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Starting The Month Off Right

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Talk about starting the month off right! March is a 3-paycheck month for me (anyone else?)

In the past, we’ve been able to put the entire extra paycheck toward debt. But right now we’re still in a situation where we’re totally out of money before the month is over, and scrambling to pay bills that are due at the beginning of the next month. We’re still working on budgeting, in general.

It’s very stressful and not very fun. So I decided that with my third paycheck, instead of making extra debt payments, I’d create a bit of a buffer in our budget by pre-paying some of our bills that are due in early April. It may not be the most fun way to spend extra money, but it makes me feel good to be starting off April on the right foot!

I logged into my bank account’s bill pay center and paid for our phone (due 4/1), Citibank credit card (due 4/4), Wells Fargo credit card (due 4/5), and childcare (due 4/10).  I’ve also set a chunk of money aside because I plan to mail a large check to pay the remaining balance of our 2017 property taxes (payment must be post-marked by 5/1, but I’m planning to make the payment on 4/13).

The third paycheck month is coming just at the right time to help create some breathing room in our budget, especially with our property tax payment coming due. Usually, I get a lot of satisfaction out of making those extra debt payments, but I think this time the money is well spent in creating a bit of a buffer for us. It reminds me of when we used YNAB to live on last month’s income. It took awhile to build up the extra, but it helped alleviate so much stress due to budget and/or income fluctuations. I think this will be a goal we’ll have. Trying to get back to living on last month’s income again.

Was March a 3-paycheck month for you? What do you typically do with your third paycheck on 3-paycheck months?

 


Expensive @$$ Keys!

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Well, I’m happy to report that my car issue has now been resolved.

Several people commented on my original post with tips, suggestions, and ideas and I thank you all. Many of you advocated going ahead and starting to look for a new car, given that this seems to have become a pattern (this being our 3rd electronic-related repair in the past year and a half-ish). That being said, I didn’t feel good about that option. I know I don’t want to take on more debt and the thought of trading in my paid-off car to trade down to a “lesser” car wasn’t very appealing. If I’m able, I’d rather stick it out with my vehicle a while longer and try to continue attacking our debts.

So what was the problem, you may ask???

Drumroll………

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The keys. Something was messed up with the keys. The guy didn’t give me a great explanation (at least one that I could understand) for why the old keys stopped working. But for some reason, they stopped working. As part of the anti-theft system in the car, the vehicle would not turn on because it wasn’t “recognizing” our key as the correct key for the vehicle. So nothing was actually wrong with the car, itself. It was some glitch or error with the key and the anti-theft system prevented the vehicle from starting.

Nearly a thousand dollars later, I have two new keys and I’m back in my car.

Yes, you heard that correct. Nearly a THOUSAND DOLLARS went to this repair.

I’m using round numbers here, but it broke down as follows:

  • Car rental for 2 days (plus taxes and fees) = $100
  • Car tow to the dealership (Progressive paid for the first tow to the local repair shop, but the’d only cover 15-miles total and I had to have it towed from the local repair place to the dealer) = $100
  • 2 New Car Keys (including parts & labor) = 550
  • TOTAL: $750

So if you want to see the most expensive key on the planet (as far as I’m concerned), feast your eyes on this sucker:

I’ve opened up a little bit about various mental health issues I’ve been struggling with. So instead of seeing the major negatives in this situation (mainly the $$$$$$$), I’m really trying to focus on the positives. When the car key issue occurred, we were at home. We’re so lucky we weren’t stranded somewhere else (think about if it would have occurred while we were on one of our cross-country road trips back to Texas!). I’m also so glad the repair ended up being a quick and easy thing. I was originally being quoted a 3-week wait to get the car back! But after the dealer got the car, they had the keys programmed and I was able to pick up the car the very next day. Also, I’m glad nothing major was wrong with the car, itself. It felt major just due to the inconvenience of having to share one vehicle (plus the giant price-tag seems to have indicated a giant issue), but no. The issue itself was very minor and that makes me feel a little more secure with keeping the vehicle and NOT trading it in.

Right now I’m cautiously optimistic. I do think these car issues have started to multiply. I was really hoping to drive this vehicle for 250,000+ miles. Now I’m not so confident in that plan and whether the vehicle will hold out that long. I think we need to get a better plan in place for vehicle repairs and we need to start thinking longer-term about what our  next vehicle will look like (how much we want to spend, how long it will take to save, timeframe for when we want to buy, etc.). I’ll be honest. I know 2018 just barely began, but I see this as our year of finding balance. I think we’ll continue to make baby steps toward our debt-eradication goals, but I don’t think we’ve got any wiggle room to start saving up for a new vehicle. So for the time being, I’m going to hope and pray our current car holds out and keeps going strong for us. Maybe 2019 will be the year we begin saving up a “car fund” for a new vehicle. I don’t know. All I do know is that this month just got a major blow in terms of finances. Not the way I’d wanted to start my new year. But, again, I’m trying to focus on the positives. Things could have been worse. I’m just glad to have my car back. Along with the nicest set of keys I’ve ever seen in my life (lol).

Anyone else have a big financial obstacle this year already? How do you deal with big financial blows?


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