – APRIL –JUNE 2014: With a little overspending and a little extra money being put aside for the next baby, we were only about to make the budgeted $234 payments on the Civic each month for these 3 months. In June, the balance was $6,109.84. Even so, we had paid off over $17,000 in 18 months at this point.

Monthly through June 2014

BUT in June, my Etsy shop Aqua Anchor Designs started to pick up and finally started showing a profit! At first, I was really scared to touch the money. I thought it was just a fluke and if I drained it, I’d be pulling from our personal budget the next month. Finally, Clint suggested that I should make a Baby Emergency Fund the shop, just in case I had a bad month or something, so we weren’t pulling money from our personal budget. I’d tell you a little more about that next week.

Things are about to get exciting… but I’ll get you updated from July to November in next week’s post. 😉

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18 Weeks Update

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Hi! How was your Thanksgiving? We celebrated a weekend early with my Dad and little sister because my Dad would be gone for work on Thanksgiving. We split the cooking duties and it was SOOO good. I love me some Thanksgiving! I’m so glad I wasn’t to that ‘you can’t eat much because baby is so big and your stomach just doesn’t have enough room in there’ stage yet. On Thursday, we went to Clint’s grandmother’s house and ate with his family there.

Then, we went Saturday and got our Christmas tree. Of course, I didn’t take any pictures though. We never think to take pictures of stuff. Lucas loves the Christmas tree farm though. Well, he pretty much loves any open spaces with lots of grass, trees, leaves, you name it. He’s an outside boy. We’re planning to decorate the tree this week as a family. #startoffamilytraditions

This is me this past Sunday. I’m 18 weeks now. Baby Girl is VERY active. I don’t remember Lucas being this active this early. I can’t wait for Lucas and Clint to be able to feel all of her little movements. I’m sure it won’t be long as strong as she seems to be. Oh, and she’s the size of a sweet potato this week.

18 weeks

I’m really trying to do better with my diet and my water intake. I’m not doing bad, but not doing as great as I should be either. It’s difficult to go from drinking about 15-20 oz of water a day to 60-70. Did you know you’re supposed to drink half your body weight in ounces of water a day? Do you?

Other than that, we haven’t start much baby planning yet. I have another ultrasound this week and an appointment with my high risk doctor and an ultrasound there. I want to “make sure” she’s still a her. The only thing we have done is buy Lucas one of these.

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We’re hoping to get him in the “big boy” twin sized bed before Baby Girl gets here, so she can just use the crib and we don’t have to buy another one. So far he loves it!

Oh, and since it is Cyber Monday– Aqua Anchor Designs is having a 25% sale that ends TODAY. If you spend $50 or more, you can also use coupon code THANKFUL14 for free shipping. 😉

I’m planning to start posting financial updates this week, so keep an eye out. You can make sure you don’t miss anything by:

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Missed Me?

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Life has been extremely busy the last 7 months. I want to update you guys on ALL of it! But not all in this one particular post.

First and foremost, we’re expecting another bundle of joy! I’m 16 weeks right now, but 15 weeks in this photo.

15 Week Baby Bump

As you can tell from the photo, we found out a couple weeks ago that ‘it’ is indeed a baby girl. We’re excited, of course, but scared to death since we feel like we’re ‘boy parents’ now. If only we could agree on a name now.

10 Week Ultrasound

I’m been feeling flutters from baby girl since I was about 14 weeks but they’re starting to turn into more than just flutters now and it’s SO exciting. I can’t wait for Clint and Lucas to be able to feel her move around.

I do plan to keep you guys updated on everything pregnancy in the coming weeks. My next post will be a sort of catch up on our financial aspects of life—I have some BIG stuff to share on that front! I hope you’ll follow along! You can do that by:

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Because No Mother is Perfect (Mother’s Day Giveaway)

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Howdy strangers! I know it’s been a little while, but life is just really getting in the way of me blogging lately. I even have a few projects and ideas for blog posts and haven’t had a moment to sit down and put them to paper, well keyboard.  Anyhow, I think you’ll really enjoy what I have for you today.

