Happy New Year!

Welcome 2017!

Wow. Did you ever think that we would see this day? January 1, 2017. Kind of makes you think that we should be close to entering the world of the cartoon The Jetsons. By the way, I loved that show as a kid.

Today is the day that everyone makes resolutions and starts attacking them without a plan. I don’t like resolutions.  I like goals. For which I have made some for 2017.

1. I want to continue on with our plan to get out of debt. Keep reading Dave Ramsey and applying his principles to our life. Our goal is to pay off $10,000 in debt by Dec. 31, 2017.

2. I want to return to school in the summer/fall to finish my nursing degree. I have to retake some classes due to time limits on completion.

That’s it. Those are my goals. Pretty simple.

I wish you all a Happy New Year. Looking forward to 2017!

♡Jenn♡

 

Merry Christmas

This time of year everyone seems to be in a hurry. Running around and shopping for gifts and attending holiday parties. I just wanted to take a minute out and say thank you for reading and going on this journey of simplicity and debt free with me. My goal for 2017 is to update this blog at least 1x a week and we buckle down and get gazelle intense with getting out of debt.

Merry Christmas from Life on Less! Many blessing to your family and God bless!

Emergency Fund

Wow. It’s been a minute huh?

Not much has happened since my last entry. We are still trucking along with our plan. The Hubs got a nice check last payday. Due to some retro pay for a pay increase that HR overlooked. But it was enough to fund our $1000 emergency fund in BS 1 almost fully. The remaining should be funded by the end of the year. Then we can focus on BS 2. If you don’t know what those are I suggest researching Dave Ramsey and his method.

Starting BS2 in January puts us right on track for our goal. Our goal is to pay down $6500 of our debt by the end of March 2017. So far we are at $1000 that we have paid down since getting serious with this journey over the Summer. I won’t lie, there are still days that it’s hard. But we are alot better than we were five months ago. And I am vocal about this. I don’t hide that we are following Dave Ramsey or that we are getting out of debt. Just the opposite, I embrace it. If I could shout it from the rooftops I totally would.

The side hustles I am doing to help with our debt, I am still doing. Well I should say, I am still donating plasma. The cinnamon roll thing got too messy. Not in the physical sense but in the people are too damn needy and flaky sense. Too many people asking too much of me and my time. So I stopped that. It got to the point where the amount of money I was putting in, the amount of my time it took up and the effort of getting people to follow through was not worth it to me. Second jobs won’t work for our schedules right now either. But that’s ok because things will work out as they should.

So for now I sit here with my most recent medical bills (ED visit a few weeks ago for a painful kidney stone) adding them to my snowball.

Until next time…….stay debt free! Or less debt than before lol

It’s that SERIOUS

Money. Debt. Budget.

Fights. Marriage. Communication.

If you think money can’t cause problems, you are WRONG. I heard somewhere that money is the root to all evil. Ok maybe not all evil, but money issues bring out a lot of other issues. Money causes fighting in marriages. Marriages dissolve over communication issues, money issues & debt all the time. Yes I know there are other reasons that cause marriages to end, but I am not talking about those. I am talking strictly about money.

I have been there. I know how money, or lack there of, can cause tension in a relationship. Tension that my children do not need to experience. That is why being on the same page as your partner when it comes to money is important. It’s that serious. Serious enough to sit down and take a really good, hard look at what is coming in and going out.

In my relationship, I take care of all bills. Ironically I am also the reason we are in debt.

Yes I said it. I am the reason.

I have said it before. I like to shop. I like to eat out. I like to spend money.

What I don’t like is the debt we have.

Let me explain why I say I am the reason we are in debt. In 2013 I was pregnant. We both had good paying jobs and ZERO consumer debt, just student loans. This was in part of filing bankruptcy in 2009. Back to 2013, I am four months along, working full time night shift. My husband comes home and says he got laid off. No problem, he will get unemployment, we had a few thousand saved up for my maternity leave (to cover what disability wouldn’t)  and we could afford to get by while he looked for another job. What we didn’t expect was for it to take him seven months to find another job. Seven long month making about $900 a month on unemployment. Meaning that we were dipping into our savings for my maternity leave. So we opened a credit card. Then another, Ect Ect Ect. You see where I am going with this? This is how it happened. This is why we are in debt again. Because it was my idea. My idea to use credit as a cushion. He didn’t say no. Our lifestyle did not change with his job loss. It should have, but it didn’t. Had we stayed debt free, built up our savings, we wouldn’t be in the position we are now.

But we are. And we are committed to getting out of it.

It’s that serious.

