What happens when you get too excited about paying off debt

I’m starting to get excited. Really excited.

We are getting close to paying off another debt, my husband’s last student loan. I can visualize the zero balance. I’m getting super intense.

Too intense.

Last week, I started looking at the budget. We had money left in some of the categories: pets, medical, cleaning supplies, toiletries. I thought about the declining loan balance and got intense. I transferred those extra dollars to the line item for the debt an made a large payment which included that extra money. I had a bit of blow money left over and sent that as well. It wasn’t a tremendous amount of money but all the extra money added together was a nice extra bonus on the debt snowball.

And I forgot to look at the grocery budget. We had $19 left in the grocery budget and it had to last a week. Did I mention I was planning to make my husband’s birthday dinner this week? And we were out of bread. And milk. Oh yeah and Splenda (which we use to make iced tea which we drink every day). And coffee creamer. This was shaping up to be a bad week, especially if I couldn’t have coffee!

I could transfer a few dollars from somewhere to get us through the week. Oh wait. I just sent all that extra money to the student loan servicer. Yup. Bad week.

I was so excited to pay down the loan that I forgot that we might need food. Food is kinda important, right? Nah, it’ll be good for the diet. Yeah, not so much.

Don’t worry. We are not going to starve. I made some bread because we did have flour, yeast and dry milk. I also made some Italian bread. Both recipes were from the The Cook’s Illustrated Cookbook (which is my go to cookbook for just about everything). We had some chicken so I made grilled chicken and pasta.

My husband requested lasagna for his birthday dinner. My pantry is pretty low at the moment so the only thing I had on hand was jarred spaghetti sauce. No ground beef in the freezer. No lasagna noodles. I didn’t even have any mozzarella cheese (we almost always have mozzarella cheese in the house). I didn’t even have milk to make bechamel.

I went to Wal-Mart with my $19 to see if I could pull this together. The priority was coffee creamer, Splenda and lasagna ingredients. Of course, I walk through the door and see the most beautiful bananas that I’ve seen in months. I grab some hoping that there is some way on God’s green Earth that these will fit into my budget. I was fairly certain I was going to put them back. The grocery gods were with me on that trip. I got the last small bag of generic Splenda, which was the same unit price as the large bag but I didn’t have to spend almost half my budget. I also got the last marked down package of ground beef in the store.

With my bananas, the total was $18.68. I got everything on my list and got to take home my bananas. The lasagna was amazing. Husband was very happy about his birthday dinner. We had enough lasagna left over to make a second meal with it which we will probably eat on Tuesday (his actual birthday). I have some cheese left over so I’ll probably make chicken parmesan. We’ll also have breakfast for dinner and probably hot dogs. We certainly aren’t going to starve.

Seeing my grocery budget that low was a bit, no very unnerving. Before sending money to the debt snowball, I really need to slow down and make sure we’ve got enough money in the budget for everything we need. In the future, I’m going to make sure to wait until the last day of the budget before sending extra payments. Well, I’ll try my best.

Have you ever cut your budget so tight you were worried you wouldn’t make it? 

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  • Hahah I just did that a week ago! “Oh, sure, I have all this extra money for this bill!” Fast forward a day, and I realized I had nothing in the gas budget for my car. Good thing we had a gift card because otherwise that would have been “fun”.

    • Kristin Ingram

      Thank God for gas cards!