It's been a long two weeks since Mom came home from her shoulder surgery and the stories I could recount up to this point could fill a book. Did you know that oxycodone and elderly people often equals hallucinations? I sure didn't. After the first week we had to switch to hydrocodone because that particular side effect was getting bad.
I haven't had any help from my sisters. The eldest has come to visit twice, once staying for 20 minutes a few days after Mom came home and the other time staying for an hour and a half to do some work on the computer. She spent very little time interacting with Mom. She only lives five minutes or so away. When I asked her if she could stay with Mom while I ran to the store, her answer was that she had to go. *sighs*
My middle sister seldom stirs herself to come see Mom and when she does it is more of a pit stop for her than anything else. She's always been this way unless there is something in it for her, like presents. She quit coming at Christmas time when Mom stopped giving presents. She's never come for Thanksgiving or invited anyone to her home for Thanksgiving.
It's only a 40 minute drive from her house to here, but she comes up usually only once a year. When we lived in the mountains it was a 45 minute drive and we were in here at least twice a week. I just don't get the mentality. Yet I've seen it before, when Mom was taking care of Grandma and her sister did very little to help.
I've heard that is often the way, that one child does it all in caring for a parent. I've seen it play out in other people's lives, too. One of my friends is the only one who helps her mom out with her step-father, who had a stroke a year and a half ago. He has five sons, all biological, and they don't really do anything, certainly nothing without being prompted, and their wives don't either. Even though they all live nearby while my friend lives 2 hours plus a ferry ride away.
It frustrates me that family members behave this way when they all ought to be pitching in to help. Especially my sisters. But they weren't here when Mom was dealing with Grandma. They were married and out of the house. So they didn't see first hand the strain it put on her. I did what I could to help at the time, but I was still a young teenager.
My kids are helping some. My son is doing all the morning farm chores that were my mother's, like letting the birds out in the morning, cleaning out the chicken coop (he already does the duck coop and the turkey coop), mowing the lawn (she likes to do that or it would have been his chore a long time ago), weed-eating, etc. Mom never had evening farm chores, those we do.
My daughter has helped with some of the day to day care, and the first few days, the night time care since she is usually up until two or three in the morning. They have both helped with hourly checks as well. Fortunately Mom is now getting to the point where she can be left alone for two or three hours and she is sleeping through the night. The first week was hard, though.
DH will be home on Friday and I will get a bit of a break. I'll still have to do a lot, but he can take some of the burden. I am sick from the lack of sleep and close to a full body break down. I have to ice my knees and ankles frequently due to the many trips up and down the stairs. It is only two steps, but when you do them 20 times a day when you are used to only doing them once or twice, it is hard on damaged joints.
I haven't had as much time in the garden as I would like, but it is going like gangbusters. Hopefully today I can get out there and harvest, because there is a lot to do and I still want to plant green beans. It's not too late for this part of the country.
My daughter managed to dislocate her middle finger on her dominant hand 3 days ago. She got it back in, but the swelling and pain has been pretty bad. The doctor said just treat it like a sprain once he made sure it was in place. So it is in a splint and taped to the finger next door. This has taken her out of the running for a lot of things, like doing the dishes, taking out the recycling, cleaning the bathroom, and folding the laundry, all chores she either does or helps with normally.
Her brother picks up a lot of that slack. I went in halfsies on Nintendo Switch for him due to all his hard work.
In the midst of all this, I managed to spill water on my laptop and it will be 4 to 6 weeks until I get it back. I remember when turnaround was only 10 days. I'm sure I just fried the motherboard. This is not my first time spilling water on a computer, but hopefully it is my last.
I am using a new desk top computer hooked up to my TV. It will be my daughter's computer after I get my laptop back. Her laptop has lasted 8 years, but it is showing its age, so this was on the agenda anyway. It was 12 months same as cash, so I went ahead and did that. I usually do.
The medical bills from my ER visit and emergency laser eye surgery came in. It's $1800 total since it all went on the deductible. And I had $450 of labs, also all on the deductible. My x-rays bill hasn't come yet, but that will also be on the deductible. The new medical insurance can't start soon enough. We will have to meet a $1000 family deductible for it, but then we are done with that nonsense for the rest of the year. Plus not having to pay $1337 a month for insurance will be great. It'll just be $300 pre-tax a month, which frees up a lot of money.
DH got a job offer, but it wasn't one that would be sustainable. It would have been a drop in pay of 40%. Which would work if it was a local job, but not for one he has to pay airfare and travel expenses for. This is an offer from the company he was laid off from. It is also a backwards step in his career to a lower position. While it would have been steady work, we would have had to take money from savings each month to meet all the bills, so he declined it.
The other job he interviewed for is taking forever to start up and he probably won't hear anything about that until August. He will continue to look for something else, but my hope is that things will straighten out with the company he is currently working for since their benefits are unbeatable. Right now they have been given an additional project and have work through December, not just through October. Maybe things will continue to pick up.
I have set a goal for myself to try to write at least 1000 words a day on my novel. I can normally do 1500 to 2000 a day, but not while caring for my mother. Still, I'd like to do as much as I can. I just need to make it a priority again.
Well, that should catch things up. Hopefully I will be able to post again soon.
Viewing the 'Medical Mortgage' Category
It's been a long two weeks since Mom came home from her shoulder surgery and the stories I could recount up to this point could fill a book. Did you know that oxycodone and elderly people often equals hallucinations? I sure didn't. After the first week we had to switch to hydrocodone because that particular side effect was getting bad.
Now that the our very last debt, the 0% interest loan from my mother to pay off medical debt is getting down to a reasonable level that I don't have as big an issue seeing anymore, I'm going to start doing a countdown.
$35,000.00 Starting Balance
+_1,000.00 July Payment
$34,000.00 Remaining Debt Owed
We will keep up with the $1000 payments for as long as we can after the layoffs. We should be able to live for a year on our savings and still make payments to Mom, though she may insist we drop them to $500 a month, but I really hope DH finds a new job before that. I really want to stay on track though and be done with it. It's the worst debt to have, to family.
So it's been a while since I updated how much money is owed on the 0% interest loan from my mother, what I call our medical mortgage since it originally involved her putting a mortgage on her house so we could pay the medical bills from my 6 surgeries in 5 years way back when. (She paid that off long ago when she had money and before the rest of her money got eaten up with Dad's care before he died, though, so there is no mortgage on the house). I still call it that though.
After the payment on Friday the total is down to $35,000 owed. We have paid down $85,000 and we offered to pay it all off when we sold our house, but she didn't want that, she wanted the monthly income, and she wanted us to save for our down payment, so that's what we are doing. So we now have 2 years and 11 months to go at our current rate of repayment. If all goes well, April 2019 will be the final payment. This is our very last debt owed. We've been out of consumer debt for over a year now, but I still want to get this one done as I hate owing it.
Our goal is to continue to make our $1000 a month payments to her even if DH doesn't get a job right away. With $63,000 some odd dollars in savings between the Emergency Fund and the Farm Down Payment Fund (and I will add to it as long as we can), we feel like we can do this at least for a while.
If he doesn't get a job within four months of his final day, whenever that will be (could be July, could be the end of September, who knows? They certainly don't.), then we will obviously have to revisit that. I would like to continue to try to pay her at least $500 a month for a while after that. I don't know how long we will have to stretch out our savings for, though, if we have to live on it. I think we could go a year to two years, possibly.