This can happen to anyone. This can happen to us again! This can happen to you!

Getting and staying out of debt is that serious!

Building up an emergency fund is that serious!

Saving for retirement is that serious!

Being able to take care of yourself and your family is that serious!

Is it serious enough for you to change? Because it is for me.

Side Hustle

One of the big things that Dave Ramsey talks about is income. It’s huge, because obviously you need money to live. But when I listen to Daves podcasts or get the chance to watch him live on his YouTube channel, he always has someone calling in with an income problem. Usually it’s a lack of income that’s preventing financial peace. For us it’s a combo of income problem but also a budget problem. I have said it before, I am a spender. Usually it’s on food of some sort but still spending. I am getting better on that though. But it’s also an income problem.

Let me back up a minute. We have decent jobs with decent pay. I work as a CNA in a hospital and the Hubs works in a warehouse for medical supplies. If we had no debt, we would be just fine. But that isn’t the case. I would go get a 2nd job in a heartbeat because I have the skills to do so. However due to daycare, getting a 2nd job outside the home would mean paying someone to watch the kids which would defeat the purpose of a 2nd job. The Hubs already works overtime every week. So my solution is to find something I can do from home to make money. Which brings me to my side hustles. Donating plasma, baking and babysitting.

Donating plasma isn’t something I particularly like to do but it’s easy money for the most part. Babysitting is fine on my days off work. But what I have been doing lately is baking. Cinnamon Rolls and Monkey Bread (dough rolled in cinnamon sugar drizzled with butter and baked in a bundt pan). And people are paying for it! Today alone I made $60 on orders. I have another $35 worth of orders to fill for this weekend. I know it’s not much but over time it will build up.

So if you are following Dave Ramsey and wondering how to make more money,  think about what your skills are. Can you find something to do in your spare time to sell? Are you able to offer a service? Does your vehicle qualify to drive for Uber or Veyo? Making money isn’t hard, saving it is.

Smart Money Tour….I was there!

Last night was a great night! I was fortunate to be able to attend the Dave Ramsey Smart Money Tour. Dave wasn’t a speaker but we had two wonderful men speak and it was amazing.

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I got some very valuabe information that I have yet to read in any books. I also purchased 2 books, Retire Inspired by Chris Hogan (pictured above with me) and Love your life not their by Rachel Cruz (Dave’s daughter).

It was a great night. It fired me up again to get this debt gone. My goal is financial peace. To put away for retirement so we don’t have to work into our 60s. To not rely on the government because honestly SSI probably isnt going to be around in 30 years. To put my kids through school. To have money to travel. And most importantly, to not burden my family when I’m older. I don’t want them to have to deal with our mess (ok my mess) when we are gone.

It’s for my kids, grandkids, great grandkids. It’s the legacy. It’s that important to me.

 

~Jenn~

To date

First off, I have been listening to Dave Ramsey podcasts all day today since I discovered the app castbox. All day. Literally all day. And it’s motivating. Listening to all the debt free calls but it’s also educational listening to others ask questions and hearing Daves answers.

Secondly, I am so excited that I am going to be going to one od Daves tours next week. Granted he isn’t going to be there but his people are. I call them his soldiers lol. It’s the smart money tour. My mom bought me a ticket which I paid her back for since I was at work when she found out about it. I am so excited about going to this tour. It’s a three hour event (a three hour tour hahaha hope I don’t wind up on a deserted island).

To date we have paid off $625 dollars. Not much I know. But it’d $625 that we don’t have to pay anymore. We are still working on our other debt. I am hoping October will have another $900 paid off. I have worked alot of extra hours. I have picked up extra shifts as has my husband.

Today I made a detailed menu for the week, posted it on the fridge and that’s set in stone.

We have discussed Christmas presents this year and we are going to adopt the 4 present rule, something to wear, something to read, something they want and something they need. That’s it. And the stocking rule will be simple. Stuff we can find at the dollar store or the dollar bin at target. Max of $5 per stocking.

Holiday time stresses me out like most other mothers. But it’s a great time to earn some extra money since I bake and colder months tend to make people want to eat and I can sell my baked goods.

On that note I do have some cinnamon roll dough rising that should be done soon.

Don’t lose sight of what you want!!!

 

One down…..many to go

We have one debt paid off!!!!!

We paid off one of my husband’s student loans. $375.75……gone. But that’s a $50 a month expense that we don’t have to worry about.

We still have a long way to go, but it felt good to pay something off.  When we decided to follow Dave Ramsey that particular debt was almost $700 and while it has been about four or so months since we started, it’s nice to have an accomplishment.

