Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Random Thoughts

Good evening everyone...

On a daily basis I take my dogs on a walk for about 45 minutes. It gives me a chance to calm down from the day, get a little exercise, and do some thinking.

On this particular walk I started thinking about when I was 18 getting ready for college. I thought back to a specific conversation between my mom and I. I asked my mom if my college was going to be paid for and she told me not worry about it and "just have fun", it would all be taken care of. I did not question her because it sounded like it would be for in cash. I would regularly ask my mom about the payments and she told me she had a monthly payment plan to pay tuition. She never once mentioned that she was paying for school through student loans. I find myself wanting to go back to 18 and ask my mom to sit down with me and tell me the financial situation for college. I wish she would have told me you x dollars to spend. If you spend more than that amount, you will have to get student loans to cover the rest. Then, I wish she would have told me an estimate of my monthly payment to student loans once I graduated. I really wish she would have included me in the discussion for the financing of college.

Then, I started thinking about how many people in student loan debt did not have parents that did not tell their kids how college would be paid for; they simply responded "don't worry, it will be taken care of, go have fun". If you are a parent reading this please sit your high school senior down at the dinner table at the start of the school year and explain to them 1) how much money you have socked away to pay for college and 2) what student loans will be like if they need them. I feel like a lot of this could be avoided if parents just explained the college budget to their students.

On the other hand, why don't high school seniors have to take a personal finance/ adult life class? I know this sounds stupid, but if someone had told me what life would be like with student loan payments, I would have tried at all costs to avoid having them! I feel like high school seniors should be informed on student loans and debt in general before they go to college. Many of the kids will receive a credit card in their name and take out student loans. They must understand the "ins-and-outs" of these things before they get them. Most kids would look at this as a symbol of freedom, and to a point it is, but they are ultimately bound to whatever amount of debt they take on for the next 20 years and if they do income-based payments, 30 years! That is a good chunk of their life to carry this burden. I feel it is only fair to teach students about these and let them make the decision on their own.

Sorry for the random thoughts, but I go worked up on my walk about this.

We are pending about $1,000 in extra loan payments this month! Woo-hoo! I will update the debt totals as soon as I get the payments cleared and see the new balances.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

We're Back!

To all of our readers...

We sincerely apologize for not writing an update in nearly two months. There may, or may not, be a good reason for this.

Over the past two months, we went through the process of painting the exterior of our house. While at first glance this seems like a dumb decision since we are trying to pay off debt, but in an effort to save money long term, we went ahead and painted the house. The whole job, including replacing parts of the cedar siding, was $4,500. We had an original cost of $3,800, but as you have seen before, the trim on our house was entirely black. So, some of the rot was not noticeable until the workers were on a ladder and could actually see the deteriorated trim.

My wife tried three different paint colors before she found the right one. Those things are not cheap! They cost about $7 a piece at Sherwin-Williams, but the color she chose turned out beautiful! We are extremely happy with the work that was done. Pictures are at the bottom of this post.

So, the real reason I did not write a post is because I did not feel like I would add any encouragement to anyone going through the same thing we are. Here we are nearly $75,000 in debt, but we decided to spend $4,500 to paint the exterior of our home. However, we truly went back and forth on this for three months before we decided to do it. That $4,500 could have gone a long way to paying off debt. On the other hand, we could have spent about $10,000, if not more, to replace the siding and paint over the long haul, not to mention the amount of energy that was escaping each month. So, we decided for the long run, it would be in our best interest to paint the house.

 Now, for a little laugh, here is a picture of my dinner from tonight. This is what dinner for people who are in debt looks like.

Some delicious peanut butter bread with about six tortilla chips and a glass of milk. I would love to see some pictures of other peoples' dinner that they are eating while they get out of debt.

Also, I am going to start a tally of the debt we pay off by staying under our grocery budget each month. Last month, we were able to add a whopping $110 to debt from  staying under our grocery budget each week and only buying necessities.

Now for some pictures of the house!


Thank you guys for reading!