The following is another guest post from long-time reader and commenter, MikeS. You can also check out his Reader Profile, It Was Supposed To Be A Typical Wednesday, Flexibility – The Key to a Working Budget, and Unprepared.
Hi again everyone. Since I was inspired by Crystal’s lists to start 2013, I thought I would write about some of the financial challenges I expect to be facing this coming year. It may help some to know that they are not alone in dealing with financial problems.
With this, I’m not talking about my house, or even my car, although I would love to get rid of both. I am talking about the leftover debt from my son’s medical bills, about $5,000. It is currently sitting on a credit card at 0% through the end of March 2013. The best case scenario for eliminating this is my company’s incentive bonus in March. I have received bonuses in the past that could easily cover this amount. Last year however, the bonus would not have been enough. It was a rough year for the company. So, I’m going to hedge my bets in case the bonus is not enough. I can transfer the balance to another card at 0% through January 2014 for only $100. I don’t really like it, but it gives me some flexibility which might be needed, see below.
With this, I’m not talking about my son. I am talking about my mom. Late last year, she was diagnosed with cancer and is undergoing chemotherapy. I love my mom, but she has not always been a good money manager. I have had to help her out occasionally in the past with money. So, she doesn’t have the extra money that her treatments are costing her. My brother, sister and I are covering the extra expense. What the means for me is $140 a month. Luckily, I changed positions in my company on 1/1 and received a raise for a little over $2,000 a year. That raise takes care of the additional monthly expense, but not anything else that might arise.
Specifically, I mean finding more places to trim the current cost of things. I’m running out of places to save money. I refinanced my mortgage last year and was able to free up over $150 a month. My wife and I changed to Tracfone cell phones and saved over $40 a month. I’ve locked in both my oil price and electric rate for the year, which will be lower than last year. My insurance portfolio was recently updated, but I might price out my auto and homeowners this year to see if I can squeeze some more savings out of them. My TV/Phone/Internet are locked in until August. There aren’t many other places for me have a major impact.
Those are my three biggest issues entering 2013. What are your big concerns for the year?
Crystal’s Comments: Sorry to hear about your mom too. I think you mentioned it in passing before, but I did not realize her children were covering the extra costs. Good luck. As for your plans, I know you’ll get the $5000 paid off no problem. You may want to look into extra income instead of expense cutting at some point.
Not a joke at all – are any of my blogger readers looking for a staff writer? Mike is an excellent writer and one of the first people I’d hire if I do open that door. Just email me to get connected with him.
Anyway, good luck Mike! You have all of my very best wishes for continued success and better family health!