Thursday, November 1, 2012

Epic Mickey Debt Countdown MONTH 14

We are on a more slow repayment plan with debt at the moment but this month we were able to pay a large lump sum because my hubby sold off a bunch of his cattle. So grateful for his wise decision to be a cattle rancher for fun! :)

We were able to fill in 44 squares this month! Feels great and helps the momentum pick back up again after our past few SLOW months.


Change has become about the only constant in our finances right now, lol.
Not due to income changing but to necessary expenses changing. With that in mind we have been trying to narrow down our families particular financial changes.
Let us share with you what we found. (Everyone's will be different)

Our Changing Financial Situations:

PROBLEM 1) Underestimated Medical Expenses for the Year 

Last month, our oldest got her tonsils and adenoids removed... that is a total of about $4000 for the bill. Not to mention all the Dr.'s sick visits we have had to make- only a whopping $80 each time and then of course the prescription to go with it... not cheap. 
Hopefully she won't be getting sick as much now that she has a clear throat! 

Since we have met the deductible (and exceeded it with this operation) we decided we better just maximize our health insurance use. Our boy was next in line for getting his tonsils out anyway. He may need the surgery worse than his big sister. So, here comes another big bill, luckily we'll only be paying 20% of this one. 

PROBLEM 2) Priorities can change
We began with a plan to simply pay off all debt(besides the condo) before saving for a real home

Our family is already too big for this tiny 1105 square foot condo without any yard. Now we are trying to save money for a down payment as well as pay off debt so that when we are debt free we can be ready to move. 

We keep going back and forth on this one because we could just fully pay off the debt and then begin to save the down payment but really, I think I'm getting more anxious to get into a house with a yard and enough space for all of us. Our style is literally cramped! lol.

This goal may change next month, lol! *sigh* 

PROBLEM 3) Growing Grocery Bill 
There are a few main reasons for this 
1)The Economy
(PLEASE boot out Obama! We need a real recovery!)
Food prices are so much higher now! Just even a couple of years ago I could get milk for $1.50 or less and cereal(with coupons) for a $.25 to a $1!! Now it's hard to get milk for $2.50 and cereal(with coupons) for $2! 

2) Growing Kids
They just don't stop growing! And that's a good thing! With a 5 1/2, 4 and 19 month old, they need more and more nutrition. GOOD nutrition. I've said before that we are no longer a 1 Box Mac & Cheese Family, we are a 2 BOX but really we are almost a 3 box! That's TRIPLE the expense! No I don't consider Mac & Cheese to be good nutrition but I can't consider it to be a super cheap meal anymore either! BTW, Kraft Mac & Cheese used to be a quarter on sale... do you remember those days? Now a sale price is $.75-1 a box! 

3)Gas Prices
This just goes back to the Economy but when gas prices are up, food prices and all product prices are too! When I was 16(it was over a decade ago but still...) gas was under a $1! The lowest I paid for it was $.76 a gallon! NOW, $3.80-$4.00+ a gallon. We do drive to the store for food so that goes into the cost of groceries too.

Well, I don't have much of a solution here accept that we need to adjust as necessary to fit the nutritional needs of our family.
Oh and walk to the grocery store with a HUGE HUGE stroller... ok, J/K... possible but not really for us. I'm not sure I'm ready to look like the really crazy coupon lady! lol!
**Buy a Deep Freeze and do freezer meals. LOTS OF THEM.
It is a need for us. Cutting down on the grocery bill as much as possible is the best I can do. 

OVERALL Solution:
With all of this happening, we're realizing that life will only continue to get more complicated and unpredictable. However, since we know it is becoming more unpredictable, we can plan for it to be unpredictable! Confused? 

Well, now we can look back at the past year and say, 

"Wow we underestimated what we would need for medical expenses this year." 

So next year, we can look ahead and at least say, 

"Ok we need to plan that our kids will get sick (hopefully not as much as the past year) so we need to have that money set aside for Dr.'s visits and prescriptions." 

It's been a year of financial learning for us,
and it's not over yet!

The GOOD part is when we look back on the past year, we have really done well over all.
We have paid off close to $38,000 in debt
And have been putting my husband through school part time!

Remember we sold our second car(that helps a ton), paid off our remodel expenses, most of our borrowed down payment, and made extra student loan payments as well as our normal mortgage payments.

**We don't include our mortgage debt on our Epic Mickey as that will be a separate goal of it's own once all other debt is gone.

So as we are coming closer to another year end of finances, 
I urge you all to take a look BACK to see what you have done well and where you can improve with your finances. If you are married, please include both spouses in the conversation. 

We all know finances can cause a lot of arguments and conflicts in marriage and many marriages result in that ugly "D" word due to such conflicts so try to handle with care and prepare together!

Feel free to share what you have learned with us too! 

Check out past Epic Mickey's HERE.

**As a family we decided to change our lives by paying off debt. We needed motivation to keep us going. This Epic Mickey represents how much debt we owe. Each filled in square represents a dollar amount paid off. Once the entire Mickey is filled in, we will be debt free besides our home. Then we'll party in style with Disney to celebrate! We have included a monthly plan to have the savings set aside to pay for the trip too so we won't be back tracking just to celebrate. Take the journey with us as we share tips and tricks to save money, generate more money, free ourselves from the chains of debt and create a better future for our family and yours!

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