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Archive for September, 2022

"New" Truck

September 19th, 2022 at 05:34 pm

We are so excited! Last night, all The Husband’s hard work finally paid off when The Daughter got to drive her truck off to church! The look on her face was PRICELESS! (It actually cost us right around $3000, but it was so worth it!)

The Husband has been working tirelessly most nights and weekends to get this truck back on the road! This is the truck he took his drivers test on 28 years ago! The truck itself is 32 years old but has sat for almost the last 10 years and so needed a lot of love.

He replaced, cleaned, and rebuilt so much on this truck! There are still a few things that need to be finished or fixed, but it is safely drivable. Yesterday, he and my daughter finished fixing the windows (they didn’t roll up or down) and fixing the door locks and actuators.

Although fixing the truck has been costly, at about $3000 so far, it was still less than if we had bought her a reliable used vehicle.  She helped a lot during the whole process, and she feels such a sense of pride in “her” truck. She drove off to church last night and school this morning grinning ear to ear! She kept running up and hugging her dad last night and thanking him for all he’s done!

Although this truck does bring some added expenses, like insurance and gas, it also brings a ton of convenience in that we don’t have to juggle cars around or arrange rides  for her to get her where she needs to be. YAY!

Our Credit Card Debt

September 16th, 2022 at 03:52 pm

I am finally ready to share our debt numbers… and it’s scary! (Both the amount and putting our real numbers out there for people to see.) In April of this year, our credit card debt reached a total of $24,905.68, which was $1105.68 OVER our spending limit at the time. Amazingly, we weren’t charged any fees for being over our limit, other than our monthly interest. However, our interest rate has increased literally every month since then, so that’s how they are getting their extra money. We went from 14.99% interest to 15.49%, then to 16.24% to our current interest rate of 16.99%.

Our credit card “very graciously” saw that we were getting in over our heads, so instead of suspending our credit card (which was over the limit) or denying transactions, they increased our limit by $5000! We now have a credit limit of (ridiculously!) almost $30,000! It took us a long time to wake up, but I think we finally did! We still have a TON of credit card debt, but we are working on it.

Currently, our credit card debt stands at, $19,943.47. Still way too high, but less than it was.

We have not been able to pay off quite as much as we would like for a couple reasons. First, like I talked about in a previous post, we were given a truck that cost several thousand dollars to get running. (But was still less than the price of a used car!) We paid cash for all of the repairs. Secondly, our dog had an unexpected vet bill. He is 12 and we have been very lucky that he hasn’t been very expensive, but last month he cost us $1000. We were able to pay cash for that too. We also took a long weekend away as a family to Pismo Beach. We hadn’t done that in years and because we paid for that in cash, I consider it money well spent; but I’m trying to be honest in saying why we didn’t pay off as much as we would have liked.

Most importantly, we haven’t added to our debt, and in fact, have made a little headway. As of our September 2022 credit card statement, we have paid off $4962.21, which amounts to 19.9% of our total credit card debt. Honestly, could be better, could be worse.

Going forward, I am hoping to be able to payoff around $800 per month, after interest. At that rate, we will still be in debt for almost 2 more years. Again, it’s longer than I would want, but I think an $800 decrease per month is realistic. I don’t want to set unrealistic goals because then I will just be depressed and discouraged when I missed them.

We don't have any student loan debt or car loans. We have a mortgage and small solar loan in additional debt.  I am really focusing on our credit card debt as that is what is weighing us down.

As I said in my last post, I am expecting a lump sum payment this year equal to 6.5% of my salary. I haven’t yet decided what I’m going to do with it, but looking at these numbers, it is mighty tempting to send it all to debt and just live with one month of expenses in my emergency fund and to work on building it back up, slowly. But I don’t have the money yet so I don’t really have any decisions to make, yet.


September 9th, 2022 at 06:18 pm

I am a teacher and so don’t get raises the same way people in the private sector do. I don’t receive merit raises but do get step raises. This year I am not moving over a step, so was not expecting any kind of raise. However, California gave a hefty (but still below the rate of inflation) COLA raise to school districts of 6.56%. For the first time in my entire career, our school district is giving us the entire COLA plus a tiny bit extra. With the step I’m at, this should make for a take home difference of $4000 for the year, or around $335 per month – a decent increase after taxes!

The union also negotiated a one-time lump sum payment equal to 6.5% of my yearly salary. After taxes, I’m expecting to net right around $4000. I have not yet decided how this is going to be spent. I would love to throw the entire balance towards credit card debt, but with some of the spending we had to do this summer, our savings account took a hit.

My comfort zone is at two months’ worth of bare bones expenses in our emergency fund. Currently, we only have one month of expenses. $4000 would almost replenish our emergency fund. Plus as we won’t get the money for a several weeks up to a couple of months, that money coupled with what I would contribute to savings, would top off our emergency fund.

I could also split it up and send half to the emergency fund and half to debt. Clearly, I’m torn. I guess the bonus is that we are going to be getting the money and that I have options!

"New" Truck

September 8th, 2022 at 09:41 pm

We were given a truck for our daughter, but it needed some major repairs before she could drive it.  It is actually the truck my husband took his drivers test in about 28 years ago. It has been sitting in the driveway at his parent’s house for 7 years and hasn’t been moved since. Not to mention, it wasn’t taken care of very well before that either.

Over $1200 was owed on it to the DMV for overdue registration and fees. The DMV took off about $400 in fees and that brought it down to about $800 to bring it current. (We did not pay this. It was paid by my BIL to whom the truck was registered.)

My husband has put about $3000 and many, many hours into getting the truck drivable. He has put on new breaks, new valve seals, a new fuel pump, replaced the EVAP, new tires, and so much more.

Our original plan was to purchase a decent used car for our daughter when she got her license and was able to drive. But as everyone knows, the price of used cars skyrocketed. My car bit the dust back in March, but my mom lives with us and I have been able to drive hers. The Husband’s car is 7 years old but he maintains it well, and The Boy’s truck is old, but reliable. We have been able to get by, but it has been a pain. I will be so happy when the truck for The Girl is drivable!

We are almost there. After two months of work, it passed SMOG on Tuesday. Then, once it passed SMOG, we were able to finish the registration and get it insured in our name. Now we just have a few things left to do before she can start driving it daily. Once it passed SMOG, we ordered new tires for it, to the tune of $600. We also got a new windshield because there were multiple cracks in the old one.

We are getting there!

When The Husband was given the truck, he made a list of everything he thought needed to be done. Item by item, he has been crossing things off as he has completed them. He is also keeping track of how much money he has spent on each part or tool he has needed. The list has been added to since his initial assessment, but he has way less left to do, than he has already completed. Most of the parts have been bought and now we just need to find the time to finish the last repairs. The Girl should be driving the truck to school daily in about two weeks!

Wish us luck!