Posted in family, food, humor, Parenting, places

The incident at Cracker Barrel

the backstory

as you may or may not already know our family is on a homeschool journey. this was not a spur of the moment decision for us and we looked into many different curriculum options. Ultimately going with Classical Conversations for year . My oldest was kindergarten so it seemed like the right time to jump in. That said on the morning of the incident we were rushing around for Parent Practicum which was about 45 min from our house. it was day 2 of 3, and unlike the previous day, i did not have lunch packed and ready to go for break. After the kids and i got around we loaded into the truck and were on our way. the thought was that there were plenty of places around to go get lunch on break and be back for the afternoon session. Anywho morning session day 2 went off without a hitch and i decided we would have just enough time to get to Cracker Barrel, eat, and get back in time for the afternoon session.

So i pack up my 5 year old, 3 year old, and 17 month old into the truck and off we go. My youngest started right away to be fussy, which i figured was just because it was unbearably hot (or maybe it just was to my 6 month pregnant self) or because he was hungry… we arrive and head in. As soon as we walking i begin to think maybe this was a bad idea, but i push those suspicions to the pit of my stomach and press onward. We head to the hostess stand to be seated, this also happened to be located RIGHT beside the lightsaber toys and candy… of course 5yr old has to swoosh swoom voom the lightsaber about after his sister, and im all put it down! shes crying and im carrying a fussy baby, she says follow me, so we do, except when we get to the table my son isnt with us. I turn around and hes at some barrel table playing checkers, aww how cute the kind elderly couple says as they tell me to treasure these days. I smile politely and usher son to the table, strap in 17 mo old. I order right away as the server had been waiting while i corralled my children. the kids play the little skip game and fight over who gets what color crayons, and i am waiting for the food to arrive when dear son tells me he has to go to the bathroom, im like well the food will be awhile so lets go, i haul my preggo butt out of the seat, unstrap 17 mo from high chair and we all trudge back to the bathroom, right by the lightsaber display, which of course dear son has to pick up and swoosh swoom voom about completely forgetting he had to pee. Finally get him to put it down and walk into the bathroom, im thinking this is a great time to relieve my bladder as well, i stand 17 mo beside me in the stall as 3 and 5 enter their own stalls, everything seems to be going well, i hand 17 mo phone so i can unbutton my pants, he promptly throws it into the toilet, which i panic grab it out and think well should i wash it? bc you know germs, or not bc you know water and electronics equals disaster…i decide on wiping it down with papertowels and then damp soapy paper towels, kids are finishing up and im like well not worth going back in to pee, so i help them wash their hands, and we head back out to the table, of course we have to pass by the lightsaber display AGAIN, and of course my son has to swoosh swoom voom it about while i try to keep daughter and 17 month old on track to the table, i tightlippedly say to son PUT IT DOWN…. our food still hasnt arrived, i buckle baby boy into the high chair and negotiate with my older two about not fighting over the crayons, baby begins to fuss, im sweating, worried that were disrupting everyone around us. I make eye contact with a wonderful older lady at the table next to us,and apologize for the fussing she tells me im doing a great job, shes a grandma to 17 kids and a little fussing never hurt anyone so i shouldn’t apologize. I thank her for her kindness, then she brings me some crackers the server gave her for her soup for the baby. Im sooo thankful that hes entertained, the food finally arrives and the kids take maybe one bite, at which point my dear daughter tells me she has to poop. Im thinking were we not just in the bathroom? i ask her why she didnt go then, apparently five min ago she didnt have too.

I have two choices at this point i ask her to wait until we finish or we leave our food here to go. The thought of leaving food unattended in public was not appealing or safe so i asked her if she could wait until we finish eating. She says ya no pwoblem. so we continue eating, five min later she abruptly stands up and announces she has to go to the bathroom right now because it is starting to come out of her butt…. Oh my gosh, the grandma about looses it she has tears in her eyes. im mortified, but grab my purse unbuckle 17 mo old and grab 3 and 5 and head off back to the bathroom leaving most of our lunch untouched. i attempt to block 5 from the lightsabers to no avail while trying to make sure 3 doesnt go on the floor, finally shake the sabers from his grasp and we all wait for 3 to do her business. She finishes up and i help her was her hands AGAIN, im about to cut my losses and just go pay. I think it cant get any worse, WRONG, of course we have to go back by the light sabers and dear son of mine grabs it and swings it about, i finally manage to pry it from his greasy fingers and stomp over to the cash register.

