Why We’re Not Debt Free + Follow Our Journey

Debt FreeThe point of this entire blog, since it’s inception in 2011 has been a journey of our family trying to become debt free.  However, it occurred to me that I hadn’t really updated our readers on where we stood with debt and why we aren’t debt free at this point.  Please know it isn’t because of lack of trying!! Check out our post on How to Organize Your Finances with TONS of FREE PRINTABLES!!

A few years ago we really started budgeting and looking to pay off debt because we knew we wanted to try and have a child via IVF. (Read our IVF Success Story)!  We successfully paid down over $20,000 in debt thanks to diligent budgeting and couponing. Please note that the $20,000 in debt we had was from a failed IVF cycle that was with a clinic that didn’t have a financial guarantee. Please note: We didn’t make that mistake twice! We had also incurred many adoption expenses from our son, and it took several years to pay those off as well.

While I’m ecstatic and eternally grateful that I’m pregnant after 16 years of marriage (Read my Parable of the Persistent Widow story),  it has once again left us with debt. While we paid down our $20,000 in debt and still saved $10,000 toward our recent IVF cycle, the base cost (with the financial guarantee) was still over $30,000. That didn’t include medications or some bills.

Also, these financial burdens had kept us from replacing a car for many years, and we did have to take on a car payment last year (For the first time in 16 years of marriage, so believe me, I wasn’t happy about this)! However, we needed a more reliable vehicle after putting two transmissions in our van and three in our Explorer (I’m beginning to think we have a driving issue after dealing with all these transmission problems)!

So, as it stands, we have three debts: a small amount left on a student loan from hubby’s nursing school, our baby loan, our car payment, and our mortgage.  My goal is to have everything but the mortgage paid off in four years. So, I’ll be starting our Debt Free Journey series over the next months, years, and hopefully you can follow along as we try to become detangled from debt and focus on becoming debt free.

I’m sort of scared to even type those words, because I know hubby works part-time as a nurse and his hours/pay fluctuate, and I’m a full-time teacher. While my income fluctuates, hubby works with a disabled student and attends school with him, so every time school is out, hubby is off work…snow days, holidays, etc. However, that gives us awesome family time, and summers are laid back for us, since he picks up a few shifts a week with other clients. As you can imagine, it makes it tough in the finance department to pay down debt when income isn’t consistent. So, we will have to work hard to get out of debt!

Also, we help take care of my mom and grandmother who live together. My grandmother is 84 years old, and my mom is also a nurse, who would like to retire in about 9 years.  So, while my mom does all the medical care for my grandmother (doctor’s visits, prescriptions, medical expenses, etc.), I take care of their family finances.

I also think what drives me nuts about articles I read from other people who are debt free is the fact that they don’t always have the struggles that others face. My mom currently has a $5,000 per year medical deductible.  As soon as her employer switched to a new HSA program, she had three kidney stones in a row! That is something that just could not be foreseen or prevented. So, life sometimes throws curveballs, and you have to be able to go with the flow, even when it interrupts your debt free dreams!

So, in the past month I’m going to share our struggles and our victories:

  • We are due with our baby boy in 20 days, and hubby has had consistent hours over the last three weeks (this was a TERRIBLE winter in PA with many snow days, and his client was ill several days and missed school).  These are both praises!
  • We were blessed with extra money from our taxes that we were able to put into savings so if hubby doesn’t get enough hours this summer, we should be able to get by!
  • I finally saved enough for my mom to have her $5,000 deductible ready to go at any time via her HSA. This means she can finally go to the doctor, and if she would meet her $5,000 deductible right now, we’d have enough for her to have another $5,000 at the beginning of the year.
  • We were able to save one month of income for my mom.
  • My mom’s central air broke down, and two different repairmen said they will need a $5,000 new unit. So, as a family we’ve decided that they will go with window units for now, so my mom can continue with her same HSA contributions. We had to make her health a priority over central air! Praise God for window units!

PLEASE feel free to comment below and share your own debt free journey!!

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