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Last month we finished going through a Financial Peace University Class. We are continuing the journey by working through Dave Ramsey’s list of Baby Steps. We’re not far into the process but we’re making huge strides. Here’s our progress to this point:

Baby Step #1 

Our “baby” emergency fund took a hit but we were able to refund it by the end of the month: $1,009.34

Baby Step #2

Starting Debt Amount: $53,285.44
(original projected payoff – December 2019)

As Of:
September 2016: $52,035.26 (-$1,250.18)
October 2016:  $50,243.99 (-$1,791.27)
November 2016:  $47,627.15 (-$2,616.84)
December 2016:  $45,351.18 (-$2,275.97)
(current projected payoff – July 2019)

Notes: I did throw some extra money at the debt, but I should have held onto it till the end of the month to be sure we didn’t need it to cover unplanned expenses.

Speed Bumps Encountered

  • Car Trouble – This was not a good month in the life of the van. It died in the parking lot of a local store. The tow truck guy was able to get it started (temporary) but because the front left tire was also flat (a whole other story), I couldn’t drive it to the mechanic. So, it had to be towed. Then, of course, there was the bill from the mechanic. The tire was under warranty at another shop, it held air long enough to get there from the mechanic. They refused to replace it for a second time and patched it, again. Of course, this would happen while the husband was out of town. Ten days later, the tire blew while our teenage daughter was driving to work in a snow storm. She spun off the road. Everyone was fine, and other than the tire, there was no damage, but it was another day of headaches. Fortunately, they replaced the tire for free this time. (-$132.82)
  • Switching Cell Service – We are starting the process of switching to another cell provider to save money. Last month we covered some of this cost, but a little more was required this month. We still have a cancellation fee that will show up in January. (-$100)
  • Christmas – I definitely didn’t budget properly for Christmas despite saving for it all year. This just goes to show that I haven’t been aware of what we actually spend on this holiday in a while. I have adjusted our budget to reflect this so hopefully we won’t be short next year. (-$183.37)
  • Food – I didn’t budget adequately for holiday eating and dining out again this month. Plus, the college kid is home and I should have planned for that too. (-$161.65)

If I hadn’t sent an extra payment to one of the credit card companies, I would have had the cash on hand to pay for the car trouble. As it was, I ended up dipping into the emergency fund to cover it. I didn’t think we would be able to refund it before the end of the month, but the Lord worked it out where we could. Overall, utility bills were higher this month too.

Well, that was December… on to the next billing cycle!