I breath a sigh of relief bc the end is in sight, were next in line. BUT OHHH NOOOO of course khols cash lady is in front of me!, are you figgin kidding me? to top it off the cashier is a trainee who has to ask a supervisor EVERY dang question this lady is asking, AND THEN she begins to SHOUT across the shop to her friend about some scarf they had last week but she cant find it…. im loosing patience, and my kids are swinging around my ankles, round and around and around again. FINALLY it is our turn i hand him the receipt, turn around to my son to say DO NOT TOUCH ANYTHING, then proceed with the small talk about how was the meal, did we find everything, CCCCRRRRAAAAAAAASH!!!!!!! oh my god, before i turn around i already know its my son, but not only that he has knocked over and entire clothing rack and sits among the heaps of clothing, the jewelry display scatters across the whole front of the store, im panicking, the manager comes out and is helping to clean up the mess, i drag son out of the mess, hes utterly embarrassed as am i.

the kind grandma from beside our table steps up and says youre doing a wonderful job mom, im like did you no just see what happened? tears fill my eyes, the cashier tells me the balance, i insert my card, DECLINED! what? what even is this day coming too??? oh its expired, NEAT, i hand him a different card and head on out dragging my children behind me…. i open the door to walk our and the sheer realization of how terribly bad this lunch hits me, i start cackling, dying laughing my son is truly terrified, if i had simply been cross with him he could have handled it better but the laughing sent him into hysterics, what a pretty picture we made… i skip the second part of practicum and head home, ive had enough of the day….

it was time to cut my losses and try again the next day.

as a mom of 3 soon to be 4 i realized that patience is really just a matter of thought. I dont think that i have any more or less then other moms just i really try to keep perspective on what matters. Yes i could have been mad, and let that ruin my day, but i laughed it off, and took the kids home for 2nd lunch, or as i like to call it the one they actually ate. Also since that day i decided that maybe eating out alone with my kids might just be too much for young kids. classical conversations like to call the parents lead learners not teachers… i definitely learned something that day.

Posted in debt, family, finance, money, savings, Uncategorized

debt journey update:

Well here we are less than a week into this journey, and already i can see its going to be harder than i imagined. Dear husband is apparently not as on board as i thought. He has made some purchases that i didnt budget for. Im slightly peeved, because these are HIS student loans and credit card debts. I get that i married him and now they are ours, but i feel his not taking this seriously, even after i showed him the work and budgets and totals that took literally DAYS to figure out.

not only that but i realized that there are somethings i didnt budget for well timing wise. Some of the bills are due sooner than i initially thought so we had to make the payments earlier which is fine but now i have to reconfigure the calendar/paycheck system to make sure everything is paid without going negative in the account. Diapers, toilet paper, and dog food… all the bulk items i get from costco all ended up running out this week, and i didnt plan on purchasing for another two weeks. SO i am hard at work moving things around.

on top of this i want to reference the previous debt post . where we are putting quite a bit away for savings. This is for school and travel expenses, so while we will be saving, it is more a downpayment for these activities. this coming weekend will be the first planned trip we have, and our first withdrawl from the travel savings, it is a small weekend trip to canoe and camp, it will be a relatively small amount we have to take out compared to what we have put away. we need gas, kids paddles, some food (which i already paid for most of it in last weeks grocery bueget, to save both time and the clicklist charge). while i went over my weekly budget amount by spending over last weekend, i am under for the month still. This is a learning process.

The second part being schooling. we homeschool using a combination of Classical Conversations, local CO-Ops, and AmblesideOnline. We are Charlotte Mason-ish. I think the classical model definitely has benefits but ultimately we chose to homeschool because of the freedom it allows us. We do not have to choose just one curriculum, we dont have to use the FULL curriculum. but back to savings… this week will be our tuition payment, (we have been putting into this savings account before this month). it is a large cost all at once. $1056 in one gut check to the savings account. on top of that we begin community day in two weeks and i have to order the rest of year 1 ambleside books, as well as our materials for classical conversations (CC), this year we will only be purchasing the audio cd, and the old world echos. last year we purchased the curriculum book for foundations and wont need to spend as much this year. The ambleside books we felt are a great addition to the cc materials and so we will be using them more as supplemental than base curriculum.

