My Journey Out of the Rat Race Continues

As we are all gearing up for our New Year’s resolutions, I can’t help but be super excited for March to get here this year! March will be the month that my annual company bonus comes in and we’ll be able to pay off some major debt. That is the first step of freeing up around $1100/month THIS year.

First step – free up $611.32/month in March in this venture:

Five years ago, we were already on this journey and decided to accept a loan to consolidate our credit card debts from Discover Loans. I was skeptical at first because it looked like one of those debt consolidation type loans that could harm your credit. But after thorough research, we found that it was legit and much like a car loan where you pay for the interest the entire time; at the end of the term, you’ve paid everything off. Yes you will pay more than you would have if you paid it off all at once, but this is a much better option than paying that debt as credit card interest. And we desperately needed an approach like that. So, in March, we’ll have about $3000 balance left on this loan and can pay it off with the bonus as long as a catastrophe doesn’t hit the supermarket industry between now and the end of January. (I think we’ll be okay).

Step 2: Free up another $165/month

So, what are we going to do with that extra monthly cash? That’s when the REAL plan goes in motion. Have you heard of Dave Ramsey’s Snowball method? (Here’s a quick reference of this method from one of his videos:  . Ever since we took that Discover Loan out, we opted to not use our credit cards any longer and pay only in cash for things.  For the most part, we held true to this approach and did really well. We had a couple of emergencies pop up that we had to tap into the credit card. So we’ll take that $611.32 and ROLL it into the budgeted monthly $165 payment we make on the credit card for a total of $776 towards the credit card. Right now the balance is $3586.86 with 7.79% interest and $776 payment will pay it off in 5 months verses 24 months!  Now, there is a possibility that we can pay this credit card off at bonus time as well, but we are waiting to see what is leftover first in order to take a needed vacation. So we’ll have to see what the bonus turn out is and how much is left after taxes.

Regardless of when we pay the credit card off, paying off those both debts combined will free up a total of $776/month. Where’s the rest of that $1100?

Step 3 – MOVE! = SAVE another $345/month (totaling $1121).

We have a bid on a short sale property for approximately $141,000. That property is worth around $165,000, so we’ll gain some equity right off the bat IF the banks approve our offer. At interest rates in July (<4%), we were looking at a monthly payment including insurance and escrow around $850/month. We currently pay $1195/month for rent and that does not include any utilities. So, we should be able to shave off $345/month and I anticipate a little more since the house is significantly smaller square footage to heat and cool. Now keep in mind, there is NOTHING short about a short sale. As I said, we have a bid on that property, but our original offer date was July 3rd, 2014. Here we are on December 31st, and we are at least another month away from getting approved from the seller’s mortgage holders.  We’ve heard some people have gone up to 18 months waiting on a short sale to go through. I am sure we won’t wait that long, but hopefully we will have an answer in early 2015 and make that $345/month change quickly.  It’s time.

Obviously freeing up all this money gives us a chance to save for things we need in our future. We have a few other things that we need to focus on next:

  1. We borrowed against our 401K to pay the banks for a house we sold that was upside down
  2. Pay back Josh’s life insurance policy, so that it is fully vested. (We took a loan against it to invest in part of our retirement/hobby business: Brass Hammer Designs)
  3. Start investing and maxing 401K as soon as possible.
  4. Make sure that we get significant money saved up for a vehicle or two because both of ours are racking up significant mileage.

Anyway – you can see we have a very well thought out plan and SERIOUSLY I CANNOT WAIT UNTIL MARCH!

I hope that I’m being a supportive wife

My husband has a lot of issues that are making him depressed. I don’t blame him, I would be too. Life has been kicking him in the dick for a long time. I know he feels alone in this world and I often feel alone as a wife to him. Does anyone else have these problems? It affects every part of a person when they are fighting health issues. And his health is declining. We’re only 38! He has so many issues, I don’t know which to try to tackle first and they’ve been piling for a while.

So, he’s on a lot of medicines, but is trying to get off of as many as possible. He took a step and started going to my hippie doctor who believes in supplements and diet to fix most of the issues. Don’t worry – she has an M.D. and is a  very good diagnostician, so I’m excited that she is working with him. He’s only been under her care for about a month, so we haven’t had enough time for him to see results completely yet. He was on allergy medicines and she put him on a dietary supplement instead. It’s not really working, but the allergy medicines weren’t either. One thing I can say is that he doesn’t sound as clogged up at night and isn’t sneezing as much anymore. So it might be working. She also added more testosterone to his regime. She took him off Androgel and put him on an injection. He has thrush and it’s affected his taste and smell, so he isn’t hungry.