I think my mother has become dependent on that money and it does worry me a little. I think she has always thought she would die before it was paid back. Well, she's coming up on 77 and still going strong so I don't think she will. She doesn't have savings, IRAs, or a 401K anymore (that went to Dad's care); she just has social security. That will be her only source of income after the loan is paid off.
Her expenses are low, but as soon as we move she will have to go back to paying the electric, water/sewer, gas, and garbage bills, all things we have assumed paying while living here. The only household bills she's been paying out of her own funds since we moved here have been the landline (which we don't use), her satellite TV (which we don't use), and her internet (we have our own with a different company that is not slow, hers is bundled with her phone and TV service).
I think she thinks everything will miraculously drop down to 1/5 the amount it has been once we move. I think it will go down some, but not as much as she is thinking it will. Water/sewer is a flat rate, so that won't change. She might need to put out only one garbage can a month instead of two, so that could drop, but she might put out 2 anyway because the smell build up might be too bad if she doesn't.
She will still be heating a big old seven bedroom/4 bathroom/3 living room/1.5 kitchen house, whether we are here or not, though without our two freezers (one big, one small) and two fridges, it will drop. She might close off rooms to heat less, but she doesn't seem inclined in that direction. She will still have to pay the same amount in property tax, car insurance (she has two vehicles), home owner's insurance, etc.
If she continues wasteful habits like leaving both of her TVs on all the time whether she is home or not (and they are the type that burn a lot of electricity), still using mostly incandescent light bulbs, washing dishes when the dishwasher is only half full, leaving the stove fan on long after the oven is off, etc., I don't think it is going to be quite as dramatic as she thinks. It certainly won't halve, let alone drop by 4/5ths.
Gas will go down as it will be one person doing laundry and not five and it is a gas dryer and gas hot water tank for our end of the house. Showers will be less, but we take a lot of them at the gym. I wash in cold water except underwear and bedding, she washes all in hot. So yes, it will go down, but not as much as she thinks. Dishwasher use will go down.
Of course she owns the house in full so that is worth probably $400,000 based on comparable neighborhood sales. Maybe $350,000 because of basement flooding issues if she has to sell as is. So if she sells and gets a much smaller place then she would have plenty to live on. But it she doesn't, things will be pretty tight. She doesn't seem to ever want to sell.
I'm not really sure how she'll get by once the loan is paid. I mean, we'll make sure she does one way or another if she tells us, but she is so stubborn she might not tell us. I doubt Social Butterfly will help at all. Former Ice Queen (I need to come up with a new nickname for that sister) would probably help with anything she can that isn't financial, but she doesn't make a lot and has already said she's not moving in with Mom if it comes to that.
If DH's job situation shakes out right, if we can buy a place with enough acreage, if we can convince Mom to sell and move and set up a little new manufactured home (new ones are super nice these days and very energy efficient) or a little stick-built cottage on our land, that would be the best option. I don't want to live in a house with her again, because she is so critical and just...THERE all the time. Having her close but with her own home would be the ideal way of dealing with things.
I guess it is easier to worry about things like that than worry about whether or not DH is going to be able to find a new job before the old one runs out. Not that it will stop me from worrying about that, either.
Sometimes I don't know why I bother planning for anything. Life just throws curve balls and then everything changes.
My mom needs money for major house repairs and since we still owe her $43,000.00 and she's given us a 0% interest rate all these years, I don't really feel like I should say no to the request, nor do I want to. We do have the money and the need is real. So we will be paying a lump sum of $10,000 to her this month on our loan, plus the usual $1000 monthly payment.
We have made the decision to take it out of our Emergency Fund and not out of our Down Payment Fund. In a real world emergency we'd use the DPF after the EF ran out anyway, so we consider it a back up EF for the time being, anyway. It's all semantics.
It feels disheartening, feels like a step backwards in our goals. Yet, it also means we will only have 32 payments left after this month is paid. That is 2 years and 8 months of payments left. Which puts it a lot closer, of course, to being done with.
If I knew what was happening with DH's job, because surprise, surprise, another deadline has gone by with very little progress being made, I'd probably make the decision to give her more. I mean if he got the contract. If the loan to her was reduced or gone, then it would free up a huge amount of money that we could then throw back into saving. But I'm not going to consider that until we know, because we may need that money to live on.
I actually do have enough to pay her off in full, it would just wipe out most of what is in our savings. I'm not sure we could give it all this year taxwise though. With the $12,000 per year we already pay her and the $10,000 lump sum, that'll be $22,000 this year. Isn't that the limit on what can be "given" to someone without it being income? Or can DH and I both "give" her $22,000 a year? Since it is not an official loan, we would be "gifting" it for legal reasons.
Our only debt right now is the 0% interest loan from my mother for all the medical expenses she helped us cover when I had six surgeries in five years. I call it our Medical Mortgage for those new to the game. It currently sits at $45,000. For the last 10 months we were paying it back at a reduced rate, her idea, not ours, of $500 a month. This allowed us to save $5000 towards our down payment, but of course increased our pay off date.
Well, now we are going back to paying off $1000 per month. Mom needs to put a new roof on the addition of her house this summer and she just had to pay $10,200 so that the heating guys can come and fix her ducts under the house and put down new Visqueen. There were mice nests in most of her registers. Aw, fun. I told her she needs to get a cat (or three). Old houses have mice and this house is old.
While it was nice to put that money in savings, I was never thrilled about it increasing the payoff date. Well, now we are back to a better payoff schedule. We have 45 payments to go. That is 3 years and 10 months of payments, which gives us a payoff date of November of 2019.
She doesn't want it any faster as besides this money, social security is her only income (though she owns the house and cars in full and has no debt). She likes being guaranteed a certain amount each month. Though I may insist when we get closer to the end, just to be done with it.
Assuming all goes well with DH's contract at least, we'll be done with the payoff before 2020 which is good. He has guaranteed work through June. He was supposed to find out in the beginning of March whether or not his company got the new contract, but it has been extended a couple of weeks, so now we might not know until the end of March.
I passionately dislike living in limbo. In the past when his old company lost the contract he was able to slide into place with the new company and will likely be able to do that again. But we don't know. And not knowing drives me crazy.
On the bright side, we have almost $16K in the Emergency Fund and $38,500 in the down payment fund, so if it did take him a while to find a new job if things didn't go as planned, we will be fine. It will set our plans back a lot, but we will be fine.
I did a job loss budget and we could bring our living expenses down to $3000 a month if we had to for 18 months, cutting out physical therapy, cutting our grocery budget in half, cutting out all savings, cutting out the kids allowances, cutting out the chiropractor, but still paying back Mom. We would be going into garden season, so we might even be able to cut our grocery budget by more than half for a while.
I don't like the idea of it, but it is better for me to plan for contingencies so I don't have to panic later on.
April 9th of 2006 I started this blog in pretty dire straits. I had no savings, massive debt due to medical expenses, a mortgage, and credit card debt, also mostly due to the medical issues.
In the last nine years my husband and I have paid off the mortgage, paid off our van loan, and paid off all of the credit cards. The only money we owe now is the 0% loan we took out from my mother to pay off the hospital. I call that my medical mortgage, because that is what it feels like. We owe her $49,500 and once that is paid off we will have no more debt until we buy a new house. I am hoping to save enough up for that so as to not have a massive mortgage.
