Friday, October 26, 2012

As Promised

Here are the pictures of our neighborhood. I took a picture of a couple more decorated homes and then a picture of our home. It will be clear which ones are debt free and which ones are not.

This house is clearly debt free. They are spending a lot of money on decorations. There are quite a few in their yard. It was very nice with the tombstones and creatures rising out of the ground. They also have some decapitated heads hanging from their tree. 
This house had it all! They have a guillotine in the far left of the picture. On top of their porch their is some wolverine zombie thing cutting another creature's head off making it roll down the roof. They had dry ice to create an eerie smoke affect and then all kinds of lights and other little props. The dogs were definitely scared of all the props and would bark at them. That was rather humorous. 

And then you have our home. The lame tombstones in the front with the skeleton fence lining. All of this was from 5 below for about $50. We are clearly the ones who are trying to pay off debt. Everyone else has some crazy props in their yard. We will probably not get any visitors this year. Actually, thinking about that, it may not be a bad thing. We are only going to spend $50 on candy and once we are out, we are out. We will give everybody a high-five. 

Everyone have a wonderful weekend! 

Monday, October 22, 2012

Halloween Spending

So, when Rebekah and I bought the house we did in May, we had heard stories of Halloween. Apparently our neighborhood welcomes an average of 4,000 trick-or-treaters on Halloween night. Our subdivision is an old, unique Victorian style neighborhood. All of the homes have their own features about them which is what drew us to this neighborhood. It seems that a lot of our neighbors really dress their homes up for Halloween. They have just started decorating this week with different types of props, coffins, ghosts, fencing, and even one house is turning their separate garage into a haunted house. It is going to be pure craziness!

Rebekah and I went to this store called 5 below. It is pretty new in Atlanta and we loved it! It had a lot of Halloween decorations for pretty cheap. We got 4 tombstones, some fencing, and 4 sets of lights and it was about 50 bucks. I did not think this was too bad, however it was certainly not something we budgeted for. We will wait until after Halloween and stock up on the decorations that have huge mark downs. However, this is not the expensive part. Finding a way to buy 4,000 single pieces of candy will be! We talked to several neighbors about their candy purchasing and most say they spend between $250 and $400 on candy!! I was like are you serious?! Heck no! I will never do that. I will give these kids Ritz crackers and beans before I spend that much on candy. They were not even buying the good stuff like Snickers and Twix. They were buying the generic stuff with hard candies and candy corn. If you guys know of any place to buy some cheap candy, I would be appreciative. We have heard of this website online called Candy Warehouse that supposedly has a good deal. If all else fails, we will head to Costco and get it there, but I really do not want to spend a lot of money on this.

Dryer update...we sort of have it fixed. We have to buy something called a dryer was only $30. I hope this is going to work. If not, we are going to have to cut in through our guest bedroom's closet. That sounds way more expensive. Right now, we are only $80 in the hole for this. We paid our contractor $50 for what he had done so far. We are waiting on the dryer box to come in and we will hopefully be all set.

We are also selling an old mattress for $600 on Wednesday! Woo hoo! Maybe I should use this money for the Halloween candy...Argh!!!

Hope you all have a great week!

Friday, October 19, 2012

The Cost of Homeownership

When Rebekah and I bought a home we were warned of the amount of work we would have to do. However, I really do not think we could have imagined. It seems literally every week it is another thing. Recently, at the house, we have had trouble connecting our dryer to the wall unit to remove the fluff and push it to the outside of the house. We have upstairs laundry in the smallest of holes in the wall and there is not enough space to connect the hose. We tried and it just tore. It turns out they built this for compact washers and dryers not our ginormous LG washer and dryer we got when we got married.

It was now time to hire someone and we brought them in yesterday. The guy had to cut into the sheet rock and remove about a foot of piping and it still did not work! UGH! I just see dollar signs all over the place on this one. If it weren't such a hazard I would forgo this and worry about it later, but he told us our house could catch on fire. So, I will gladly spend the $500 of anticipated cost to keep the house from going up and keep my wife happy, which is after all the most important.

