Sunday, December 3, 2017

November 2017 Debt Update: $56,984.85


Hey everyone! It has been a pretty busy November, and I apologize for getting this update done so late. Our current debt is $56,984.85, but the real amount is somewhat lower as some of our credit card charges have not posted yet, keeping us from paying them off. So while we have the money to pay off all of our credit card debt, I am including the remaining balance in this month's amount so until I am actually able to pay it off.

We were hoping to make a lot more traction on our debt this month, but our car needed new brake pads and a repair or two, there were a few purchases I needed to make for homeschooling, and we ate out a few times with our in-laws in town. All of this adds up and is a temporary detour from what we planned, but manageable in the long-run.

New Income-Based Repayment Plan
The biggest news of this month is that we were able to drop the effective interest rate on our student loans. After switching to a different income-based repayment plan, the interest on our student loans is subsidized 50% by the government, so we will be switching our focus temporarily to our van loan which is slightly higher than the other rates now (at 3.45%). I am hoping that we can pay it off by February or March and then all we will have left is student loans.

What I am thankful for this past month:

* I've really enjoyed studying Romans this year in Bible Study Fellowship. As a Christian I am always grateful for God's mercy toward us, especially in how He has revealed Himself in the Bible and through the person and life of Jesus. It may not have to do with financial debt, but it has to do with a greater debt I could never repay on my own.

* The medical debt from our son's hospitalization was forgiven 100%. We weren't sure if our application would qualify us for financial assistance, but we laid everything out - what we had in savings, income, etc. and let them decide according to their policy. I was surprised though when we got an email fairly quickly letting us know that our balance had been adjusted to zero, and that from a $3,400 hospital bill! I was so grateful.

* We had to take our car in because we heard a pulsating sound when we hit the brakes - new brake pads and a lug nut/bolt that had sheared off set us back $400 which we will take out of our debt repayment amount. But I'm grateful that we took it in before there was more damage to the rotors.


* I finally finished the bench for our farmhouse table and got our new light installed! This holiday we had family and an international student from China over and celebrated Thanksgiving at our home.

* There were so many great food sales in November. I was worried about our food budget in a month that had five weeks to cover plus Thanksgiving, but we seem to have done okay. I found great deals like 5 lb butternut squash for 99 cents, pork roasts for 99 cents/lb, frozen chicken breast for $1.66/lb, and my favorite of all - a few home-raised beef roasts from someone in a local Facebook group. They were around 3 lbs each and she was selling them for $5/roast! After hosting Thanksgiving, we still have so much meat in our freezer that I'm not sure we'll need to buy any for December!

* Our local Aldi underwent a renovation and during the first week of its' reopening they gave out $5/$30 purchase coupons for three weeks in December. I plan to split up my grocery purchases and hopefully take advantage of some sales on baking items like butter to stock up.

* I bought a farm! A worm farm, actually :). Again, someone on my local Facebook selling group was selling her Worm Factory 360 as she prepared to move overseas. It normally retails for over $100 and she was selling it for $15! Worm compost is a great amendment for your garden soil, and while I still need to purchase worms, theoretically I could be producing 4-8 lbs of compost a day by the end of my first year. Worm compost retails at $1/lb, so it would be really exciting if the whole experiment worked. I used birthday money to pay for this and now am eager to read a library book I checked out called, Worms Eat My Garbage to learn more about the science of raising worms. Weird, I know, but I'm excited!

* And finally, even though I don't love being in debt, I've reflected on the good things that come with a financial challenge. It forces us to simplify what we purchase and takes the burden off worrying about which things we will buy for Christmas because we aren't spending that much on Christmas. Instead, I am focusing more on building new traditions like making gingerbread houses, some handmade gifts, gently used books or board games, and one fun toy for each of our children.

2 comments:

  1. Your table and bench are amazing! (Pretty light too.) Kudos to you. What good news about the hospital bill. Keep fighting that good fight.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks! I am enjoying the new light too - we used to not have any light over there, just a ceiling fan. It's nice having more space to seat people for sure!

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