End of the Month Blues

Sorry I am late in posting. My goal for this blog is to have a new post at least every other day for you all. However, yesterday was a Thursday, which is the craziest day of the week for me. Work and daughter’s dance class, followed immediately by Astronomy class leaves very little time for writing.

Today I am feeling discouraged. I know that I have so much to be thankful for, especially given the current horrific situation in Haiti. I would like to add quickly that you can donate $10 (it gets added to your phone bill) to The American Red Cross by texting HAITI to 90999. Despite my family’s grim financial situation, I made a $10 donation by doing this. All of us can shave $10 off our grocery budgets to help those in desperate need. You can read more about this donation effort here. Be careful of scams as well. This New York Times article gives tips about safely donating to relief efforts in Haiti.

As I was saying, I am feeling quite depressed today. It is pay day, and it’s also the day that I pay the mortgage. Currently our mortgage payment is 42% of our take home pay, which is rather high. Dave Ramsey recommends that your monthly mortgage payment, including taxes and insurance, be 25-35% of your take home pay. Since our mortgage payment is so high, we struggle for the second half of the month. In the past (as in a little over a month ago!), we would live entirely on credit cards for the second half of every month. Well, those days are over! This month definitely feels different, since our credit cards are completely cut up. We have stuck to our budget and this time we actually have money left at the end of the month for gas and groceries. According to my calculations, we even have a $300 surplus, which never happens. Dave Ramsey recommends a “zero-based budget”, which means that you budget for every cent. I actually like having that cushion of $300 in there, because it always seems like something unexpected comes up, like having to send money for a child’s school field trip, or a check might come in from two months ago that you forgot about. (Yes, this happened to me yesterday!) Amazingly, I didn’t have to freak out and take cash out from a credit card to cover these unexpected expenses. Hey, I think I’m feeling a little better!

I am just feeling a little discouraged because I got a call from one of my credit cards yesterday, reminding me that I am running late with my payment. Apparently, they have no record that I called a few weeks ago to tell them that I am unable to afford the minimum payment. So, I am being charged a late fee on top of everything else and I have to pay the remaining amount on the minimum, plus a late fee, by February 10th. I guess I knew these types of calls would start coming. I need to stay strong and continue to remind myself that my family comes first.

I also got my work schedule for next week. They only scheduled me for ONE day. One day?!?! That is seriously distressing news. I will not be able to make the minimum payments with that kind of work schedule. I’m going to keep looking for more steady employment in the meantime.

My third and final gripe is that I reviewed our big student loan statement yesterday and realize that because of the accumulating interest, it has grown by almost $400 in the past 3 weeks. This is no joke, folks. Please don’t ever put your student loans on forbearance for extended periods of time.

To combat the debt problems this month, I will soon be receiving a financial aid refund check because of an unexpected scholarship (yay!). The interest on the loan is 6.8%. I am going to use it to pay off 2 credit cards with ridiculous interest rates (both almost 30%!) and then pay the remainder of the minimum payments on the other two cards. Whatever I have left will go to pay that horrible student loan interest. It’s a relief to know that we will have made it through another month. However, in the end, we still have more debt, since I am adding to my student loans. Ugh. Debt just makes me sick. Stay away from it. Seriously.

 

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