Two Steps Forward, Three Steps Back

Two Steps Forward, Three Steps Back

Over the past two years or so I have chronicled my efforts to pay off almost 260k in debt. I think I have done an ok job trying of trying to pay down debt. I have paid off over 50k in the last two years about 10% of the total each year. I also have been doing pretty good in staying OUT of credit card debt. I do have a rewards card that I use, but I have paid it off every month for the past year or so. Until this past month.

I guess I should amend this a bit. I didn’t pay off one of my credit cards for two months, but that was because of the travel insurance fiasco, which has been solved.

So this past month has been a bit of a pain. Things have come up that I am now going to be carrying a balance of a few thousand dollars.

There are a couple of culprits to my carrying a credit card balance again.

First, car repairs. The past month, really the past two weeks, I have had to put in over $1500 into my car. And I need to do the repairs in order to pass inspection, which is due at the end of the month. No repairs, no inspection pass.

Second, eating out. We spent WAY too much on food over the past three weeks. Mrs. ROB and I went out to eat the first two weekends of the month and basically spent our normal eating out expenses in two weekends.

Three, small little things. So there have been some small things that have added up to a few hundred bucks. For example, our dog needed a check-up and a teeth cleaning that set us back $80, plus his pet medication was an additional $75. Plus, my wife’s car had scheduled maintenance on us that ran another $100. I accidentally made a double payment on my phone bill that cost $120 (that is great for next month, but it sucks for this one).

Finally, conference/travel expenses. When we went to Las Vegas for my nephew’s baptism we incurred costs there that we would not have done otherwise. We went out to dinner. We went to see a comedian. We bought a shower gift for our nephew. Moreover, in the past week I have had to shell out about $900 for travel expenses. Part of that expense is the cost of a plane ticket for my wife, who will be going with me so I prepaid for her. Additionally, I had to prepay my registration costs, which ran over $200.

It also didn’t help that some money my wife thought was going to come through (about $1000) didn’t materialize at all.

So all told we have had probably about $2500 to $3000 of extra expenses in the last month that aren’t normally there.

Part of this I will get reimbursed, but the vast majority of it is extra money that we didn’t have in our budget.

I do have the money to pay it off. I could take it out of our emergency fund. But that fund is for EMERGENCIES.

This isn’t an emergency. In my mind I have to fight my way out of debt again.

Not sure how I am going to do it this time because we have more expenses coming up (another blog post soon I promise) but this could take a few months for me to work out.

And there are more monetary storms on the horizon for the ROB household.

It just seems that every time we take two steps forward that we get sent back three steps. We will have to fight through it again, but what I wouldn’t give to have all of this debt gone for good. I even sometimes dream about cashing in all of my retirement, paying off the house and debt and starting all over (don’t worry I am not that crazy).

If people have any advice I would certainly entertain it.

14 thoughts on “Two Steps Forward, Three Steps Back

  1. Just stumbled across your blog thanks to the Rockstar Finance Directory. Looking forward to reading more of your blog. Thanks for sharing your journey.

  2. Which conference are you going to?

    BTW, Jason, you are my debt hero! You are making incredible progress every year on 1.5 incomes. Life happens — both in terms of unexpected events as well as just plain living (like having a couple evenings out). Some months just don’t work out as planned. But, that doesn’t diminish the accomplishments you’ve made.

    1. I am going to the Rhetoric Society of Europe in Norwich, England. Thanks Rod. It is appreciated.

        1. Nope, I will be at ECA. I have too. I am the 2nd VP of local arrangements. Of course I don’t know what that means. We will have a lot of free stuff from companies (pens, stickers, etc) stop by for some free swag.

          1. Hi Jason,

            I will be there Wednesday afternoon to Saturday noon, then back on Sunday morning (my oldest friend — from kindergarten — has the opening of his photo exhibit in Rockport). So, I am sure to see you.


  3. I don’t have any real advice, except what everyone else has probably already told you: don’t give up! If you really think about it, what is 1.5 years in the grand scheme of things? A lot of people make mistakes that take years or even a decade to come back from!

    1. Hi Troy,

      Thanks for stopping by. ANd you are right. I mean this is a small speed bump. And hopefully within a few months it will be gone. But I have never been a patient man. We all have our crosses to bear and learning patience is certainly one of mine.

      1. Sometimes a temporary set back doesn’t mean that your goal is wrong. It just means that your strategy needs a bit of tweaking. Keep your eye on the prize and I’m sure you’ll be fine!

        1. And it probably does need some tweaking. I am thinking about not using the rewards card as much and going back to cash envelopes. This might help reduce our spending.

  4. I feel like when things aren’t going well that Murphy’s law moves in and doesn’t leave until you get all of your stuff in order. I think you’ll find that once you pay off your debt that those surprise expenses for whatever reason stop popping up. I don’t know why but that’s been my experience so far.

    1. Hi MSM, I sure do hope you are right. I am trying to figure out how to get these off the books ASAP. Not sure how I should do it. If I should spend down my emergency fund to pay off the debts, get a HELOC and move the money around a bit, or just slog through it.

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