ARE DEBT FREE (except our mortgage)

I am so happy, I am in tears! We are debt free again. Of course we still have our mortgage, we are debt free besides that. We had a $2800 interest free debt for our truck loan, just last week. I made a $400 payment and tonight we got a text from the person who the loan was through, telling us to consider our loan paid in full. You don’t know how happy I am. Feeling very blessed. I am seriously crying. My kids think I am wacky!

Garden #2 is in….

So garden #1 was the “show me” garden I planted in the front yard planter to prove to DH that we could “grow vegetables” in the front, south facing yard without it “looking bad.” The stuff I planted there (kale) has been ready for harvest for quite a few weeks, and it has been really nice just to step outside and grab food daily when we need it.

I’m establishing 4 areas this year as gardens (pictures of some on the gardening page of the blog). #1 is the planter/show me garden. #2 is what I did today, which is along the front of the house, 4 feet wide by 15 feet long. It was just a complete mess of crab grass, so that all had to come out. It is now “square footed” having been dug up & crabgrass removed, newspaper laid down, and 2-4-6 inches of compost laid on top of newspaper depending on where in the garden it was (last year I had composted about a 4 foot square section on the end, so it was pretty high already).

It is now full of broccoli, kale, a few pole beans, (all grown from seed) and four-ish grape vines. I still need to find someone to come and dump wood chips as a covering. That method has worked really well.

Garden area #3 in the back yard is not doing so well. We dug it up, laid newspaper, laid down 4-5″ of wood chips, but the soil underneath was so, so, so bad, that the stuff I planted in early February pretty much died off. Of course, my ignoring it didn’t help either. I am going to try and see if I can get transplants for cheap, like onions, or maybe cucumbers and celery. I have learned from that “failure” that when you plant your transplants even with a BTE garden method, you still need to get them plenty of water for the first few weeks.

Garden area #4 is a huge project that really will have to be done in the next week or two. It’s ripping out the rest of the front yard grass and turning it in to a vegetable garden. It’s sloped, so not only do we need to rip it out, I have to find free fill dirt to level it off.

Still, all in all, it’s nice to have a successful vegetable garden (so far) for a change 🙂

We all try to do a zero based budget

As long as you are saving, paying all your bills, and doing the baby steps, it doesn’t really matter how often you tweak your budget as long as it’s working!
We tweak ours weekly because that is how we get paid.

Budgets…

I have read where most of you budget weekly or monthly. Is that because of your pay periods? Dh and I get paid two times a month, should I just budget each time we get paid, budget monthly or budget for like 6 months? I have a budget going but I have it for like a year. I do go in and tweak it almost monthly. Thanks for any input.

The book I was telling gives you the list of kids and how each condition if on the list or not is considered

It has helped us a lot. It explains all the forms, each step of the process, and gives you tips to get approved. It is kind of a law book but pretty easy to read. More than once I have had to go back to it for reference. Main thing is being very detailed and it helps to get copies of all your records yourself to send with the application. They can take forever to get them. Then they go to SSA in Kentucky to get scanned
And then the examiner can see them. We have chased everything ourselves and so far have not been denied first go round like a lot of people. The good news is if you get denied most people who are legit will eventually get approved. Even with the wait it would be worth it. Remember 30% of people can get approved the first time and it could be you!

I knew this was the right place to ask my question!

Thanks for the support, Oli! I’m humbled by your kind words. We will be looking into all the details after we get our kiddos into the Clinic to be fully assessed…I’ll be calling soon to get that going.

Our PTSD/Anxiety kiddo is in the process of being evaluated so we can get him the help he needs….he struggles to even do his school work and it scares me that he won’t be able to hold down a job due to his instability emotional/mentally. We’ll cross that bridge when we get there, though.

Our dd was born with several birth defects

They all have been addressed mecdically/surgically but will never go away completely. There is always the possibility of future treatment or surgery. Even with insurance, there have been lots of expenses beyond the medical … travel to/from a clinic/hospital almost 2 hours away at that time. We had multiple trips … often each month. We did not qualify for such assistance due to income. It really stretched our budget due to hotel stays, food away from home, gas, etc.

Life changed later and dd qualified due to a change in dh’s job/income. It was a blessing to us. We have always kept medical insurance on dd on our own. The SSI/Medicaid filled in the gaps by paying the stuff that went toward the high deductible, etc.

I must admit that from time to time I have felt guilt over it all. Dh reminds me that we have been employed all of our adult life paying taxes for this kind of thing. Dd did not choose to have the problems she does and he and I didn’t either. You didn’t choose for your children to have issues either. In fact, you are providing a life for them that may have been impossible for them in their home country. I applaud you for making this brave decision and following through. It cannot have been easy.

When our dd received SSI no taxes were taken out. From what I understand it is non-taxable income. If laws are still the same, you will not be taxed on the SSI at tax time. It was direct deposited in to a bank account. There were no restrictions on what it could be used for. We used it for whatever dd needed.