I’ve told you before I think being a Mama is tough and then a few months back, I wrote about The Mother of All Meltdowns and even gave away two copies of the book. By the way, it’s only $0.99 now through Mother’s Day on [amazon-product text=”Amazon” type=”text”]0989955311[/amazon-product]. Well, the ladies who put together The Mother of All Meltdowns just launched a new website called No Mother is Perfect and asked me to host a Blog Tour Stop. The website is a community for the perfectly imperfect mother! A place where you can let your guard down and talk about the meltdowns, struggles, and less rosy aspects of being a mom…

To celebrate they’re having an amazing giveaway, No Mother is Perfect, But Every Mother is Unique Mother’s Day Giveaway. Y’all are going to want to check this out– the sponsors include The Oaks at OjaiCarilohaWicker CentralMetropolis Coffee CompanyWind & Fire JewelryChuao ChocolatierGlobal Rose, & Anew Riesling and you could win one of three fabulous prize packages including a three night stay for two at a destination spa! Click the image below to enter!

Enter to Win! (3)

As part of the blog tour, I got to do a little Q&A with one of the contributors! I follow Stephanie’s blog Crayon Marks and Tiger Stripes and love the fact that she uses it as a ministry. Her particular meltdown (yes, it involved poop) has really stayed with me and I’ll think you’ll see why I chose her.. 😉

Q:         So your meltdown story with your toddler yelling “Mommy is pooping” in the restroom of a crowded gas station is definitely the most memorable meltdown from The Mother of All Meltdowns, Stephanie. I actually replay it in my head every time I use a public restroom (TMI?). Have you had any similar instances since then?

A:          Hahaha!!  I replay it in my head too, which is why my little boy now visits the restroom with his daddy on road trips.  This momma vowed to never experience that situation again.  But that doesn’t mean my son and poop haven’t haunted me in other ways.  In fact, just last week, I was horrified by the contents of his pull-up, and the location of said contents.  He has mastered peeing in the potty, but pooping is a different story.  Can you see where this is going?  He is in underwear all day and in a pull up at naptime and bedtime.  He has decided he would rather save his poop for that pull-up rather than the potty.  At this point, I’m convinced he will be 25 and in adult diapers.  I hate potty training…

Anyway, my husband and I were working out to P90X3 while my son was still asleep (or so I thought).  Our son has a tot clock that is blue when he has to stay in his room and yellow when he can get up and play.  It’s set to turn yellow at 8am.  At 8:15, I began to wonder why he hadn’t come out of his room yet.  Around 8:20, he opened the door and out he came with a wad of wipeys and a ginormous poop ball sitting on top of it.  “I cleaned up the poop.  It’s okay.  I cleaned up the poop.”  Much to my horror, the contents of his pull up had overflowed out of his pull up into his pajamas and onto the floor and he had attempted to clean it up (A+ for effort, I guess!).  It was a disaster.

Moral of this story-  If you think blow outs are only a part of infants and young babies, think again.  It will happen to your toddler too.

Since then, this nightmare has also happened in his bed when he tried to clean it up and smeared poop all over his sheets (Ugh!) and just a couple days ago, he tried to empty the contents of his pull up into the toilet (while we were asleep!).  He decided he needed to turn the light on so he climbed up the onto the counter and dragged his little poop covered bottom across the counter to get to the light switch…poop everywhere.  Did I mention I hate potty training?

One day when he is a teenager, I am so going to use these poop stories as blackmail…. 😉

Q:         I know that you suffered from Postpartum Depression and a negative body image after the birth of your son. What do you think were some of the contributing factors to that?

A:          I was already 20 lbs overweight when I got pregnant because I was in nursing school and nursing school equals no life what so ever.  My husband and I decided that after graduation would be a great time to start our family and after 6 months of trying, we got pregnant.  My pregnancy was rough and I felt sick all the time.  When I was nearing the end of my pregnancy, I was diagnosed with pre-eclampsia.  I had already gained 30 lbs, but in two weeks, I gained 20 lbs more of just water weight! I was miserable, uncomfortable and hated the way I looked in the mirror.

I wanted sooooo badly to delivery naturally, but I had to have an emergency cesarean.  Then I was so drugged afterwards that I don’t remember the first 12 hours of my son’s life.  On top of that, I wanted to breastfeed, but it was the most difficult thing to get my body to make enough milk.  My body had become a huge disappointment to me.  Everything that God designed it to do as a woman was failing.  I began to believe that I was a failure.  In that moment, I became vulnerable to Satan’s attacks. I really believe that Satan strikes in those very vulnerable moments.  I never thought I would be one to be hit with postpartum depression and I refused to acknowledge it as that for almost a year.

