Money Matters // An Update

>> Thursday, January 18, 2018

I can't remember where I left off with our debt and repayment + debt-free goals. I made those goals last January and declared we could be debt-free in just 15 months. We were doing OK with our plan of attack for a while, but then summer hit (vacation we shouldn't have gone on, etc.) . . . and then we had thousands of dollars of repairs needed for various things in the fall. And then we planned to be frugal at Christmas, but ended up spending more than we intended.

Yadda, yadda, yadda. Major setback is what I'm saying.

I am sharing this post to hopefully keep myself accountable. Stephen and I sat down yesterday and looked at our whole financial picture. That savings we had in the bank has dwindled to just two months of expenses. We needed that money for a lot of stuff, so I get it. And I'm glad we didn't go into debt paying for the repairs we needed for our home and our car. But still! It stings.

Anyway, enough of you (and my friends) have said to look at Dave Ramsey. We were loosely following those goals last year when we started. Mostly, I am afraid to drop our emergency fund to just $1,000 because history has shown that we regularly need more than that in emergencies. I think a cushion of more like $3K would work for us. But -- for those of you who have done this -- is that all the money you have in your bank account? That makes me nervous.

But then I realized we've done so much of this money thing backwards. We actually had like nine months of living expenses in the bank when I left my full-time job to stay home/work from home. We retained that cushion for a very long time because I was afraid of losing work and needing that cash. All the while, if we needed a car or a major something (furnace, for example), we'd finance. Adding to our debt. In a way, we had a very false sense of security, right?

We are now thinking of going through the Ramsey steps. We already have a very good budget that we just need to follow again. It's realistic. It's tight. But it's very doable. We can pitch some of our money in the bank to pay off a few debts from the get-go, freeing up money in the monthly budget to start the whole snowball thing again. And we can kick a lot of our debts out by the summer this way.

Milestone: Stephen and I each now have less than $5K left in student loans. This is HUGE, as we both started with more than $30K.

But our total debt right now is sitting at just about $25K. That's an improvement from last year's $34K, but we did add to our debt by incurring credit card debt on vacation and buying a washer + dryer set via a Home Depot card. It's 0% for that last debt, but it's still just sitting there. We should have purchased them with the money we had in the bank.

OK. I hope to update you more as we go through the steps. I know many of you have gone on your own debt-free adventures. Are we on the right track? Is it just a matter of moving forward? I don't know how we fell so far off from our goals. Any suggestions on that? And is anyone else starting this journey . . . or starting it again, like us?

The idea of being debt-free is so liberating. I know it will happen eventually, but we definitely have some savings goals in mind and would love to lighten up a bit. You know, take a big trip or do something FUN with our money again. I can't wait to get there!

I'm off to my Excel budget spreadsheet! You can read more of my debt-related posts here.


How TTC is Going . . . Or Not

>> Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Here's an update on how trying to conceive baby number three is going. I am open about this process not to over-share, but because I find it helpful and interesting to keep up with others who are TTC. When you Google "how long does it take to get pregnant?" so much of what you'll find is discouraging if you don't see a positive test after a month or two. Anyway, if you don't like this sort of content, feel free to skip.

We're half a year deep into TTC baby number three. I didn't initially count the first two months of trying because we weren't using baby aspirin or progesterone. But we were using OPKs and timing things on point (trying in the five day period before/including ovulation). My luteal phase was only 10 days, so I figured we didn't have much chance. Yet, with timing things around ovulation . . . I suppose that was actively trying with a touch of denial to preserve my sanity.

Since then, I've continued using OPKs and have added temperature charting . . . along with baby aspirin, progesterone, and OPKs. Very good timing. It has to be this way to use the progesterone, it's not really a choice or me obsessing. I start three days after ovulation. Anyway, I had an extremely faint positive show up on two different brands of tests in September (I've learned to just let this roll. I don't consider it anything) . . . but I didn't make it to a blood test, as bleeding started right on target.

I'm not pregnant.

