We’re so close to done with the yard! Praise Jesus, for I never want to see gravel again as long as I live. We have a little bit left to move, then we have to rake up all the little leftover bits that have taken over everywhere, then soil and seed and YAAAAAAARD!
Also, our garage is completely full of landscape timbers now. That’s fun.
But in other news, we’re still working our way through the Dave Ramsey system. September has been challenging (seriously, can it just be over yet??), it’s exhausting just to think about all the crap that came up this month!
- Emmy got kennel cough. Never having dealt with this before, I naturally assumed that she was dying and took her to the emergency vet. Nah, she wasn’t anywhere close to dying, just needed antibiotics and doggy cough drops. Cool. And expensive!
- Lucky got kennel cough from Emmy. Awesome, sharing is caring! Since we figured he wasn’t dying, we took him to the regular vet. He also needed antibiotics and doggy cough drops. Cool. Also expensive!
- Anthony’s car needed new back tires and a new wheel. This may seem like a surprise of sorts, but oh, no. He had been saying that he needed these new things for months. I, for months, had been saying, “Okay, go get them then,” and he’d say, “Ok, darling! I will, my beloved bride! You’re so pretty.” But then he just kept not doing it! So then it became a whole, holy-crap-he-really-needs-them-right-now situation, and on top of all that, he drives a fancy foreign car so everything costs 5,000x more than I feel is normal. Awesome.
- For some reason, we weren’t billed for our car insurance in August. When we realized this, we called, in August, and they said, “Oh, nopezies, you’ve definitely paid! No worries, Fishers!” So, we were all like, “Righteous! If they think we paid but no money came out of our account for it, sweet!” But then, of course, September rolled around and they realized their error and kindly let us know that they would be double billing us this month, since we never paid for August. Stellar.
- We decided to switch car insurance companies, because I was finally getting kicked off of my parent’s policy (somehow it slid under the radar for a long time that I’m A) too old to be on their policy, B) married and C) haven’t lived with my parents full-time for about 3 years. They finally realized it, so off the policy I go, finally onto a policy with Anthony.) We’re getting a great rate with a different company by bundling our home and auto policies, but we had to pay to start up our new auto policy. Great. (At least we’re getting a decent reimbursement from the old homeowners policy at some point in the next 90 days!)
So, yeah, it’s been a long month. On top of all that, we’re working on getting the yard done (for as cheap as possible), saving for Christmas, and trying to pay as much towards our debt as we can. Looking toward, we’ve had to make some interesting financial decisions that will take some getting used to, but we’re really confident in them and kind of excited for the change.
Normally we end up spending a good amount of money on Christmas, as most American families do. A big principal of the Dave Ramsey system is to plan ahead for Christmas, because it’s never a surprise; it’s always on December 25. The old, “Oh, it just totally snuck up on me!” excuse doesn’t fly, and too many people use it as an excuse to put a couple hundred dollars on their credit card between November and December. Not us! We refuse to get ourselves into more debt for Christmas. We’ve been budgeting for it, but not actually putting much money aside for it because we’ve been throwing everything simultaneously at our debt and our front yard. With a ton of people we normally buy for (family, friends, friend’s children, Secret Santa at work, etc.) we realized this year that it just felt like it was getting really out of hand. I made a list with a budget for a gift for each person (and they were pretty low budgets), and we were still looking at spending a LOT of money on Christmas. Don’t even get me started on birthdays…it’s just too much. We’ve made a drastic decision:
We’re opting out this year. Yep, we are not participating! We’re doing one or two very small gifts for each other for Christmas and birthdays, and that’s it. Nothing for family, friends, friend’s kids, etc. Nope, nope, nope. It’s not that we can’t, we just would so much rather put those couple hundred dollars we’d spend on gifts to better use this year. We thought about just doing something really small for everyone, but then we stopped and thought, “Why?” If we decide to just get everyone something really small, all we’re doing is giving gifts for the sake of giving gifts, and in all honesty, that felt stupid to us. If we can’t give meaningful gifts, we should spend meaningful time with people, rather than getting everyone a $5 trinket just for the sake of having something to unwrap. Reaching our financial goal of debt-free living is our top priority right now, and we aren’t willing to let the traditional giving of gifts to everyone we know hold us back this year.
We aren’t really sure how people will react; we’re hoping people are understanding, but if they aren’t, oh well. We’re excited for this minimalist approach to the holidays, and for the progress we’ll be able to make towards our debt with the couple hundred dollars we’ll save.
It’ll be an interesting season, definitely, but we’re really excited for the debt we’ll knock out and for the absence of the typical stress about gift-buying for the holidays. It’s a big change, for sure, but it’s absolutely the right change for us right now. Debt-free living, here we come!