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Answering Some Questions and an Update

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I ended up being pretty busy last week, and this week looks like much of the same. But there are some updates I want to give so I thought I would put them all in one post.

First of all, I’ll answer some questions:

Arduous asked

…It seems to me that $833 a month is doable though, so I am looking forward to a big old blog party in May of 2009. How much per month have you been managing lately? It seems like you’ve been paying off much more than that.

Let’s see…I’ll look at the past five months:

November 2007 = $743
December 2007 = $1,843
January 2008 = $965
February 2008 = $2,300
March 2008 = $701

It seems like every other month we have a really good debt payoff month. The months that aren’t as great are the months where our health insurance premiums are due (we pay $800 every two months). We have been averaging about $1,300/month.

Danielle asked:

Where did the $600 come from? Did you sell something?

It’s funny because I try not to give out too much specific financial information on here. I have to guard it somewhat. But, when I pay off a chunk of debt you can be pretty certain a pay day occurred not too long ago. I forecast our cash flow months in advance, so I can gauge how much money we have for everything except our debt. Extra money is sent to the credit card before it can spend it somewhere else.

In this case, I also sold some advertising on my other blog. So that is part of it as well. It is also the off-month where we don’t have to pay our health insurance premium 😉

Now for an update on my husband’s job search.

There are still some resumes floating out there, but the jobs to apply to within his field are very slim. Maybe it’s a reflection of the economy right now. So we discussed it, and came to a decision. We are going to stay put where we are and bring to life the idea I had over a year ago. My husband will be doing the majority of the work and is not seeking employment elsewhere.

As a refresher, my idea involved about $500 as seed money to buy what we need. It’s a far cry from the $10,000 we spent towards our first business attempt (that didn’t get off the ground). We also were able to use CASH this time around, which is always a plus.

I think you know that it’s hard for me to part with a chunk of change like that. That’s why we didn’t do anything related to my idea for a year. I have had one serious case of debt tunnel vision. But a chat with someone woke us both up. We’ve already lost a year that we could have been working on it. We can’t lose any more.

In case that little birdie that woke us up is reading…thank you 🙂

How will this affect our debt reduction right now? Probably not too much. Our income should stay fairly constant at this point and all of the numbers I crunched show that we will be able to meet the $833/month payments to our debt (on average). My idea should start helping with income in six months or so.

I’m excited, because for the first time in quite a while I feel like we are looking to the future.


15 Comments

  • Reply Sherri |

    Good luck with your idea! I hope other people are positive about it too. 🙂 You’re still going to be able to cover your expenses plus put a hefty amount towards your debt as you and your husband pursue it, so why not go through with a forward thinking idea that only cost $500 up front. My sincere best wishes that it works out!

  • Reply Anonymous Reader |

    Not finding a job in his field is just an excuse for your husband not not finding a job of any kind. He needs to grow up and realize he isn’t going to get the job of his dreams and he has a family that needs another income. How many years will you be struggling with all of your various debt because he isn’t willing to do what is necessary to pay it off?

    Buying something that only cost $500 is not justification for making the project your husband’s only “job.” If you guys want to start a business, do it on the side while you are both working to pay off your debt. Paying off the debt rapidly will give you the flexibility to divert money to working capital if the business takes off. If the idea fails, you will not have lost another year of income.

  • Reply Mar |

    In response to Anonymous Reader:

    I’m continually shocked that some people think they know enough to criticize about someone else’s spouse and/or choices. If Tricia is excited about this opportunity and thinks it is good for her family, that should be good enough. Based on her previous postings, there aren’t that many jobs of any kind in their area. Yes, they can move so both of them can work, but their expenses will also go up; they are most likely not going to get such an inexpensive house in another area of the country. I don’t know what the new venture is, but it very well may be in her husband’s field. Even if it isn’t, if it’s good enough for them and they think it will be an income generator in 6 months (or 12 or however long they are willling to give it), I don’t think we can slam it unless we know more. Sorry if I offend you, but I found your comments brutal, offensive, and unwarranted.

    Tricia, good luck with the new venture. You’ve done such a marvelous job with the debt payoff. I think your next blog, the one you start in June, 2009, should be “bloggingupsavings”!

  • Reply Rachel @ Master Your Card |

    Good luck with your new idea. $500 sounds like a very small amount to invest – I invested a lot more than that in my first business.

  • Reply arduous |

    Averaging $1,300 a month!! That’s huge!! I don’t want to jinx anything so I am going to whisper this while knocking on wood very loudly but, “If you keep that up, you’ll EXCEED your goal date!!”

    I am so excited for you! 🙂

  • Reply Tricia |

    arduous – to be fair, there were some things sold in there and that skewed things. My husband and I sat down and tried to think of anything else we could sell, and there isn’t much left except for little items. I will probably have one last garage sale this summer to try to get rid of the last of it.

    Mar – this idea takes my husband’s talents and my talents and meshes them together quite well. It will provide income, and it will open up so many doors to other opportunities that can generate more income.

  • Reply Mar |

    That’s what I thought, Tricia. I just wanted to respond to Anonymous Reader’s comments because I felt there wasn’t enough information for any of us to make the presumptions that his/her post were making and I thought the tone was out of line.

    Good luck and keep inspiring us with your debt paydown!

  • Reply Mark B. |

    Tricia, I have been following your blog for a long time and I really enjoy it and I am inspired by it.

