We made it through the first holiday month and didn't put anything on the credit cards. One of our student loans has gone into repayment because my husband has dropped below half time. With this comes a monthly payment of $178 and capitalized interest in the amount of $444. I can't wait until they are gone. So even though we paid close to $2000 towards our debt, with accumulated interest we only paid down our debt by $1323 bringing the total to $97480. I stared work this month and after a week of working received a email that there was a four week waiting period from when my contract was requested until it would be put into effect so I won't get paid for any work completed this month. December 19th it becomes active for 90 days before I have to put a request for a renewal. This could be a blessing in disguise though. I have two weeks left of school and am feeling a little stressed with the amount of work I still need to do for it. This will give me time to finish that and get ready for the holidays. We leave to visit family on the 12th-20th and then my in-laws fly in on the 21st-Jan 5th to visit. It's going to be a long month. My husband and I have decided not to do gifts for each other this year and the kids each get two gifts from us. In the spirit of giving, our girls each put together a box for operation Christmas child and we donated gifts from each of the girls to the special needs ministry at our church. Next year my hope is to adopt a local family and provide Christmas for them. Someone did this for my family a few years when I was younger and it made such an impact on me and my family I would love to do it for someone else.
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Well, another month down and we were able to put $2510.42 towards our debt this month. This brings the overall total under $100,000 which was nice to see. The time in between paychecks felt longer this month. I'm still working on trying to get our amount spent on food lower for the month but didn't do too well. I have decided to try clipping coupons and seeing if that will help. I found a few websites that will let you pick the coupons and print them for use in the store. I also picked up a few Christmas presents for our girls.
With the holidays coming up it's going to be a much bigger challenge to continue to put money towards debt. We bought plane tickets to go see my parents for Christmas this past July so we have a trip we are locked into for December. We have already talked to the girls about having just a few presents this year because their "big" present is the trip to see Grandma and Grandpa. They don't really need anything anyways. We have a large family on both sides and that's what gets me in trouble during the holidays is buying more than I should for them. I'm thinking about trying some homemade gifts this year. If anyone has any tips I would love to hear them!
I have a lead for a part-time job doing some financial counseling and have an interview in a week. If it works out I'll be able to work two days a week. Hopefully it will work out! I'll keep you posted!
Well, it was harder than I thought but we made it through the first month. Food was still the biggest budget buster for the month. We also went a little over in our clothing budget. We just moved to Colorado and it got colder sooner than I thought it would so we had to get the kids winter coats. We have made some adjustments to the budget and have posted a new version. Any excess money will go directly towards debt. We still paid off $2388 in debt. Hopefully October we will be able to do a little more. We did receive our final travel claim money for our move which was a little under $1000 which we put towards debt.
Student Loans make up the majority of our debt. Looking back we could of made much wiser decisions regarding how much be borrowed for school. My husband and I got married when we were 18 and headed to college together when we were 20. They offered us loans so we said yes! Did we need to borrow that much? Absolutely not. Financial education for our younger generations is so key not only to their personal financial success but the financial success of our country. Student loans make higher education possible for millions of Americans but it should require a little more financial education along with it. Possibly a budgeting class required before loans are accepted. I know entrance counseling is required but it's not much of a program.
We have also definitely made our mistakes in the car buying department. We paid off one car a year early last year but then decided we needed a new van. We could of had our van paid off but now instead we owe close to $34000 on it. When we bought it I felt like we had earned it. We make pretty good money now and deserved to own a nice car. I do love the car but looking back wish we would have waited.
In life we are always learning both personally and financially. Our quest to become debt free has come about because I am getting ready to finish my Master's degree in Financial Planning and I feel need to "practice what I preach" How can I as a planner expect clients and others to listen to my advice to become financially free if I haven't obtained it myself. I also want to set an example for our kids. Kids have no problem learning how to spend but it takes a continuous effort to teach them the importance to save. My prayer is that my kids will grow up financially smarter than I was at a young age.