Thursday, August 29, 2013

Child care... and we have a winner!

The hunt for child care was pretty ridiculous but we've finally selected someone (cutting it pretty close since I return to work next week)!  After touring countless day care centers it was pretty quickly apparent that we couldn't afford to have two newborns in a center with our current debt load/ budget.  Nannies were also out of the question for the same reason.  Once we were directed to the list of certified in home providers on the State website we finally started finding people that were in our price range.   

The lady we chose is right around the corner from us, has been doing in home care since her children (my age) left the house, and seems like a very caring person.  We'll be doing a trial run of drop-off tomorrow so S and I can get used to cramming all the morning activities into a short amount of time!  

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

car accident

Just when I thought our financial situation couldn't get any tighter, I go and wreck my car.  I am feeling extremely fortunate that my baby (I only had one of the boys with me, the other little guy was hanging out with dad) and the people in the other vehicle were not injured in the crash.  However, it's going to cost us our $500 deductible to get the car fixed plus some amount of money for a rental car since my insurance only covers a measly $15 a day.  

Since we are already completely out of cash, all of these expenses are going to have to go on the card which already has a hefty balance.  I'm so upset with myself for getting in this totally avoidable accident, which put my little one and others in danger AND puts our finances in even worse shape.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

I've got the loan forbearance blues

In order to get the budget to balance, I had to make the difficult decision to put my student loan in forbearance.  I applied for a six month forbearance.  This will allow the $225 that was going towards the loan to be used to pay towards the medical debt.  I am hoping the medical/ maternity leave debt can be paid off within the 6 months but I still don't know exactly how much we owe in medical expenses yet which means I may end up needing to extend the forbearance.

Even though I realize that something had to give in the budget to make ends meet, I'm really bummed that I am pausing my student loans.  Right now our financial situation looks kind of bleak and it's hard to see the end when the debts are just piling up.  Trying to remember that each baby step we take towards paying off our debts puts us a little closer to having the future we want for us and our kids.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Car refinanced

I've been looking for ways to reduce our monthly bills so that we can get our budget to balance (there was at least $600 deficit before I started shuffling stuff around).  One of the first things on my list was to check into refinancing my car which I had stupidly never considered before because I just assumed I would end up paying more in the end.  Plus, I had originally planned to get out of debt pretty quick and didn't think extending my car loan was worth it... my how things changed when the twins entered the picture!

Anyways, I am proud to say I have completed the paperwork to refinance my car!  I was able to find a loan with a lower interest by almost a point and a half, so now my rate is 2.64%!  By extending my loan another 30 months I was able to cut my payment in half and the best part is that I won't end up paying more in interest over the life of the loan!  In fact, it will end up costing less in the long run.

I'm kind of kicking myself for not looking into this earlier. I probably could have been paying less on the car and, therefore, more on the higher priority debt for a while.  But oh well! That's what this journey is all about: learning to manage my finances!

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Family emergency but no emergency fund

Last week one of the inevitable moments that we all dread occurred in my family; one of my closest uncles unexpectedly passed away.  This was a huge emotional blow to me as well as the rest of the family.  It was one of those times where I deeply regret living 1000 miles away from my family and I was not sure that I would be able to make it to the funeral.
With no emergency fund left, the high cost of flying me and the twins to Kentucky at the last minute was out of the question.  But driving myself and two infants there in such a short amount of time was also unrealistic.  S stepped up and decided to help drive us there even though he wouldn't be able to stay and we were able to get a reasonably affordable one-way ticket for him to go home the following day.
It is moments like this that the importance of having an emergency fund becomes so apparent and reinforces my mission to get out of debt.   I hate that I even had to consider missing the funeral and saying goodbye to someone so special to me all because of the financial mess I've created for myself. 

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Budget shortfall

I've started working on the budget for when I return to work in September and it's not a pretty picture.  Just plugging in the minimum payments for our debt and the basic household expenses plus the baby expenses we are looking at a shortfall of $600 a month.  This doesn't include putting anything aside to restock our emergency fund or include any money to cover big one time expenses coming up like new tires, auto maintenance, or my professional fees that are due in November.

There are a couple items in the budget that are currently just placeholder estimates. These line items are life insurance and S's student loan.  I was hoping to have life insurance squared away before the babies came but with everything that happened at the end of the pregnancy that to-do kept falling to the end of the list.  We are also in the process of renegotiating S's student loans which were in default.  Hopefully, I have included enough in the budget to cover these two items or we may have an even bigger shortfall than I am expecting.

The next step for us is to examine every way we can eliminate the shortfall and have enough left over for savings and large expenses.  The following is a list of the initial ideas I have for firming up our budget and getting the bottom line in the black (some of the ideas are obviously not desirable options but may end up being necessary):

  • Get life insurance
  • Complete S's loan restructuring
  • Refinance car loan
  • Look for lower car insurance rate
  • Reduce or eliminate 401(k) contribution
  • Look for less expensive health insurance option
  • Put my student loan in deferment until higher interest debts are paid off
  • Make more money... not sure how but need to think about this one!
  • Find new homes for some of the more expensive pets (last resort!!)
So there's the list of things I'm trying to accomplish before returning to work, all while juggling my twins!  Wish me luck!