Long, Random Update

Ok, the whole month went by without a peep from me.  This shouldn’t be a shock, right?  I mean…when the blog is about eliminating debt and my debt elimination plans have been sidelined, I guess it isn’t a surprise that there’s nothing to write about.

Well, almost nothing. Continue reading

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It’s Official

I need to put the last of my debt payoff (current balance of $2074) on hold, more or less.

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I really didn’t want to do it, I so badly wanted to have this last bit of my past financial mistakes gone in this calendar year.   That’s what I set out to do when I started this blog in 2016, and that’s what I was certain I would be doing when I wrote out my financial goals for this year.

However, with medical bills starting to pile up, that’s just not possible.

Well, I take that back.  It would be possible, if I were willing to halt contributions to, and draw down on, my savings accounts.  But, I’m not willing to do that.  I know that this season of financial stress is a temporary one, but the goals I am saving toward will still exist after the last of the cancer treatments and bills are in our rear view mirror.  I do not want to lose my trajectory there.  I’ve got a daughter who will be heading off to college in just over a year, and I have made a commitment to her that I will contribute a certain amount toward that.  I have also been saving for a family trip next summer –possibly the last one we will all take together at this phase of our lives (the core four!), what with the girls growing up and moving out and on.  So, I continue to save for those two goals at my planned upon rate.*

As for the continuously accruing medical debts, I don’t yet have a methodical plan of attack.  To date, I’ve been trying to knock them off in chronological order.  At the moment, the bill(s) total still falls in the hundreds, and not the thousands.  In order to keep our cash flow (relatively) healthy, I’ve started arranging payment plans for all of them (even those with balances below $100).  So, each pay day, I’m paying out a number of $25, $40, $50 and $85 payments.  Of course, new ones also continue to be generated, even though our deductible has been met.  At a minimum, every time Mr. DBG steps foot in the door of the oncologist’s office (current rate, about once a week), a $40 copay gets generated.  Every time he is sent for a scan, test, or to the ER (current rate, about once a month), a $100 copay is generated.  So, with my small payments on existing bills and the continuous generation of new ones, it is going to take several months (at best) for most of them to be paid off, at this rate, but since there is no interest accruing, it seems my best bet.

However, there are two items (referenced in my last post) that insurance has declined to cover – the cost for these together is more than $4000.  Of course, I will exhaust all options with appeals and trying to negotiate pricing with the billing departments, but absent any of that working, we’ll be on the hook for that.  If that ends up being the case, my plan is to pay off what I can from my employer-funded HRA account (currently completely depleted, but will replenish with $1500 on January 1) and just payment plan the rest.

So, with all of that going on, adding in continuing to aggressively attack that remaining $2k just has to take a back burner.  Not only do I not have the physical money to throw at it, I don’t have the emotional space to think about it right now.  I can only commit to paying  the $25/month minimum, even though I’m sure I will throw random $$ at it here and there.  I’m just going to put all thought about it “aside” (as much as I am able) until we are on the other side of Mr.DBG’s treatments in the fall.   How’s that for willful ignorance?

 

*I should note that all of this does not even take into account the possibility that any of the rest of us should need to see a doctor or have any sort of medical emergency for the rest of this calendar year.  For mundane things, I have the option to see a NP at the health center where I work, free of charge.  Unfortunately, I don’t have that option for my kids – every sinus infection, suspected case of strep throat, or lingering “I don’t like the sound of that” cough that arises will involve a trip to the pediatrician’s office ($120).  Please send healthy kid vibes my way!

 

 

 

Another Blogiversary!

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This blog is officially three years old today!  More importantly, this journey of getting out of debt is also three years old.

If I’m being an honest parent, I’ll admit that for both of my kids, age three was one of my least favorites.  That’s the year I learned of the term “Threenager”, which was an apt description of the sassy, opinionated, yearning for independence, yet still almost entirely-dependent-on-me creatures  that they were at that age.

That sort of feels the way this debt payoff journey is headed.  I’m in the very final stretch, with the debt almost certain to be gone before the end of this calendar year.  So now it is just in that annoying phase – a true threenager.

 

 

Closing out April and Looking Ahead

On April coming to a close:

This was an expensive month.  More expensive than usual, anyway.  Between the $300 tax bill (thanks, GOP and your wealth redistribution scam tax plan) and the $875 for the SAT tutor…whew!  There was little left over for anything else.  In addition, we had two day trips to visit colleges, so extra gas fill ups and a couple of meals out.  Somehow, though, I seem to have emerged on the other side of things, still mostly on track.

Debt pay down slowed, temporarily, but I think I’m just about back on track.

Savings definitely took a hit, though.  The good news is that the savings that I have automated and intentionally made difficult to access have remained intact and continue to grow.  My more immediately-accessible “emergency” fund has really become more of a way for me to manage cash flow tight spots, and as such, hasn’t grown as much as I would have liked.

Looking ahead:

I’m on target to hit my next debt milestone on time (balance below $2500 in May), and still on track to be done with it all by November.

My emergency fund will continue to hold steady (in spite of contributing $200 every two weeks to it), as I have a number of beyond budget expenses coming up, including:

-A bigger than usual balance on the credit card that I use and pay off each month due May 23rd
-Balance on daughter’s sleep away camp tuition ($1600) due June 1 (I will pay this with the daily use credit card on June 1 and then have until July 23rd to pay it)
-A modest vacation that Mr. Debtbegone and I are going to take while our girls are away this summer – this is the first time since 2004 we have gone away just the two of us!  I intend to cash flow this and not tap into vacation savings to pay for it.

I’m hopeful that by summer’s end, I’ll be able to start building that account back up a bit and putting any overflow (beyond the $1000 I like to keep on hand in the account) over towards my other savings accounts.

Then, come November…two wonderful events: credit card debt will be gone and my car will be paid off.  That’s about $750 extra each month.  Can’t wait!