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Hope’s Debt Update – February, 2022

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I appreciate everyone’s feedback regarding my medical bills. I was able to eliminate one of them with a phone call  and cash settlement. Thank goodness for a very solid savings account. I am still working on the COVID hospital bill.

Debt DescriptionOriginal Total (January, 2022)Current Month TotalGoal to Payoff
Medical - COVID Hospital Stay
5,129
4,632Apr, 2022
Medical - Hearing Aids
4,500
4,294Aug, 2022
Medical - Testing #1
7,506
7,067Oct, 2022
Medical - Testing #2
5,900
0Feb, 2022
Mortgage
97,850
97,850
Student Loan
19,116
18,950
Total$140,001
$132,831

I continue to prioritize the medical bills over my mortgage and student loans. It looks like I will be able to pay off all of the unsecured debt by Fall of this year. Score!

Medical debt

I got a lot of negative feedback for my medical debt last month. As a result, I feel I need to clarify a few things.

I am maxing out my contribution to a HSA every month (and I did last year as well.) This is $7,200 towards medical bills. You all educated me on another way to use HSA. However, when I signed up for it last year, I fully anticipated using it for medical bills. So no, I did not include another medical line item in my budget. I didn’t see any need too.

When I set it up last year, I planned to pay for both Princess and Gymnast to get their wisdom teeth extracted. We have a high deductible health plan so figured it would get used. I did not plan for COVID, car wrecks, medical testing or even hearing aids. You cannot plan or anticipate those things. Thus more bills than anticipated. They might throw a kink in my plan but they are manageable.

And they are still coming…

Life updates

Life is pretty quiet and stable around here. Gymnast is working 20ish hours per week and doing school virtually. He is loving this freedom from the daily grind of the long school days.

Beauty is living at home but between work and school, I only see her in passing. She is saving money for 1) a new car and 2) to move out at some point. I am so proud of her.

Princess is working hard at maintaining her grades. I think I mentioned previously that her first semester was not the best and she knows that she has to get her GPA up this semester to maintain her grant money. But I’m really proud of how focused she has been this semester.  She comes home at the end of next week, first time she’s been home this semester, for spring break. I’m so excited to see her.

Twins visit regularly and are both doing well. We eat together about once a week and catch up.

Court costs

We have lots of court hearings this coming month. Gymnast for his wreck and resulting 5 citations from December. Me from my jail time and resulting 2 citations. I have priced lawyers for both…ouch!!! $1,500 for my tickets and $2,500 for Gymnast. I am going to chance Gymnast case without a lawyer but feel that I must bite the bullet and hire one for my case.

I’ve been told that if I’m convicted, which I shouldn’t be, but after recent dealings with this system, that I could lose my license for 6+ months. I cannot chance that. And more importantly, I cannot trust that right will just prevail. It’s more of a game than I ever anticipated versus just being right versus wrong.

House costs

Our second bathroom remodel should be complete in the next week or so. So ready for it to be done! We started it in November. It’s been slow going and I’ve had to make lots of compromises to stay in budget and keep costs down. But I’m happy with how it’s turning out and overall, making this a three bedroom/two bath house (instead of 1 1/2 bath) will pay off in the long run for resale value. I will owe a total of $400 to a contractor once the bathroom is complete.

This week I decided to spend an unexpected $700 to have a wildlife prevention company come in and secure the house from rodents and wildlife. While we haven’t seen anything in the house, we did find an entry point where something chewed through the sheetrock in the bathroom closet (the one currently under renovation.) I am not taking any chances! (This comes out of a healthy savings account that I continue to put $300 into every month so it will not affect my budget at all.)

Income

My income remains steady with my corporate job. But there’s been a good deal of upheaval in my department. (Hello, corporate world politics!) As a result of some of that, members of my team are receiving a $10,000 monthly bonus (divided between the team, not individually) based on workload and such.  Therefore, I did receive some extra income this month and anticipate getting some for the next few months, but it will vary.

This bonus is taxed at 22% as supplemental income or something like that. But all the “extra” that winds up in my check will go directly to debt. I’m not putting it in my budgeted money so it doesn’t get allocated anywhere else.

Also, my job did give every employee $500 towards home office needs which was not taxed this month. So that went into the “pay off debt” pool too.


12 Comments

  • Reply Marzy-d |

    Are you kidding me right now? You are going to “chance it” with Gymnast, while you get a lawyer for yourself? He has *five* citations, and is responsible for a serious accident.

    You have one. That should just be dismissed.

    He is a young black man. You are a middle-aged white woman. Who gets treated worse by the criminal justice system?

    I understand that this is a debt blog, but I strongly urge you to rethink this and get your son a lawyer. This IS an emergency and why you have an emergency fund.

    • Reply Hope |

      I appreciate your perspective, truly. But there is more to this story that I will not share on this site. It has nothing to do with money or race.

      I will say this, we have already had one court date for him. The judge was very impressed with what we have done and how he is responding. She stated that keeping it up will make this go much easier on him.

      I’ve consulted lawyers, etc. and have been doing what is advised plus more. At this point, the absolute worst that could happen is 1) he gets convicted of one of more serious charges which would result is much high insurance costs for me/him or 2) they take away his license until he’s 18.

      But on the flip side, they have lots of leeway in this juvenile system so he could get deferred adjudication, which is what we are hoping for or even be charged with some of the lesser citations. Any way it goes, his life will remain pretty much as is.

      While my conviction could have severe consequences to my livelihood and my ability to parent.

      • Reply Marzy-d |

        You are aware that since this is presumably your first offense you would be eligible for a hardship license and able to drive you and your children to work, school and doctors appointments?

        Generally getting a lawyer for *both* of you makes getting the best outcome much, much more likely. Resulting in lower insurance costs (that will in large part defray the cost of the lawyer) and ensuring that Gymnast will be able to continue to get to work and activities. Thats pretty important for both getting into college, and paying for it.

    • Reply Klm |

      I agree. You don’t know where these charges will crop up later in life or who they’ll need to be reported to (college, scholarships, jobs, joining the military). You can’t go back after the fact and fix this—get it handled as best it can, now. How will you feel if these charges bite him later in life, knowing you could have done more?

    • Reply Cwaltz |

      At one point she paid off the car that she and Princess were sharing. Beauty, and the twins had their own cars.

      • Reply Cecily Wonderland |

        But Princess had a VW and Gymnast also had a car he crashed. (Thankfully he is okay.) Who bought those?

  • Reply Laura |

    I urge you to find it in your budget to get a lawyer for Gymnast. Don’t leave it to chance! Really nobody should go into court without a lawyer

  • Reply Shanna |

    I don’t know the details of your son’s accident but one thing to keep in mind is that if there was anyone else in the car with any sort of injury, their insurance company will likely be coming after you/yours. And they have a decent amount of time in which to do it. Even if the person themselves/their parent is not seeking compensation, their medical insurance company is still able to seek reimbursement for the expenses paid due to the accident.

  • Reply Cwaltz |

    I’m still trying to understand how your August 2021 debt update has your student loan debt balance at 16,948 and now you owe 18,950 especially since you said that you set your student loans to auto pay. Did you unset them? If I am not mistaken student loans may be resuming interest in May. If they do you start accruing interest again.

  • Reply Kate |

    Hi Hope,
    One thing I wonder is whether you’d be better off with a regular (not high deductible) plan when open enrollment comes around again. High deductible is great if you can manage it all but maybe with your health problems and the pandemic and the kids you would benefit more from the stability of a more comprehensive plan?
    You’ve had a rough year. Good luck with it all.

So, what do you think ?