 Q:        What was finally your “aha!” moment that pulled you out of that haze?

A:          After about 8 months of some serious self-loathing, my husband said something to me that began to lift the haze, “I love your body.  It is what brought our son into this world.  You mean the world to me and you mean the world to our son.”  In that conversation, I could hear God gently tugging on me and saying “If your husband loves you this much, how much more do I, your Father in Heaven, love you?”  It was then that I began to see how I much I was letting Satan deceive me and how I needed to start fighting this spiritual battle, and stop letting him defeat me!  It was then that I surrendered to God and asked Him to help me escape this prison of self doubt and self hate.

 Q:        We all know that No Mother is Perfect and probably tend to feel this way about our bodies often. What advice would you give other Moms that are suffering from negative body image?

 A:          Don’t play the comparison game!!  You never win when you begin to compare yourself to others.  We have to remember: There is only One who is Perfect and His name is Jesus.  No mother is perfect!!!  I’m an imperfect mom and that’s okay.  I’m an imperfect wife and that’s okay.  I’m an imperfect person and that’s okay.  There is a God that loves me regardless of my flaws.  To those moms out there suffering from this, remember that you are an imperfect person loved by a Perfect God!!!

 Q:         Is there a scripture that especially helped you through that phase in your life? (or maybe one you wished you would have used)

A:          I’m glad you asked this question because that is actually the advice I would give to moms suffering from negative body image!  Seek scriptures!!!  Negative body image is a never ending spiritual battle.  Even though I can stand here and say that I have overcome it, I still must have things in place to keep me from going back to that dark place.  That is when I turn to scripture.

In Matthew 4:1-11, Jesus is tempted by Satan.  He responds to Satan’s attacks with scripture.  We need to do the same.  Here are a few of my favorites:

–          Proverbs 31:25- She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come.

–          1 Peter 3:4- Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.

–          John 16:33: I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace.  In this world, you will have trouble.  But take heart! I have overcome the world.

–          Proverbs 31:30- Charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.

–          1 Corinthians 6:19-20:  Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God?  You are not your own.  You were bought at a price.  Therefore honor God with your bodies.

–          1 Samuel 16:7- People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.

Fighting back with scripture is the best battle plan.  When negative thoughts fill your mind, strike them back with scripture, prayer and positive affirmations!  Remember that you are God’s masterpiece!

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Bio: Stephanie is wife to Dr. Smartypants and mom to a little red headed boy.  She’s a Christ follower, a do it yourselfer, a list lover and coffeeaholic.  She lives by the slogan: I am mommy! Hear me roar!  She writes to encourage women in their journeys as mothers and wives.  When she’s not tending to her little ginger’s every need, you can find her at Crayon Marks and Tiger Stripes (www.crayonmarksandtigerstripes.com) where she blogs about healthy living, maintaining a positive body image, faith, and the ups and downs of parenting.  You can also find her on twitter (www.twitter.com/cmtsblog) and on facebook (www.facebook.com/crayonmarksandtigerstripes.com).

 This post contains affiliate links. I have not been compensated for any material in this post and every opinion is my own. 

Month 14 of Our Journey to Become Debt Free: February 2014

Debt Totals through February 2014
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I’m a little late with this post, but Happy March! 🙂 Our February finances were only partially affected by my new part-time job, so we still made pretty decent progress. Our budgeted snowball amount for March looks pretty meek compared with what we’ve been doing. BUT, I am home with my little boy 2 days out of the week that I would not have been, so I’ll happily take it.

Here’s what we look like on our Monthly Snowball Totals:

Snowball Total through February

Like I said, don’t look for March to be as high next month. And here are our debt balances as of now:

Debt Totals through February 2014

So we paid the Civic down another $1,134 and are currently sitting at $7,242.71. That totals to 69% of our debt paid off. Yay!

If you’ll remember, I had set another small goal for us to have the Civic down to at least $7,000 by the end of March. We got this!

Not only do we have less income coming in now, but we’re also thinking of beefing up our $1,000 Baby Emergency Fund a  little bit. Our reasoning behind this is normally we have an extra $1,500 or so a month so if something did come up it was usually cash flowed through our budget. Being that we’re only going to have an extra $300 or so every month now, we feel like it would give us a little more security to have some extra. I’m not really sure when we’ll become “debt free” now though. Things are changing and I’m just so blessed that I have this opportunity to cut our income and be home more.

