Why I am Getting Out of Debt

I have debt.

I’ve noticed that people don’t like to talk about this. They don’t want to think about their own debt. They don’t want this to be a topic of discussion. But, if you follow me on twitter, you’ve noticed that I have started talking about how I am getting out of debt. Because I think it is important and I think people often don’t realize how much their debt is holding them back. This is a big focus of my life right now and I blog about things going on in my life. I also like the support system. Some of you send me a simple “yay!” when I say I paid off a credit card. Some of you tell me you’ve started the same plan. Some of you tell me you think it’s great that I am talking about this. So I am going to keep talking about.

Today I wanted to share WHY we are getting out of debt and why we have made drastic changes in order to do so.

So, what debt do we have?

We have a mortgage. We live in a reasonably-sized house in a reasonable real estate market and we waited until 2012 to buy so we bought at the bottom of the real estate market. So we’re not doing too bad there.

We have one car loan that should have been paid off by now, but we refinanced the car when we needed a new roof a month after moving into our house because that’s what people with no cash do.

We have some credit card debt. We had it all paid off in 2011, so, naturally, I blame Evan, who is definitely the cause of a good portion of our credit card debt. But, honestly, plane tickets have always been our credit card weakness and that’s been an issue since we moved to Florida.

And then we have student loans. A lot of student loans. Six figures worth of student loans. My husband and I both have graduate degrees and we both got them in the most expensive way possible – at very expensive schools and using student loans. This is probably the only piece of the puzzle that makes us different than the rest of America.

That sounds pretty normal, right?

That’s not much of a confession. Most of us have debt, right? And people often talk about good debt versus bad debt. Student loans and mortgages are “good” while credit cards and car loans are “bad.” Under this philosophy, 90% of our debt is considered “good.” But, when your student loan debt is almost equal to your mortgage debt (and your monthly student loan payments are actually higher than your mortgage payment), I can tell you there is nothing that feels GOOD about that. When you throw in an average amount of credit card debt and a car payment, it quickly becomes a very unpleasant place to be.

So what happened?

We were treading water for a long time, sometimes getting a few strokes ahead, but eventually we felt ourselves starting to be pulled under. We never got in trouble. We’ve never missed a payment. We never even made a late payment. We are blessed with steady incomes in jobs we like. We have excellent credit scores. Everyone wants to loan us money. We were completely normal.

But the debt was starting to drive us insane. It was this constant THING hanging over us. We tried to ignore it, but we couldn’t.

And then we did some math and realized that we literally couldn’t afford to have another baby.  If we were to have a second child, which has always been the plan, we couldn’t afford to send that kid to daycare – we just didn’t have enough free money each month in our budget. Now, we understand where babies come from and that they don’t just show up demanding daycare without some warning, but it really made me stop and think about what we were doing with all of our money. We live paycheck to paycheck and we shouldn’t HAVE to.

So we made some drastic lifestyle changes…

This post has gotten a bit long, so I will save the HOW we are getting out of debt post for another day. Meanwhile, I’d love to hear from some of you in the comments.

The Sunday Salon [10.26.14]

I am back after an involuntary blogging leave caused by my amazing ability of killing every macbook charger that finds its way into my life. Of course, I go missing all of the time, so maybe you didn’t notice.

Life, of course, goes on even when computers do not. Yesterday, we went to the Festival of Reading, saw RL Stine and Aasaf Mandvi, and wandered around St. Pete a bit. Today I am participating in a 4-hour Yogathon to benefit The Children’s Heart Foundation.

As for reading, it’s been a little slow-going. I just finished Anna Dressed in Blood and now I am reading Rooms and listening to Her Fearful Symmetry. Apparently I am embracing the ghost stories this October.

Anyway, I have nothing scheduled for this week, but hopefully I’ll pop in with a post or two.

 

The Sunday Salon.com

The Top Ten Places Books Have Made Me Want to Visit

Popping in for a Top Ten Tuesday post today. These are the top ten places books have made me want to visit (whether fictional or real).

Hogwarts

I am still waiting for my letter. I don’t care if I’m 31.


Scotland

I’m crediting Jeri-Smith Ready for this one.


