Wednesday, May 1, 2013

the debt reduction diaries: april showers

when it rains, it pours, right?  well, April poured.

poured down MONEY, that is!!!! it's really crazy.

April was the month where all the sacrificing finally "paid off," literally!

It started with a rockin' tax return, which I know, according to Dave Ramsey, is NOT a good thing, but for the Hydeens, it is, and here's why.  Steve and I both have a bunch of random sources of income that   does not get taxes taken out.  He does 88improv, some random commercial gigs, and music lessons (well, he used to anyway).  And I do daycare, the pinkadink, and a little photography.  so when you add all those together, and then take out our taxes, we don't want to run the risk of having to pay IN, so we always take out as much as we can from Steve's "real job" checks.  So depending on the year, and how "successful" our little business endeavors were, we either get a little tax return or a big one, just because we have to make sure that we don't have to pay.  Well, this year was a big one!  (it acutally means that the pinkadink wasn't very successful financially, even though I had gobs and gobs and gobs of orders.  I also had gobs and gobs and gobs of expenses, which I'm trying to fix for 2013.).  so anyway, we got a whoppin auto-deposit from the government.  At first it felt a little like a hand-out, and like it was sort of "cheating" with our debt payoff, since it was an amount of money that doesn't NORMALLY just show up in your bank account.  But I soon realized that we busted our BUTTS all year for that money, and it was just being witheld for a while, but we very much deserved every penny because we earned it!!!

we had also gotten a random check from Steve's grandma, who on occasion just sends us mail that says, "here's some money.  sent some to all the grandkids."  so we used that to pay off the van, and our snowball officially started!!!  woooooooo hooooooooo!!!!

we used our tax return to pay off our credit card, which wasn't a very high monthly payment, so it didn't add a huge amount to our snowball, but's paid off, and we're done dealing with a 23.99% interest rate on that baby.  woooooooo hoooooo!!!!!

and also, we are being total grown ups right now about everything.  We are going to open an HSA with our bank, so that our medical expenses will be paid for pre-tax, which is awesome since we both go to the chiropractor once a month, and whenever we have to refill Lillian's inhalers and epi pens, I want to cry about how much it costs.

and we ALSO are in the process of refinancing our home mortgage, which will save us $140 a month, which we'll just stick right into our snowball!  (are you catching this?  we went from no snowball to 3 amounts in our snowball within one month!!!) plus, I have heard that when the refinancing goes through we'll have a month where they skip a payment, so we'll be able to use one house payment toward debt too! and that will probably knock off one of my small student loan debts which will add a few more bucks to the snowball!    for real, people, this is happening!

AND, (I told you it was pouring!!) we got hit by a major hail storm in April.  now, here's what happened... I knew that there was a chance for hail, so when we got home from the kids' school activity thing that night, I thought, "It might hail.  I should put the van in the garage!"  but, since the day before had been lovely weather, all the kids' bikes and scooters, etc were in my spot in the garage, for easy access.  So then I thought, "well, it's already after 8, so I'll just get the kids in bed, come out and move the bikes, and then get the van in."  well, by the time the kids got done with their nightly poop (seriously.  every night.  all at the same time.  what is UP with that!!!!) and got their pjs on, I heard a big thunk.  like, a BIG one.  and by the time I figured out that it was hail and heard the second THUNK, it was too late.  it was coming down HARD!  so I RAN to the garage, throwing bikes to the other side of the garage, yelling for kids to MOVE out of my way, and looking a bit like the Tasmanian Devil I'm sure.  and meanwhile, my children are screaming bloody murder because they know my plan is to run out in the life threatening hail to get the van inside.  and then I realized that it was pretty stupid to traumatize my kids for LIFE just to avoid a few dings on a van that's already 11 years old with 167,000 miles.  so I came inside and hugged my kids instead, and assured them that the hail was NOT going to slam through the roof and pelt us in the noggin, even though I was not quite certain of that myself.  long story short (well, not that short I guess...), the van is totaled, so we get $3500 for it!  sa-weet!  best life saving decision I've ever made!  I can handle driving a van with a bazillion dents in the hood and roof during it's last couple years (we hope!) of life, while we save up for a new one.

now, I'm half tempted to use that money to knock off some more debt, but we figure we had better use it to start a 'new vehicle fund' for when this old thing bites the dust.  and since we don't want to have another car payment when it happens, we had better figure out how to build that fund asap.  so that's what we're doing with it.  how boring. :)  unless, of course, we need to use it to pay our deductible on our HOUSE, which needs a new roof after the storm as well.  Two different roofers said they felt like they were going to fall through our roof and into our house when they were doing their estimates.  so, I guess getting a new roof for $716 isn't something I should be complaining about, except for the fact that I don't want to pay $716 on that.  oh well.  this might be the only time I've ever liked insurance companies! :)

ok, so the plan is just to get all the money gone from our accounts as soon as possible, because heaven knows Chipotle calls my name REALLY LOUDLY when there's "extra" money in the account.  :)  so far we're NOT going to raise our grocery budget (although that's in under debate right now, since Steve and I are both feeling really tired and unmotivated lately.  might be the lack of fresh foods....or the weather, for pete's sake!!!), and just carry on as if April never existed, so we can stick with the plan!