    However, I think being too guarded about specific financial information might be holding the growth of this blog back a bit. People come on here looking for ideas that might help them, and when you say something like “we had a $600 payday” and not provide any more information it leaves the reader wondering “how can I generate a $600 payday to help pay down my debts?”

    Also, you used to post your monthly Quicken spending and income reports, did you stop posting those? I found those to be very interesting and revealing for a person trying to escape debt myself.

  • Reply Tricia |

    Mark B. – Good point about the specifics. The thing is, I don’t want to put it out there that I just got paid and have a large chunk of cash in my bank account. I’m not comfortable with that. For the same reason, I have never talked about what credit cards we have. I try to give enough information, but it’s true that if I don’t divulge everything…it doesn’t give the whole picture.

    As for the $600, it doesn’t mean that it was a payday in itself. It’s just that I run our checking account very low and when payday arrives it’s debt-paying time. That’s why I usually pay chunks at a time.

    As for the Quicken reports, I stopped posting those. For one, I was spending too much time gathering all of my receipts and entering every last detail. I am a perfectionist that way and the reports took a long time to do. The other reason goes back to not posting specifics. As my blog grows, I know it may affect my career in a harmful way. If I lost my job right now, I don’t think I have to note how far up a creek we’d be without a paddle. Bloggers have lost their jobs due to their blogs (it’s called getting dooced).

    I will definitely keep in mind what you said about details, and I’ll try to be a little more specific with as much as I’m comfortable with.

  • Reply Janelle |

    Tricia way to go on staying put! I completely support your decision. Man you have a SMALL MORTGAGE! Only oweing $32k on your mortgage is a dream where I am. You can’t buy nothin’ for that here, let alone 7 times that amount. You are smart to stay where you are, pursue this new business with your husband and keep working on the debt. You have shown you are already making way more money than you need to just pay your basic bills. That shows in your debt reduction, so I would be staying put too.

    Cost of living is HUGE. You are fortunate to live in a home and an area where your cost of living is very low. Stay there girl! We have considered moving to get out of high priced Western Washington, but the doors have not opened yet.

    Keep up the good work! I love your blog.

  • Reply Mark B. |

    Tricia,

    Thanks for responding regarding the details/reports. I understand not putting out the reports if there is a lot of extra work involved. I thought it was just a quick snapshot of something that you already did.

    The only reason I “critiqued” your lack of detail is because you have a tremendous talent for writing, and I think you could make so much more from your blogging.

    In all honesty, I feel like you have the voice to make a living from blogging like Trent at thesimpledollar. It seems the only thing really holding you back is time, when you have time your blog is great, when you are short on time you get a lot of posts saying “I am really busy”.

    Keep up the good work.

  • Reply danielle |

    I don’t know what you mean by “specific financial information.” (Don’t explain if it’s not something you feel comfortable with). I thought this whole blog was about financial specifics.

    The comments about your husband’s employment/lack thereof are uncalled for. You are doing so great on your own, that I don’t think he needs to work. I think you all are fine with him at home with your son, working here and there, and throwing his money at your debt whenever he does work. Do you know how many families are the total flip of you- where the man works full time like you, and the woman is at home/works sometimes? If comments like that were given to a woman, it would be very untolerated!!!

    At least, if he doesn’t find a job, you don’t have to move. Keep up the good work.

  • Reply Tricia |

    Mark B – I feel really bad when I have to write those “I’m busy posts.” Sometimes I wonder if I should write anything at all on the busy days. But, if I go too long without writing I get a concerned call from my mom LOL. I also know that when my favorite bloggers haven’t written in a few days I start wondering if they are okay.

    Thank you for the compliment about my writing. I don’t know how Trent does it. It takes me hours to do a single post. Even the ING post I wrote today I started yesterday and finished today. In all, it took over an hour. On the flip side, if I took four hours a day to write one great post a day, and could make a full-time income from blogging, that would be pretty awesome. This blog is far from replacing my full time income, though.

    Danielle – the specifics would be listing who I do my banking with, the types of credit cards I have, even loan payment amounts. I was pretty shocked once when I had to answer some questions to get a credit report and low and behold, the answers to a few of those questions could be found within this blog. That made me very uncomfortable.

    About the flip – I agree. My husband does most of the household duties. I haven’t washed any dishes in weeks and it’s probably been months since I’ve done a load of laundry. He also does a lot of cooking during the week, but I usually do it on the weekends because I like to cook.

    The discussion here has been great. I think I have been holding back my writing too much out of fear. I have a lot of to think about this weekend.

  • Reply Mark B. |

    Tricia,

    For someone in your situation, having some public information out there, you might want to consider something like LifeLock. It is an identity protection service that costs about $55 a year with a discount code (I can e-mail one to you if you want).

    It may be worth looking into, or at the very least, you could do a post about the pros/cons if you learn anything about the service. I have some co-workers who have tried it and think it is great. It might help ease some of your fear.

    Keep up the good writing. Just to clarify, I think you could really do well with the blog even without divulging more personal info.

  • Reply trisha |

    I just found your blog and i’m so impressed… we’re starting to dig out from debt, and it sometimes feels so overwhelming to look at the morgage, the energy bills… tuition alone for our son’s school is $9,300 a year. good luck to your husband, i hope you don’t mind if i lurk around your website for a while.

So, what do you think ?