11 days. $184. Can we do it?

by Erika Torres

Have you ever just felt like you were drowning in finances? And no matter what you do, something always comes along to break down the hard work you’ve done?

That’s how I’m feeling this month.

I’ve been avoiding talking about finances because, let’s face it, we’re barely keeping afloat.

The hard work that we accomplished in 2010 by becoming credit card-debt free has evaporated. We’re currently holding on to about $1500 on our credit cards. Every month we try and get ahead, and every month we fall behind.

It’s been expensive to send Eric on all his fire interviews and tests. This month alone, it has cost us over $1,000—but it’s necessary to spend all this money so he can eventually get a job. Catch-22, right? It helped that I was able to use all the money for Costa Rica we had saved so far, but to be honest, it barely kept us afloat.

On top of that, I recently found out something that’s going to cost another $430 to pay off. It’s something I can’t really talk about, but let’s just say it has left me very hurt, confused, and angry.

However, I like to keep this blog as honest as possible. If anything, I hope people learn from us that finances don’t just go away—you always have to constantly work at it. Sort of like relationships.

I know that, come August, everything will be paid off. Our tax return should help, and if need be, once we get to $5,000 of our $8,000 savings goal, I’d like to try and put some funds toward our credit card.

What can I say? I really, really DESPISE credit card debt.

We have $184 to get us through April 8th. That includes gas (which now costs $4 a gallon!!! or $50 to fill up my tank) and groceries (I’ve been stocking up on $3 whole chickens from Ralphs). However, I think we will splurge on our anniversary, which is this Saturday.

Let this 11-day spending challenge begin!

image found here

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jobo March 30, 2011 - 6:37 pm

UGH! I HATE when I am totally broke for more than a week. I’ve been there too, way more often than I care to admit 😉 Anyway, you have the right attitude and I hope you can celebrate with Eric this weekend! BTW I am in town next week if you want to meet up or have dinner…my treat?! 🙂 (otherwise, week of 4/18!)

the MRS. March 30, 2011 - 3:36 pm


Good luck. We are a single income family right now as we pay legals fees towards a green card…. I know what you mean about unexpected expenses, making a tiny amount of money last for a week and so on. Its been a real change of pace for me.

while I was single I could spend on whatever I wanted. Saved as much as I wanted and pretty much didnt have to worry about money. Now, I am the EXACT opposite.

♥ Celina

Check out one of our latest adventures {The Hellfire Sushi Challenge}

MJ March 30, 2011 - 12:31 pm

I recently stumbled across your site because I was googled newlyweds budgets. I’m getting married in one month and I’m already feeling like I’m drowning in finances. right now 184 dollars sounds good to me! reading your blog has been so helpful and I’m completely going through your how to budget page now and figuring out what we will do to make this work. Thanks so much for sharing your story 🙂

Oh and I’m sure you’ve heard of Dave Ramsey. But seriously, his financial advice is SO helpful!

A Super Girl March 30, 2011 - 8:10 am

Hi! I found you from Teacher Girl Blogs. Anywho, this post is hitting home a little because I’ve been trying to be more conscious about tracking my spending for the first time this month and it feels like it’s been the LONGEST MONTH EVER!

Lindy Mint March 29, 2011 - 2:32 pm

Yep. You can do it. It’ll be fun. (I expect to hear tales of you pulling all sorts of Little House on the Prairie type hacks to make it through too).

There are some months that seem to bring all sorts of bad money news. And others that are boring and predictable and really good for your wallet. But yeah, I know how you feel.

Laura Lewis March 29, 2011 - 9:42 am

I know how you feel. When I got my townhome in 2008 I was able to receive the $7,000 credit which I used to pay off my $4000 in credit card debt at the time. Three years later and we are just now in the process of using our tax return to pay off about 1/2 of another $4000 or so in credit cards. My husband went through the whole thing of traveling to get a job — it was not easy! Thankfully his parents helped pay for a couple of his trips. You guys can do it!

IntrigueMe March 28, 2011 - 7:35 pm

Hey, don’t be so hard on yourself!!

You know, in the grand scheme of things, you guys don’t really have that much debt. I know that debt sucks, but think about how much debt the average person our age holds…. you are FAR below it. If your credit cards are at $1500 for a few months, it’s not a big deal. It will go up and it will go down, don’t stress yourself out. 🙂

FYI- this is something I’ve only recently learned how to do! I think sometimes we get so afraid of *ending up* deep in debt that we obsess out about having just a little bit of it. Like you said in a previous post, you’re not poor. Well, you’re not really “in debt” either.

Teacher Girl March 28, 2011 - 6:39 pm

I feel like this nearly every single time I think about money, which is why I tend to just ignore things and then they pile up and get worse and then I panic even more =(
*hugs* You’ll get through it.

Maggie March 28, 2011 - 5:36 pm

I know how you feel! it has cost us a hew hundred dollars for Bobbys fire department and we didnt have to fly anywhere. And i know what you feel like for being one step behind. We moved in with Bobbys parents so we can catch up and its been 2 months and i still feel like we havent even made any changes.

prettylittlereckless March 28, 2011 - 5:02 pm

Credit card debt IS evil. I’ve been battling my own $1500 CC debt for the past year. I swore last year I wouldn’t put my CC over $100, as last year I used my entire tax return paying off my CC. Welp, I’m doing it again this year. Not happy with myself. Plus I was looking at buying a house! Probably nowhere in the near future, but perhaps within the next 3 years I would like to married or not!

Shannon March 28, 2011 - 4:50 pm

I can’t believe it has been a year already. ….wow…Congrats! Love you guys!

Jessica07 March 28, 2011 - 1:30 pm

Credit card debt is a vicious cycle–no doubt about it. It’s hard not to get back into the cycle even after you’ve broken free. Today’s culture seems to be pushing the idea of how important credit is, so it only seems natural that if credit is such a good thing, you should use that sought-after credit. The greater the credit, the more in debt they’ll allow you to be.

You can break the cycle!!! I know you can, or you wouldn’t have started a whole blog around the idea of newly weds on a budget. You’ll get there. Just like Lindsay said, “Take it one day at a time.”

We’re all rooting for you! 🙂

Lindsay March 28, 2011 - 11:47 am

Just take it one day at a time! Your credit debt payoff was such a great motivator for me. My husband and I will be able to pay off our debt 2 months earlier than expected! The fact that you are aware and know what you need to do to get back on track is key. You’ll make it!

Kelly March 28, 2011 - 10:44 am

I hate unexpected money drains….. I’m currently working on getting rid of my credit card debt again. I’ve had it paid off several times and it seems like you blink and it’s back again! I hate it… I’m trying to train myself that I absolutely do not “need” the things that I’ve used it on in the past… If I don’t have the money, I don’t get it…

Of course there are always emergencies or things that come up that do warrant its use, but I still feel guilty even when I absolutely have to use it…

And gas prices SUCK right now. I’m up to $57 – $60 to fill my tank… Gross. Stupid expensive Southern California……

The Coach's Wife March 28, 2011 - 9:50 am

You can do it!!!!! It will be hard, but hey.. spagetti is cheap and you can live off that for a few days! We had a VERY expensive March, with moving, paying closing costs, getting a few essentials for our new home, replacing things broken in the move (sadly the washer and dryer- not an expense we wanted to have- ugh) so I feel your pain. We are on the spaghetti diet for the whole month of April. Oh, and I got audited for my 2008 taxes (late much IRS??) and have to pay $300 to them. Boo. So I’m rooting for you girly!!!


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