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Posts tagged with: familiy food costs

A Little Splurge – Broadway Show

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We are having a great time in Chicago with Gymnast. Once we landed Saturday morning, History Buff, Princess and I rode the train into the city and then walked to our hotel.

Gymnast’ dad met us (Princess, History Buff and I) with him at the hotel when we arrived Saturday morning. We had lunch together (their dad even paid for all of us – whoa!) and then he drove us minus History Buff down to see his mom. The little kid’s hadn’t seen their paternal grandparents in years.

Then he dropped us at the hotel and headed up. They live about an hour outside the city. And I was all set to enjoy 3 glorious days with 3 of my 4 kids in one of my favorite cities in the world.

As I mentioned when I planned the trip, the airfare and hotel were covered, so I just had to plan financially for food and entertainment. We didn’t spend ANY of our grocery budget for February so technically I have that $400. And I have been hoarding gift cards and extra income.

So I have splurged a little bit…

  • I gave each of the kids $30 for spending money. This will allow them to have a little splurge themselves without asking me. (And yes, I gave the same amount to History Buff.) – total $90
  • I bought the cheap seats to a Broadway show for the littles and I (History Buff was not interested in a musical) – total $102
  • A client gifted me 4 tickets to an Improv show at Second City. (She used to work there.) – total FREE
  • I made reservations at Texas de Brazil for our last night together – total $150ish? BUT Sea Cadet gifted me about 1/2 of that in gift cards he had left over from taking his girlfriend here. (He bought a gift card at Christmas time and then they gave him a $25 bonus card. So he gave me the money they had left over + the bonus card.)

Our breakfasts are free. We have snacks we brought from home. And we are eating one other meal a day…

Saturday night, we ate at Panera. So it’s not free but we are sticking to the cheaper side of things. (We had hot dogs for our first meal here.)

Yesterday we spent the day wondering around Navy Pier and the Magnificent Mile before heading to the the comedy show.

It has truly been one of the best trips I have had in a long time. AND I am squeezing in a few hours of work every day here and there.

An Update on Our Debt Progress

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My husband was out of town at his grandma’s funeral this weekend, and I had some quiet evenings to do some reflecting. One thing I wanted to see was our progress with our student loan. Is all this hustling and cutting back making a difference? So one night I put together a new spreadsheet (because I know how to party).

And then I had a major reality check.

I’ve been good about tracking certain numbers, but I didn’t have one chart that showed all our progress. I especially wanted to see how much we’re really paying each month, and how much longer until this is all over.

Debt Progress

 

Wow. Anything jump out at you? Here’s what made my eyes pop:

A year ago, we were literally never going to pay off our loan.

I did not understand just hoooow loooong we were paying off interest only on our loan. We were income-based for years, and then flat-out negligent. That means that less than a year ago, we were set to pay on this loan perpetually, always, henceforth, and forever. We were never going to shake this thing! How were we sleeping at night?!

I felt like we were making more extra payments than we actually are.

“Feeling” like you’re doing something and actually doing it are totally different things. When we refinanced with Earnest last September, our monthly loan payment jumped from $1,821.39 to $2,302.49, so it already felt like we were paying a ton of extra.

Even though it’s in our budget to put our monthly excess towards our loan, I hadn’t appreciated how many months we sabotaged our “extra” plans and used that money for other things. We’ve either paid ourselves less from the business and lived off the extra, or we’ve used that extra for necessary things that should have come from our emergency fund. Sloppy, sloppy.

 

This was a wake-up call. Yes, we’re making debt progress. I’m seriously grateful for that. Paying it off in 14 years is better than 55 years (and definitely better than infinity and beyond). But when we refinanced to a 15-year loan, we vowed to pay it off early. It’s time to actually do that.

The next auto-payment on our loan goes through this Saturday, and I’ve already scheduled an additional $2,015 to put towards it that day. (I’m using money from that refund check from our state, but we decided to save the rest. We were warned that once your state audits you, it’s only a matter of time before the IRS comes calling. So that’s cool.)

Our principal balance today is $290,932.25, so after this weekend we’ll pass $290,000 and hit the first mini-milestone we set for ourselves. We’ll mark our debt progress on our charts with our kids, and then enjoy some “real” pizza (after tons of homemade, we’re ready for you, Papa Johns).

That spreadsheet should be looking better and better these next few months. Stay tuned.

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