We have saved almost $15,000 in an Emergency Fund. When we started we were only banking $10 a week and whatever money I managed to save in the coin jar. After a few years I was able to add monthly $100 payments. When we started, a lot of people thought it was silly to save such small amounts, but they have added up big time. If $10 is all you have to save, then save it. If $1 is all you have to save, still save it. It may seem like nothing now, but take my word for it. In 9 years you could be sitting on several thousand dollars if you keep at it.
We have come a long, long way, and it has been a tough, tough road at times. So many people told us to just declare bankruptcy, but I didn't want to. That isn't how I was raised. Bankruptcy is a last resort, for people in desperate situations. We were always able to meet our bills even if things were quite tight for a long, long time. We probably could have easily qualified, but I didn't want to take that way out. It didn't feel right for us.
So instead we just put our heads down, dug in, and worked hard to get the debt paid off and bring down the evil empire that had held us under its sway for so long. We had a few setbacks along the way with me having to have 2 more surgeries and having to pay for those instead of putting a lot on old debt, but we made it through that. Things are going pretty well. Not enough to really loosen the purse strings as we still have to save for that down payment and pay back Mom. But enough that I feel like we are breathing deep again.
DH and I had to make a big decision this month. At the start of the month we still owed my mother $50,000 of the $110,000 we borrowed from her years ago to pay off medical debt. Since that time we have been paying her $1000 a month and paid off $60,000. She charges no interest and refuses to.
At the start of the month we were on track to have that paid off in 4 years and 2 months. But my mother came to us last month and offered to let us pay it back at a rate of $500 a month on the condition that we took the other $500 a month and put it in our down payment fund, which would put the repayment at 8 years and 4 months.
I (and DH to a lesser extent) went back and forth on this several times. This is the last debt we owe. When this is gone we will be debt free, at least until we buy another house. So I want it gone and I want it gone yesterday. But at the same time, I want to move as soon as we can which means having a big down payment, because I want reasonable mortgage payments (i.e. $1500 or less a month).
Mom, on the other hand, wants the loan to last as long as possible and by cutting in half the payments, she will be assured of some income beyond her social security for the next 8 years, instead of a higher amount for 4 years, and without having to keep much money in the bank. So I understand her motives.
But, my mother is a negative commenter. As in every time I buy something she makes some comment on it. For example, I finally replaced our wok that I threw out two years ago. I didn't want to buy a teflon one because we won't use it anymore and they flake so badly after a year or so.
Cast iron woks are way, way too heavy for me to manage. Hard anodized steel woks are also too heavy. Stainless steel is hard to clean. So when I finally found the ceramic coated one at Costco I bought it. It was not very expensive, though not cheap, and I had set money aside that I had saved out of our food budget. I waited 4 months from when I first saw it to when I bought it.
My mother's comment on seeing the new wok was, "Wow, it must be nice to be rich enough to afford to buy whatever you want whenever you want it."
We aren't rich, by any means, though DH does have a very good income. We've been paying off massive medical debt for years, and not just to her and she knows that. We lived below the poverty line for many years when we were first married (though we were fine because our mortgage was so low). But she still makes comments like this every single time we bring something new into the house. When we bought a $30 rice cooker, she made a snarky comment. It was part of our Christmas presents.
I found steak on a really good sale a couple of weeks ago and we've been eating it a fair bit. "Wow, you sure eat steak a lot. That's almost every night!" Umm, no, it was twice that week and twice the next, and we hadn't had steak for 4 months before that and anyway, it was chuck steak, not ribeye or something. She eats steak more than we do because she bought a quarter of a steer which goes very far when you are feeding 1 person instead of 4, but that doesn't matter, of course, because it is her and not us doing it.
I snuck my new camera into the house in my purse instead of in a bag, even though I paid for it with my birthday money and some of my leftover Christmas money that was given to me by my in-laws, just so I didn't have to hear her comments about a fancy expensive new camera (it is not fancy and based on camera prices not that expensive, either, but she'd think so).
Or if we bring home take out at all she comments. We do this maybe once a week. She does it, too, but that's not the same thing, either.
So I told her if we were to agree to the lesser amount she couldn't make all those negative comments every time we buy something we budgeted and saved up for. Or ate out. She said she'd try. At times I'm not even 100% sure she knows she's doing it because it is so much her nature, and other times I'm convinced she knows exactly what she is doing.
She does like to play the martyr and the poor me thing and pretend she is super poor. But she has a good social security income, plus what we pay her each month, and we pay for all of the electric, natural gas, garbage, water/sewer, and the internet. We do a lot of the upkeep here. The only thing she pays for besides taxes on the house and her groceries, gas, and insurances, are her land line phone which we don't use and her two satellite dishes, which we don't use. So she has plenty of money, and her savings. And she owns the house free and clear and it's worth $400K to $500K and she owns her two vehicles free and clear.
Anyway, even after she offered this we went back and forth on it a lot. But we ended up deciding to take the offer and cut our payments down to $500 a month and bank the other $500 each month we'd been paying her for the down payment. Because that means we will be able to get out of here much sooner. Though it is still going to be two years at least until we have enough saved to do so.
$1000.00 Loan to Mom (Nov. payment)
___29.13 Electric (Old House)
___47.92 Phone (Old House)
___45.30 Life Insurance DH
___44.66 Life Insurance Me
___71.41 Car Insurance
___48.75 House Insurance (Old House)
___41.16 Security System (Old House)
__400.00 Groceries (Major stock up)
I am still figuring out what to do with the rest of it. I have to pay for PT tomorrow and I'll probably send some to the Emergency Fund and the rest will go to next week's bills and some Christmas shopping.
Today was payday. I am mostly paying ahead on October bills, since we had so many paydays in September and because of the way the October paydays will fall. I had also set aside most of the money to pay the big doctor bill you'll see listed below. I am not actually making the car payment yet as the statement hasn't arrived, but I did set the money aside for it for our usual payment.
For some reason today while I was paying the bills and recording things into the budget I had the song "Pop Goes the Weasel," going through my head. Particularly the line that goes, "That's the way the money goes, pop goes the weasel." Which admittedly is better than the song that has been in my head all week. Which is this one: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1SJvKDAF8Xk, but I'm warning you that you probably should not watch it because it is weird and kind of addictive and it will run through your head over and over again and that way madness lies. Then again, why should I be the only one with it stuck in my head?
Anyway, here is the list of what went out today:
$1000.00 Loan Payback to Mom
__400.00 Utilities to Mom
___90.00 Physical Therapy
__300.00 Beef/Pork/Chicken from the ranch Money
__100.00 Cash for Week
___45.30 Life Insurance DH
___41.88 Life Insurance Me
___69.86 Car Insurance
___47.17 Old House Insurance
___41.16 Old House Security System
___72.00 Water/sewer Old House (Holding Tank)
___35.20 Emergency Fund
__800.00 Car Payment Money (Holding Tank)
$4496.86 Total Money Out (or set aside)
I still have $250 out of this paycheck in checking. I am waiting for the power bill for the old house to come, but that will only be around $30 to $35. I will have to get a few prescriptions renewed tomorrow. I also need to do a little bit of grocery shopping, mostly for produce. Other than that and a field trip fee on Monday for DS's homeschool program, I don't see any other money going out.
