Debt Update

This is a little late. I went to my mortgage website to get the numbers and they were in maintenance then I forgot. I have them now. This Debt report is not as great as I wanted it to be but I’m just now getting back to work after not working all summer so our snowball lost a little weight.

In January 2018 we started with $37,875.32 in debt which included credit cards, medical bills, a car and a school loan. As of September we have $18.645.06 in debt which still includes credit cards, medical bills and a school loan but not a car loan. That is down $161.54 from last month. We have paid, since January 2018 $19,230.26. We are over halfway there. Soon we shall be DEBT FREE!!!

As for our mortgage, which we won’t actively start trying to pay down until our fully funded emergency fund is, well, fully funded. The goal for that is $24,000.00.
Our original loan was $180,805.00. We have paid $15,557.74 since we bought the house and $391.44 since last month. Even though we aren’t focusing on paying this off, I do pay a little extra every month due to an escrow adjustment.

So that’s my September debt report. Who has a debt free journey they’d like to share?

Still Keto?

I started Keto in July of 2018 when my doctor repeatedly described me as MORBIDLY OBESE and I failed my blood pressure test for my DOT physical. She also told me I was pre-diabetic. So basically a train wreck waiting to happen.

For the first 8 months I did reasonably well losing 40 pounds. For those who haven’t been around I started at 255. Since April of 2019 I haven’t lost weight. I’m hovering at 215 and cannot go down. It is very frustrating, to say the least, but I’m not going to give up.

Two little words keep coming up in my research. Well, two big words, Intermittent Fasting. OY. Anything with the word fasting in it gives me hives. I mean let’s face it I didn’t get to be 255 pounds because I like to miss meals. Everything I’m reading, though, is pointing me to this as a way to bust through this 5 month plateau. I did it one day a few months ago. It wasn’t that hard, especially if I do it from Saturday night to Sunday. I don’t normally eat breakfast on Sunday morning so the only thing I would miss would be my coffee. I love my coffee.

So that’s where I am. I am still doing keto but adding in IF one day a week. If one day doesn’t work I’ll add another day but honestly I’m hoping like crazy one day works. As for exercise, I am a member of a gym but have no extra hours in my day to go. Once it cools off, I live in Texas, I’ll start walking outside between routes, but I have a few weeks.

Stay tuned for a debt update. The reason I have no time lately is because I’m working as hard as I can to get the debt paid so I can stop thinking about it. I’ll tell you about how it’s going later this week.

Minimalism?

As I’ve been busy most of this summer getting ready for our first family vacation in a very long time, and as I’ve tried feverishly to get my house clean for my daughter’s graduation party, and as I think about when I go back to work and how hard it will be to keep things clean and in order, I wonder about Minimalism. I have to admit the idea of minimalism excites me but gives my husband and daughter hives. They are hoarders so have a hard time getting rid of the stuff they own because they “know” they are going to need it again, someday. I’m not going there today, I’m staying focused, minimalism.

I’m not a minimalist. Not right now anyway, but I am intrigued. I’m looking around and on my desk as I’m typing and I’m thinking that I just don’t need the 5 or 6 notebooks or the 3 to 4 empty binders in front of me. Do I? I thought I needed them at the time. Well ok, I wanted to need them because I have a hidden love of all things office supply, but I could need them eventually, right? *gasp – I sound like a hoarder.

I love the look of minimalism. Clean, non-cluttered, open spaces excite me. Mostly because if one of my cats gets up on the mantle and decides to knock everything off there won’t be a ton of broken pieces, just a few. But also because if I have to pack and move suddenly I won’t have a lot to put in a box. (I don’t plan on moving but if my husband ever gives in to me badgering him about selling the house and moving to the country, I’ll be ready.)

I’ve just started researching the subject and have found a few YouTubers that interest me. The Minimal Mom is a great one.

So, the real question is this. Can a minimalist and 2 hoarders live together in peace. Is that the beginning of a joke?

Debt Update

So it has been a little bit since I’ve written a blog. The end of the school year brings some busy days for me as I get my bus cleaned and ready to turn in. I keep my bus clean all year but this year, for some reason, I waited until the end to get the gum scraped off the floor. That was fun. 🙂

So, Baby Step Two

To recap, we started our Debt Free Journey in January of 2018. We had $37, 875.22, which consisted of credit cards, medical bills, a school loan and a car. At the end of 2018 we had paid off 2 debts and we were down to $22,068.94. While checking a credit report I found another debt in collections so we were back up to 7 debts. You may remember that I lumped the collections into one sum and am saving a little every month until I get enough to pay the smallest one off. I’ll then call them up and pay it off. So until that happens I have a Capital One account called collections and a line item on my budget with the same name.

As of June 1st we have 7 debts totaling $19,477.92. That is down $673.10 from May. That is also down $18,397.30 in 17 months.

We paid $387.31 on our mortgage principle this month and $14,387.56 since we bought the house.

That’s our debt report for June.

Are you on a debt free journey? Let’s talk!

