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Some Good News


Editorial Note: This was supposed to be posted August 8th but as I mentioned yesterday, a couple of my posts got lost! I will have a real-time update for you tomorrow. 

My dog (and savings) are mostly okay

The vet examined Rosie on Wednesday and it was good news. He removed the questionable lump while she was awake (saving me money on anesthesia!). He took a look at it under a microscope and said it was just a cyst that had become infected. Good news! He inspected her other lumps and said they were fine as well. This was one of our most expensive visits to date, totaling $236. The vet prescribed three medications to address her whole-body rash and the wound from the lump removal. You can see in this picture below, there is a wound on her back. She’s bandaged up now and doing great.

Rosie vet

I am so relieved, especially about the corn cobs she ate. Those are one of the most common causes of bowel obstruction surgery. Rosie had corn cobs stuck in her belly for three and a half days, and we are beyond lucky that they came up naturally (there was one full-sized cob and two half-sized ones – that’s a lot of food to have stuck inside you for so long!).

Budget implications

Rosie has insurance, but since I purchased it, she hasn’t been sick. Typical, right? She has a $300/year deductible so I won’t get any money back from this visit, but I submitted it so that if she is sick again, we will receive coverage. I haven’t figured out if I can pull the money for this vet visit from other categories yet. I shouldn’t need any clothes, cat medical supplies, or household stuff this month, but I’ve already blown my entertainment budget and it’s only August 9th. If I can be lean with my groceries and find a bit of money from side hustles, I might be able to swing this payment without touching my savings or adding to my debt.

Spending Challenges

I have been tracking my spending. Why is this so difficult? Facing spending realities is really hard. I am over budget for entertainment, and already almost at my limit for groceries. I used to be a perfectionist with meal planning, but work is ruining all of that right now. I’m putting in 13-14 hour days plus commuting, and I have a house to clean and animals to take care of when I get home. I haven’t watched TV or listened to podcasts in weeks. I have no free time, and my budget is suffering for it. This is my reality for at least another few weeks, so I am going to keep tracking spending diligently. Hope has been posting money challenges. If I am being realistic, my biggest challenge this month will be not to add to my debt. Having my honest spending data in front of me will help inform my next goals. I’ve only been tracking nine days so far, and it’s already staggering.

Side hustles?

This morning I received a message for a dog-sitting gig that would pay $132. The owner is looking for someone to sleep at her house for a few days mid-month. I actually have help with my pets this month, so I can swing this gig! Fingers crossed it works out. I also have a lead on a friend of a friend who needs a room for a few weeks starting August 15th! I know this person, so it won’t be a stranger in my house.


  • Reply Joe |

    Glad to hear your dog is OK. It’s a huge hit for you unfortunately, as that $240 bill is likely going to cost you $400+ when all is said and done. This is because you have significant credit card debt accruing 20% annual interest.

    It’s one thing for your dog, which is not really avoidable. But the previous post included $200 for a night out. I know it’s all “budgeted” but again the reality is that you will end up paying $350+ for that (admittedly awesome) night out. This was a discretionary expense, and its worth thinking about how you could have done it more frugally.

    Laying out the numbers like this hopefully should shed even greater urgency on debt reduction, including hopefully reducing your inclination to spend. Remember that credit card interest compounding works both ways — every dollar saved and sent to pay off the card saves you multiples of that dollar in future interest.

    • Reply Elizabeth S. |

      Where did you read I was putting this on a credit card? I am not. I am still well within all of my budget buckets and taking steps to make lots of extra money this month. I’m not sure if you read the bottom of the post? I have two options on the table – one is borrowing from my unused budget buckets (tricky, they are almost full), and the other is making extra money.
      If I didn’t have the money for this, I still wouldn’t put it on a credit card. I’d hit my parents up for a loan for a few weeks. I have noticed a trend of commenters jumping to conclusions here! Give me a chance here guys, before you assume the worst.

    • Reply Elizabeth S. |

      I’m actually still shocked re-reading your comment, that you think I used my credit card for the night out. Bonkers. That was cash I spent out of a budget.

      • Reply Joe |

        I think you are missing my point. I didn’t say you had physically charged anything to your credit card. But you have about $8000 of credit card debt at 20% interest, if I am remembering right.
        So any dollar you spend now is one less dollar you could use to pay down that debt. So yes, it is not as bad as accumulating additional credit card debt. But my suggestion is to think about all discretionary spending as money that could have been used to stave off all that accumulating interest. Make sense?