Today was payday. Everything has been paid. Nothing is due until the 21st and after that nothing will be do until the 1st. DH ended up doing all his overtime work in five days time, so it won't be a full week of overtime, but five days is still pretty nice. I'll be able to put $1000 to the EF next week, but will have to rethink the other things I was thinking of distributing the extra money to.
We've gotten a lot of food this week. Not take out, but prepared food from the store deli. I've been out of it with my constant headache and mild nausea. Getting hit in the head with that pitchfork handle on Monday morning did me no favors. I have had no inclination to cook and with DH doing the overtime work at home, neither did he.
I'll try to get my act together this weekend. DH leaves on Monday and I can't keep letting the money fritter away when I could be cooking.
Anyway, the distribution of things today comes from a combination of this payday and last and is as follows:
$757.82 Van loan (plus extra)
__90.00 Physical Therapy
__58.00 School photos
1000.00 Loan to Mom
_400.00 Utilities to Mom
__41.88 Life Insurance Me
__45.30 Life Insurance DH
__47.17 House Insurance (Old House)
__66.65 Car Insurance
__27.28 Electric (Old House)
__50.22 Phone (Old House)
__19.00 Dues (Old House)
_225.00 Chiropractic Monthly Family Plan
_227.66 Laptop Payoff (from Laptop Fund)
_100.00 Property Tax Fund
_100.00 Vacation Fund
_100.00 Appliance Fund
_100.00 College Fund
__41.16 Security System (Old House)
$3792.95 Paid Out
We also bought gas and groceries and spent around $500. We are all stocked up on staples and aside from some vegetables and lids for canning and some milk I shouldn't need to go to the store or a farm again for a week.
Today was payday. I transferred $100 to the EF and I had $36.50 in my coin jar ready to deposit so did that as well. This brings my EF to $5618.14. My goal for July was to get the EF to $5500, so I exceeded that quite nicely. My goal for August is $5800. I also added $5.54 to the coin jar this evening.
It looks like DH's next shift will be a 3 weeks on/1 week off, so we will definitely get one extra paycheck. DH says there is enough work that he will probably do two 3 and 1's. If that is so, we should be able to pay off the mortgage by the end of September without touching the Emergency Fund. I had forgot about the extra paycheck, of which we can send $3000 to the mortgage.
I made a mortgage payment today leaving us with a new total of $10616.89. Minus $3000 in principal will leave us at $7616.89. There will be the August payment of $700 minus the 52.50 interest, which will put us at 6969.39. Two extra paychecks in August and September will give us $7200. So if that all works out it's gone. I hope it does. I will be so happy if it does. I just want to own it free and clear, so that if it takes a while to sell, at least we are not making payments meanwhile.
Then that will leave just the van loan to start throwing money at. Without the mortgage payment and the extra principal we've been paying each month, we should be able to throw $1500 at the van loan each month.
Okay, on to the accounting of the paycheck:
$1000.00 to Mom Loan
__700.00 to mortgage
___90.00 Physical Therapy
___45.67 House Insurance
___41.16 Security Monitoring (Old House)
___32.70 Life Insurance Me
___39.53 Life Insurance DH
___66.62 Car Insurance
__100.00 Emergency Fund
__100.00 Laptop Fund
__100.00 Freezer Fund
__100.00 Cash for Week
I also spent $200 on groceries and $100 to build up my over the counter medicine stock. I needed to buy Zyrtec, nasal spray, cold medicine, sleeping medicine, and heartburn meds. I also bought two bottles of hair dye.
DD dyed my hair tonight. It takes two bottles because from root to ends it measures two feet long and it is so thick it is ridiculous. So no more gray at all. It's a darker auburn than my own hair which is sort of a brownish, goldish, red with grey streaks at my temples that when I was much younger were naturally ash blonde streaks. I used to say I had chameleon hair because it has so many colors in it.
We used a natural hair dye that my food co-op sells. I haven't colored my hair in a couple of years so it kind of surprised me what a difference it makes. It took forever to rinse out, though. I think I may cut my bangs again. They are already in my eyes. I have gotten quite good at bang trims. I have been debating going in to have it done, but honestly, if it is just a bang trim it seems silly to waste $10.
Okay, now for all the things that went out of this paycheck.
$1000.00 to Mom
___90.00 Physical Therapy
___35.42 Electric Old House
__757.82 Van Loan (plus extra)
___51.78 Garbage (one extra can this month)
___41.78 Security Old House
__225.00 Monthly Chiropractic Family Plan
__105.00 Propane Fund
___19.00 Dues Fund
__100.00 Property Tax Fund
__100.00 College Fund
__100.00 Appliance Fund
__100.00 Christmas Fund
__100.00 Laptop Fund
__100.00 Vacation Fund (Hawaii 2018)
___28.00 Kids' Allowances
___75.00 Three NZW rabbits from different bloodline
__100.00 Cash for the Week
$3414.07 Total Paid Out
We are down to owing Mom $72,000. That means 6 years left to go, if we continue on the repayment of $1000 a month. It will be gone when we are both 49. Our van will be paid off well before that. After that is paid off we will work on paying off the mortgage on our small farm that we plan to buy once our house sells. And also play mega catch up with retirement. We want to go into retirement 100% debt free, which will make it easier to get by on less. As will raising our own meat and growing our own produce as much as possible.
It feels like we are finally starting to really pull ahead as I plan for future needs and am able to set the money aside each month. We are two paychecks ahead of our bills now and we have half a month's income in the Emergency Fund. It's getting there and each small step I take has built on the last one. Some people may scoff at $10 here or $5 there, but I know. I know from experience that it is the little things just as much as the big things that get you there.
I've been a little bit down on what I see as our lack of progress this year on getting the debt gone. I did a reckoning at the beginning of the year of what we'd paid off last year, so I thought I'd sit down and add up the numbers and see what we've really paid off this year so far. This doesn't include the car loan because I don't have the beginning numbers for the year and can't go look it up because it's no longer owned by the same bank it was at the beginning of the year.
$20228.79 Credit Card Balance at start of year
-14135.56 Balance Now
$_6093.23 Amount Paid Off for Good
$18544.28 Mortgage Owed at start of year
-16432.02 Balance Now
$__2112.26 Amount Paid Off for Good
$87,000 0% Loan from Mom at start of year
-81,000 Balance Now
$__6000 Amount Paid off for Good
So I have actually paid off $14,205.49 so far this year not including the car loan (which I think is around $3000 to $3500 paid off this year). I guess we are making better progress than I thought. Still doesn't stop me from wanting it gone yesterday, but makes me feel a little less like we've accomplished nothing this year. And there are still 4.5 months to go.
Okay, so when I restarted blogging consistently in January last year we owed $67,457.32 in unsecured credit card debt. We now owe $20,228.79.
$67,457.32 Original amount owed
-20,228.79 Amount left on credit card debt
$47,228.53 Amount paid off in 2011
We really busted tail this year to pay off that much debt and before the surgery in July I was sure we could have paid off the whole thing by the end of the year. Well, life happened of course, and medical is expensive. But we made a lot more progress than I actually thought we had.
As for the mortgage, we started the year at $22,326.63, but it now sits at 18,544.28.
$22,326.63 Beginning amount
-18,544.28 Ending amount
$_3,782.35 Amount paid off in 2011
Then finally is the loan from my mother who originally covered over $100,000 in hospital debt for us with a 0% loan. At the beginning of the year we owed her $93,000. We now owe her $87,000.
