It’s a new year and a new round of debt.
We are refinancing our brand new van through our bank to get a better rate than the one we got through the dealer. Our payments won’t go down because we financed for longer through the dealer than we can through the bank ( 6 years vs. 5 years), and they may even go up, but I’m more comfortable with our bank and the lower interest rate since we plan to pay it off early anyway (less overall interest).
As for the credit card, well, that’s sky high again. We had about $1700 in car repairs on the old car before we decided to junk it (since it still wasn’t fixed) and get the van. We couldn’t pay that out of pocket so, onto the credit card it went. Plus a $450 vet bill for the cat, and that leads us to YIKES!
All of our “extra” money is going towards the kids’ tuition, so we’re just trying to stem the bleeding at this point. No more credit card charges! I made a budget yesterday. It took a couple of tries before I could get the numbers to come out into something resembling a decent living for us. The first time I worked it out it came out negative! The second time, I juggled some numbers and it came out that we wouldn’t have any money after paying the bills from the first paycheck of the month. I finally got it worked out on the third try. I juggled and wiggled and now we will have enough money to live on and pay the kids’ tuition and the car payment. Whew!
As much as it takes some finagling, I do love working with numbers. I love being responsible for the budget. I’m a paperwork girl at heart. I love being able to work out a way to have what we need and some of what we want. I love that I was able to get the car that I wanted most even though the payments are ridiculously high (as much as we were paying for our 2 – admittedly much cheaper – cars before we paid them off!) and I could still find the money to do it all. We will have all the bills paid, plenty for groceries, and even some for a dinner out here and there and some entertainment on the weekends. Yay us!
Anyway, new year, new debt. I’m starting back where I was a couple of years ago. We got completely out of debt and now we are even further in debt than before! I am hoping to get a job one of these days and that should help, but I’m not expecting to make a ton of money. Every little bit helps though!
One thing that I did that I don’t necessarily recommend: I liquidated the kids’ college funds. I hadn’t much built up in them as I’d only been contributing for a year, and for most of that I was only putting in $50 a month per kid, but there was about $1400 total. That’s not going to make much of a difference when they go off to college, but it’s going to make a dent in the debt. I may or may not start the college funds up again when we get to that point in our journey, but that $100 a month can be put to better use right now. We’ll be able to help them out more if we are out of debt and still working when they get to school than if we had saved $50 a month for them and stayed in deep debt. Anyway, that’s the decision I made. We are still contributing to retirement savings up to the point that my husband’s work matches it. The kids can get college loans, we can’t get retirement loans.