Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Skimming the Treetops, Hoping We Don't Crash and Burn

While my kids were organizing the mess in the basement, I spent time getting our budget typed up into an excel spreadsheet so my husband and I could have the dreaded money talk that night. I put all our bills in one column with due dates.  Once you add all that up we have $242 left for the month. At this point we would not have eaten, or spent money on anything other than bills. He has received his first paycheck of the year but since we just submitted the withholding allowance change two days before that I am hoping that the adjustment hadn't been made yet and the subsequent checks will give us a little more in pocket.

We agreed that trying a refi is the best bet to lower our biggest monthly payments and then have more money to put to other things - like food :) I am meeting with the bank on Thursday to find out what we qualify for.  I'm hoping we will be able to cash out some so that we can make a lump payment to a credit card, but based on what a friend who is a realtor said about comp values around us, I'm not real hopeful.

Coupling the refi with a possible loan from his 401k to pay off the credit cards with the highest interest rates are definitely the way to go. We can't pay it all in one fell swoop since our total credit card debt is $90,000.  And I realize that taking a loan is just a way of converting the debt to a lower interest rate, but with lower minimum payments and a lower interest rate we will be able to actually break even each month (which we are not doing now). In past years we've received a pretty sizeable tax refund, but I know we can't count on that this year. I have already scheduled our meeting with our accountant so that we will know what that number is ASAP. Hopefully it's enough that we can set up a little emergency fund (both of our cars are getting older and his is overdue for maintenance, mine is due in 2000 miles) and pay a little off one of the cards.

As my husband said at this point our little airplane hasn't crashed yet, but we are definitely skimming the treetops. We were lucky that his senior partner gave him an advance at the end of the year which is basically keeping us aloft right now, but that will most likely run out at the end of February.

Still scary but I do feel better that everything is now out in the open, he is aware of all the stresses I've been hiding from him - stupidly cause look where it got us. He has been surprisingly calm about it all, as much as I know it pains him. I do feel especially bad because at this point I can't do anything to bring in any extra money to help. With my limited skill set there aren't a lot of jobs I can do, and the ones I can would require me getting child care for my son. By the time I pay for that, it would defeat the purpose. Hopefully once he's in pre-school next year, I'll be able to figure out something.  I need to go back and look at those freelance job sites I found before Christmas and see if there are any good fits. It's just hard as I would need to find something that I would be able to do after the kids are in bed.

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