In addition we spoke with our tax accountant this week and she let us know that we would be getting a federal refund, this is maybe the first time that has happened for us. We try to not loan the government money interest free, so our dependents and withholdings have always been set so that we owe about $500/year give or take which is REALLY close. But filed an extension this year as we didnt yet have our youngest SS# at tax filing time. We also didnt adjust our withholdings after our son was born last year. so we will have a little extra money to put into the savings account than originally planned. This is not something we had anticipated but we are glad to be able to have the cushion.

Lastly we have decided to downside our fleet. hubs listed two of our vehicles this weekend, to hopefully be able to purchase cash a new to us vehicle, but cut down on insurance payments and low mpg of the current vehicles. the remainder of the cash will also go into savings. these additional savings contributions go into our long term savings account. any time the savings account reaches 3k we bump everything over 2k into long term savings. our short term “variable” expenses of travel, car repair, homeschool costs, come from the main savings, but frequently we have more time between those costs so we bump it over into long term savings for the kids college fund.

Also for grocery/shopping I JUST signed back up for Ibotta, I’ve used it in the past, they say it’s money back but for me it’s more just coupons. I love using all the store coupons, I’m not a pro by any means but I do the few store apps if it’s something I’m already buying I figure cuts down on bills a little. try it out bc literally just about anyplace you buy stuff there is some kind of reward in Ibotta.

so there is this weeks update on the savings/debt journey. I will update again after these expenses come out and update the timeline for debt. I do not think it will be altering much.

Posted in babies, books, family, humor, Parenting, Uncategorized

My Obsession Part 3: confessions of a domestic failure

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Confessions of a Domestic Failure by Bunmi Laditan

This book was a quick entertaining read. It honestly felt in many aspects that this mom was me. She was a mess and honestly so am I. We pretend via social media to be perfect and put together but the honest and true reality is we’re all struggling. With the changes our body goes thru, the unfamiliar tasks of housekeeping, raising little people who have their own minds, marriage. This book dives into the funny truth we all try to hide. We don’t want to be judged in a negative light. If you’re feeling like you don’t have it all together read this book and know you’re not alone!

Posted in books, family, relaxation, Uncategorized

My obsession part 1: Outlander

THIS POST MAY CONTAIN AFFILIATE LINKS. I EARN A TINY COMMISSION AT NO EXTRA COST TO YOU AND I ONLY RECOMMEND PRODUCTS THAT ARE VALUABLE. IT KEEPS THIS BLOG GOING STRONG. CLICK HERE TO READ THE FULL DISCLOSURE.

 The outlander:

by diana gabaldon

they say when you become a mother not to loose yourself to the job. well easier said then done right? books have been the one thing that always keeps me feeling like me. strange as it sounds, diving into and imagining life thru anothers eye being what makes me, me. maybe its the continual attention and focus on one task, or the ‘adult’ feeling reading leaves me with.

one of my favorite books to pick up is The Outlander, by diana gabaldon. if ever a love story existed this is it! ironically its also the book that somehow got me a stalker (come back later for that incident). when i finished the series i felt a deep depression as if all my family, lovers, and history had passed beyond my grasp. I wanted to live in that world. now im a fan of modern amenities, medicine, and comforts BUT with a love that spans the millennia i think i could give it up. If you think a time traveling story isnt your style, i beg you to reconsider. the first few chapters will leave you questioning my love of this book, but then it happens. and after that youll be staying up into the wee hours of the night, sitting on the toilet until your feet tingle, and planning you next vacation to Scotland.