Our groceries came to $440.15 for the month. I am determined to get this D..O..W..N! Maybe March will be the month? We also went over in our clothing, eating out, and entertainment budgets by $25.70. We really need to get a handle on things like this now. We’re trying really hard to keep ourselves in check, but it’s HARD!

The CR-V also had some work done to it in February. It was leaking oil and had gasoline in the oil. It was in the shop about a half a day and cost us $190. The amazing thing there is normally when a vehicle needs work, it makes me mad. Somewhat irrational I know, but I think modern technology and we have this newer car and blah blah blah is going out and look at how much it’s going to cost me! Not this time. Instead I thought.. yep we knew buying an older vehicle might need more repairs here and there because some things are just wearing out and that’s okay. I mean at least it was only $190. I’m really excited that I have heat now! The thermostat had gone out so Lucas and I did not have heat on these cold mornings. Yes, Mississippi gets some cold weather too! It’s cold to us anyhow. 🙂

Have you started your Debt Snowball yet? How are you doing in 2014?

You Need A Budget {Part 3}

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Part 3: It All Comes Together..

Happy Monday! And it’s now March–already. Have you gotten your budget ready yet? Well, this is the final part of the You Need a Budget Series, which means you should have decided why you need a budget and what categories you need and how to figure out your monthly income. Today, let’s talk budget amounts.

Of course you know some things like your mortgage and your phone bill, car insurance– anything that is the same amount every month.

Things like electricity and water you may have to estimate until you have a better idea, unless you can see what you spent over the last year. I average it out for the year and budget that amount monthly. Some months it will be a little less and some it will be a little more but you will have money accumulated in that budget category for the “more” months from the “less” months.. does that make sense?

I would take everything but the groceries, eating out and entertainment budget and subtract it from your monthly net pay (ours will be $3,000).

ynab3

So in this case, you’d have $662 left for groceries, eating out, entertainment and any kind of savings and/or debt you had. I would budget $400 for groceries, $40 for eating out and use the rest as savings and/or a debt snowball on that car payment. 😉

That will all just give you an idea though. I’m visual so I like to show numbers with what I’m talking about it. I think it’s really important to budget to $0 though. If you have $10 left in the budget, call it “savings”. If you leave it, it will get spent!

Another really great tool for this to give you some perspective is this budgeting tool that Dave Ramsey has on his site. Each category has a little drop-down that explains what would fall under each category. I wouldn’t just use this, but I do think it’s a neat tool to see what you are “supposed” to be spending with your income level.

Isn’t that neat? Budgeting doesn’t have to be such a pain though. Of course, it’s annoying when you run out of money before you get to the end of your budget.. but you only have what you have. Unless you want to be rolling around in credit card debt, of course. I take it as a challenge though.. for instance, I want to get our grocery budget below $400. Every month we seem to be pretty much right at $400. I’m challenging myself to do less convenience stuff, even though we do little now, and just be more frugal with it and get it down. Even if it’s only to $380 every month! That’s an extra $20 for our Snowball! 😉

And you all know I’d recommend YNAB to keep track of it all. 🙂 Here’s my referral link if you’re interested in getting $6 off the purchase price. There is a 34 day free trial to give it a test run if you aren’t sure, also.

Have you got your budget planned and ready for March? Are there any other aspects of making a budget I could touch on that would help you? 

Winner of The Marriage You’ve Always Wanted…

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Drum roll please….

 

Congratulations to….

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Fine print: The winner has been emailed and has 24 hours to respond. If I receive no response, I will pick an alternate. 

Thank you so much to everyone who participated in the giveaway. Hopefully, I will have more opportunities in the future to giveaway something else to you lovelies! 

If you are still interested in the book and want to read it, which I hope you will, you can purchase it at Amazon here:

[amazon-product image=”http://ws-na.amazon-adsystem.com/widgets/q?_encoding=UTF8&ASIN=0802411576&Format=_SL160_&ID=AsinImage&MarketPlace=US&ServiceVersion=20070822&WS=1&tag=notyoumaima09-20″ type=”image”]0802411576[/amazon-product]

I will be posting the final part of the You Need A Budget series on Monday, so be sure to check back! Or you can follow me on Facebook, Twitter, Bloglovin or Subscribe to future posts so you don’t miss them.