September was a challenging month for me mentally. Our 13th month on this #debtfreejourney and Murphy paid us a visit: we woke up one weekday morning to find not one, but two leaks in our roof. Plaster is falling from our ceiling in two locations. And before I dive further into the specifics and frustrations of this house let me just say, breaking gazelle intensity is effing hard.
I cried during my last FPU class seeing the gazelle outrun the cheetah, despite seeing that clip at least 4 other times. Working so so hard and being so laser focused on a goal for over a year to only be sidelined is mentally tough to wrap your head around. It’s not like I shopped us off track. The morning we found the leaks I just walked out of the house and drove myself to work early, unable to look at what we now faced. And I must clarify, my frustration with this occurrence did not stem from fear. Had this happened a year ago, we both would have panicked over how we were going to afford this fix. Now, despite only having $1,000 in savings, we had a plan: we were to suspend all payments to debt (except minimums) until this issue was resolved.
I think we’ve resolved the issue… for now. More on that in a hot minute.
In total, we’ve paid off $74,571.97 over the last 13 months (that’s 83.72%) and we only have $14,503.48 of debt remaining.
In 2018 alone, we’ve paid a grand total of $56,899 toward debt! To put that into perspective, that’s more than the gross total of one of our salaries. We’re essentially living off of only half of the other person’s gross salary. Yeah, really.
So imagine this: if you’re married, take the higher of the two salaries and split that in half. That’s the only amount of money you have to live on for a year. Every other penny will be thrown into the trash. That’s what it’s like paying off debt in our situation. That’s money we’ll never see again. But just think! Once we are debt free, if we continue to live the same way, every other penny will be put into savings, our future, or travelling! Can you imagine?! At what age will we be able to retire? How much of the world will we be able to see?
You may be asking, “how did you do this if you’ve suspended all payments?” Well, the leaks happened before the second pay days of the month. We had already thrown a huge chunk toward debt at the beginning of the month and then just let the cash pile up over the last two weeks until we knew what the plan was for the roof. Our plan: call every roofer we could find. And we did and only heard back from one guy who offered to come out for $425, for one hour, to tell us what the cost would be. Ah, no. Apparently this is the busiest time of the year for roofers, preparing and fixing roofs before the snow dumps down on us all in Upstate NY. So, we took matters into our own hands.
After climbing up on the roof multiple times and consulting with my dad, the beau took some time off from work to fix it himself. Not only did we find a huge chunk of siding that was flapping in the wind, we found a portion of the rubber roof folded down and most likely the spot where the water had been entering the house. The theme over the last two years with this house has been SHITTY WORK: The tale of two homeowner’s who slapped shit together to sell a house. Seriously, everything seems to be done half-way. Or cheaply. Or in a hurry. Or however you’d like to put it. We saw this in little details during the home buying process, we just didn’t expect the scope of it. This past week it rained pretty hard and the adhesive the beau applied seems to be working… we just now have 3lbs of roof adhesive sitting in our basement. Ha! We now need to replace the drywall / plaster in our entire dining room / sun room and most likely one wall before painting and moving forward. But the good news is, we think we can do this after the snow arrives. We think. We’re going to ride it out over the next month or so to see if there are any changes before we jump to having any further work done. I can live with missing plaster on my roof, just like I’m living with drywall in my master bathroom.
With that, we took the $2,000+ we had saved during those last two weeks and dumped it toward debt. We can always pause later on again if needed.
September was a “normal” payroll month for us and I actually only worked at my side hustle three times this month. BUT I did sell the diamond! Dun dun dunnnnnnn. I won’t mention who I sold it to or for how much (that person or partner may read this blog), but I got more than what I would have gotten if I pawned it and I didn’t have to deal with social media. Win win in my book! I also sold a pair of 10k gold earrings with matching heart pendant from an ex-boyfriend. Seriously, they had been sitting in the box for YEARS in a closet. No hard feelings just not my taste.
Items we purchased this month that weren’t originally in the budget:
- Troy Turkey Trot 10k registration!
- fuel for my race
- the 3lbs of roofing adhesive
- a new-to-me cell phone (iPhone SE used via the internet)
- leaf bags
- personal items
Items paid for using our sinking funds:
- a gift certificate for my grandmother who celebrated her 90th birthday! (gift envelope)
- the second half of our garbage fee (garbage envelope)
- our 4th quarter water bill (water and sewer envelope)
- haircut for the beau (haircut envelope)
Stashing a little money aside each month really helps!
Let’s see, we stuck pretty closely to the dinner meal plan which included our favorite beans and greens served over rice, tempeh jalapeno wraps, plenty of pasta dishes with various veggies from our CSA and a delicious homemade tomato sauce. We even took out a freezer meal (pulled “pork” aka king oyster mushrooms) to use up what we already had on hand for variety. I started teaching another round of FPU on Tuesday evenings, so I’ve been utilizing the crockpot overnight on Mondays so that I have a delicious homemade meal to enjoy after work without having to go home.
We got two more punches toward becoming a 26er with Nine Pin cider – planned fun within the budget! Oh, and we visited the garlic festival in Saugerties with my mom and sister! We didn’t break the bank at this tempting outing: we only purchased one bottle of hot sauce and the beau enjoyed some perogies and a potato pancake. With money worked at my side hustle, we got Chinese takeout twice this month.
A personal challenge I took on this month was the 30 day minimalist challenge. Super easy: for each day of the month, you throw out (donate, sell) that many corresponding items. On 9/1 you get rid of one item, on 9/15 you get rid of fifteen items… and so on. Pretty proud of myself for making it 25 days! You can see each day’s worth of items on IG. Between Board meetings, FPU, running and working on the weekends, I don’t always have a lot of free time when I’m home. Golly, I grocery shop on my lunch breaks to avoid having to do it during my scheduled home time! This challenge has really got me motivated to tackle each room in the house and I’ve been cleaning and organizing throughout the process. I’m literally going through boxes that haven’t been touched since we moved almost two years ago! The beau has been a great sport and participating as needed. I’ve been using what I’ve learned from Marie Kondo along the way to make the process a little easier. HIGHLY suggest her first book if you have yet to read it. I’ll be restarting the challenge for the month of October because I still have more work to do.
Dream job: being a consultant that not only helps people get out of debt but helps them declutter.
I really do think the two of them go hand in hand.
Maybe one day when I’ve walked the walk.
Positive thought moving forward into October: only THREE more payments until we’re debt free! THREE!