Posted in babies, family, humor, Parenting, Uncategorized

The incident at the Botanical Conservatory

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Let’s talk about the botanical conservatory incident… I’m a mom who simply wanted a couple cute pictures of my children amongst the seasonal flowers. What I got was much more than anyone would conceivably ask for. It’s a normal day back in spring 2017. We had our third child and I thought 💭 hey let’s go to the conservatory and take a couple pictures. No problem. I decide to be brave and go on an outing with my three young children 4,2,3mo. Any fellow mothers of small children I’m sure you understand my initial hesitation. And after this my healthy respect for that gut check. Anywho we arrive, park in the parking garage, I pack up baby in the carrier and grab one hand of each of the other kiddos and we walk out and head to the conservatory. We check in no problem, walk to the first exhibit, right away find the perfect backdrop for that insta pic I can post to my social media right? I get the two older kids situated they’re working with me better than I could have hoped, so I take out the baby and put ever him so gingery into the arms of my 4 year old. Take about two steps back line up my shot and 4yr old: he peed on me. Me knowing it’s just a little baby spit up reassures 4 yr old. 4yr old: no he really peed on me mom. Me ok loosing some patience cause I just want one pic right? I go over to reassure 4yr. But to my abject horror find it’s not a little baby spit up, it’s also not pee, no it’s much much worse we’ve had an epic stage 10 blowout, red alert 🚨 panic sets in… I’ve got to find a changing table I scoop up baby as I run to the bathroom with 4 and 2 trailing me, little bits of the explosion falling onto my clothes, my hands are full of 💩. I push open the door lay him on the table, pull up my hair (cause yes it was just that bad)pull out my diaper bag to clean this whole mess up but find to my utter shock that I never packed the wipes I look around. I see it’s luckily a bathroom with paper towel dispensers, you know the kind you wave your hand in front of and eeeerrrrrrrmmmmm out pops a 4 inch long paper towel. I’m thinking ok I just need about ten right and things will be ok. Meanwhile 4 decides he needs to poop and loudly announces he needs help pulling his pants down bc there stuck 😫 ok unzip and un button(why do kids pants have these buttons with holes and zippers anyways? team elastic waist from now on) he gets down to business, meanwhile baby has been screaming bloody murder for the entire process, finally get baby stripped down to diaper and see the carnage that lays before me. my sunglasses slip off the back of my head, the lense pops out, but I can’t worry about that now. I must wave wait for paper towel eeerrrrmmmm wait for it to reset kachick and wave wait for paper towel eeerrrrrmmmmm wait for it to reset kachick let’s just say ten times do you know the amount of time that takes?! A literal eternity, I get them damp and decide to try wiping up some of the excess but before I can do that PLOP. ???? What was that? somehow 4 and 2 managed to grab the paper towel as it was coming out and yank yards upon yards out it’s over the stall door i have no idea how it got up there, it’s draped across the counter the sink the floor, it’s a giant glob of wet paper towel now plopped onto the changing table sopping wet. Baby is sobbing and thrasing about in a puddle of poop water I’m feeling true panic set in. the floors slippery, im sliding the kids are sliding baby is sliding. I bend over to get to work and my hair that I threw up, falls ever so gracefully from the messy bun and as if in slow motion brushes the poopy cheeks of my baby and splats onto my face. Somehow by the grace of god I get baby dried up, I get the soiled everything tossed in the trash I get myself in order, grab the germ wipes from behind the door, that were behind the door, and wipe down the whole room. Gather up my flock and head out to the exit, I’m crying and the check in lady asks if she can give me a raincheck ticket for another day, I thank her and we go home. It was an utterly shitty day 🙀 and I learned that short trips are no excuse for not double checking the diaper bag.

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Posted in debt, family, finance, Uncategorized

Paying Debt and Saving Money

in a previous post i discussed our plan to begin paying down our debt and plan to be debt from within 5 years. i need to clarify a couple of things with regards to this. We do NOT intend to pay off our mortgage at this point. We do plan on moving, we move every 2-3years and for us we purchase an affordable home and renovate with cash. We are NOT flippers, we simply renovate to what we want to live in. we make sure to stay with in the housing market parameters, so when we sell there is a bit of a profit, im not talking 100s of thousands like the HGTV shows, but 10s of thousands. which we turn around and use to renovate the next house. the reason we choose not to pay off at this time is we would rather have the higher savings available if something happens then to have it tied up in a less liquid asset. secondly i need to specify that we are not AGGRESSIVELY paying off debt from the start, not ALL spare money is put to debt. read on to see why and how we handle it.

baby steps

We have just laid out our plan to snowball our debt, we now have a combination paycheck method, and calendar method, with a budgeting page for each month. to begin with we will be paying down beginning august 2019. our initial investment to get the ball rolling will be $200, and our extra each month will be $200 so in august our first snowball payment will be to student loan NAVIENT, with 4 total loans and the additional money the payment will be $570. This as you can see is significantly higher than our minimum monthly payment of $169, i know technically with the $400 extra it should be $569 but i like round numbers. monthly after this our payments will be $370/month.