He had back surgery in December of last year and his bone graft didn’t take. So the surgeon is suggesting that he go back under the knife and add more bone growth stimulator and add a cage to the other side. Needless to say, my husband is less than thrilled and that was a blow as well that is causing more depression….. And with the thrush, eating hasn’t offered any comfort. With pain, sex hasn’t been something we have been on top of either – he hurts just to get out of bed. Basically all of life’s pleasures are getting taken away one by one.

His job is not the “normal 8-5 Monday through Friday”, so he is frustrated that he never has a holiday off or he’s always on a different schedule from me. And he barely gets any vacation compared to me. It has been hard enough to be 10 years ahead of him on my career and then the economy bit us in the ass when he started looking for a job after graduating with a Behavioral Sciences degree. (Word to the wise, just get a hard science based degree. It will save you tons of heartache later.)

He has an estranged relationship with his family – specifically his mom and his siblings. His dad and he have sort of worked on their relationship and it is better than it used to be. But his mom’s relationship has now dwindled to this year we only exchanged Christmas cards and she sent cookies. I don’t blame him for the way these relationships have developed over the years, but he lives in guilt of choosing this path. I mean, if it takes 7 years to get your mom to be honest with you about a major thing, why would you want to have a really close knit relationship with her? And why would you want to work on the relationship with your sister when she just wants to force you to “fix” your relationship with your mom and doesn’t take interest in any other part of your life? It absolutely makes sense, but it’s still painful for him. I watch it all the time and don’t interfere out of respect for him. It took me a while to learn that lesson.

So, as you can see, there’s a lot on his plate. He used to ask if he was being punished in life for things. I used to always believe that it was just life and he was being too pessimistic…. But I’m starting to wonder if I’m wrong. Is he being punished for bad decisions of his family’s past? The sociological explanation is that his family is experiencing cycle patterns that are unavoidable and all those things added up to the way he handles his psychological pain and then comes out in physical ailments…. Is that too far fetched? Or really, is it the combination of it all that has taken it’s toll on him.  Am I being tested in patience by being with him? Is anyone else having this type of depression in their life?

And as much as we want it to be the answer, getting away to our vacation spot won’t erase all the health concerns we have for him right now. We’re always in flux and transition…… And I worry about him very much every single day.

Is everyone that desperate for attention?

I just finished all of my Christmas visits with everyone. A big theme I noticed is it was easy to disappear in the background if I didn’t talk. It felt like everyone was competing for attention of someone; it was truly an interesting dynamic to sit back and watch. My mom would try to “one up” pretty much everything I would discuss about my husband’s pain or surgery. My stepmom was doing the same thing. This is something that had literally been going on for years, so I wasn’t surprised. It’s just this week it clicked that it doesn’t matter which parent or family member I’m talking to. We have nothing else in common but our ailments…. And everybody wants to show their expertise and knowledge about something. Hardly anyone asked questions about how someone was actually doing; but if they did ask, they tended to want to just interject their current observations of themselves.

Is this just human nature? Are we really listening to each other? Is this why many of us feel so lonely? Just a few things to think about on this Saturday evening.

2nd dog or not?

Eeek! Last month, our friends adopted a female American Staffordshire from the pound that they thought was fixed. A month later, she had 4 puppies and I WANT ONE!!!! She’s so pretty and the pups are so cute. The pound is covering all expenses including vaccinations and spaying at appropriate ages. And this is mama.

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The problem we’re having is life is upside down right now and our 14 year old mini schnauzer, Buster, might not do so well with all of the changes.

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For one, he doesn’t like meeting new dogs, but he’ll eventually warm up to them after a spell. I guess the change is what has me nervous. All the extra expenses and responsibilities…. Are we ready for that? We cook our dog’s food now, but he’s only 19 lbs wet; This dog will be 4x that size which means 4x the food…. Oh my!!!!

And two, we have a bid on a house that will hopefully finalize in by the end of January. So right when the puppies are weened, we might be moving….

We have about 6 weeks to decide. Tick tock……