Of course, I know how long it can take and how even a positive test is no guarantee. But I'd be lying if I thought maybe this time I'd cheat the system somehow. After all, the very month I was put on progesterone with trying to conceive Eloise, we were successful. Not only that, but I had gotten pregnant two months in a row. Four times total in the span of a year. Timing is certainly not our issue, though I know that even with perfection the average is only a 20 percent chance or so to get a positive test in any given cycle. But then I see "stats" where some 80 percent of couples get pregnant within 6 months.

My midwife only gave me 4 months of progesterone and said I should see a doctor if it doesn't happen by the time the prescription is up. I actually have enough to eeeek by with one more month of trying, but I may schedule a workup anyway. I am nearing age 35. Hormone levels and other things can change between pregnancies. We're using tools to pinpoint ovulation. It doesn't hurt to check things out before we keep going.

That said, I won't be doing anything medical to enhance my fertility. Progesterone is where we'll end intervention (unless I need medication for thyroid or something). As I have said in the past, a third child would be wonderful . . . but we're trying not to go to crazy about it. Not that I think Clomid or other things are crazy by any means (please understand, there's no judgement here! I know the risk isn't super-high, but I cannot handle even a minute possibility of multiples). I just can't go through the level of mental anguish this time around as I did last. If it isn't happening, I'm going to try my best to just be at peace.

And even with all this tracking and such, I am in a good state of mind. Just frustrated. But calm. I know everyone says to calm down and it will happen. That's the last thing I wanted to hear when we were TTC for Eloise. Guess what? I ended up getting pregnant with her when I felt on the brink of insanity. In my experience, it's all a crap-shoot.

All this to say that I'm now wallowing. Six months really isn't that long in TTC-land, though my mind does nag at me because I know when I'm ovulating, I'm confirming ovulation, we're timing perfectly, and my luteal phase is a healthy 14 days thanks to the progesterone. Still, I'm continuing my life as normal. I'm even getting into such a good groove with yoga that I'm kinda sorta OK with not being pregnant (so I can keep going to my "harder" class).

It's just this quiet, dizzying world a lot of us find ourselves in. Whether you've been trying six months or many more. It's a cycle of excitement/hope/anticipation followed by disappointment/uncertainty. On repeat. I am incredibly grateful for my girls and continue to thank the universe every chance I get for the blessing of motherhood. It's not lost on me. This is just one part of my life right now. I wish it were easier -- for everyone. But that's not reality. If you're in a similar position, join me in breathing and gathering up more hope for the next cycle.


Weirdest TTC Tricks I've Learned
What is Actively Trying?
All Things Recurrent Pregnancy Loss
All Things TTC
Eloise's Birth Story


Airing My Dirty Laundry

>> Tuesday, January 16, 2018

My friend Taylor said something that really resonated with me last week. It was something to the effect of "organization doesn't need to be pretty" -- and she's absolutely right. I think I've been caught up in the past when I'd be trying to clean. Maybe all the stuff was put away, but the room I was left with wasn't exactly Pinterest-worthy. Despite the accomplishment of organizing, I was left with a sense of failure. And feeling negative about the experience didn't exactly help with motivation to keep it clean.

So, today I'm airing my dirty laundry, so to speak. Because there's actually no dirty laundry on my floors upstairs. After my marathon cleaning sessions this weekend, my ENTIRE upstairs is organized and tidy. Better yet, MOST closets and drawers are organized as well. The exception is that 4th bedroom closet. We don't have much basement storage, we have no attic storage, and the garage is tight this time of year. This is our only space to keep extras. I'm hoping that will change sometime soon.

So, my rooms aren't all painted or decorated, but I'm proud of this progress.

Eloise even has her own tiny capsule wardrobe!

I think this is the first time in years I would have photographed every room in the upstairs at the same time. They have never all been clean at once. Now, I want to organize that 4th bedroom closet better than it is now and relocate the last of the boxes in that room. But this is HUGE progress. And, no. I don't think these rooms look great. Maybe Ada's. Poor Eloise deserves a painted room already. She's 19 months old!

One thing at a time. More soon!


Minimalist Kid's Room Tour
Eliminating the Maybe
7 Clutter Categories
Cleaning Week Snapshots
Wannabe Minimalists

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