1920s Paris

I’m just gong to go hang out with Dorothy Parker, Ernest Hemingway, and F. Scott Fitzgerald. Don’t mind me.


Regency England

I’m going to go looking for Mr. Darcy. But I’ll settle for Colin Firth.


Boarding School

Too many boarding school books to give any single one credit for this dream.


Ancient Ireland

I’ve always wanted to go to Ireland, but Edward Rutherford made me want to go to pre-St. Patrick Ireland.


Deep Valley, Minnesota

Betsy-Tacy makes turn-of-the-century Minnesota seems warm and inviting.


The Hundred Acre Wood

One of my very first literary travel dreams. It has never faded.


The Book World

I don’t necessarily want to risk my life as often as Thursday Next, but I wouldn’t mind hanging out with some literary characters (probably not Hamlet).


Imperial Russia

I’ve got a thing for Russian classics. But I also have a thing for warmth, so maybe not.

***

Where would you like to visit?

The Sunday Salon: September in Review [10.12.14]

Seeing as it is October 12, it is probably time to quickly recap September. It was a busy month yet again, despite the absence of airports and hotels. I read a little, I blogged a little, I worked a lot, I parented a lot, I watched my college football team fall apart, and that’s about it.

I shared my favorite Gilmore Girls episodes; gave a one star review; shared a photo of Vanderbilt Beach; listed the books I am most looking forward to this fall; read and reviewed my first comic book; bloggiesta-d; hid Green Eggs and Ham; reviewed the last book in a recommended series; and shared another one of Evan’s current favorites.

I read these:

Time is just flying. Pretty sure Evan will be 16 next week.

The Sunday Salon.com

Girls in White Dresses [Book Review]

TitleGirls in White Dresses
Author: Jennifer Close
Genre: Short Stories; Women’s Fiction
Pages: 304
Year: 2011
Publisher: Knopf
Source: Personal Collection
Rating: 5/5

Publisher’s Summary:

Isabella, Mary, and Lauren feel like everyone they know is getting married. On Sunday after Sunday, at bridal shower after bridal shower, they coo over toasters, collect ribbons and wrapping paper, eat minuscule sandwiches and cakes. They wear pastel dresses and drink champagne by the case, but amid the celebration these women have their own lives to contend with: Isabella is working a dead-end job, Mary is dating a nice guy with an awful mother, and Lauren is waitressing at a midtown bar and wondering why she’s attracted to the sleazy bartender.

My Thoughts:

You guys, this book.

I haven’t so thoroughly enjoyed a book like I enjoyed this one in ages.  I would yell at you all for not making me read it sooner, but you all tried. Jen even sent me a copy. THREE YEARS AGO.

I thought this would be a novel, but this is really a book of inter-related short stories (along the lines of The Girls Guide to Hunting and Fishing). Which made it even lovelier. I love a good short story collection.

The characters were well-developed, realistic, and relatable. I wanted to be friends with them. It made me wish I had moved to New York City after college and lived in a crappy apartment and dated the wrong guys. It was like Sex and the City when Sex and the City was at its best.

If you’ve left this one lingering on your shelf, like I did, you are making a mistake.

****

What book did you wait too long to read? What book has been waiting patiently on your shelves for you?

My Favorite Episodes of My Favorite Show

In honor of Netflix streaming all 7 seasons of Gilmore Girls (someone tell my boss I’m not coming in tomorrow?), and because this blog only every started because of a Gilmore Girls inspired bookish forum where I found my first real home on the internet, and because this show has been on constant circulation at my house for a decade, I have decided to share with you ten of my favorite episodes of my absolutely favorite show.

2.13 A Tisket, A Tasket

Jess over Dean. Any day. Also, cute Stars Hollow traditions. They never get old.

2.19 Teach Me Tonight

Like I said, Jess over Dean. Always.

3.6 Take the Deviled Eggs

Mostly for the squealing sounds Lorelai and Rory make as the peel away from the scene of the crime.

3.7 They Shoot Gilmores, Don’t They?

Dance marathon + Jess and Rory tension + Dean finally getting a clue. And still I was heartbroken for Rory.