In addition, we did some yard work over the weekend and we had to go buy some Bermuda sod to fill in this ugly patch of dirt. It was only $40 but it was still another unexpected cost incurred. I will try to post some pictures of our yard from when we bought in May to now. I always love showing before-and-after shots. It really makes us feel proud of our work. Good news is our electricity bill went from $240 down to $77! Woo hoo! I have just kept the air off and it really has not been too hot in the house. Hopefully I will not have to turn it on until December, doubt it, but maybe.

It is little things like this that really put a damper on our motivation. It seems like each month when you think you will have a couple hundred extra dollars to throw at debt life has to happen. This is the reason why it is SO important to get some money in the emergency fund! We have been working at this slowly but surely. We will be able to pay for this out of our emergency fund and not worry too much, but it is unsettling having to worry about something like this. I thought we were supposed to use the emergency to go on vacation? Geez.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Quick Update

Rebekah and I have paid some more on our loans...we paid $470 (originally $500, woo hoo! Progress!) to my student loans, which is the minimum, and another $100 to my other student loan whose minimum is $95. This number is starting to decrease a little bit thank goodness. We will get paid on the 15th and we should be able to throw a little extra at the loans. We are cutting back our going out to eat and other things this week. I didn't even by the raisin bran cereal made by Cascadian Farms this week! I bought the factory brand frosted flakes instead, a savings of $1.50. So, we are trying to cut back as much as we can. It is difficult, but I knew it would be when we started it. I must say not having to pay any money to credit cards is wonderful! Paying those off was such a relief! We can now focus our full attention on our loans and get them taken care of quicker. I cannot imagine the day we send our last payment off to FedLoan. I have thought about paying it in pennies when that day comes. Is that a good idea? I would obviously pay a ton for shipping, but I think it would be worth it...

On a non-financial note, we are running a 5K at Emory University this weekend. This 5K is to support the Winshape Cancer Center. This is an incredible center that helped my uncle before he passed away from Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma last summer. I find it important to give back to people or organizations that gave something to you. They allowed me to have a few more days with my uncle before he passed which I cherish more than anything. So, we will be running this race for him. I really hope my time is good...I think I am going to shoot for no more than 24 minutes. I will let you guys know how it goes.

Hope you all have a great end to your week!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Dang you Chipolte!

(What DOESN'T look good about this?) 

Why does their food have to be so good? Couldn't they overcook their chicken, or use some moldy cheese, or a stale burrito?

Rebekah and I go to Chipolte probably once a week. We spend $15.09 for a chicken and veggie burrito (sometimes a bowl when feeling healthy) and one drink that we share to save money. That is $60.36 a month on Chipolte or $724.34 a year! I think we practically keep the place running. We have been doing a lot better about not visiting Chipolte more than once a week, but it is tough! Having an extra $60 would certainly help us get out of debt faster, but we do enjoy having some semblance of a life. Rebekah and I go out to eat once a week (sometimes twice) to reward ourselves for making it through the week. Being teachers, this is no easy task.

This is an area that Dave Ramsey and I disagree on. Dave says you should not step foot inside of a restaurant while you are paying off debt. You should eat rice and beans and beans and rice. I think you should reward yourself for working hard to pay off debt. Otherwise, you may lose motivation and ultimately quit. Paying off debt is certainly no easy task and having something to look forward to every Saturday night makes the week a little easier.

We have some more loan payments coming up on the 15th. I will try to do a post before then on income. I hope everyone has a great end to their week and a wonderful weekend!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Moving Along...

Yesterday, we paid $2,142 to one of our student loans. This loan had a $30 a month payment and 6.8% interest. We were extremely excited to get this loan paid off since it is a higher monthly payment due to the interest on it.

Next up, we are going to work on a $2,400 student loan with 6.8% interest and a $31 a month payment in which $18 goes to interest and $13 to principal.

It is easy to see how many Americans will take student loan debt with them into their 30's. It seems like all of the payment goes to interest and none to principal.

Also, I will be reorganizing the loans on the side of the website. Rebekah's loans were grouped according to monthly payment. Unlike mine, where I can designate how much I want to pay on each loan. So, it will take a little longer to see some major progress happen, but we are motivated to get these loans gone! Hopefully we will see a big difference soon.

Sorry for the short post. I have to get ready to teach. Hope everyone has a great day!

$13,000 down and 14.5% done!