June/July Goals 2018

June/July Goals

  • Maintain
  • Save for Dental Work
  • Schedule Appointments
  • Finish the Pantry Challenge
  • Plan/Have Octavia’s Birthday Party
  • Work on House/Continue Decluttering
  • Work on Breaking Down our Long-term Plan

We are doing a lot this summer and we hope to just maintain our current financial standing. We are not planning to pay-off the next credit card at this time. I am taking the girls on a trip and I know that it’s going to cost us a lot of money. I am really looking forward to sitting on the beach with my daughters. Our oldest, Ivy, also needs her wisdom teeth removed before they come in so we are starting to save for that. I have to make the appointment but we are thinking July or August is likely. Oral surgery is expensive even with insurance. I need to schedule her appointment and they all need to see the doctor soon. We like to do check-ups before school starts if possible.

We hope to finally finish the pantry challenge this month since we can now cook easier. Ivy and Isabella are interested in learning to cook so they will be cooking more going forward. We are planning meals around what is already in our kitchen. This is good for them because they are learning to make new foods and learning to work with what is available. During the last few months, we have used up many of the easier ingredients and we are now working on the more unusual items. I am toying with the idea of playing a game of “Chopped” with the girls to get rid of some of the odd leftover items.

My sweet baby, Octavia, is two this month. I don’t know where the time goes. We are planning her birthday for the end of the month. I think we are going to have it outside and her theme will be Bubble Guppies or Moana.

We are planning to do a little more work around the house and continue the decluttering process. We are focusing on things that we can do for free or very cheap that will improve our home. Decluttering, cleaning, organizing, and doing projects that we already have the stuff to complete is what we are focusing on.

We will continue working on breaking down our long-term plans into small achievable goals. In order to travel in two years, we need to accomplish quite a few different things. These things became our first list of goals and they include many things from paying off our debt to minimizing our possessions to teaching the little girls to swim. There are so many moving pieces in a goal this large that it requires a lot of planning to make sure that no part of it is missed. Some things are time sensitive and need to be started by a certain date. We are hoping to have a full plan that is easy to follow by the end of summer that fully encompasses all of the different parts that are needed to undertake something so massive.

We are hoping this month is much less stressful than May was. I will update you soon with our progress. Are you working on anything this month? Any summer plans you want to share? Any huge goals you need to break into smaller chunks? Please share with us in the comments.

May End of Month Review

May Goals

  • Finish paying off the 6th credit card on the list
  • Pay toward our 7th credit card
  • Finish something on our list of home remodeling
  • Air Conditioner
  • Sell Some Stuff
  • Finish the Pantry Challenge
  • Continue Decluttering
  • Break Down Long-Term Goals and Plans

We started off the month with a balance of $765.29 on credit card #6. We were able to pay it off. This was our only accomplishment on our debt payoff plan in May. We had a busy and draining month. It drained us both physically and financially. The air conditioner going out was just as big of a nightmare as we thought it was going to be. We started by buying two window units which set us back over $300 but did give us time to figure out our next move. We knew when we bought them that they were only a temporary fix but we needed time to come up with the best plan. We do intend to sell them and recoup part of the cost.

Replacing our central air was a nightmare but we definitely went with the best option. We had an older furnace so it needed to be replaced too. It was still functional but a new one would ensure that we were not dealing with the potential loss of heat and will increase our resell value. We intend to sell our house in a couple years so that was also a consideration. It was cheaper to buy the furnace and air conditioner unit together. We did most of the work ourselves which helped to offset a lot of the cost. We did have to take out a personal loan for $4,000. We didn’t want to do it but our savings were not going to cover it. We got a decent interest rate and we are going to pay it off after we finish paying off our credit cards.

We didn’t do anything else around our house. We didn’t sell anything. We were honestly just too busy to think about anything but the air conditioner, work, and finishing out the end of the school year. We didn’t finish the pantry challenge but we are back at it again. We mainly ate easy to prepare foods like salads, sandwiches, and fruit. We didn’t want to cook too much because it made the house hotter. Our kids were sick this month which added to the drama. It was quite a mess of a month.

We did continue to declutter. Each of our daughters has a memory book that is a drop-in style scrapbook. We started going through our photo and memory boxes to try to organize and make sense of things. Our goal is to make the things that are truly important to us easier to access and to store them in a better manner.