$93,000 Starting 2011
-87,000 Amount left
$_6,000 Amount paid off
So all told we have paid off $57,010.88 of debt this last year. Sometimes I really feel like we are getting nowhere, but to see it all added up like that, I know we are getting somewhere and the credit card debt, at least, should be paid off by summer.
We'll have around $8000 coming back to us in taxes, mostly because of our HSA, and we will get 5% of whatever DH's grandparents' house sells for, which should be around $7500, but we don't know when that will be. The buyers are negotiating at the moment and if that falls through there is another interested party waiting. All of that money is earmarked for debt payoff.
There is no rush on paying my mother back. She prefers to get $1000 a month and no more when we can manage the payments (we've skipped a few because of all the medical this year, with her blessing). That gives her a stipend to live on besides social security. If she dies before we pay it all back it is forgiven in the will and not owed to the estate.
So we are getting there. Faster than I thought, even.
I added $200 to my Emergency Fund today, bringing the new total to $1042.27. $827.36 is at ING and $214.91 is at local CU#2. I will be adding my coin jar savings tomorrow at CU#2 since I didn't make it over there before we went to Seattle. I've figured out the budget through June 24th and balanced the checkbook. I have $500 in savings for medical bills as they come in. I will be able to set aside $1000 next payday for that as well. I sent $500 to AMEX today and set aside $100 for property tax and $17 for dues.
Since I've budgeted very carefully we won't have to skip a car payment in June unless the medical bills are just ridiculous. We are still two months ahead and I'd like to save those two chances for a time when I might need them more.
My mother has said we can suspend all further payments to her until all of our medical bills are paid (originally she just said two months) since there will be one more surgery than was expected, so long as we keep doing the $300 worth of utilities and pay the garbage. That will help a whole lot. I wish all these surgeries could have waited until 2012 when our last credit card would be paid off. I'm still trying to be optimistic that we'll get it paid off this year.
The kids want to take a road trip instead of going to camp this year. That will save us quite a bit of money. Three days driving around the Olympic Rain Forest and touring the capitol (overnighting with family) and then we'll end up in Seattle at the Inn at Virginia Mason the night before my surgery, stay there for two days and then come home. I have to overnight in the hospital one night so after I come safely out of surgery they will go and do some stuff in the city center, since I'll just be asleep anyway.
Mom will drive me down for my follow up three weeks later since DH will be back in Alaska then. I won't be allowed to drive myself yet and anyway, Seattle traffic scares the heck out of me. While I am at VM Mom will visit my dad in his nursing home in Issaquah. I'm not sure whether we'll take the kids or not.
I'm hoping MIL will take them overnight which she almost never does. I can count on one hand how many times they've stayed overnight there and they are 14 and 11, so it probably won't happen. SIL would likely do it, but she has to work. They are old enough to stay by themselves during the day, just not at night. If they have to come, they have to come, but Mom will keep them with her. It'll all work out one way or another.
My mother has said that we don't have to pay her the usual $1000 a month on our loan from her for this month or next because of all the medical bills. She said she's fine for money right now and that she'd much rather we not have to put anything on a credit card or wipe out our meager emergency fund. We will continue to pay the $300 a month for utilities, the $40 a month for garbage, and the $65 a month for internet. Those aren't part of the loan payment anyway.
It's a bit of a relief to know I can put away that $2000 for medical and not have to scrounge AND not have to take so much from debt repayment.
Today I paid the garbage bill for this house and the phone bill for the old house. $37.68 and $44.92.
DH put his airline ticket on the wrong credit card. I went to go pay off the interest that always comes through after you pay off a credit card, which was $40 and some change and noticed he'd put it on the paid off Master Card instead of the air miles reward VISA. The two cards look very similar, both black, both from BoA.
It's an easy mistake to make. *sighs* But now it's got $355 on it, so I can't pay it off again until May 13th. It's not the end of the world, I was just looking forward to seeing it zero out again, and at least it means that the VISA is still under $20,000 which it wouldn't have been if he'd put it on the air miles card. He's going to take it out of his wallet and stop carrying it altogether.
I made a payment of $1000 on the interest free medical debt loan I owe my mother, which brings our balance to $89,000, with seven years and six months and 89 payments to go, $21,000 paid off so far.
This was the little payday, it only has two days wages on it, so the rest of the money, plus what I've put aside, is going to stretch over the next two weeks of no paychecks.
I didn't take any cash out of the bank as I still have $52 in my wallet. I think I can get by on that for the next week.
A racoon got into Mom's chicken coop last night as she forgot to do the locks. Racoons are very capable of opening simple doors and it did. It killed 4 chickens. What really gets me is that it only ate one of them. It killed the other three just for sport, I think. Racoons are just such nasty creatures. So we are down to zero ducks and two chickens.
I kind of wish she'd give the chickens to this lady she knows on a farm. I think it's just too much work for her and that's why she's gotten so lazy about things. But her laziness has lost her one duck three days ago and now four more chickens. She started with 10 chickens and 4 ducks. Only one animal death was not due to her being careless about something. I'd rather see the chickens go than have to listen to that inhumane screaming in the middle of the night as a racoon kills a chicken. It's one of the most awful sounds in the world.
On April 9, 2006 I started this blog. It's hard to believe it's been five years (even if I took one year off from blogging there in the middle). In that time we have paid off a lot of debt, most of it incurred from having really bad medical insurance and multiple surgeries. We started at around $200,000 and had medical expenses somewhere in the middle that added to that total as well as bought a new car (at one point we were as high as $250,000).
We have paid off a lot in the last five years, but honestly the real progress has been made this year since January by paying off the $38,323.87 from the BoA Gold Star Loan and $8000 of credit card debt (paid off one card and most of a second card).
What we are left with now is:
$90,000.00 owed to Mom for medical debt
$15,839.43 car loan
$21,044.92 total credit card debt
148,109.32 total debt owed
But of the unsecured debt owed it is $111,224.97. Hopefully we will be able to sell the house within the year and then that debt will be gone and we'll have a substantial down payment for our next house. The credit card debt will be gone by the end of the year and then the car debt should be gone by April of 2012. It feels good to know that in a year we will be free of everything but what we owe to my mom.
Mom doesn't want more paid back then $1000 a month because she is using it to live on and likes having a steady income. But if she dies before it is paid off then the debt is forgiven and is not owed to the estate. Which will be nice not to worry about, but I'd rather have her around for the next seven and a half years it'll take to pay her back.
Well, I finally got off the procrastination train and finished paying bills for Friday's paycheck and then I balanced the checkbook.
$1000.00 to medical loan from Mom
$--19.07 Electric for old house
$--35.90 Life Insurance DH
$--32.70 Life Insurance Me
$--95.59 Car Insurance
$--41.00 House insurance for old house
$-375.86 Mortgage on old house
$--96.00 Six weeks allowance for 2 kids
$---2.00 Tooth Fairy money
$--78.68 Clothing and shoes for DS
$-100.00 Cash for me
$2766.80 Total Spent
$91,000.00 Medical debt payback to Mom
$-1,000.00 Amount paid
$90,000.00 Amount still owed to Mom
So we have officially paid back $20,000 and we have 90 payments left to make. 7 years and 7 months to go.
