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Dealing with Setbacks…


One of the unavoidable – and sometimes most painful – steps in the journey to become debt free is setbacks.

We had been looking forward to becoming debt free in about 12 months, but our schedule has been delayed due to the bout of unemployment. I could tell you that I’m not disappointed… and I could also tell you I was excited to see my check engine light pop on this morning – but I’d be lying.

Setbacks and adjustment are just a part of the journey.

How are we dealing we ours?

Rather than jump straight into reducing debt, we are going to rally up our depleted savings. Depending on my husband’s actual start date, we should be back up in about 2 months. After we have a stable amount, we’re going to jump right back into the fight against our debt.

The good news? My husband will start working at construction prevailing wage rates in February or March. Prevailing wage rates are higher than he is currently earning and should help us get back on track faster.


  • Reply Abigail |

    Setbacks and I are old pals! It sometimes gets to the point of being funny (in that “if you don’t laugh, you’ll cry” kind of way). It can be very stressful, indeed.

    We’re new to owning a car, and despite it being thoroughly checked before we left Washington, we’ve already had $600 of repairs. (To be fair, we did drive it 1,500 miles just to get here.)

    These days, I basically allot a certain amount of the unknown into the budget. I say things like, “If things don’t go too wrong, we’ll be done sometime in June.” Because otherwise, I lose my mind whenever something small jumps out of the woodwork to foul up our plans.

    I think it’s fabulous that your husband is getting back to work. That will certainly make things easier financially. And once you get that savings account bulked up, you’ll probably feel a lot more relaxed, which will allow you to devote your energies more wholly toward debt reduction.

    At least… if things don’t go too wrong.

  • Reply brooklynchick |

    Its so hard to be patient, but EVERYONE I know with debt problems has had setbacks – just like everyone who is losing weight has setbacks. Part of life I guess? Sigh. What a pain. So glad about your husband’s job though!

  • Reply a.b. |

    I’m there with Abigail. We were excited to pay off a large chunk of debt and ended up with an engine rebuild instead. I had a hard time because I kept thinking that setbacks were a reflection on my poor planning. It took me a long time to realize they are simply facts of life.

    Congratulations on your husband’s job; prevailing wage is a true added bonus!

  • Reply emmi |

    Planning is part of dealing with setbacks. Frankly, they aren’t really setbacks, they are normal life and have to be expected.

    If you run your household like a small business (which is really is, honestly) then you would have an account per capital expenditure. You would have a car account that not only saved ahead for repairs, but also saved ahead for replacement. Ditto for the furnace, the kitchen appliances, etc. Trouble is when you are already over your head, there isn’t enough slack to build up all these accounts. But going through life expecting to get lucky and not need an unexpected repair or replacement on something pricey is not going to work. Expecting life to work that way is what gets people in trouble in the first place.

    If you think you are in good financial shape, it’s a good exercise to sit down and write out each major capital item you own, and its estimated date it was new and search for the average lifespan, then write out the expected replacement dates. Then figure out how much you have to save per month to meet those replacement dates. This is a sobering exercise, even if you think you are doing well on savings.

  • Reply Beks |

    Abigail – Don’t you hate it when cars breakdown!? Ugh. Thanks for the encouragement.

    Brooklyn chick & Nicole – Thanks!

    A.B – We’re so excited about the prevailing wage job. It will be nice to catch up again.

    Emmi – I agree. But I can only plan so far. Job loss can be a real smack in the face. ; )

So, what do you think ?