We have started to figure out the details of our long-term plans so that we are better able to see our path. We want to break the big steps down into smaller portions the same way we did with our debt-free journey. We broke our debt down into individual debts and worked out the order to pay them in that made the most sense. We also broke that down into monthly goals. It has made that process so much easier that we decided to apply it to the other aspects of our long-term plan.

It was a crazy month but we survived to fight another one.

May Goals 2018

May Goals

  • Finish paying off the 6th credit card on the list
  • Pay Toward our 7th credit card
  • Finish Something on our List of Home Remodeling
  • Air Conditioner
  • Sell Some Stuff
  • Finish the Pantry Challenge
  • Continue Decluttering
  • Break Down Long-Term Goals and Plan

We currently owe $765.29 on the 6th credit card on the list. We intend to pay it off this month. This is a completely reasonable goal. This is our only detailed financial goal this month. We had a huge issue come up. Our air conditioner gave out on us. We are trying to figure out what our options are for replacement or repair. It is an old unit which is causing some issues with repairing it. This threw a major wrench into our plans because we have no idea what this is going to cost. We had originally wanted to pay $1,000 on our 7th credit card this month but I don’t know how all of this is going to go. Michael is looking into our options and figuring out what will be the most cost-effective. There is a possibility of taking out a small personal loan with a low-interest rate from our local credit union to deal with the air conditioner problem. This is not ideal because it involves more debt which is what we are trying to get rid of. It might be an option because I am not sure if we can come up with the required amount of cash quickly enough. If we do this we could also keep pounding away at the credit cards which have much higher interest rates. We are not sure if there will be any additional costs to getting a loan or what the interest rate is going to be yet. Those costs will also have to be looked at. We are even considering buying a couple window units. I will let you know when we figure this out.

We have quite a few projects that we are going to have to finish in order to sell our house. They will also make it more enjoyable to live here for the next couple years. We are able to do them ourselves. We have been very slowly working down the list. We hope to accomplish a couple small things on that list. We were planning to do more but life threw us that air conditioner curveball.

We have boxed up some things that have value as we have been decluttering. We are going to try to sell some of those items this month. We could use that extra money to help us reach our goals. We will be continuing the decluttering process this month.

We will be finishing the pantry challenge and I will be writing a post about it. The idea behind a pantry challenge is to completely clean out our pantry, refrigerator, and freezer. This is saving us some money in the short-term but it is extremely useful in the long term. It will help us to be more organized and make meal planning easier. It will help to stop us from losing things and food from going bad.

We are working on breaking down our long-term goals to develop an overall plan. We want to start to get more prepared for our long-range goals. We are planning such a major lifestyle change that we feel that the more we can prep the better our entire family will adjust when the time comes. Decluttering has actually been a huge part of this. Being able to spend a couple years paring down our possessions is much less stressful than having to do it quickly. We need to pay off all of our credit cards to make ourselves more financially independent. It is hard to do what you want to do in life with large amounts of debt hanging over your head. I will be doing a post sometime in the near future about what our plans actually include because it will help our entire journey make more sense. I touched on it in our debt confession but now we are in full planning mode so we have a much more detailed plan coming soon.

Thanks for coming along on our journey! What are your May goals? Are you planning anything big soon? Share with us below!

April End of Month Review

April Goals

  • Pay off the 5th credit card on the list
  • Pay $1,000 on the 6th credit card on the list
  • Continue with the Konmari Method
  • Do a Pantry Challenge

I can’t believe it’s already the end of April! Seriously, where does the time go? We have been continuing to work hard toward our goals this month and the time just flew by. Our first goal was to pay off the 5th credit card on the list. It had a balance of $798. We completely paid it off early in the month. Our second goal was to pay $1,000 on the 6th credit card on the list. It took a little hustle but we managed to pay $1,391.69.

We continued with our decluttering. We have been working our way through all the paper clutter in our house. There is actually way more than I originally thought. We have been plugging away at it. I am going through boxes that have been being stored in closets too. That has caused the paper pile to grow. I have been keeping it all in a crate as I work my way through it. I have also taken some steps to lessen the amount of mail coming in. I have switched as many things as possible to emailed statements/bills. I put any paper bills I need in the front pocket of my planner until I pay them and get rid of them as soon as I do. I have also been working on decluttering more areas. We recently went through all of the art/craft supplies and did the first pass on the kids’ toys. The closet we keep all of our art/craft supplies, board games, and our toy rotation bins is the cleanest it has been in a very long time. As a result, Isabella has been doing more craft projects and using more of the available supplies. We bought the stuff to keep them busy and for them to do more educational projects but the stuff just sat there before. It was such a pain to find things in the messy closet that my girls would just give up before they ever got started.