A Prayer for Moms

Dear Father, we approach your throne on behalf of the mothers whom you have entrusted with the care of your most precious little ones. We thank you for creating each mom with a unique combination of gifts and talents. We thank you for the sacrifice of self each mom gives for her children. For the late nights spent rocking a colicky infant. For the hands calloused from washing, wiping, scrubbing, mixing, backing, stirring, hugging, patting, disciplining, holding, writing, erasing, painting, and pouring.

We thank you for the gift of time moms give for their kids, whether it’s stay-at-home moms, working moms, and moms who have some combination of the two. We thank you for the flexibility of moms, for their tirelessness, their perseverance, and their devotion.

We pray you give each mom strength. Help her to see in every mundane task the eternal, cosmic significance that you place on motherhood. Help her to understand that the most radical, world-changing events may be happening anonymously in her home. Help her to forgive those who undermine her significance.

We especially pray for single moms, who must lean solely on you for the fathering of their children. We thank you that you’re big arms surround children who may never know their earthly father. We also pray for mother who never had the honor of bearing children, but whose nurturing extends to the many poor and needy who crass the threshold of their lives.

We ask you to be the daily bread of tired mothers. We ask you to be their living water. We ask you to be their source of spiritual and physical strength. We pray that the same grace that flowed from Father to Son to us in salvation will flow from mothers to their children. We pray that each mother rejects perfectionism and instead embraces the goodness of the gospel. We pray the rhythms of repentance and forgiveness shape every home.

Lord, give each mother a worshipful reverence of you, the Creator and Sustainer of life. Help each mother to rest in the knowledge that they are but stewards of your children and that only your Spirit can produce change into the hearts of each boy and girl. May each mother find rest in you.

Most of all, Lord, on this day in which we honor mothers, may we love and cherish the special women who have born us, who have nurtured us, and who have prayed for our well-being. May our hearts overflow with gratitude to you, who formed and knitted each of us in a mother’s womb.  
– Daniel Darling

My (Our) “I’ve had it” moment

What made me say, “This is it, we can’t live like this anymore, we have to pull our heads out and get our finances straight!?”

Let’s go back, way back to when we first got married. We were both doing ok financially. I was in a little bit of debt but not a crazy amount and he didn’t have any debt. It was nice. We did live paycheck to paycheck and we weren’t saving anything but we were paying our bills and we were eating. At the time it was just us and my oldest son with his kids visiting every summer. Then at the end of my pregnancy with our first son we got the notice that the land we were renting was sold and we had to move. I’m ashamed to say we went into panic mode and made some horrible decisions that started us on a downhill slide into the black sea of debt that we have been trying to get out of ever since. (Kinda dramatic, much?) We bought a mobile home, we got and used credit cards ALOT, we bought a car, anything that could be done on credit, we did it. We were so far behind on everything that I didn’t know how we were going to make it.

We lived like that for about 16 years. Every day was a struggle because we didn’t have money to buy food or gas or pay the water bill. When I tell you I went to bed crying because I didn’t know if I would make it to work, it was sad. But as you can see we are slow learners because is took 16 years to reach the bottom.

Then 4 years ago we decided to buy a house. Huh? What were we thinking right? Our mobile home was falling down around us and we needed to find a better place and so we said, “Why not, let’s buy a house.” Well, our credit was horrible so we had to do some work to get it up enough to get a mortgage. I applied for and got a promotion at work and we got more credit cards to get our score up. It worked! We bought our house 4 years ago and continued to struggle. But our house is beautiful!

Since I’m a bus driver summer work isn’t always available. I remember that first summer it didn’t look like I would get any work and I went to my supervisor and cried. Real tears. I just bawled. She helped me find a way to work and the crisis was averted for a little while. But that was it for me. I said right then that I would not go through another year of scraping and scratching and barely making it.

I tried to get us on a budget for a while but, for some reason, I just couldn’t make it work. We got pulled into collections on a lot of stuff and even got sued by a credit card company. I just kept fighting and learning and finally found the right channels on YouTube to teach me what I needed to know and the rest is history.

So, there is the whole ugly story. I’m sharing just in case there is someone out there who is feeling hopeless. Don’t give up. It is hard but it is possible.

Anyone else have a similar experience? I’d love to talk about it with you.

Here is my first blog post about our goal to get out of debt https://livingwellgracefully.com/2019/05/05/money-mission/

Here is one about our sinking funds:

https://livingwellgracefully.com/2019/05/05/uhhh-you-have-how-many-savings-accounts/

This is my most recent debt update: https://livingwellgracefully.com/2019/05/05/time-for-a-debt-update/

Time for a debt update.

As of May 1st we have $20,151.02 in debt.  This includes 7 different debts.  If anyone is watching close enough they will notice that before we paid off the car we had 7 debts and now we still have 7 debts.  Here’s what happened.  I pulled up my husbands credit report a couple of month ago ( I do every month) and found an old debt from back when Christopher broke his arm and had to have surgery.  I didn’t know this existed because we weren’t getting bills or calls or anything.  It is in collections, of course, this was back in 2016, so I’m just adding it to the collections SF goal.

