With only 1 more month until the arrival of the baby, we’ve got to buckle down and really get things straightened out.
I think that part of our problem last month was that we made good progress at the beginning of the month and then burned out once the unexpected popped up at the end of the month. After the unexpected hit us, we completely fell apart, abandoning budget, debt snowballing, and reason in order to get what we wanted when we wanted it. The thing to do now is remember the experience, learn from it, and go on.
I read a blog post recently from Alan Schram over at Saving for Serenity (great blog – if you don’t subscribe, you should) explaining his personal goals on how much to spend repaying debt. He makes several good points, but the part of the post that really caught my attention was when he said:
Saving For Serenity is about achieving a financial life free from stress or strain. Obviously, having no debt would be a significant stress release! However, I am not willing to sacrifice quality of life to become obsessed with debt repayment.
I think the point is valid, at least for us. The whole point of reducing my debt was to be able to not think about money every second of every day and how it was dragging me down. I think in my push to get out of debt the past two years (since we have paid off more than $46,000), I lost the purpose of getting out of debt. Since we have been so “gazelle-intense”, we have paid down debt at an enormous rate, averaging over $50/day for 880 days, including holidays and weekends. But that intensity is beginning to burn us out, since we have only progressed 3/5ths of the way through our debt. Because of this, my goal for June is going to be a bit different.
Due to the last week, I’ve now got the balance of my credit cards spread across three different cards. So, a total of five consumer debt vehicles. I am going to aim to put $550 against the five, which, although it horribly reduces the amount I’m paying against the cards, it will allow some overflow to 1) rebuild my emergency fund from “breaking the glass” to cover most of the screw-up of last month (thanks, Jim), and 2) allow some “flex” to the rest of our budget so that we, hopefully, don’t have a repeat.
I am going to see an allergist on Tuesday, and don’t really have the money set aside for that, either, but hopefully there will be enough flex that we can pay for whatever the insurance doesn’t get.
The payment on the car and the student loans equal $433, so our goal against the credit cards is only $117. However, there are a few holes in our budget that we will plug up this month, and hopefully make some progress to restoring our emergency fund as well.