If you follow @shemakescents on Instagram, you know that we became a party of 3 with the birth of our daughter, Chloe, back in October. Since her arrival 3 months ago, she has learned to hold her own bottle, sleep through the night, and has stolen our hearts. Seriously, I cannot believe that she is 3 months already and I now understand when parents say they wish time would slow down.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
In 3 months, the Mr. and I have mastered overnight diaper changes, morning snuggles, and baby swaddles while being sleep deprived yet grateful. What we completely bombed was our plan to pay for our week-long hospital stay when she was born.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
We received a series of bills in November that totaled over $40,000.00, not including insurance. My entire jaw hit the floor when I read that number and the breakdown given from hospital. A big part that that number was because we had to stay for a week due to complications that happened during childbirth. Even so, that five-figure estimate had our anxiety in high gear because we had to wait several weeks to see what the final bill was, after insurance. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
After another few weeks, we received a final bill with over 90% of it covered from insurance. THANK YOU, GOD! With very little left on our FSA card, we decided to schedule a payment after the new year so that we can use our new FSA cards with replenished funds. 𝐁𝐈𝐆 𝐌𝐈𝐒𝐓𝐀𝐊𝐄!⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
While this is probably a DUH MOMENT for most of you reading this, I had not considered that we wouldn’t be allowed to pay for a 2019 medical expense on a 2020 FSA card. [le sigh] Thank goodness that we had a sinking fund for something else that we could borrow from. I would much rather borrow from myself than credit. That being said, the money saved from the SMCmoneychallenge will now be used to replenish my sinking fund.
Update: Using the SMC Money Challenge, I was able to pay back the full amount of the money I borrowed from a sinking fund to cover our budgeting mistake by week 6 of the money challenge.
This morning, I took out my shemakescents 52 Week BINGO Money Challenge card to forecast what the next seven weeks of the year will be like, from a money savings goal perspective. Since January, I have saved money every week with the challenge and in doing so; I have cultivated a habit of saving. Financial guru, Dave Ramsey says that “personal finance is 80% behavior and 20″ head knowledge” and I am very inclined to agree. If you are a new reader and have no idea what the 52 Week BINGO Money Challenge is, click here to catch up. After forecasting the rest of the year to see whether I would be able to hit my latest money goal, getting my student loans to $12,500 or under by December 31, 2017, I started doing money projections for 2018.
First, I calculated how much and how quickly my debt would decrease if I made the same amount of money and repeated my most success money moves as I did this year. I then upped the ante to see how adding another $100 per month or $200 per month would get me closer to my goal of eliminating my student loan debt altogether. Finally, I increased my snowball calculations to see how quickly my debt would decrease if my income increased to match what I put on my vision board. Looking at debt from these three different perspectives shows me the true cost of making different and better money moves, as well as, how quickly I can dump my debt.Why do I do this, you ask? Sometimes I need a visual reminder of my goal at hand. I hear so many people say that they will never pay their debt off or that they are so overwhelmed by their debt that they choose not to even think about it, let alone to look at it. Do you remember that time, I broke down the difference between one day versus day one? If I waited years ago to get serious about tackling my debt, especially my student loans, I would never have been projected to hit my goal date by 2020, eleven years ahead of Sallie’s Mae schedule. The visual of saving eleven years of interest is enough to keep me motivated for these next three years. That is because when you visualize something, especially positive associations with money, you give yourselves permission to prepare yourself to receive it.
You don’t have to make a lot of money to get back on course with your money savings goals, nor do you have to be a personal finance guru. In the past two years, I have thrown an extra $5,550.00+ toward this debt (on top of my monthly payment) by chipping away at it piece by piece. In order to crush your savings goals, you first must change your mindset about your ability to succeed. Then you change your bad money habits and replace them with great money habits that honor your money goals. You see, it is not what we do every once in a while that makes us successful. Success is gained in our daily habits.
As we approach the end of one year and the beginning of a new one, I look forward to making new and fresh goals for myself. I look forward to not repeating my mistakes of the past and being willing to step out on faith when it comes to opportunities that come my way. Today, I affirm my success with my money goals for myself and for you too.