Friday, October 2, 2009

Friday Thoughts

Do you ever have those days when you aren't feeling well, but can't really pinpoint what's wrong, either? I've been there the past two days. I'm not looking for sympathy...I'm just bringing it up because I hate those days. I don't feel sick enough to sit the day out, but if I try to be productive, I'm not. To me, days like these end up being such a waste of time.

We're supposed to go to a wedding reception this evening, but I don't see that happening, either. But I'm OK with it; the groom used to be our neighbor, but we haven't been close since he and his fiance moved away 18 months ago. Between not feeling well and not knowing even one other person on the guest list, we've decided to stay in this evening, and send their gift to them in the mail.


Miranda, who just got back from an extended blog break, mentioned that she's been watching our debt total decrease over the months (see sidebar). We're now under the $7500 mark on our non-mortgage debt! Yay us!

I had really hoped to eliminate that debt in 2009, but it looks like it won't happen now. Here's some of what we did instead:

  • I had dental work done, costing $3000 over our insurance benefit (ouch!)
  • We had a couple of repairs done to Shane's truck that totaled about $700
  • We bought a couple of 49cc motor scooters that totaled $1000
  • We went camping five times and had a "vacation weekend" with my sister. After gas, incidental purchases, and a few meals out, I'm sure we spent at least $1000 on those six outings
  • We had some legal fees totaling $2000 (I'm not able to say what those are about yet, but it's a good thing)

When the dental work came up, and I realized there was no way we'd make our goal this year, I was disappointed at first. But now I'm OK with it. We've still made progress. We paid our van debt down from $13,000 to $7,500. We took care of some medical , mechanical and legal issues that needed attention. We had a lot of fun on our weekend trips and with our scooters. Most importantly, we didn't take on any additional debt. Really, the only thing I could possibly feel badly about is buying the scooters, but we got such good deals on both of them that it's hard for me to even regret those purchases.

One thing that does bother me, though, is that our savings took a major hit. We'll be working hard to get built back up. The plan is to add to it as we can, then when tax time rolls around and we get our refund (I'm assuming this because we have never NOT had a refund*), we'll pay off the van if we can, or sock the refund away in our savings account until there is enough there to pay off the van. With the van payment out of the way, our savings can then be replenished quickly.

I guess the point of my update is that life happens and sometimes it gets in the way of our goals. But as long as we keep plugging away, our debt will disappear. The sooner the better, but if it's a little later, that's alright, too.

*I realize that the general rule of thumb is that we should adjust withholdings so that we come as close as possible to having neither a refund nor a balance due. That idea makes Shane nervous, and in fact, he has a little extra withheld from each check, resulting in sizable refunds each year. Yes, I admit that this is like giving the government an interest-free loan, but doing it this way has saved our butts more than once. The money we spent this year that I listed above? Almost all of that came from our tax refund last year, which we had socked away in our savings account. The refund kept us from having to take on more debt. Had it been withheld "correctly" and been distributed on-check over the course of the year, I doubt we would have had the discipline to put it into savings each week.


Frances said...

I think you are doing great on getting the debt down. You are right...sometime life happens. Our savings has taken a pretty good hit this year, too, thanks to Hubby's multiple surgeries, but we still have more in the account than we used to be able to save, so we are happy with it.

Plus, I am now putting 20% of my income into my 401k, so our retirement savings are building.

Hope you feel better soon. I hate to say it, but I started out 2 weeks ago feeling like you say you do and I ended up miserable for a good week. I hope you don't get sick!

Bluepaintred said...

Micah and i do the same thing, tax wise. we find it hard, very hard to save money. our tax return paid for our family vacation, the house insurance and will pay for Christmas will a bit left over for emergencies.

Annie Jones said...

Frances: I hope I don't get sick either. :( Are you feeling better now?

Blue: If people are disciplined enough to save throughout the year, more power to them. Like you, we tend to have trouble with it, especially when it comes to saving a set amount each pay day.

Tug said...

Yeah, I'm with you on the tax withholding. I wish I was a better saver, but there's always "something" that my warped mind justifies to spend, so I figure the tax refund works best as well.

Hope you're feeling better, I hate those days when you're just 'not right' too.