Debt Reduction Progress

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We paid off a credit card!!!!!!

The month of March was full of uncertainty.  My husband had just found out that he would be unemployed as of April 1st if he didn’t find a job by then.  So, we were hesitant to take our tax return and apply it to our debt reduction efforts.  We kept the $8000 in a savings account until he was hired by one of the premier marketing companies in Milwaukee.

Once he started his new job, we felt it was a good time to pay off one of the credit cards.  So, we’re excited to announce that we’ve paid off about $5000 more of our debt!!  Plus, we now have an emergency fund of $1500 and another $1500 set aside to do some landscaping this spring.  And, last but not least, our income has increased!!!!  So, we are now planning on applying at least $700 a month toward what is left of our credit card debt.  We should be “debt free” (not including our mortgage) by the end of the year!!!

We have two cards left to pay off.  One is still at a 0% APR until the end of August, so we will pay that one off first.  And, the other one is a fixed 1.99% for the life of the balance.  I will have mixed feelings about paying that 1.99%APR credit card off.  Once we pay off that balance, there will no longer be a 1.99%APR.  That credit card offer was a Godsend!  It came at the perfect time too.  I remember when we were considering buying a house and we couldn’t afford it because of our car payment.  Then, we got a balance transfer offer in the mail from our bank credit card.  The balance on our bank credit card was $0 at the time, so I could tell that they were trying to hold on to us as a customer/consumer.  They offered us 1.99%APR for the life of the balance with a transfer fee of 3%, which would end up making our transferred balance nearly $12,000!  Although our balance increased by about $300, the APR decreased along with our monthly minimum payment.  Our monthly payment decreased so much, actually, that we were able to qualify for a mortgage.  About a month later, my sister called to say that the house next door to her would be up for sale soon.  It was all perfect timing, so we made an offer on the house before it even went on the market.  The seller was eager to close and we got the house at a steal of a price.  So, even when the housing market crashed, we still came out of it with equity.

Through all of our financial ups and downs, I can see the Lord’s grace and guidance that has lead us to this point.  Praise the Lord!  Living debt free is just around the corner!

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The 7 Stages of Grieving the Loss of Your Job

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You know the saying, “When God closes a door, he opens a window?”

That was my husband’s opening line as he began telling me he would no longer be employed as of April 1st of this year.  There are so many things that can go through your head at a moment like this.  I would say these thoughts and emotions are similar to the stages of grief, only in fast forward.

Stage 1- Shock and Denial:

My initial reaction was to say, “Well, that was unexpected!  Why, what happened?”

Stage 2- Pain and Guilt:

My next thought and feeling was one of sadness.  I was thinking of how much my husband loved his job and how much he would miss the guys he worked with.  I wondered if there was something he could have done to prevent the lay off.  And, I began thinking of the pain that this may cause for us financially.

Stage 3- Anger and Bargaining:

This stage was brief yet profound.  I was trying to wrap my mind around why this lay off even happened.  I wanted to say, “Why would they do this to you?  After all you’ve done for that company!  How can we make them see how valuable you are?”  Even though I knew the answer to those questions, they were still rolling around in my mind.  I knew that my husband’s boss loved him and knew exactly what he was worth.  That was the main reason they had to let him go.  They couldn’t afford to pay him what he was worth.

Stage 4- Depression and Reflection:

After dwelling on the information I had just received, a wave of sadness suddenly overtook me.  I began thinking about the coming months.  A million questions flooded my mind.  What if he doesn’t find a job by April 1st?  What if we have to move?  What does God have in store for us?  Will it be a step down or a step up for him?  I just didn’t know, and that was depressing.

Moving on…

Stage 5- Turning a Corner:

I began to pray about our situation and look at it in a different light.  The Lord helped me to see the good in what had just happened.  We began trusting God for the outcome and began moving forward.

Stage 6- Reconstruction:

Once we had our thinking caps on strait, I began helping my husband update his resume and design his new portfolio.  His boss, who wants to see him get settled into a new job before April 1st, helped him make his resume stand out.  The excitement has been building as I see his portfolio come to life.  I still can’t believe what he is capable of creating when it comes to web design.  He truly has been blessed with a remarkable talent for design and development.  And, I’m not just saying that because he is my husband.  Once he has his portfolio done, you can see it by going to www.jesseleedesign.com.

Stage 7- Hope:

After seeing the beginnings of his amazing portfolio, my thoughts began to shift into positive overload.  We began to think of some possible jobs he would qualify for as a web designer/developer.  Maybe he would make more money than he had been making before.  Maybe we would be able to move into a bigger home.  We could start giving more to our church and other missions.  Maybe his new job would pay for his continued education.  There were many positive outcomes.  We had hope for the future.

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