now it may not seem like were going to get this all paid off in under 5 years but as i said before using the calendar and paycheck method if things stay just as they are no raises no bonuses, we will begin paying off earlier and earlier, every other paycheck will go to cover min obligations on our debts and expenses, and every other will go to student loans, now not every month has only two paychecks so we will begin paying ahead of due dates and saving interest that way as well as slowly paying off the debts ahead of schedule.

as of now our first NAVIENT loan will be paid off December 2019, a full 38 months ahead of the schedule set out by navient!

SAVINGS

so as i said we are not aggressively paying it down yet. we also plan on building up a rainy day fund. We have some vacation plans, and other large expenses we want to fully fund cash. no credit cards. for this we have a weekly amount we will be putting away that varies week to week For August the amounts are as follows.

  • week 1 $410
  • week 2 $190
  • week 3 $430
  • week 4 $210
  • week 5 $ 460

the plan for this money is paying for school supplies, and community tuition and fees (post coming on the homeschool methods we use), travel, we have a plan to take a couples trip to Austin, TX at the end of September. We also have a cruise booked for the beginning of December, which payment is due mid September. This money will also cover various expenses as birthdays, and gifts. We plan to take the kids on the polar express train, and then have money set aside for house projects as they arise.

if we never took any money out following this plan we would have 10K in savings by 6 months, and 20k/year.

Budget! please check back bc i will be posting on our budget plans and how we plan to cut expenses in order to fund both paying down then debt and our savings, while also, you know, living.

Posted in debt, family, finance, money, Parenting, Uncategorized

clawing out from under the mountain of debt

So i used to consider myself relatively adequate when it came to finances. but recently in light of all the hullabaloo over the student loan forgiveness, i actually decided to take a deep look at our finances and make a plan to live life comfortably yet pay off all the debt we have incurred. I will start by saying i thought i had a general idea of the amount of money we owed to various sources. After further inspection i have realized that i was a bit off in a scary way. so without procrastinating lets take a look at what we have and the plan to get out from under the mountain we have created.

mortgage 180912.20

student loans 57823.17

car 26079.54

medical 7800

credit card 6500

total 279114.91

holy smokes i havent actually seen the total amount until right now.

so whats the plan?

cry, does that count? obviously the first step in correcting a problem is admitting you have a problem,

we have a problem! a very giant scary problem.

i did a bit of research and soul searching and so by combining the 7 stages of grief along with the 7 stages of problem solving i think we have a real viable plan. im going to share this process with you.

7 stages of grief

  • stage 1. SHOCK… the utterly paralyzing realization of what that number means. im flabergasted, im speachless, I AM SHOOK to the core of my being.
  • stage 2. Denial… i admit i flew right from stage 1 to 2 pretty fast bc i was convinced that there was an error in there someplace. i looked up all the student loans bc this is where i was convinced the error was, there was no way we could be this far in the hole from a few 1500 loans, but you know what those small loans added up to 70k, ok back to stage 1…just kidding, but for real guys i had to find where the mistake was… maybe our card was scammed for fraud? nope. maybe the emergency life saving procedures that resulted in a 10k max out of pocket last year were off, weve paid more off than that right? again nope, i already knew that the vehicle and mortgage were correct bc i was physically holding the statements with their large outstanding principles glaring me in the face.
  • Stage 3: Anger… yep i was MAD, furious at my husband for taking out student loans, furious about the trip we took to hawaii (we got a massive deal on hotel, didnt eat much, and flights were from savings) so how did that add up on the credit card? im sure my husband was scared to come home, after the firestorm of texts he got. i was mad at myself for not keeping better track of finances ( we live comfortably and bills are (almost always paid, there are the times ive forgotten to pay and the lights got shut off eek, but never because of lack of funds) we travel without having to tap savings very much. BUT i should have had a better handle on what our true obligations were and the END GOAL. Here is where i really lost my temper, WE HAD NO END GOAL!!!! we had a general idea of the house we wanted and things we wanted to do but no set idea of HOW to get there?!Deep breaths deep breaths
  • Stage 4: barganing… this one didnt last too long for us. there were the thoughts that maybe we can beg the government to relieve all the student debt… but that was fleeting and completely immature. We maybe millennial but we are NOT going to fall into the entitled whiny blame game trap of many of our peers. We earned this debt, with poor choices, some necessary choices, and ignorance…moving on
  • Stage 5: Depression… this one bites, once you see the mountain ahead of you and know what its going to take to claw your way to the top, its massively depressing. i wallowed a bit here in this stage, not sure how we could make a plan, how we could cut spending, increase savings, reduce the mountain of debt.
  • Stage 6: Testing… after i put the numbers down and saw what we were facing i had to step away to cry, to mourn the innocence and cluelessness of financial ignorance. oh those were the days. anyways once i decided to face it, i tried to imagine how things would be when/if we got out from under this, or living with it.
  • Stage 7: Acceptance… so here we are landed in the final stage of grief, while i am by no means happy happy i also am not wallowing in self pity, or playing the blame game. I accept that this was something my husband and i did together (mostly some were from before, but we are responsible) I accept that there is a solution and now we need to find it.

