Friday, February 5, 2016

Another one gone ...

Yep, Citibank is history. That was the last of the five cards we had in a Balance Liquidation Program (lowered interest rate and fixed payment for 60 months). And we paid every one of them off early. Pardon me while I pat my own back ...

I'm waiting on a hefty tax refund, thanks to some horrifyingly large medical expenses this year, and have plans to knock out another debt ... but I'm getting ahead of myself.

After so many years of just whittling away penny by penny, it sure is satisfying to see the big picture changing.

And speaking of years ... our daughter and son-in-law have invited us to dinner tomorrow night to celebrate our 30th anniversary. Thirty years. I can't even.


Wednesday, January 20, 2016


I received a check for a freelancing job and it was enough to pay off the last Chase card!! I am so excited to be done with Chase! I'm even more excited to see the debts finally falling off the chart! (See, Kim - I'm not sneaky. Now just keep on keeping up!)

Insert Happy Dance!


Sunday, January 3, 2016

New year, new will

The last time we made a will was 2005. Our kids were all minors and our concerns were different.

So we sat down this weekend with Legal Zoom and drew up a new one. The hardest part of this will was actually saying in print that we are disinheriting a child - especially since he is the one with the greatest needs. We cannot leave anything specifically to DS or he will lose all benefits related to his disability. And because those benefits include caregivers, which are essential, we have to be vigilant that we not do anything to jeopardize them when we are gone.

For now, we have left everything to our other two children, with a special gift to each of them that is designated for the care of their brother. As well, we are leaving them our house, with the provision that DS be allowed to live there for the remainder of his lifetime.

I cannot imagine either of my other two children not making sure their brother is cared for, but we are hoping this makes it easier on them. Since DS was diagnosed, we have made an effort not to heap responsibility on them, but in the end it will be them who are left holding the bag if DS outlives us.

I think the best thing we will be able to do for them ultimately will be getting out of debt. We will have to live a few more years for that to happen, God willing.

We ended 2015 having paid off $16,178.06. Not our best year, but I am pleased given the medical costs we have incurred. In my five years of blogging, we have paid off $91,692.89. When we started, our debt was nearly twice our income - a gap so large most financial pros advise bankruptcy. We now owe less than we make and are chipping away at that every day. In case anyone believes it can't be done, we are doing it. It just takes patience and a whole lot of time.


Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Good news, times two!

We received the insurance settlement check for the car. It was decent, but would clearly require a lot of digging and a stroke of luck to make it work for a replacement.

Well, that stroke of luck finally found us. A relative was in the process of buying a new car and offered to sell us her old one for the settlement. The car is probably worth $1,500 more than what she sold it to us for and has a lot of years left on it. We are over the moon!

Having gotten the car problems out of the way for the time being, we received DH's year-end "extra" check he gets for any leftover personal or sick days (he is not allowed to carry them over). That money was enough to pay off the next credit card in line!! Look out Chase - there's only one more left and then you are history!! What a great way to end the year - knocking one more debt off the long list.

We are blessed.


Wednesday, December 16, 2015

The verdict is in

The car is totaled. I am sick at the thought. Buying a car is not what I wanted to be doing this month. DH is allowed to keep the rental car until the 28th. With Christmas next week, I don't expect to get the settlement check quickly. We will start stalking the ads for a deal and hope we find something. Of course, the settlement will not buy much, so we will have to use our savings. We need safe and reliable for mostly highway driving. Pretty isn't necessary.

Merry Christmas to us.


Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Just in time for Christmas

DH was rear-ended on the interstate on his way home from work. There was a bad accident ahead and the woman behind him was too busy looking for an exit to notice DH in front of her. Neither were hurt - probably thanks to the fact that DH was moving and not stopped. Wish I could say that about the car.

Because the car is an '07 with 160,000 miles on it, it could go either way. We are not so patiently waiting on the woman's insurance company to decide whether it's totaled. We are praying they will say fix it.

I'm so discouraged by this. Our wheelchair van is limping along and we have been socking away funds to replace it. We replaced the transmission in DH's car last year, so we were planning to have it around for awhile.

It is always something.


Monday, November 30, 2015

Kudos, Cap One

So contrary to rumor, I did not fall off the planet ...

I was out and about today when my phone rang. "Hi, this is Jane from Capital One." ... A few years ago those words would have made me throw up on the spot. Anyway, she said there had been suspicious activity on my debit card. This is not our primary checking account - that's with a local credit union. This is what used to be Ing, but is now Capital One 360, where I put my irregular paychecks to be used for expenses that fall outside the normal monthly budget items - like vacation and Christmas gifts. She read off a couple of transactions which had been declined and I confirmed that they had not been made by us. The card is in my possession, so it wasn't lost. I guess someone tried to use the number and didn't have the security code or other pertinent info so the card was flagged. The card has been cancelled and a new one will arrive in a week. All of this to say, I really appreciate Cap One's vigilance.

The biggest frustration of the past couple of months has been dealing with what looked like minor water damage to the living room ceiling after a big storm. We debated whether to call the insurance company because we have a $500 deductible and wondered whether it would even cost that much. In the end, I did call and opened a claim - our first ever with our homeowners'. As luck would have it, my brother-in-law is a project manager with a fire and water restoration company, so we called him. He and his boss came over to see what things looked like. One look at the popcorn ceiling and with the knowledge that the house was built in 1971, and an asbestos test was ordered. Results came back positive. Was there a doubt? So an asbestos abatement company was brought in, haz mat suits and all. After that was done, DH and his brother spent the next month trying to seal the leak. It was coming from the chimney so they sealed every hole and crack they could find. They assure me that they finally have been successful. I hope so. Tomorrow work is supposed to start on the room, which now requires new drywall, crown molding and a paint job from top to bottom. The total cost for the entire job is going to come in at just above $6,000. I guess filing a claim was a good idea ...

I did not host Thanksgiving this year, for obvious reasons. Hoping to be back in the swing for Christmas festivities ...

I just realized December is tomorrow - yikes!