Hello everyone! It’s Tricia here with an update. I know some of you have been wondering how things have been going for my family. Now that Beks has basically paid off her debt, it is the perfect time for an update. Next month we get to meet the next blogger. I don’t know about you, but I am very excited!
First things first…are we still credit card debt free? It pains me to say this. Unfortunately, no. I could easily lie and say we don’t have any credit card debt, but that wouldn’t be right. It will be paid off next month, but it’s still there. I can log into our account online right now and see a balance on our card that we can’t pay off. It hurts and I’m embarrassed to have an update with this news. We were doing fine, then I made a big mistake.
We decided that we were going to go on our first ever family vacation. I planned everything down to what we were going to be doing at 8:00 p.m. on Friday night. All costs were carefully calculated on a spreadsheet and we saved up the money to cover our trip. My husband commented that maybe I should be a travel planner. I was pretty proud of myself until we got home. We overspent. I knew we overspent by a few hundred dollars because a week or so before our trip I added a show to our agenda. But the damage was more than that. All the little things added up. Trust me, I will not be pursuing a career as a travel planner anytime soon.
On the bright side, we had a fantastic time during our vacation. We made a scrapbook for our trip (the material for that was another expense I didn’t consider) that I look at a few times a week. It brings so much joy to my heart. Our life was becoming routine the shake-up that a vacation provides rejuvenated all of us. It will be the event in our lives that we will always talk about. No matter what, we’ll always have that experience.
Getting into credit card debt again shouldn’t have happened. We should have waited a while longer before going on vacation and saved up more money. I could have saved 50 percent on our tickets to the show but I wanted to be close to the action and paid the higher price. There were a lot of could haves and should haves to go around. The bottom line is that we didn’t immediately pay off what we spent so we had credit card debt again. At least next month it will be paid off. While I would love to go on a vacation again, it’s not going to happen anytime soon. Next time we’re going to save up way more than we think we will spend so this doesn’t happen again.
Now that the embarrassing part is out of the way, here are some other updates:
- We added a new member to our family. He is an adorable mutt that was on death-row. We knew there was something special about him when we met him. Sometimes the heart doesn’t talk to the brain. There have been added expenses (such as taking him to the vets twice in the first two weeks we had him since I was worried about every little thing!). He’s also chewed four pairs of pants, countless socks, two wallets (including the contents!), numerous rolls of toilet paper, a Wii remote and other things I can’t think of at the moment. I could add up the monetary damage, but I won’t. The joy he has brought us is priceless.
- Our son is now homeschooled. I won’t go into details, but my son’s school experience became less than ideal so we made the decision to homeschool him. We made an expensive mistake of enrolling him in an online private school. Nervous about homeschooling by ourselves, but we thought it would help and we’d just try it out for a year. We were not impressed with the instruction or curriculum so we cut our losses and said goodbye to our deposit on the year’s tuition. After researching, I became more confident that we could develop a curriculum and teach our son ourselves. The materials haven’t been too expensive except for textbooks and some science kits. The internet has so much available for free. The added costs to homeschool have been worth it. Our son has improved leaps and bounds and we believe he’s caught up enough to go back into a brick and mortar school (more about that later).
- We still keep our heat low in the house. It became painfully obvious when my son’s friend came over and decided to keep his winter jacket on with his hood up. I had to chuckle as I turned up the heat a little bit. My son comfortably roams around the house with no socks and shorts on. I guess the rest of us are used to it! As an experiment, I put the heat up to 68 degrees one day. My husband and son were both complaining that it was too hot!
- I changed jobs twice since my last update! I left one job for a nice pay raise and then left that job for another job and took a pay cut. It seems a little crazy, but sometimes you have to take a step back to get on the path you are looking for. I’m pretty sure I’m right where I need to be for a while now.
- We still live in our small 100+-year-old home. It’s been a great starter home, but it’s time to move on soon. I don’t think we need a home that is bigger. I’d love one with a better layout and a larger yard. We would also like to get our son back into school this fall which means a move closer to a different school. We have our sights set on an area closer to our families and if all goes well we’ll have a nice down payment saved up by mid-summer (we decided to not dip into our savings to pay off our credit card debt from our vacation). The first time we purchased a home we made a lot of newbie mistakes and we didn’t wheel and deal as much as we could have. I’m ready for the next opportunity.
- Our son was diagnosed with a probable allergy to food dyes. As a result, many of the cheap foods we ate were now off-limits. Cheap mac & cheese (which my son loved)? It has yellow dye. What doesn’t have yellow dye? The expensive sauce packet mac & cheese. I don’t like to deny our son from all of his favorite foods or I feel he is going to sneak them in behind my back. I want to show him he has a choice and he is an active participant in making that choice so we do purchase more expensive foods without the coloring. This past Halloween he sorted through his candy himself and even looked at the ingredients. He didn’t want the candy with the food dyes. I was, and continue to be, so proud of him.
- Our business stalled. We made a few mistakes in the beginning and stretched areas of the business and ourselves too thin. Things became really rough once we started homeschooling since that took up a lot of time, especially at first when we were getting the hang of it. We’ve since restructured our schedules and made the business more automated. Things are already turning around – 2012 is looking to be an excellent year.
- We purchased an HDTV. Those of you who have followed us on our journey know how badly I wanted an HDTV. In a way, the TV became the prize at the end of our journey. We didn’t purchase one right away. We shopped around for over a year and finally found the perfect one for us for at a great price. The picture was everything I had hoped for and it was paid for with cash.
- I realized how much this blog impacted our debt reduction. Now that it’s been almost two years since I stopped blogging, I look back and think about what we were able to accomplish in three years with paying off our credit card debt. The intensity we had back then was way higher than it is now. This blog held me accountable. I truly believe blogging away debt or blogging about your finances is an excellent motivational tool. It may not work for everyone, but it definitely helped me and it has helped others.
That’s enough about my life. It’s time for more celebration for Bek’s debt pay-off and it’s time to wish her and her family well during their life after debt. Congratulations, Beks! I am proud of you! 🙂