Tuesday, February 11, 2014

January Financials

We started off the year not as strong as I would of liked. We only payed 15 dollars extra toward debt on the smallest credit card balance. But we put about 100 dollars in savings. As I thought about that towards the end of the month it didn't truly make sense to me. This may also be attributed to the fact that I have been reading The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey (Finished it just a bit ago actually). For those who aren't familiar, he strongly encourages to have an emergency savings of $1000 and then focus solely on paying off all debt besides mortgage for the first two what he calls baby steps. I agree with many of the principles that Dave talks about but have some conflicting feelings about how the steps work. As we have started this journey to pay off debt, it definitely is making more sense to focus on one thing at a time. For this month I continued the direct deposit into our emergency savings but cancelled all other automatic transfers for savings (our savings accounts are at an online bank so the money is not as easily accessible). Still only planning on paying the $15 dollars extra towards debt though. But if we scrap our car that is officially broken down (sad day,only one vehicle at this point, thankfully have parents with an extra vehicle that they are generously letting us use it) then we may be able to pay off credit card #1 more quickly than anticipated and start throwing more money at credit card #2. The second credit card has a ridiculous interest rate so that would be very exciting. Here are the debt balances as of the beginning of February:

Credit Card #1: $399.54 (-$35.96)
Credit Card #2: $4,211.75 (+$95.29)
Car Loan: $12,737.42 (-$187.33)
Student Loan #1: $25,080.87 (not sure of difference see note)
Student Loan #2: $57,196.82 (-$131.34)
Debt to start: $99, 885.74
End of January Debt: $99,626.40
Debt paid off in January: $259.34

Tracking our progress (even just for a month) has really helped me to gain perspective on where our money goes and make me feel like we are getting somewhere even if slowly. Though it is quite depressing that with all the money we have to use for debt payments, so little is actually paid off. Student loan #1 is a weird one, I am only making a small $23 dollar a month payment but there is nowhere on the website to really see balances and I recorded the incorrect one originally so I changed it in that post as well. Will see if it changes after this month's payment I suppose. Also the reason that Credit Card #2 increased is partly because of the ridiculous interest rate and partly because I charged gas once. Sue me, habits don't change overnight. I had to have gas to get to work. 

Budget-wise we ended up about $324.94 over budget. Basically that means we did not set aside as much money for irregular expenses as we should have. I broke down when looking at the numbers. I feel so helpless but know that I shouldn't, that I should be working on new ways to make more money and save money. I told Matt that just because money is in the bank doesn't mean we should spend it which is kind of the habit we have gotten into. Being lazy and wanting to get food on the way home is still a struggle as is not spending money to have fun. I want to utilize the crockpot more and would love to try out freezer meals. Motivation still seems to be something I really need to find. Winter is killing me. Emotionally draining with this lack of sunlight.

This past week we also got some amazing news on the job front. Matt has been hired in full time at the company he has been working at for a year and a half as a temp. A raise and benefits! So exciting for us and our future. This came after I started writing this post or I probably would have led with it. His first official day was yesterday so next week the larger checks start coming. We haven't decided the exact best way to allocate the money in our budget but we are talking about it. Also we are quite sure that we are not going to opt for the benefits offered through his company for this year (we are still going to review them and then decide). If he opts not to get coverage he will receive $500 which would probably be used to pay off the smaller credit card balance and the rest put towards the larger credit card balance. He does not receive the information for a couple weeks so we shall see.

Anyways Olympic figure skating is distracting me and bed is calling my name.....Good night for now....PS tracking 101 Things to Do in 2014 on the page titled such at the top :-)

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Determined and Worn Down

I am determined to change my life but day after day I find myself worn out and tired. Maybe it is because of the physical shape I am in or maybe it is because I feel like I am fighting the battle to get somewhere better alone. I know and feel that I am not alone in the spiritual sense but Matt and I have been fighting the distance battle. The emotional distance battle. We find ourselves sitting in the living room watching TV or a movie and playing on the computer/tablet/phone and not really communicating. I have expressed how I feel about this towards Matt and he understands but I find myself exhausted after work and feeling like I have so much to do that I tell myself that cuddling as we fall asleep is enough. But it isn't. It is far from enough. We seem to always start talking as we are getting into bed and it frustrates me that this is when he chooses to talk when we need to sleep (he gets up at 4 AM and with the crazy weather here we never know what our 45 minute commute will bring these days). He is trying and I am trying but habits are hard to break, we have lived together for 4 years and been together for 4 and a half so we have become very comfortable with each other. This is what I always wanted and prayed for in a relationship,  to be totally at ease and feel no need to put on a show or pretend to be someone I wasn't with someone. And sometimes I love that Matt and I can just be together and feel no need to talk or be engaged with each other. But when it becomes a constant state of being in our house, it makes me sad. And our financial situation has only made things worse. Causing constant tension and hostility. I am trying to include him in more conversations but it is hard when he seems totally disinterested. It is a slow process, a rebuilding of communication. Marriage is work. Though we struggle now, the work we put in will be worth it in the long run. We made a commitment and nothing will ever change that.

This weekend I have just stayed home and it has been awesome. I got a lot of housework done, Matt worked and helped someone move yesterday so I was able to crunch a lot of budget numbers to talk with him about when he got home. Today we slept in and are spending the day watching movies and then the Superbowl and pigging out, the traditional American thing lol. Just because. I still have one more day off and hope to do some organizing.

Also winter sucks......