Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Debt Busters Club - February Update

(for more info on the Debt Busters Club or to join in, go here)

Our big debt buster goal is to pay off as much as we can on Dave’s medical school loans while he is still a resident (which he will be for 3.5 more years), and then to pay off the rest as fast as we can once he finishes his training and has a real job. However, we are expecting a baby in August so we are following Dave Ramsey’s advice to set aside all the money we would have paid on the loan as a temporary extra emergency fund. Once the baby is here and everything is fine, we’ll take all that money and send it to the loan. Our goal for January to July is to save $750 a month in that fund, for a total of $5250 by the end of July. My goal for the year is to pay another $2750 on the loans between September and December for a grand total of $8,000. That’s about 17% of our annual income and 4.4% of the total loan balance.

Total saved in January (and part of December): $1416.93

That means we’re ahead of schedule so far!!

Another goal for the month of February is to use as much as possible from our overflowing freezer and pantry and to buy as few groceries as possible. The money we don’t spend on groceries this month will go into the student loan fund. This will also push me to find creative ways to use many of the items we’ve been accumulating. I’m expecting to buy a few things during the month, including milk, eggs, fruit, some meat/chicken and maybe bread. I would skip the meats, which we don’t eat much of anyway, but I’m trying to make sure I get enough good protein while pregnant.

Last week, I bought 1 gallon of milk, 1 quart half and half and a 3lb bag of onions. Total spent: $7.75 (I normally budget $45 per week for groceries for our family of two).

Friday, February 06, 2009

Financial Goals for 2009

A little background:

We are on a journey to pay off as much of Dave’s medical school loans as we can while he’s still a resident. In all likelihood, we’ll probably end up paying the interest and preventing it from getting added to the balance, and I suppose I’ll be satisfied if we can manage that (probably a good $40,000 from the 4 years of medical school plus 5 years of residency. And I thought the original balance was bad enough!!) Our plan was always to pay of all of his loans in 3 years once he had a real job, since we didn’t think we could pay much while he was a resident making not much money. But when we got a statement saying that his loans had accumulated $15,000 worth of interest just in the time he was in medical school (and I wanted to vomit, literally, when I saw that), we realized that we’d better get a move on it and that every dollar we could squeeze out now would benefit us so much in the long run! Besides, I’ve heard tons of people’s debt free calls to Dave Ramsey who have paid off $10,000 or more a year making the same amount of money we are. Last year, we paid about $6,000 to finish off my student loans, replenished our emergency fund after some unexpected car repairs (after we’d used all our car repair savings for other car repairs - the joy of driving old cars!), and paid about $1400 on Dave’s loans. Now that we know a baby is coming, we’re following Dave Ramsey’s advice to set aside all the money we’d be putting to loan repayment into our emergency fund, just in case we need it. Once the baby comes, and everything is fine, we’ll send that money straight to the loans.

The goals:

1) Save $750 per month in the temporary emergency/loan repayment fund, which totals $5250 by August.

2) Cash flow any baby related expenses (childbirth classes, doula if we go that route, items we need to purchase, etc.) so that we’re not tempted to use the emergency money instead of sending it to the loan.

3) I’m joining the debt busters group at Thrifty Florida Mama’s blog. There’s a monthly check-in with other people working hard to pay off debt.

4) Sell 5 items per month on eBay and/or Craig’s List. We have a lot of things in the basement that we’ve been meaning to get rid of, but I was waiting until I was done with school to tackle that. Well, I’m done with school now and it’s time for that stuff to go! I’ve been selling books online and swapping quite a few books at paperbackswap.com (awesome resource, by the way), but it’s time to get going on the rest.

5) We’re joining a Financial Peace University (FPU) class that a local church is offering. I’ve thought of going to FPU for quite a while, but I listened to all the tapes (yes, tapes) from the class my parents went to back in the day, I listen to Dave Ramsey all the time, and I felt that the benefit of going to the class was probably not worth the cost. Well, the church is offering the materials at their cost and they’re doing it in a small group format. So this is the cheapest we’re ever going to be able to do FPU, plus we’ll get some much needed community and fellowship time with other young married couples. We’re hoping that FPU will keep us fired up and help us think of more ways to find extra money in our budget.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009


I have 2/3 of a package of chives left over from making potato leek soup (my mom's best friend's recipe that we have at her house every year at Christmas time). Any ideas what to do with them?

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

14.5 week update

I had my 12 week appointment with the midwife two weeks ago and heard the baby’s heartbeat. That was reassuring for me because I know after that the chances of miscarrying go down very significantly. This baby happened way faster and more easily than I expected, so part of me was afraid that it was too easy and therefore something might be more likely to go wrong (logical, huh!?) While I do know that things can go wrong at any point, I’m glad we’re past many of the risks by this point.

The tiredness is gradually lessening. At week 13, I felt about as tired as I had before, but was sleeping an hour or two less each night. At week 14, I was tired but much more functional. This week, I feel pretty normal (well, as long as I get 9 hours of sleep), and I’m able to walk again at a good pace for more than 15 minutes at a time – hurray! The little bit of nausea that I had is pretty much gone.

I’m up about 4 pounds and my belly is starting to poke out just a tad. Most of my normal pants are too snug, but I have a couple pairs of jeans that were a little big before, so they’re fitting comfortably enough to manage for now. I took a 10 week picture to make sure I had a good before, but didn’t take another until 14 weeks (well, yesterday, so I could finally post this), since there was nothing really to show. There’s still not much to show, but there is a difference (10 weeks on the left, 14 on the right):

My mom is coming in a couple weeks to go shopping with me (and I get to see her new red Prius too!) She’ll be able to stay long enough to come to my 16 week midwife appointment, which should be fun.

I’ve had a handful of belly rubs so far, even though there’s nothing there to feel yet. I don’t know what it is that makes everybody want to touch a pregnant lady’s belly, but I feel the same overwhelming urge! I’m a fairly touchy-feely-huggy person, so I don’t think I’ll mind too much, but I still think it’s odd.

We’re looking into options for natural childbirth classes, to make sure that we have enough time to make a decision and get registered as they tend to fill up early. If anyone has any recommendations, please let me know!