3.22 Those Are Strings, Pinocchio

Rory’s graduation speech is the best television graduation speech of all time. Hands down. Although Buffy’s graduation was pretty epic…

4.2 The Lorelais First Day at Yale

I like this one because it sets up Rory’s new life but demonstrates that their mother-daughter bond is unbreakable.

5.3 Written in the Stars

Clearly I love Rory’s story lines more but I was waiting for this day for years. Luke brings Lorelai to his Luke’s. Aww.

5.7 You Jump, I Jump Jack

This is where I fell for Logan. I’ll admit it. I’m always surprised when this one doesn’t make everyone else’s favorite episode list. Also, I think this might be my blog’s first GIF.

5.8 The Party’s Over

No. Wait. THIS is where I fell for Logan.

7.22 Bon Voyage

I was DEVASTATED when Gilmore Girls ended. Absolutely crushed. Words can’t describe my love for this show. But I still love the finale (partially because Rory and I both went off to work for Obama). And I love that this ending just means I get to start all over again from the beginning.

***

You will note there is nothing from the mostly-awful 6th season where the Gilmores were estranged. There also isn’t anything from the first season. But that’s just because I don’t care much for Dean.

Oy with the poodles already…what are you waiting for. Go watch all of these RIGHT NOW er tomorrow.

The Sunday Salon [9.28.14]

After spending all day yesterday in sick toddler hell (13 hours of puking and a lethargic little boy who just kept saying, “I don’t want to be sick anymore”), I am ready for a peaceful Sunday.

The upside of staying home all day yesterday and having a child who just wanted to lie on the floor and stare into space was that I got quite a bit of reading done and I think I will finish One Plus One today. I finished American Gods on audio earlier this week, so this is a pretty successful reading week for me. I managed to post a bunch this last week. Can I keep the pace going?

Other than that, it was an uneventful week for me. I am looking forward to a visit to Michigan at the end of this week – we’re dropping E off with grandparents once we get there and taking a weekend for ourselves on Lake Michigan to go to a wedding. We have yet to both go away without E (we have only done so separately) and we are staying with some old friends that unexpectedly moved to the area. There are so many aspects of this trip that I am looking forward to.

I hope you all have a lovely Sunday.

The Sunday Salon.com

Hemingway’s Girl [Book Review]

Title: Hemingway’s Girl
Author: Erika Robuck
Genre: Historical Fiction
Pages: 352
Year: 2012
Publisher: Thorndike Press
Source: Personal Collection
Rating: 1/5

Summary (from publisher):

In Depression-era Key West, Mariella Bennet, the daughter of an American fisherman and a Cuban woman, knows hunger. Her struggle to support her family following her father’s death leads her to a bar and bordello, where she bets on a risky boxing match…and attracts the interest of two men: world-famous writer, Ernest Hemingway, and Gavin Murray, one of the WWI veterans who are laboring to build the Overseas Highway. 
 
When Mariella is hired as a maid by Hemingway’s second wife, Pauline, she enters a rarified world of lavish, celebrity-filled dinner parties and elaborate off-island excursions. As she becomes caught up in the tensions and excesses of the Hemingway household, the attentions of the larger-than-life writer become a dangerous temptation…even as straightforward Gavin Murray draws her back to what matters most.  Will she cross an invisible line with the volatile Hemingway, or find a way to claim her own dreams?  As a massive hurricane bears down on Key West, Mariella faces some harsh truths…and the possibility of losing everything she loves.

My Thoughts:

So this book and I didn’t really get along. I wanted to love it, so I kept reading when I probably should have put it down. But I read it painfully slowly. And even put it down for an entire year with less than 100 page to go. Very odd behavior for me as I will usually either DNF a book pretty quickly or push through.

I swear I had notes lying around somewhere, but they must have gone missing during the year and a half I was reading.

I think the problem is that I didn’t connect with Mariella. I didn’t really feel the attraction between her and Hemingway (perhaps because they call each other “papa” and “daughter”). And I didn’t feel the love at all between her and Gavin.

It was also one of those books where I felt like things were over-explained. My rule: either tell me something or show me something, but don’t do both.

This book and I did not click. But some other bloggers I trust adored it. So check out their reviews before taking my word for it: Anita Loves Books (5/5 stars); Devourer of Books (Highly Recommended); Jenn’s Bookshelves (Highly, Highly Recommended).