Now we tackle the next debt. I may have mentioned in a previous post that we have decided to tackle the debt first before having a full emergency fund. I get the concept and I understand the reasoning behind an emergency fund, some of our debts are less than the $1000 Dave Ramsey’s plan recommends. We will get there. It’s slow, but we have one debt gone.

 

Drowning

Wow. It’s been a while.

First a quick update on our backyard garden. We are eating veggies that we have grown! This year has been a learning curve in the garden area. Lots of things learned that we will do differently next year.

All the kids head back to school next week. I came in under budget on back to school supplies for the older ones. That is a win in my book. Too bad that extra money ended up going into fixing the ac in one of the vehicles we own (free and clear since we don’t do car payments anymore).

Onto hard stuff. I’m still trying to figure out a way to pay off debt. We are behind on credit card bills and it seems that more bills come in everyday. Medical bills are piling up too. The last time this happened we filed bankruptcy.  I’m determined not to have to do that this time. I wish we could consolidate all our bills and just pay one monthly bill. But that Avenue just is not an option. So we are doing the best we can.

We rarely eat out. This weekend we did splurge and ate at taco bell. But I feel guilty about that. I feel guilty about spending money every time I have to. Even if it’s for necessary items. I food prep alot. That way it’s easier to grab something at home instead of stopping somewhere. It’s working. My kids aren’t asking for things anymore.

I still feel like we are in a black hole and can’t get out. Like the walls are caving in and our lifeline is out of reach. But we are so close on some things being paid off. We did pay off a few medical bills. We have some payment plans set up on others. We can buckle down some more. I know we can. We can tighten our budget up. With the kids going back to school it will be harder since we will have school lunches to buy for. (Our oldest says that buying lunch at school doesn’t give him enough time to eat since he stands in line so long). We do the free/reduced lunch program every year. So that helps a little.

I just keep telling myself it could be worse. This will pass. We will find a way out of this hole. Even if our credit is taking the biggest hit right now….we can recover from this.

 

Full Steam Ahead

I was feeling down. Defeated. Unaccomplished. Like a failure.

Then I had an idea. I was driving home from work yesterday and it hit me. I have been trying to figure out how to get ahead the wrong way. Sure I was looking at how to increase my income. I am still am. But I still have debt. Debt I am falling behind on. Debt that I am wondering how I can get out from under while still maintaining my family’s needs.

I don’t want to say that I have been going at this all wrong. Because I don’t think I have. But I have been focusing on the wrong part. Dave Ramsey has some very helpful tools. Ones that I am still using. But I have been too focused on my emergency fund. Yes I know it is important. I get that. I know that. But I am really tired of debt collectors calling multiple times a day. I know I owe, trust me I know. And it’s not that I don’t want to pay, it’s that I can’t pay what you want me to. So with my husband, we sat down and laid everything out on the table.

Each month we are going to focus on just one debt that we can pay down significantly to a more manageable amount, or completely pay off. Obviously paying it off is more ideal. But some of our debts are a little larger than I like to admit. With this strategy, we will have multiple debt paid off come January 1st 2017. Not all of our debts, but a good amount. We are talking at least $6000. $6000 in six months. I think that is impressive. It may be more, but at least $6K by the end of the year. That even includes 2 student loans. While we wont have the $1000 emergency fund that Dave Ramsey suggests, it will free up some money to be able to save that emergency fund money.

This plan means a lot of sacrifices. A meager Christmas for our children. And meager birthday parties. But it is ok. I will mean that by the end of 2017 we should only owe on our 2 big student loans. And that is ok by me. If I can pay off all consume credit card debt by December 31, 2017 I will see that as a victory. We did not get into debt overnight. We will not get out overnight. But we will get out.

I went to church about a month ago (I go off an on) and while I am usually just sitting in the back listening to the sermon. But about a month ago I felt the pull to church to go ask for prayer and guidance. To have Godly hands touch me and pray over me and my family and our finances. I know it sounds silly. Some of you are probably thinking I am lying. But coming from someone who was not raised religiously, someone who doesn’t regularly attend church, who would probably think the same as you, I am telling the truth. I went, I had two Godly souls lay their hands on me and pray for me, with me,  to figure our debt and financial situation out. To show me how to do this. Give me guidance. And I got that guidance. Driving home from work. On a holiday. When most people are celebrating with their families. I received the answer I had been searching for. And I felt peace last night. And this morning. My family will come out of this debt. I know we will. And I know that this plan will work. For the first time in many months, I don’t want to shy away from our debt. I’m going full speed ahead in tackling it.