Friday, April 26, 2013

This and that

How did it get to be the end of April already? Today is the last day of classes of DS's freshman year at university. He's had a great year. He is going to take a couple summer school classes to make up for the lighter load he took while getting adjusted to navigating campus. I have mentioned before that he has a full four-year scholarship, but that doesn't cover summer school. Normally, that would have caused panic, but because we were able to refinance in March and didn't have an April mortgage payment, we had the cash to pay his tuition. (It's amazing what you can do without a mortgage payment!)

The weather has been beautiful of late and we haven't had the heat on for weeks. I'm looking forward to that being reflected in the utility bills.

We've spent $554.78 on groceries thus far in April, including household and personal care products. We're well stocked, so I don't anticipate adding to that, which keeps us under budget.

All in all, a pretty good month. And updated the debt totals - still going down! The two largest Chase balances are half what they were when I started this blog. The tortoise will win this race!


Monday, April 15, 2013

Monday morning catch-up

My back was acting up the past couple of days, so I was laid up a good part of the weekend. It's a recurring issue, the unfortunate result of being a 24/7 caretaker of a growing young man for nearly 20 years. All the nighttime turning and wheelchair adjusting takes its toll. Thankfully, it was the weekend so hubby was around to let me rest. I'm feeling pretty good this morning, so hoping it has passed for now.

Saturday's mail perked me up. I got a small check from a local consignment shop for a dress I left there well over a year ago and had totally forgotten about. Also in the mail were a couple of checks from the beer rebates I send in routinely. I love unexpected money!

And now, I am off to pay the price for being out of commission for two days while the boys ran wild ... They did try to clean up, but ... yuck!


Thursday, April 11, 2013

The high price of being sick

A key piece of DS's medical equipment is kaput. I've mentioned before (as have Kim and Mysti!) how costly it can be to be chronically ill. Our home is overrun with equipment - both true medical pieces as well as those needed for daily living. This particular item is referred to as a cough assist machine - and that's exactly what it does. It simulates the cough that DS is unable to produce himself, thus helping to keep his lungs clear. We bought this machine when he was a toddler in the mid-'90s. Back then, it was in its infancy and insurers balked at chipping in toward the cost. This was especially true for DS, whose illness is considered terminal and so the insurers figured why pay for something that wouldn't do any good in the long run. So we shelled out nearly $15,000 that we did not have and bought him the machine that his doctors said he had to have.

I figure 16 years is a pretty good run for a complicated machine to last. And so tomorrow, we will head to the hospital and see his specialist and have him start the ball rolling to get a replacement. Thankfully, time has proven the effectiveness of the cough assist and insurers these days accept it as necessary. The cost of the machine itself is less, too. We will still owe a chunk, but are optimistic that it won't be nearly what it was back in the days of the dinosaur.

Fingers crossed...


Monday, April 8, 2013

What if?

Since January 1, we have paid off $5,483.69. I'm pretty proud of that, even though it's really just a result of paying minimums on everything. What it does mean is that the minimums are starting to add up and more is going to principal now instead of it all going to interest.

But I can't help but think ... what if? What if we didn't have this stupid debt? What if we had that much extra to invest in our family? What if we didn't have to sweat every. single. penny?

What if?

I can pretty quickly tick off some places to put that money. We've had to neglect some home improvements that need to be taken care of but can't because there's no money. What if we could just decide we wanted to work on something and then just do it? What if our Emergency Fund was so fat we didn't even have to think about it? What if I didn't have to panic when an error delayed DH's paycheck?

What if?

I can't wait to try it out for real. And for the first time, I really think it's going to happen. It's going to be awhile, but it's going to happen. And I can't wait!


Monday, April 1, 2013

It's April - no fool!

I, for one, was glad to flip the calendar this morning. The first three months of the year were a struggle on several levels and I'm glad to put them behind me. DH and I dealt with some big health issues, including DH having surgery at the end of February. Aside from the obvious, we were hit hard financially. DH works a lot of overtime and that, of course, evaporates when he's out of work. He was home for four weeks and not only was his paycheck smaller, his manager screwed up and for two weeks there was NO paycheck. We finally got it straightened out, but boy did it hurt in the interim!

But DH is back to work, the bills are paid and it's going to be 73 degrees today! Life is good.

I've said before that groceries are a tough expense for us. We have four adults living and eating here. DH and I usually eat all three meals from home (I pack a lunch for DH). Our DS's typically eat 1-2 meals and all snacks here. It's no secret that grocery prices have gotten out of hand. I looked back at earlier posts and I had set myself a goal two years ago of spending $150 a week. It sounded high, but it was a definite cutback from when I wasn't paying attention.

This morning I added up what I have spent monthly on groceries so far in 2013. Here's the rundown:

January - $661.30
February - $790.76
March - $598.94

That averages out to about $158 a week. So, not too bad. I was happy to see I was within spittin' distance of my original goal.

How is everyone else doing with goals you have set?