Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Debt Detour: A French Drain

A few months ago when over 10 inches of rain in one month hit our typically dry area, we became aware of some drainage issues in our backyard. It wasn't just that the yard was soggy, it was that it was so saturated near one section of our house that the water began to come up through the basement window well at a rate of one inch every five minutes. Thankfully the rain has eased up, but we knew that we needed to put into place a better drainage system to avoid future flooding as well as damage to our foundation.

When you are on a debt repayment journey, you hate to take detours, at least I do. It has been worth the sacrifices we are making to see our monthly debt balance drop, but this month we had to lower our student loan payment to $50 because of the cost of the French drain.

On the other hand, there is a lot to be grateful for:

  • For one, we were able to lower our student loan repayment because we are on an Income-Based Repayment Plan. Currently because of our salary ($50,000 per year) and the fact that we have 4 kids, our minimum monthly payment is $0.
  • We were also able to get a free consult from a professional advising us that a French drain was the best way to go given our yard situation (there wasn't much more re-grading we could do from our home) and it just so happened that a very generous friend of ours who is a teacher had a degree in landscape design and had installed a French drain in his own yard. This past Saturday, in the sweltering July heat, we had several guys helping my husband out to dig a trench (and we rented a trencher to help with the clay soil). What could have cost us almost 4 times the amount if we had contracted it cost us much much less.

I guess the point of all of this is to not be discouraged when you have detours in your debt repayment journey. When things like this or our son's need for orthodontia happen, I remind myself that these are necessary things we are paying for - it's not like we are going out and buying a flat-screen television or eating out multiple times in a month. If it delays the cost of our loan repayment by $600 for one month, the cost of that interest at 7.8 percent (the loan we are currently paying off) is around $4. Compared to the cost of a flooded basement or damaged foundation, I think it's worth it.

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