The majority of next week's check will go to the Master Card and some of the following one, too. So it should be completely paid off by the 15th as long as nothing unforeseen arises.
I still have $204 left in the checkbook and $49 in cash. I doubt I will use what is in the checkbook and will just add that to what I pay on the MC on Friday.
On my way back in from dropping off my daughter at high school this morning, Mom stopped me to tell me she was redoing her will. She's needed to do this for a while. Ever since she drained the IRA and put Dad in the nursing home. She still wants me to be executor (which, ugh, but I agreed to it, with my older sister as back up if I can't).
Anyway, she said that if she dies before I am done paying back the money I owe her for the medical debt, that the debt is free and clear. Before it was expected that I would either continue making payments to my sisters for their part of the inheritence (which I don't think could be legally enforced as I never signed anything, but I still would have done it) or give up my third of the house. But since I've been here taking care of her since the fall she's decided to just make the loan void on her death.
Quite frankly I don't think she'll be dead before we finish paying her off. She's in pretty good health. But it's nice to know that if she were to go unexpectedly, that that financial burden would be lifted.
Now DH and I just need to get around to making our own will. We've been putting it off for too many years. Even if we just do one of those form letter ones and take it down to the CU to have it notarized, that's better than what we have now, which is pretty much nothing.
Today is payday and Iím really happy with how things shaped up.
$1000 to BoA VISA. This is the second payment this month and this one goes completely to principle since the one I made last week was to cover all of DHís work travel expenses and the monthly interest charge.
$1000 to Momís 0% interest loan, dropping the amount we now owe her to $91,000.00. We have 7 years and 8 monthsí worth of payments to go. We have paid off $19,000.00 so far. This was originally all medical debt.
$300 to Mom to help her with utilities.
$34 to the EF and $1 to the holding tank since the electric bill for the old house was $1 less than Iíd budgeted for. That brings the holding tank to $204.30 and the EF to $7468.65, with $1000 of that in the safety net at the local CU and the rest in ING.
$20 for the electric bill at the old house
$212.66 for term life insurance for me and DH, house insurance on old house, and car insurance
$39.37 security system on old house
$131 to storage
$200 to AMEX
$375.86 to mortgage on old house
$407.75 on propane
I have a couple hundred left for groceries and miscellaneous items for the week. I doubt I will spend it all. Any extra will go to the laptop fund. I did spend $60.11 on Chinese food from the no MSG place. I got enough to have several meals out of it so I donít have to cook while I am still so sick. I really wish this cold would leave. I am just too out of it to cook like normal. I hate spending that much money but itís good food with lots of veg so I donít feel too bad about it.
Out of next weekís payday I will pay an additional $500 to AMEX, $500 to the holding tank for medical, $124 to renew AAA, $1000 to the EF and $1000 to the holding tank for the two week period of no paycheck. There should be about $600 left and $300 of that will go to the property tax portion of the holding tank, $100 to the laptop fund, $100 for groceries and $100 for miscellaneous. If there is anything beyond that it will go to the laptop fund. The payday after that, which is only two and a half dayís pay will also be for stretching across the two week period of no paycheck.
I took back the 3 cans of chicken and rice soup I bought on Tuesday by accident and got 3 cans of chicken and stars soup in exchange. The price had dropped 10 cents a can on the new sale week, so I got 30 cents back in change. Also at the Chinese place the lady didnít want to use so many pennies by giving me back the 14 cents she owed me so she gave me 15 cents instead, so thatís a total of 45 cents to the coin jar today. I also grabbed some penny wrappers while I was at the CU paying the mortgage, so I can roll coins today and add that to next weekís laptop fund deposit.
All in all a satisfying payday and I canít wait until next week when everything posts and I can update my numbers again and see some real progress this time.
Oh, and DH has heard from three different people, one his direct supervisor that heíll be getting a raise in April at the six month mark. It will add $525 to his gross income for a six week pay cycle if the amount he was told is correct, so Iím thinking we will at least get $400 of it and that can go to debt repayment probably. If Iíve done the numbers right, with that extra amount we should hit the end of the year no problem with having BoA paid off completely. Iím not counting it yet, though, in my budget. Itís one of those things where Iíll believe it when I see it.
The BoA VISA should now have a little over $3000 between what we owe and what the limit is on it, so with that cushion there I am going to now switch to paying only $1500 on the BoA VISA each month (expenses, plus interest, plus about $100 to principle) and take the extra $1000 and add it to the $400 payment we make on the BoA Master Card. That will pay it off by the end of May and then weíll be able to pay $2900 to the VISA each month until it is paid off. I may try to scrape up an extra $100 each time to make it $3000. Weíll see whatís available.
Once that is done the money will then go to finish paying off the car, unless DH talks me into trading in the Matrix for a Sienna sooner than we planned.
If we stick to the plan, we should be out of debt, except what we owe to Mom, by the middle of 2012, possibly sooner if he gets the raise.
Mom doesnít want us paying her back any faster than $1000 a month because she is using that to supplement her income from social security (and saving as much of it as she can for the future). She likes having it come in steadily and our system seems to be working for everyone.
Edited to add: I was cleaning out an old purse and found $1.95 in coins. I then rolled coins and I have $7.50 to add to the laptop fund.
$467.94 beginning laptop fund balance
$=07.50 amount added
$475.44 ending laptop fund balance
I paid Mom $1000 on the medical loan I took from her today. I paid off the AMEX today ($1000 out of the paycheck and $500 out of the EF, leaving EF at $7,600) and the last bit of interest on the loan I paid off earlier this month hit our account so that was $218.18, which I also went ahead and paid so we should now be able to close that account down and have it marked as closed and current on our credit report. Yay.
That leaves us with $21,021.22 on the VISA and $4540.42 on the MC and that's it for our unsecured interesting bearing debt. That's a total of $25,561.64 left to pay. If we can manage $2500 a month in payments (which should be no problem) we can have it paid off by the end of the year. I think the MC will be paid off by the end of April. Wow, that light at the end of the tunnel just keeps getting brighter and brighter.
So this leaves us at:
$92,000.00 (no interest loan to Mom)
$25,561.64 (VISA 11.4% and MC 12%)
$22,053.10 (Mortgage 5.5%)
I looked up how much was left on the car after Wednesday's payment went through and it is $16,640.84. At the current rate of payments it'll be paid off 7/21/14, but once we get the credit cards paid off we will be doubling the car payments so I'm thinking more towards the end of 2012, probably.
I didn't make it to the pharmacy before it closed yesterday, so went today and paid $19.59 for 2 RX and then we went to WalMart to get non-prescription meds at $56.68. 4 boxes of nasal spray, 2 big bottles of antacids, and 2 mega packs of Dayquil/Nyquil gelcaps. Hopefully that will get us through the rest of the winter. I'll have to pick up more Sudafed at some point, but that can't be bought in bulk without a doctor's note so that comes a bit at a time.
We have set a goal to have all of our unsecured interest bearing debt paid off by the end of the year. As such, I am determined to start blogging again for real to help us in accomplishing this. The last year has been really unfocused and I need to find that focus again. I know we can do it, but it's going to take dedication and the determination not to be lazy about things.
So where we stand at the moment as far as total debt is concerned (minus the car):
$ 93,000.00 medical debt
38,323.87 personal loan
+ 29,133.45 credit card debt
So we have paid off quite a bit this year. And considering when I started this blog we owed around $250,000 I think we are doing pretty well.