7 steps to problem solving

  • identify the issues, admit you have a problem
  1. issue 1: large amount of debt
  2. issue 2: no plan
  3. issue 3: excess frivolous spending
  4. issue 4: actual expenses we cannot cut
  • understand everyone’s interests
  1. my own interest is getting rid of this elephant on our backs
  2. my husbands interest is making sure the kids have a comfortable life, and good education
  3. loan services: obviously they want their money back
  • list possible solutions
  1. ask for forgiveness
  2. not pay
  3. pay on schedule
  4. pay more on all
  5. avalanche
  6. snowball
  • evaluate the solutions
  1. asking for forgiveness: while a tempting option falls short of my morals. by shifting the blame off of us and claiming we were uninformed or that its a burden, only reinforces everyone’s idea of millennial’s being entitled, lazy, and seeking to shift blame. it reinforces the claims of the baby boomers who were against “everyone gets a trophy” that those who didnt earn something are somehow entitled to it. well I for one am NOT this millennial. choices have consequences, good or bad and im not going to sacrifice integrity for the easy way out.
  2. this brings us to the next option, not paying, which sort of falls inline with number one, except im not even asking im just going to fail to meet my obligations, and risk garnishments, yea doesnt seem much better, lets move on
  3. pay on schedule, this is what we have been doing, and clearly its not working for us, were not getting further ahead, were stuck in this perpetual cycle of debt. whats next?
  4. pay more on all debts: finally getting to a financial AND morally viable option. I ran the numbers and with the amount of debt we have it would not make enough of a dent due to our interest rates to get us out in any kind of timely manner(if we had less debt or lower interest rates this could have been a winner, so i do not want to discount this for others who maybe in a similar yet different situation)
  5. avalanche our debt( dave ramsey), basically just paying putting extra money to the debts with the higher interest rates first thereby reducing overall interest paid, wow this looks good.
  6. snowball (dave ramsey), start by paying off lowest loan amounts first, while maintaining the minimum payments on the rest. then rolling the payments from paid off loans towards the next loan thus having a larger payment and just as a small snowball rolls down a hill as it increases speed it increases size and impact….
  • Pick a solution

can you guess which solution we chose?

that’s right were going to snowball this mess. While i understand the idea of paying off those with the highest interest first, because over the life of the loan we will pay more, after adding up the total both ways we will pay less by paying off lowest balance first.

  • document agreements

here i am publicly stating our plan of action.

  • agree on contingencies

Never again do i want to find myself in a spot so financially depressing as this. gone are the days of blissful ignorance. our contingency plan is basically two things

  1. if life continues as is we will reevaluate the snowball method versus the avalanche method after each loan is paid down (worth mentioning as i alluded to previously, the student loan amount is the total owed not on one but rather several individual loans with differing interest rates) so if we have extra and pay of quicker we may switch to the avalanche if it saves us over the long run
  2. contingency 2 is based on wage increases and moves, if we move homes we will not be increasing our standard of living by the same amount as the raise, rather we would be putting all extra money toward paying down the debts.

starting at the bottom

where else is there really to start, fun as it may not be it will teach us the discipline and accountability we need to maintain us on our journey up and beyond.

i will be updating this journey on instagram so follow at thetinypinkclover_ or on facebook thetinypinkclover