Friday, June 15, 2012

Taking Off the Training Wheels

Last night we had our monthly budget coach meeting.  I was absolutely terrified to walk into her office.  Last month, we were in "big trouble" with her for buying the car.  BIG TROUBLE.  She was so disappointed in us and I think that was the biggest blow.  We have grown to really love her, and like she said in our first meeting, she would become "Aunt Connie" to us.  Disappointing her with our decision was like disappointing a dear family friend.  Something that makes you just feel terrible.

Walking in last night, I knew that we hadn't made any more poor choices, but I really expected her to still be upset with us.  Couldn't be further from the truth.  But, only because we had redeemed ourselves.  She now calls our car the "million dollar car."  And she says that she uses it as an example of what not to do with other clients.  :)  She believes that the decision to buy the car, the regret that we feel because of buying the car, the way our decisions will be made financially in the future because of the car, will make us wealthy.  Since buying the car, we second guess every purchase.  Every purchase.  Whether it's an extra treat at the grocery store, or a new toy for Kinley.  We always put the decision in relation to that car.  Do we really need  it?  Could we use this money to instead pay off the car?

I went in to the appointment having tackled the to-do list that she gave us last month.  I found fall employment, we reworked Richie's with-holdings on his tax paperwork so that the minimum is taken out, and we got a higher balance debt moved to a zero-percent account.  Everything that we were told to do, we did.  But above and beyond that, we were able to stash an additional fifteen-hundred dollars to throw at our debt this month.  I KNOW!  That may not seem like much to you, but in our family, that is huge!

It's because of that car.  We want that debt gone and as fast as we can.

After discussing my job offer for the fall, together we decided that I would say thanks but no thanks.  The pay is measely, really, and after taking out the day care and the gas, I would be bringing home almost nothing.  So we decided that I would substitute teach part-time and be home with Kinley if I don't get a full time teaching position in a district.  We reworked the budget to show us living on one income and it works.  It won't be easy, but it will work.

All of this money that we are building up to throw at our debt, will just sit in our savings account until the fall job situation is figured out.  If I am not working, we will use it as a cushion if things are to get tight on one income.  If I find work or find enough subbing jobs to bring in a decent pay, then that whole pile will go towards our debt.

You don't even realize how much better I feel about things now.  I am no longer stressing out about work.  I am no longer feeling the pit in my stomach about going to work for a day care where I already feel like my degree and level of education is not respected.  I am no longer worried about Kage going to a new day care.  I am no longer stressing about money for our family in the fall.  We worked hard, saved hard and made it to a comfortable level  where we know we'll be okay.

After our meeting, "Aunt Connie" decided that it was time to take our training wheels off and let us go.  She knows that we have a handle on this budget thing and are doing okay.  We got it....

So she has "graduated" us from the monthly meetings and we'll now go to an email or call as needed relationship.  We do have plans to meet up again in August or September just to touch base....but I must say it's a mixed feeling to know that we're "on our own."  Yes, it's great that we've made it through the darkest part of our financial mess, but it's sad to let go of our crutch.

We couldn't have done it without her.

We are far from out of debt.  Thanks to the student loans--but we're finally on track again.

I have been contemplating writing a blog about the specifics of our budget:  how we do the envelope system, our monthly budget spreadsheets, etc.  If you are interested in learning more about it, comment and let me know.  I may work on that at nap time today.


Brandy said...

Oh my God Joy, I so want to do this. I spend at least 15 of my 16 waking hours worrying about money EVERY DAY! Our debt is all student loans and medical bills right now...I am getting close to paying off the medical bills, but the student loans are $50,000. It seems like we will NEVER have that paid off. John and I have been talking about the envelope system...talking...for months. Still no action. It just seems so hard to start! Honestly though, the strain of always worrying about money definitely takes a toll on our relationship. I feel like I am bitching all the time. We do have some in savings as our safety net, but I really want that to be our house fund, and when we have to take anything out of it at all, even if I know we can put it back in a couple of weeks, I feel like a failure, and see our status as "first time home buyers" happening maybe when we are grandparents. lol I would love to hear how you guys are doing it!.

Heather said...

I am very much interested in learning about this as well. I have our budget down but it would be nice to see if I can do things maybe a little differently so I save money.

EZsx5 said...

I'd love to read more! We budget, but it's nice to learn new ways and feel re-energized by other's success. Good job and keep up the good work :)

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