We are still working on the pantry challenge. It saved us about $200 in April. The goal is to completely empty our pantry, refrigerator, and freezer. I take stock of everything we have when figuring out our weekly meal plan & grocery list. The point of this is to do a spring clean of everything so we know things are not going bad, use up the items that have been hanging out for some time, and help us to keep our pantry more organized going forward.

We are finalizing our May goals and I will be posting them soon.

How We Are Getting Out of Debt and You Can Too

We have been working on getting out of debt. These are the steps that we have been following on our debt free journey. If we can do this, you can too.

Step 1: Figure Out How Much You Owe and Who You Owe 

Sit down with pen and paper. Write down every single debt and every single monthly bill. This may take ages. It took me about an hour a day for a week to collect up everything and make sense of it. I wrote down who we owed, how much the debt was, how much the monthly payment was, the interest rate, the expected payoff date, and what day of the month the payment was due. For household bills (electric, water, etc) I wrote what the bill was for, the monthly due date, the average monthly bill, and the highest the bill had been in the last year. This step is super important. Don’t guess how much you owe. Do the hard work and gather the information. Make sure you get everything no matter how small. Include how much you spend on groceries each week. After getting together our debts, I used our bank and credit card statements to see what we were spending money on over the course of the last year.

Step 2: Organize Your Information and Make a Plan

After I finished gathering information, I made three lists. The first list was a list of debts in order from lowest to highest amount owed. Then I separated out our debts into categories based on types of debt and interest rates. This helped us to decide on a payoff plan. If you skip this, you will regret it. You need a plan in order to make the most of your money and time. We decided on a system based on the debt snowball and taking interest into account. We chose to pay off our credit cards and a personal loan first. This will be followed by our student loans because the interest rate is lower on them. This broke our debt into two pieces. We are still paying them off in order from lowest to highest balance within those sections. We had a couple unusual debts that we chose to move up the list when we made our final plan. We had credit cards that had 0% interest that we wanted to pay-off sooner so that we knew they were paid off before the interest hit. The personal loan was the debt that annoyed me most so we paid it off sooner. It also had a higher monthly payment which rapidly expanded our debt snowball. I used all of this information to set up our debt binder which I will be sharing in a future post.

The second was a list of our monthly bills including debt payments in order of due date starting at the beginning of the month. I used this and the month layout of my planner to finally get my crap together. This step only took a few hours. Our bills are now organized until the end of the year so we’ll never have a late payment and our debt binder helps to keep us on track with the overall plan.

The third list was a list of things that we could give up or cut back on to save money on those monthly bills. Any payment that we were paying prior to this process that we were able to get rid of became part of our debt snowball. This list grows everytime we pay something off or discover another way to save a few dollars. We set a weekly grocery budget. If we are under budget, that money goes towards the debt we are currently working toward paying off. We ate out a lot before beginning this journey. I was shocked when I added up what we spent at restaurants over the previous year. We now save a ton of money cooking at home and planning ahead for busy nights.

Step 3 – Work the Process

You have done the hard work of gathering the information and setting up the process. This step is a different kind of hard work. We are currently at this stage in our plan. This is where things get real. You have to change your habits. You have to make the sacrifices. It is exhausting to work the process that looked so simple on paper. Keep looking for inspiration to help keep you going. It is hard to keep the momentum going. Watch or read things about finance and getting out of debt. I love listening to the debt-free screams on Dave Ramsey. Celebrate along the way to keep yourself motivated on your debt-free journey. Plan ways that you are going to celebrate after hitting your goals. Make your favorite dinner. Take your kids out for donuts. Bake a cake. Treat yourself to a new lipstick. Go out for a drink with friends. Whatever it is that will help you to dig a little deeper and keep working a little longer without breaking the bank.

Those are the steps we are currently taking during our debt-free journey. We would love to have you along for the ride. If you have any questions or suggestions, drop us a comment below.