        • Reply Joe |

          One extreme example, but hopefully helpful, is to consider if you had $8000 in cash.
          If you sent that money to the credit card companies today, you’d be all done.

          If you decided to wait a year and then send it in, you’d still owe them $1600. Two years, ~$3200, etc.

          In the same way, any extra dollar you pay back today is worth more than a dollar you pay back next week, next month, next year. That’s how compounding interest works. Make it work FOR you, instead of against you!

          • Elizabeth S. |

            Haha, yes a little misunderstanding, for sure. You didn’t write that – you said the vet bill would cost me $400! I am paying down debt, made my first big contribution to savings, and found two extra sources of income. The way you wrote the comment made it seem like I am frivolously adding to my debt here.

            I thought about deleting my comments as soon as I posted them so as not to seem too sensitive, but I want to be myself here. I am REALLY PROUD of myself for finding extra income this month, and I suppose that’s why I came off a bit defensive here (although I thought you missed the bottom part of the post entirely). I am not going to break my back and not have a life over 9k in credit card debt. I lose sleep over my lack of savings, though. Commenters can kick my butt about that all day – I deserve it. I’m excited to see how fast I can grow that savings account!

          • Susan B |

            You are playing games with yourself. You did frivolously add $200+ to your debt. Doesn’t matter if you used cash because now you are out the $200, AND you are out the “extra” income too! You spent $200 and you are going to use “extra” income to replace it and then use the replacement to pay debt or add to savings. If you had not spent it then it would have gone to debt/savings ALONG WITH the “extra” income. Math suggests your night out cost $400+.

          • Elizabeth S. |

            Hi Susan,

            I posted today about my goals for my debt, if you would like to take a peek. My blog posts are never going to be about me eating ramen and doing all free activities in order to be debt free in three months. Expect balanced, moderate lifestyle changes from me. Financial windfalls will go to debt, such as my bonus from work and any tax refund I might receive (I usually don’t receive a tax refund, though). I also pay more than the minimum payment (usually double) to my credit cards and kick extra cash over to them whenever possible.

            I intend to post how I live as a social, engaged woman in very busy and expensive city while minimizing my debt and saving for my first home and retirement. I’m surely going to take flack for the way I eat and the fact I go out once or twice a month with friends, but I am prepared for that. Thanks for your comment!

          • Susan B |

            No one will mind if you’re social and go out or if you’re a couch potato with no friends. Have fun and be you! But also be honest to yourself about the real costs involved before you yea or nay the $$ choices you make. To be successful at this you must be able to learn how to estimate true cost for the rest of your life (like keeping track of daily calories in your head). It’s a tool/skill that you learn, not at admonishment to eat only ramen or stay home! Perhaps start by calculating what $5, $20, $100, $200 invested would earn you over 1, 5, 10, 20 years. Just so you know. The more you know, the more you know ? – Also, bonus’s and tax refunds aren’t windfalls, they are part of your income, just like ‘unexpected expenses’ are really random crap that happen all the time and therefore are actually regular expenses. There will be a lot of thought reorganization and it can be overwhelming but you can do it. Your goals are fine and I do think you are doing great at tracking.

  • Reply Joe |

    I do apologize if I came on too strong. Just really hate seeing folks pay 20% interest. I have been very consistent over the years on this blog in that regard. 🙂

    I do recognize that you can’t put off all of life because of debt. And I do have great empathy for those very busy periods of life when none of us can be at our best.

    I ran some numbers based on your projected credit debt payment of $500/month (from your 2nd blog post, in my original comment I assumed a slower payoff). At that rate, you will be done in 21 months. If you are able to bump that up to just $600/month, you will be done in 17 months! That should be motivation enough to throw as much as you can at it! Good luck!

    • Reply Megan K |

      Joe, I wanted to let you know that I found your comment extremely insightful and helpful. I am in the process of digging myself out of debt, and I tend to make excuses for why I deserve to spend the extra money I bring in on “fun” stuff instead of putting it straight towards a credit card. I am going to think about the true cost of that from now on! Thank you.

  • Reply Ellen |

    Oh jeez. You are allowed to go out and have fun every now and then. *eye roll here*
    Were you just expected to ignore the fact that your dog needed a vet? Some people don’t understand that pets are not just disposable.
    Good job at finding the side gigs. I’m not sure what is available in Canada but do you have access to all the extras the the US has? ex. Uber, Grub Hub, Door Dash, Amazon Flex? These are good to look into. My son drives for Amazon Flex as a side hustle. They pay him twice a week and most 3 hour time frames pay him over $20/hour.

So, what do you think ?