For those that don’t know what that is here’s the deal:  I have 4 debts that have gone into collections.  Three are medical debt and one is a gas card.  I’m not being charged interest and am not being harassed by any of the creditors but we do owe the money and will pay it.  I’m putting money in a sinking fund every month (it’s one of my debt snowball payments) and when I get enough to pay one I’ll call them up and take care of it.  I just recently paid off Kohl’s that way, they offered 50% off of my outstanding debt and I took it.  So, all together I have $1,634.34 in collections.  Not much.

The other debts are two credit cards and one student loan.  All of my extra money is going to one of the credit cards at the moment, then I’ll make the snowball bigger for the second credit card.

Our plan is to be out of baby step two and into baby step three by the end of next year.  That’s the projected plan on paper but I’m hoping to make it sooner.

I’m trying to come up with different ideas to increase our debt snowball payments and I’ll let you know what I come up with.

Anyone else on a debt free journey?

Meal Planning or Leg Waxing?

Everyone I talk to or watch on YouTube says the best way to save on a grocery bill is to meal plan and I agree.  So why do I avoid it like the plague?  Why does this conversation go on in my head?

I need to get May’s meal plan done.

First, though, I think I’ll scrub all of the grout in the bathroom.  It really needs it.

After that I need to wash windows they are dirty.

Does the house need painting?

Even now, I came into the office and sat down at the desk to finally get my meal plan done so I can shop.  Instead, I’m writing a blog about meal planning.  O_0

It’s crazy!

There are two ways to think about planning meals and shopping.  One is to plan exactly what you are going to eat for breakfast, lunch and snacks and make a list to get all the stuff needed for just those meals.  The other is to buy a bunch of stuff to stock your pantry and just cook what you have.  I guess you could do a combination of the two also.  The problem always is that when it comes time to cook the food, I don’t want anything I’ve planned or have in the pantry and just want to drive to Chickfila and get grilled nuggets with a side salad.  Keto Approved!

Do you meal plan?  Do you stick to it?  Let me know I’m not alone!

For the Love of Reading

I got the love of reading from my mother.  From as far back as I can remember my mom has always had a book.  I didn’t understand it when I was little but it seemed to make her happy.

She introduced me to the joy of reading when I was a new teenager, so 12.  I was going to spend the weekend at the lake with my Mima and Papa and she handed me 3 books to read while I was gone.  They were the first three books in the VC Andrews Flowers in the Attic series.  I was hooked.  From then until now I have loved reading.  I get so lost in most of the books I read and find myself not wanting to do anything else but exist in that world until the book is over.

My love for reading made high school English fun.  I also took extra Literature classes in college because I loved to read then discuss all of the books.  I remember the classics like, Romeo and Juliet.  (I still LOVE this one) but I also remember this one book I read in 7th or 8th grade called Bless the Beasts and Children by Glendon Starthout.  I really liked this one and recently ordered it so I could own it.  The movie made me cry.

Most avid readers will tell you that the book is almost always better than the movie.  I wholeheartedly agree.  I like to watch the movies just for fun but I’m usually disappointed.  There are a few movies that I liked even after reading the books.  Hunger Games and Divergent are good books and good movies.

I absolutely LOVE to have the physical book to read.  Yes, I have the Amazon Kindle app and an Audible subscription but there is no match to having the actual book.

My most recent read was Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate.  If you haven’t read it I highly recommend it.  I’m now reading The Overdue Life of Amy Byler by Kelly Harms.  This one is on my Kindle app.  It was an April First Reads.  So far it’s really good.  I’m only halfway through it but I like it.

Do you have a love of books?  What kind of book do you like?  What are you reading now?

I’m always on the lookout for my next read!

Goals

This blog is a little late but I wanted to get it out anyway.

I’m going to look back on my January Goals to see how I made out and set February Goals.  (OK, I’ve already set them but I’m going to tell you about them.)

January Goals: 

1. Continue my Debt Snowball 

     We started January 2019 with 6 debts totaling $21,872.97.  This was down $373.33 from December.  I didn’t pay the full debt snowball amount because my last check in January was a half check.  This included our Christmas break so I only worked a week during this pay period.  Overall though I’m happy for what I did pay and we were still able to go in the right direction.  DOWN!

2.  Stay on Keto

     My weight loss has slowed down significantly.  That’s a bummer but I’m still losing so I’m doing OK.  I believe I need to add in consistent exercise now that just hauling around extra pounds isn’t enough.  I’ve lost almost 45 pounds total and I’m still going in the right direction with this too.  DOWN!

February Goals:


My February goals will look a lot like my January Goals.  I want to continue my Debt Snowball and stay on Keto, but there are a couple of others.  They are:

1.  Start my C25K program.  Couch to 5K!  I’ve told my son that when he comes back to the States we are going to run a 5K together so I better get my but in gear.  I want to do it without almost dying (always a plus)  and I think the C25K will help.

2.  Become a manager with Tupperware.  I’m working on this but it may not happen until March.  If it does, that’s ok as long as I’m doing the things I need to do to get it done.

Those are my goals.

Comment down below how your goals are going so far.  Are you sticking to your New Years Resolutions?  It’s only February, down give up yet!  You can still do it.

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