The Best Laid Plans…

DebtSo, there’s good news and bad news in our household’s finances right now….

The good news: 

My parents pay for L’s piano lessons, and they prefer to give us the money in one chunk for the semester, so my mom gave us $500 smackeroos in December. So, I did what we did the last time she gave us money (for the fall semester) – I put it in the bank, then immediately sent a payment to our Citibank credit card (which has no interest until September).

I sent that payment in January, and I was so looking forward to watching our total amount fall by $1000 (since we also have an automatic payment of $500 that goes out each month). And it was truly beautiful to see that number drop by around 25% in one month!

The bad news:

Since that card is no interest until September, it probably would have been smarter to hold on to that cash. Normally, I wouldn’t say that, especially since we didn’t have a problem with using that money to pay down the Citibank card back in August. However, there’s a difference this time.

H gave me a beautiful gift for Christmas this year, a refurbished Nikon D3200 Digital SLR camera with two lenses, a tripod, and a camera bag. The gift was actually intended as a graduation present (a Master’s in Instructional Systems Technology in December, woot!), a Christmas present, and my birthday present all rolled into one. It was completely unexpected (and I LOVE surprises!)

But – while he got a great deal because of the refurbishing and sale prices – it was still an un-budgeted-for expense – right around $500 (!). So that cost went onto one of our other credit cards (ones we try to pay off every month). When H got paid at the end of that month (it was a little earlier than usual because of the holiday), I immediately used part of his paycheck to pay it off. I HATE carrying a balance from month to month! 

So with our new 2014 monthly budget in place for January, we were now $500 short in the bank account. Uh… not good. So I figured, “Well, we have $500 in our savings account right now – I just won’t put any in savings this month, and we’ll still meet our yearly savings goals.” Well, what with student loans being weird – (in the shuffle of turning them into automatic debit payments), a check that was cashed (two months after sending it) for $200 for late fines on H’s books from the university library (don’t even get me started on this), and H going on a business trip this month (for which he will NOT be reimbursed, but we can write it off on our taxes next year…. which seems very far away), we are definitely going to be putting more debt on one of our Visa cards. ARGH.

We are already behind before the year even gets rolling! 

I spent some time last night beating myself up over this – “I should have saved that cash… now we are already behind and may not be able to catch up! We won’t meet our savings goals!” – and then decided that it wasn’t worth spending more time on.

Instead, I sat down with the laptop and cranked out some online surveys to build up points, and I was able to cash out some points with two different companies for two Paypal deposits totaling $35. Hey, it’s not much of a side hustle, but at least it was easier than trying to sell on Craigslist.

Other Money-Making Schemes in the Works:

Children’s Consignment Sale in February: 

I almost always participate in the twice-yearly children’s clothes consignment sale that happens nearby – the problem is, you put in a lot of effort on the front end and you don’t see the fruits of your labor for another month and a half (or more).

Local Children’s Consignment Boutique:

One of my friends just told me about this new store – they pay cash up front (or you can get more value if you get store credit). I quickly found my best pieces that I had set aside for the consignment sale (mentioned above) and headed down there the same day! I got $60 for about 18 pieces that I brought in, which was a HUGE help, because then we went grocery shopping and didn’t have to put it on the charge card!

Part-Time Telecommuting Job: 

I’m still waiting to hear about the possibility of an actual part-time telecommuting job that I could add to my normal work day (after L is in bed). I’ve been almost a pest about it, and I’ll have to call next week if I still haven’t received at least an email back from one of the THREE people I’ve been in contact with. This job would really, really be awesome for our family!

Consigning with Consignment Store:

I dropped off a bunch of clothes back in December at another consignment store (for adult clothing) in town, and they finally processed the clothing and put it out on the sales floor. Nothing has sold yet, but I check every once in a while to see when I’ll be able to cash out some money from that.

Anyone else got some “get cash quick” methods? Thank goodness for that Children’s Consignment Boutique! I’ve still got to figure out how to make it through the rest of the month, though….

Thanks for reading!

– M


6 thoughts on “The Best Laid Plans…

  1. gracecharm2013 says:

    This post was very timely for me! I totally had a melt down earlier, but this has made refocus and want to be proactive. Thank you!


  2. Sorry about the rough month 😦 I highly recommend reading Dave Ramsey’s “The Total Money Makeover”… the only way to get traction on debt is to stop using debt and get an emergency fund in place! 🙂 The first 11 years of my adulthood I put EVERYTHING on a credit card and I would pay extra on my $50K student loan but nothing like I should have been doing. Two years ago, my husband and I started following Dave Ramsey’s principles and paid off $48,000 of debt in 7 months… two years later we have doubled our retirement nest egg, tripled our savings, and just have $88K left on our mortgage, no other debt… It can be done! Best wishes!


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