other awesomeness this month?  you people!  now, here's the deal.  I know I said before that I do NOT write this blog to make anyone feel like they should give us the things we're sacrificing or send us money or anything!  it's just a place for me to be honest and talk about what sucks and what we're doing to try make a difference in our lives.  But nevertheless, I mention that I bid adieu to the lovely brown rice medley from Trader Joes, and low and behold TEN bags show up at my house within a couple days.  (and to whoever it was, since I only know one of you...THANK YOU, from the bottom of my heart, for the rice AND for the information that it's now only $1.99 a bag again!  happy happy day!!!!)  I mention that Josiah needs a haircut in a serious way, and there's a gift card on my front steps. I post a picture on fb of my empty fridge (which I was proud of, not concerned by!) and our friends show up with a box of produce (which was the only thing I didn't know how to pull off for the final two days of April without going over budget, which I was fully prepared to do later that day).  and then our neighbor (sorta) brought us a huge bag of grains from their pantry (rice, quinoa, oats) because they have some serious food intolerances in that family, and can't eat GRAINS!!!  you people continue to bless us, while at the same time making me really feel like I need to sensor what I put on here because I'm NOT A MOOCH!!! :)

the only thing I'm rather disappointed in, is that no one managed to deliver a five pound weight loss to my door step when I complained about gaining five pounds.  could someone PLEASE get on that??? :)

It's acutally really funny, the weight loss thing, because I was listening to the Dave Ramsey show this past week and some girl was on there saying how she lost 30 pounds in her debt payoff mode, because it just taught her discipline, which carried over into every part of her life!  and I was like DUDE, I agree, but I'm gaining weight!!!  but the rest of my life is feeling much more disciplined, which is crazy for me!!!  but I think maybe the food we're eating is what's causing my weight gain, which is sad, and another reason that I just might want to up our budget a little in the near future, now that we have a teensy bit of wiggle room.  we shall see....

The best thing about April though, is that it doesn't feel as good as I thought it would!  and yes, that's a good thing!  I was beginning to think that maybe I was getting a little obsessed with money and spending and grocery budgets and all that.  and I really wanted God to be working in my heart to help me NOT allow this GOOD thing to become an idol.  that's what usually gets me, ya know.  I idolize my husband, my family, my productivity.  all of those are good things, until they become my IDOL.  and I felt like I could feel the penny-pinching-idol 'infant' growing into a penny-pinching-idol 'toddler.'

so it feels good to know that it doesn't feel as good as I THOUGHT it would to be at this point where we actually can see the progress we've made.  I think it's evidence that I'm not allowing money to consume every single thought in my head, which is what I was hoping for, and working toward.

now, of course I still think about it.  it's part of being a 'gazelle.' :)  I still thank God for every single day that we have food to eat.  I still want to bring ziplock baggies to the elementary school when I eat there, so I can take all the fruits and veggies off the kids' plates before they THROW THEM AWAY!!! :(  and I still nag steve about not eating TWO breakfasts (can I give this bagel to Brielle since you're eating oatmeal right now?), or packing TWO oranges in his lunch. (honey, why do you have 2?  that second orange is not going to FILL you up, but it could be the entire fruit portion of someone else's lunch! and blah blah blah and nag nag nag...) but it's necessary, kind of, since he's not offering to switch roles with me and try to figure out how to make $300 a month work. :)  (and he's being SUPER supportive and helpful and not complaining about he doesn't get to do anything throughout this whole process, in case that hasn't come across in these blogs.  he's the best.  ever.)  It has to be on my mind in order for this to work, but it doesn't have to consume my whole mind and my every thought.

so yeah, april showers bring may flowers, right?  We got the downpour in April, and I can't wait to see what May will bring.  It's really exciting, after so many long weeks and months of sacrifice, to see the the progress with your own two eyes.  so, while I am ready for any amount of real snow that could possibly be turned into a snowball to LEAVE FOR GOOD, I'm hoping to see our DEBT snowball continue to grow!  woot!

(did anyone even read this whole thing?  that was a long one...) :)


theKband said...

Read the whole thing. And am super proud of you guys and all the work you're doing--it's inspiring for all of us readers!

raarms said...

CELEBRATING with you!!! Let's talk $300 monthly food budget sometime. We could cheer each other on and share meal ideas.

Matthew said...

Have you guys heard of We just did our first basket last weekend. We got about $30 of conventional (non-organic) produce for $15.