The credit card debt is spread over 4 cards. We will be paying one of them off this month and we will also be paying off the entirety of the personal loan this month, which will bring that debt total down to around $123,000. We should be able to pay off a second card by the end of March.
The $93,000 is a non-interest bearing loan from my mother. We are paying her back at a rate of $1000 a month. At that rate it will be 7 years and 9 months to be paid off. She doesn't want us paying it back any faster than that, because she wants a steady influx of cash to live on each month. I'd prefer to add more to it, but I suppose once all other debt is paid I can always just put any extra in a savings account dedicated to paying her back.
My husband is working for a new company and it came with a substantial raise in income of about $2000 more net each month. He started there in November. He's guaranteed work (on contract) for the next three years so we are going to make hay while the sun shines.
We need to finish fixing up the house by mid-Spring so we can put it on the market. At this point I don't care if we get the true value of it, I just want to be rid of it. I'm tired of maintaining two households. As long as it pays off the mortgage and gives us $50,000 in the bank towards our next downpayment on a house, I will be happy. I think if we price it right and as a fixer upper we could probably unload it faster than the other people selling houses in our area. They have so overpriced their houses for the location and the depression.
We've got somewhere around $20,000 left to pay on the car. It's about three and a half years left. I'm not sure of the exact amount because it is on autopay and so I kind of don't pay attention to it or count it in the overall total. I should, but I don't. I know we are three months ahead on it, though. It will be the next focus after the unsecured debt is paid off. I think we can finish paying it off by the end of 2012.
I'm not sure when we'll start looking for a new house but it's not going to be this year. It's not something I'm prepared to even try to do until the unsecured debt is gone.
We've got $8000 in the emergency fund and I will add to it a little bit at a time, but not aggressively, this year. Just mostly saving change, throwing in whatever I cut from the grocery budget, and adding $100 or so a month consistently. Eventually I'd like to have $50,000 in there as a long term goal.
Okay, I think that about sums up where everything stands. Now if I can get myself back into the habit of doing this again on a regular basis I'll be a happy camper.
Well, it seems like I rather suck at blogging anymore. I just tend to pop up from time to time now with an update and that's about it. So much has changed in the past year it's ridiculous. Things are slowly coming down debtwise. I am seeing real progress being made in some areas. There's still a lot of debt left though. And we had to pay for more surgery which added to our debt.
$ 94,400.00 left on medical debt
$ 23,139.75 left on the mortgage
$ 42,100.00 left on personal loan
$ 30,000.00 left on unsecured debt over 3 cards
Considering we started out at around $250,000 when I started this blog we've done well. We do also have around $23,000 left on our car loan.
All of our debt should be paid off in 6.5 years if we continue at this rate. If we sell our house, which may or may not happen any time soon, we could take a large chunk out of it. With the market the way it is I am not counting on it.
We are still living with my mother. She's taken a couple more falls so I really do not regret my decision to move into town and take care of her. She's still mostly self-sufficient, still has her mind, but she really needs someone to just be here for the bad times. I'm not sure we'll buy another house after the one we own right now sells until she's ready to go into assisted living or a nursing home and that's probably several years away. This house is huge and it just makes no sense to move away from her right now.
It's a good school district here. After two years of homeschooling I've got the kids enrolled in the public school system again. They are both thriving and getting good marks. My daughter is a freshman and well on her way to honor roll. Probably five A's and a B. They do weekly updates online and also every three weeks, so I can check it obsessively and make sure they aren't screwing her up.
Things are a little up in the air at DH's work. Contracts are up in December and they aren't being very forthcoming on whether his company is even going to get the subcontract from the main company this next year or not. We've had job security for 14.5 years and not having it anymore is a little unnerving. DH isn't as worried about it as I am. He's got feelers into several companies just in case and says he's gotten positive responses so hopefully if his company doesn't get the contract he'll simply be able to switch to the one that has it. It'll mean no medical insurance for a few months, but it'd be work and that's important with a debtload like ours.
I'd feel better if I could work. I'm pretty much disabled these days because of my knee and the pain I'm in all the time. I am working to strengthen it with swimming, but it's a slow road. The rest of me is getting fitter, but it's still very difficult to walk. Standing still is even harder. I can cook sitting down, but I don't think they'd let me do that in a restaurant.
I am doing what I can to cut back again. We were getting really lazy there for a while with eating out because it was hard for me to cook when I was in so much pain, but I've been teaching my daughter and between the two of us we are managing a lot more home-cooked meals.
Last night I made my special spaghetti sauce from 3 fresh roma tomatoes, 1 chopped onion, 2 tbsp minced garlic, 2 14.5 ounce cans tomato sauce, 2 6 ounce cans tomato paste, basil, oregano, thyme, salt and pepper to taste. Tomatoes and herbs came from the garden. The kids and I made parmesan breadsticks from scratch (dough made in the bread machine), and homemade spaghetti noodles in the pasta maker (had it for years, but have rarely used it). It was really good, better than a meal at The Olive Garden and cost about $8 altogether, as we all drank a glass of milk as well. It would have been about $50 for 3 of us if we'd gone out for that same meal.
Today I'll be making a beef potroast in the crockpot and microwave baked potatoes and green beans and tomorrow I'll be doing up a big pot of Texas style chili. There will be enough of that to freeze for several meals. I've got all the ingredients on hand and am focusing on cooking from the freezer and the pantry this month as much as possible. Chris comes home on Thursday and hopefully he'll be on board with this whole not eating out thing. He claims he likes my cooking best anyway, but we shall see.
Well, today I paid Mom $1000, bringing the amount owed to her to an even $100,000. That means so far we've paid her back $58,000 in six years or so. So much progress has been made on this debt. I know that $100,000 still sounds overwhelming, but it brings us down to having exactly 100 payments left. In eight years and four months that debt will be gone. Sooner if we find a way to add another $100 per month to it.
It's been a really long road, but I'd rather be in debt to her at 0% than the hospital and its 18% interest. I really do want to find a way to dig up another $100 a month though. If I could add just that much more to each payment it would knock down the time left to seven years and seven months. I know that Chris will probably get raises between now and then, he gets them every 18 months to 2 years, so we'll definitely be adding more money to debt then. At least his job is secure and thriving.
I also sent off $500 to credit card debt today and wrote out the check for property taxes which I'll drop by the courthouse tommorrow when I'm down town.
I cleaned out my purse today and found $7.22 in ones and coins so added that to my coin jar.
$87.94 starting amount
+ 7.22 amount added
$95.16 ending amount
Tomorrow when I go to the courthouse I am going to deposit at least the ones I've been saving, which is $49, and pick up some coin wrappers and ask them if they have a counter that I can just bring a jar of coins in and put through or if they need to be rolled. Normally I'd just roll them, but there is just so much change that if I don't have to, I'd just as soon not.
I can't believe it's been over a year since I've made an entry here. I used to be so good at this. Well, it's not because I've been piling on more debt. Quite the contrary. When I first started this blog we were $250,000 in debt due to medical bills (which was $150,000 of the total), mortgage, and credit card debt from all the money spent on meals out when I was far too ill to cook (which believe me, really adds up over the course of three years in and out of the hospital).
Where we stand today?
