Friday, February 26, 2016

Dumb, dumb, dumb

Every once in a while, I take a look back at where we were and how we got there. It's not a pretty picture, but it keeps me motivated to stay the course.

A huge amount of our debt is the result of the insane costs associated with having a child with complicated special needs. Necessary equipment that insurance considers "a luxury" (like a bathroom seat and a wheelchair ramp ...). Doctors, hospitals, therapists, caregivers ... they all cost big bucks and while our insurance is good, there are still co-pays, deductibles and denials.

But I can't blame it all on the medical costs. There was a lot of dumb packaged in there. What was the dumbest, you might ask? Well, I asked myself that very question. And, oh my. ...

We bought a dog. And paid for him with a credit card.

Yes, we charged a dog. I can barely type that without kicking my former self into next year.

Who in their right mind would think that's OK? Oh, yeah. We did. I quit looking at past purchases after that. Because that right there says it all.

Life is so much better now that we pay cash. This year, we've even managed to take care of some much-needed and long-neglected home repairs/maintenance. Always in cash. Maybe there's hope for us after all.

Anyone else want to share stupid purchases so I don't feel all alone in this?


Thursday, February 11, 2016

Decisions, decisions

Our tax refund hit our account, so I paid off Discover before Murphy could get his hands on it. Discover is especially satisfying to be done with because of its 20% interest rate. We debated what to do about that account, but in the end decided to leave it open and the card in the lock box. All of the previously paid off cards were already closed by the time we paid them off so this is the first time we've run into this issue. We decided we're no longer the risk that we were of running up credit unnecessarily. In other words, we've learned our lesson. But we do feel like we should have a card with a credit line available. And, of course, there is the issue of the credit score. We agreed that if we ever charged anything on that card that wasn't an agreed-upon emergency, we'd close it immediately.

This was probably the last huge payment for awhile. Now that we have cleared off a number of accounts, we'd like to beef up our emergency fund and savings. We know we will probably have to replace our HVAC sooner rather than later and we want to be prepared.

It feels strange to actually have enough leeway financially to have decisions to make about what to do with the money. Previously, our minimums ate up the paychecks without a problem. There weren't any choices to be made. Maybe this is just a taste of what it will be like down the road when we don't owe anyone. Oh, what a happy day that will be!


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.