by Vicky Monroe
Hello! My name is Vicky and I’m a new writer for Blogging Away Debt. To give you some background on my debt situation, my spouse and I currently owe $158,000 on our mortgage and are in the middle of paying it off. I personally strive not to have debt of any kind, although it’s definitely easier said than done!
Last year my spouse and I managed to knock about $16,000 off of our mortgage balance by making monthly overpayments. This year we haven’t been doing quite as well. We managed to start strong, making mortgage overpayments of $3,000 in both January and February. But in March, April, and May, we haven’t been able to make any mortgage overpayments at all, which is pretty disappointing.
Some large expenses including our wedding knocked us off course. My spouse and I got married in March. Although we had a small wedding in our backyard with only a few friends and family members present, the costs really added up.
Just getting my hair and makeup done was $300. Our wedding bands cost us $750 in total, not to mention food, flowers, and decorations. All in all, our wedding cost us a couple grand.
We also ended up going to Nashville for our honeymoon, which was a big budget buster. We had planned on staying close to home and going to Minneapolis to save money. But we’ve always wanted to visit Nashville, so we decided to take a longer road trip because you only go on a honeymoon once!
Although my parents used their Marriott points to pay for our hotel room as a wedding gift, we still had to cover parking and resort fees, which added up to $50 per night. Food and entertainment were much more expensive than we thought they would be.
We used to live in Massachusetts before we moved to rural Michigan about a year and a half ago. I was amazed to find out that food in Nashville was about the same price as in downtown Boston! Isn’t the South supposed to be cheap? Overall we went about $1,500 over budget on that vacation. But we’re not big travelers, so we probably won’t go on another big trip for at least a couple years.
Then when we got back home, my dad needed to borrow a couple thousand dollars from me because his commission checks have been low (he’s a salesman and so is my spouse). He couldn’t cover his bills on his own so I felt like I had no choice but to float him the money. I had to take the cash out of my emergency fund to help him out. So instead of making mortgage overpayments, I had to spend the next two months refilling our emergency fund.
Now here we are at the end of May and I haven’t been able to make any mortgage overpayments since the end of February. I hate owing so much money on our house, especially with rumors swirling about an upcoming recession. Although we have an emergency fund, I (somewhat irrationally) feel like we’re one job loss away from losing the house.
My parents came close to losing their house several times after the 2008 crash. I think growing up in that financially precarious environment has made me very conservative and debt averse. I didn’t even go to college because I was too afraid to take out student loans!
I’ve done some therapy in the past to try to overcome my financial fears and it helped a lot. But I think my parents being in a financially unstable situation again has brought some old childhood fears back to the surface. Not being able to make mortgage overpayments for a while has also made me feel a little nervous.
I scheduled an appointment with a therapist for this coming Thursday to work through some of these emotions, so I’ll let you know how that goes! Luckily I have good insurance and I’ll only owe a $20 copay for each session.
I think we should be able to make a $2,000 mortgage overpayment next month and start getting back on track. So hopefully seeing my mortgage balance go down a bit will also help with the anxiety I’m feeling.
Have big expenses and life events ever caused you to pause your debt payoff plan? Do any of you get a little anxious when you get off course? Let me know in the comments.
Vicky Monroe is a freelance personal finance and lifestyle writer. When she’s not busy writing about her favorite money saving hacks or tinkering with her budget spreadsheets, she likes to travel, garden, and cook healthy vegetarian meals.