$103,000.00 left of the medical debt
$ 25,254.32 left on the mortgage
$ 70,000.59 credit card debt
$198,254.91 total debt
$51,745.09 is how much we have paid off since April of 2006. The $103,000 is a no interest loan from my mother. The mortgage is at 5.5% and the credit card debt varies from 12% to 18%.
Because that debt mountain is still so very high and because things have changed dramatically in the last year, we have decided to sell our house. My father went into a nursing home earlier this year and my mother, who is 70, simply can't get on like she used to. My oldest sister had been living with her for a couple of years but had finally gotten back on her feet again and moved out earlier this year. This left my mom alone in a seven bedroom house, and since she had fallen twice this year, I did not like that.
So we all sat down and talked about it and we decided we'd move in with my mother and take over making sure everything got taken care of. So, we'll be paying all the day to day living expenses for everyone (electric, gas, water/sewer, garbage, groceries, phone, etc.), but no rent. We'll be saving on gas because we won't be driving 50 miles every time we need to do something in town. And I'll have peace of mind.
When we sell the house, we're going to wipe out our debt with it. It may be a while though, because we have to repair a lot things and repaint and replace the carpets. And the market isn't great, but we're not looking to make some big profit off it. Right now I'd be happy to walk away with enough to pay off the mortgage and all the credit card debt, even though it's worth more than that. I just want a clean slate, and the only person I owe anything to to be Mom.
So that's where I sit at the moment. I'd really like to get back into the habit of blogging again, because that saving mindset comes into my thought process much more rapidly when writing about it is a priority to me. Besides that my goal for the month of February is going to be to start building up my Emergency Fund/Safety Net once again. It's been sorely neglected.
It's hard to believe but it's been six months since my last entry. We're doing well here financially now and it's harder to blog when you have enough money it seems, than when you don't.
In the past year my husband's income has almost doubled. It made things get easy, but it also brought along with it some very bad habits that I want to stop. Because despite the extra income, we've only upped our debt repayment by a couple hundred dollars a month. And it's time to really buckle down and get going again. At least that's what I keep telling myself.
Thing is I don't really want to. I like having the extra money around. It's nice not to have to scrimp and save every little extra bit of cash that comes into my hands or funnel it all into debt repayment. But I know I need to, because I'm still tired of having all that debt hanging over our heads.
Our emergency fund is far lower than I want it to be at $1000. That's certainly not anywhere close to even a month's salary anymore. So I'm working on building that back up. And I'm starting to save up $1000 more for our vacation in February. I have $500 currently saved for it.
We're going to Disneyland. Our airfare is free from DH's miles. We're staying in my parent's travel condo for free, except for the $50 one time fee for end of stay cleaning. We're just needing to pay for the entry tickets, car rental for 2 days, and food while we're there. It has a full kitchen and there is a Costco close by so we will make and eat all of our breakfasts and one other meal a day and only have one meal out at the park each day.
The kids are saving up their allowances, birthday, and Christmas monies and will buy their own souvenirs.
As for the rest of our finances, we've raised our 401K 1% for the last two pay raises so it is now at 5%. On the next pay raise it'll be up to 6%, the full amount the company matches 50% of contributions on.
The mortgage on the house just went under $30,000 at $29,956.07. Our medical debt repayment is down to $142,623.81. Our unsecured debt is down to around $45,000. The website for that one is down at the moment so I don't have the exact numbers. So we've still managed to make significant progress. But there's so much more we could have made and I'd like to really get out from under this debt.
We can pay at least another $300 a month towards debt repayment that we are currently wasting on eating out. So that's my goal for now, to try to stop wasteful spending and put it onto debt.
We'll be cooking at home a lot more, but that's a good thing. Healthier, too. And it won't be so hard now, either. I just took my son out of public school and will be homeschooling him for the rest of third grade. He was being bullied pretty severely this year and it had totally turned his personality bitter and sad and he was behaving horribly. Two days at home and he's back to being the sweet kid he used to be back when school went well and he was popular.
I gave the school several weeks to sort this out but I just couldn't give them any more time. It was sucking the life out of my child and I couldn't bear it. The difference is like night and day. I wish I still had the curriculum from when I homeschooled my daughter for third grade, but I don't, so I'm starting all over again. I'll be spending about $300 to get started, but fortunately I have that money at the moment.
His math is above grade level but his reading is significantly behind. They don't really teach phonics at his school and it shows. So I'll be starting almost at the beginning with phonics for him but I saw what a difference it made when I did that for my daughter, so that'll be okay.
He's been bored out of his mind at school, too, insisting that they are teaching either "baby" stuff or stuff that his dad and I have already taught him about ages ago in science and history. I think we'll all be happier.
And my son loves to cook with me, so being able to save money by not eating out and cooking at home will be easier, because I'll have a helper in the kitchen and not a strung out child who wants nothing to do with me or anyone else, standing by my side.
My daughter, on the other hand, is thriving at the junior high. She's doing really well. It's funny because she's the one I was so worried about at the start of the school year. Life can be so unexpected sometimes.
My last payment to the medical debt has posted. The remining balance is now at $145,903.32. YTD interest paid on this debt is $5,628.83. Ouch!
I am finally getting around to posting the bills I paid from last week's paycheck.
$910.37 Medical Mortgage
$400.00 House Mortgage
$201.89 Comcast (installation charges on top of cable/phone/internet)
$ 44.58 Garbage (2 months)
$ 71.36 Cell phone
$ 84.00 Herald
$445.00 MBNA MC#1
$ 50.00 Physical Therapy
$185.50 Car insurance (3 months)
A fair chunk of change going out, there. Tomorrow is payday again, but not like this one. This is the big one for the month and has a full seven days of wages on it. Tomorrow's pay usually only has one and a half days on it. This time it will be two and a half days on it with the new schedule change, and it will be like that from now on. The first payday will have 4.5 days on it instead of 5.5 days, so the difference is at both ends of the cycle. Then we have one week where he doesn't get paid at all, out of every four.
I'm glad the vacation money is taken care of now. And the association dues, which I thought were due at the end of June are actually due at the end of July, so that makes me happy.
I decided to make a proper entry in answer to some comments left on my last post about my medical debt, because it just got too long to be a comment.
No, the hospital will not negotiate any further. As it is, my parents put their house up for collateral against this debt because mine wasn't worth that amount of money. If I fail to pay on the debt my parents would have to so it is something I have to be very conscientious about.
I have never been one to walk away from my debt, no matter how tempting or how much easier it would have made my life to do so. And it will get paid, either over the course of the next twenty odd years or when my parents die and I inherit the house and sell it. Even if the house is sold for medical care the mortgage would be paid off first as the oldest debt and then I'd just pay back the surviving parent free of interest. It is more likely they will die before I can pay it off since Dad is 72 or 73 (can't ever remember if he's 5.5 years older than Mom or 4.5) and Mom is nearly 68. But that's obviously not the option I prefer! I want my folks around as long as possible.
My parents wanted to cash out their IRA and pay it and just have me pay them $1000 a month interest free until the remainder of the debt was paid down, since they have enough in CD's to live off the interest plus the thousand, but since their IRA was made from a never taxed pension the penalty would have been enormous. So that didn't happen.
Mom says that when Dad dies she can then cash out the IRA without penalty and pay it off and then me pay her the rest of what is owed interest free. Another route I don't really want to go.
Well, it'll get paid and I'm feeling better today about it. Yesterday was just really hard.
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