You know those months where you make huge amounts of progress, you stay motivated and because you are so motivated that you make more progress. Those months where you see the light at the end of tunnel and think “Hey we are going to get there one day very soon!” Those months where everything is coming together exactly like it should.
Guess What!! October was not one those months and while I am being completely honest neither was September. In fact, both months were the kind of months (financially) that you just try to live through, learn all the lessons that they were teaching you and put them behind you.
Confession Time – After we seemingly did nothing but tread water in September, we actually added to our debt load in October. Yep. I’m still learning and growing through this process…. We didn’t add a lot of debt this month and I know what you are thinking… but the beach trip wasn’t our undoing. I had 2 cavities and Lala had 1 cavity so we had them filled. Our dentist office takes about 6 weeks to get the bills to us so I knew that I could have the money together by the time the bill came in. Except that they wouldn’t let us leave the office that day without paying the balance. They had figured up what we would owe after insurance and we had to pay that day. I tried to argue for a little while but we really love our dentist so I finally relented and handed over the credit card. It was a little less than $200 but mentally the damage was done for the day. After that we made a quick Wal-Mart run. I decided to get groceries and since I was already beating myself up about the credit card I used it again at walmart, another $150. I’m not a 3-year-old but I act like it sometimes.
I also took Little man and The Monkey to the pediatrician for well child checkups. I got both caught up on their shots (we have insurance so no biggie) and we had great appointments. Then I got the bill, our insurance paid $28 for each kid and applied everything else to our deductible!! So we also now owe the pediatrician just over $600 for the visits and shots. Yes, that one still makes me a little mad. We have paid for our insurance all year-long and they covered a total of $56 (which is less than what we pay in a week in premiums).
3 steps forward, 2 steps back.
I know someone is wondering why I even had the credit card at the dentist’s office that day. Our bank recently started charging for debit card use and we aren’t going to pay to use them so we went to cash for daily expenses and credit card for gas. I only had a few dollars on me (and until just this second did not even think about writing a check, duh!) so I gave the dentist office the credit card to cover the balance.
We did start using credit again for gas and that transition has gone pretty smoothly (with the exception of me having to learn again that just because the card is in my purse doesn’t mean I have to use it). We did have a couple of issues early on making the transition from debit to credit for gas. We decided which card to use for gas but I had long ago cut up my card so until I got a replacement card I used a different card (on a different account). I started paying for the gas (on the credit card – hubby buys the bulk of our gas) on a weekly basis the day after payday so that we wouldn’t get behind on it. I never thought about the fact that the little bit of gas that I was buying was going on a different account (thankfully only 5 -6 times at $15 -$20 a time) but we’ve got that behind us too. All of the gas goes on one account and it is paid for weekly so that we have to stay on top of the expense.
Of course, now that we’ve completely rearranged how we do things, our bank has decided to drop the debit card fee as of yesterday. Don’t you love how they do that!?!? Hubby and I discussed that last night and we have decided that we like the way we are handling the day-to-day money now (credit for gas and cash for everything else) so we aren’t planning to go back to debit cards with or without the fees. We seem to be doing better using cash and once the money is gone its gone. I do think I spend more initially because I can see the cash but I won’t go to the trouble of going to the bank once I run out of cash so it does work better in the end for me. It is much less stressful balancing the checkbook the day before payday no more having hope that nothing else goes through before hubby’s check hits the bank.
As for all of the new debt, I’ve paid off the money that was charged at the dentist office and my temper tantrum at Wal-Mart. I’ve paid off half of the pediatrician bill and should be able to pay the rest of it off in a few weeks. We basically lost a couple of months in progress but we survived the mess and we aren’t any further behind then we were. I am still frustrated that we aren’t any further ahead either but I’m looking at the last couple of months as learning experiences.
We’ll put them behind us and we’ll move forward and hopefully I won’t have to learn any of those lessons again. November will be a good month!! We are going to make a lot of traction this month and really overcome the slump of the last couple of months. We are going to stick to doing what we know is right in this process and look for the small blessings along the way.