Friday, November 8, 2013

Saving the Moola: October in review

October was a really good month in terms of reminding me that God will always, always provide.

And provide He did. It was a rather exciting month, to say the least! We paid off my student loan in full! Woot woot!

Since I am currently unemployed, this was a tad unexpected. I will happily explain how we did this, but before I do so, I just want to encourage and remind you all that you have to make the best decisions for you and your family. The decisions we make might not be the best decisions for you (and vice versa).

I had more than enough money in my 401k account at my former employer's to pay off my student loan. In general, I wouldn't recommend cashing out any retirement accounts ever. However, cashing out the account, which was a very minimal account, would allow us to free up some of our monthly income so we can better pay for health insurance for all of us in the new year.

And when the option is health insurance versus retirement account... I'm going to choose health insurance. And I would recommend that for all of you. You can't control when you might fall and break your leg. When you have a little one, you can't control... pretty much everything. While Bug does not go to the doctor often, we absolutely would take her if she became sick. I'm sure, at some point in her young life, she will fall ill. Health insurance for our daughter isn't an option. It's necessary.

Suze Orman always says that if something makes you afraid, that's an indicator of what you should do. I am afraid of not having health insurance. I was unhappy I owed money on a student loan.

So you can probably guess how joyous my entire household is right now! We're on track to pay off our car loan by about the end of March, which will free up even more of our monthly income. I'm very excited about the future!

In addition to paying off my student loan, we were blessed this month by so many others. My cousins gave me a huge tote full of green tomatoes, and more than half ripened! We canned several quarts of tomatoes which we will use to make chili, among other meals. The librarian at our town's library, where Jason used to work, gave us a big bag of apples from her apple orchard. We used the apples to make apple crisp twice. It was so good!

Jason's mom, Nana, is quite the gardener and homemaker. Over the summer, she and her husband brought six chickens into their family and they are quite good layers. We visited them in October and they gave us two dozen eggs, an apple pie and a head of cabbage. We happily ate the eggs and pie and used the head of cabbage to make a big batch of vegetable soup. We ate the soup for quite a few meals and also canned six quarts of soup for our pantry. When I say we made a big batch of soup, I'm not joking!

We celebrated our third wedding anniversary and my birthday in October, and our parents were very generous in giving us gifts for these occasions. This helped our budget tremendously. We used some of the money to buy Bug's Christmas pajamas and Christmas dress, and I'm going to use some of the money to get my hair cut in November.

Jason was able to earn some extra money by mystery shopping and by tutoring a high school student in physics. He will be continuing tutoring in November and will also continue to pick up assignments for mystery shopping as his schedule allows. We are both very excited about the tutoring opportunity and hope he can grow his base of students!

I sewed two more hats for Bug for this coming winter, and my brother also blessed us with a big bag of winter gear, including a fleece and windbreaker-type snowsuit-type items, several hats and several pairs of mittens. Nana knit Bug a pair of mittens and also knit her Christmas stocking. I'm so excited to decorate our house for Christmas and hang all four of our stockings!

All in all, October was just plain fun. Our budget worked out incredibly well, and we continue to be abundantly blessed. Part of that is that we make it a point to look for and be aware of God's blessings. And the other part is that we just have wonderful people in our lives who share their talents with us!

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