I am not sure how it is now but when dd received SSI, we were told that if she received even as little as $1.00 per month from SSI, she would qualify for Medicaid.

At some point our income went back up and dd no longer qualified for the SSI, so no more Medicaid. I believe dd was a teenager when this happened.

When dd was 18, we helped her reapply for SSI. Even though she lived at home they counted only her income when she turned 18. Income from dh and me was not in effect with this application. It did not count against her to live at home. The reapplication went pretty quickly since they had all her info on hand.

Dd is now 26 years old. She has recieved SSDI (social security disability income) since the age of 18. Dd works part time and it does not diminish the amount she makes ….. at least with the amount she makes. Dd works part-time at a preschool. She also had medicare. She still medicaid eligible as well.

I hope this helps in some way. I believe you are trying to help your children and that is all that matters. Only the people you tell will kow they are on SSI. Those who question your motives are not true friends. Your true friends know you are doing the best you can given the circumstances.

It is Nolo’s guide to social security disability

I think the newest edition is 2016 but 2017 might be out. It explains it better than the main SSA site. It has more detail and explains everything step by step. It explains children Verizon adults. I read everything online I could find and it still helped us a lot. It also explains how children get handled after 18. I didn’t pay that much attention to the children part when I read it. I borrowed it from the library. It’s a $30 book. NOLO does the law for all series books. I hope that helps some – payday loans no credit check. Another tip is most disability lawyers don’t charge if you win first go round and you can get one with a flat fee that comes out of your backpay. Ours gets $6000 Max no matter what but if we win first go round it’s free. If we get denied first time it is worth it to pay him.

I doubt there is any one on here

that would possibly think you had gone to China, adopted special needs children, devoted your love, time and life as a profit gaining experience… I personally would feel encouraged if the money we pour into taxes had a positive ring to it :)..

Don’t feel scummy for applying

If I were in your situation, I would do it. I gave the same speech to a friend of mine about WIC/food stamps. her DH was military (we know how much they make), her youngest was 6m old and she got sick…she could no longer breastfeed, do child care and they had sold off most of their stuff just trying to stay afloat.

In the long run, your children would have gotten the necessary care to get them to become productive adults.

Living in California

we get a lot of medical assistance and government benefits when we are in need of them and while not a perfect system – I feel completely blessed to have access to them when I need them.

I sure would not feel bad in the least is there was a medical benefit available for my youngest and I accepted the assistance – that is what it is there for. Her medical bills are overwhelming at times but we are blessed that most is paid for through our taxes and if we did not have drug insurance, there is assistance for that thank goodness. One of her meds is 5K per month and when she was on growth hormones, that was another 7K every 3 months. There is even a scholarship available that she can apply for with her medical condition – we are going to apply for that as well…It would be leaving money on the table to not take all the opportunities available for her to succeed.

It is taking a hand up not a hand out. Healthy people = productive people.

BTW…My three bundles of joy (when they are not hormonal) are all from China as well.

There is no reason to feel scummy

You are giving the children exactly what they need. A loving home. I consider myself blessed for having made your acquaintance.
Look at it this way, would it be “better” to let them do without a medical/mental treatment, because you can’t afford it? Or because you feel “scummy?” Would it be better for the other children in the family to ‘do without” while you pay for their treatment? The answer is NO! Your job, as the good parent you are, is to make certain ALL of your children the best loving care you can and if getting assistance in doing that is required then you do it.
You pay taxes right? In fact there will be taxes taken out of any money/treatments they might receive. So why do the children not deserve the financial/medical/mental help?
As for future implications on their rights, only ss can tell you that. Getting them help now might actually help them because it will give documentation of the problems they have had all their lives.

SSI Questions

Our two blessings from China are eligible to apply for SSI for their Spina Bifida (and our son with mental disorders but that’s a whole other post) and we are considering doing that at some point to help offset the medical end of things. Part of me feel scummy for even thinking about it…I don’t want people thinking I’m doing it just for the money.

What, long-term, does this mean for them as adults? Obviously, they will always have complications and challenges due to their special needs and that won’t ever be “outgrown”.

TMMO Book

I have an extra copy of the Total Money Makeover (no dust cover) that I am willing to send to someone that will use it.
And to make it more interesting (and make it easier for me to pick someone), I have a trivia question that has nothing to do with LL, money or budgets. It’s just my a line from my favorite movie! Who said:

“Hats for bats. Keep bats warm ..”

And for extra credit, what is the actor doing now?

Feel free to send me the answer privately.

Our great news of the week!

My DH’s disability got approved first time through!! Only 30% are. I am excited. We won’t receive any money till it goes through the processing center. Later on we will receive back pay. We plan to tithe, make the house more handicap accessible and invest for his future health needs. We knew we would know soon but it still feels insane. A special thanks to Jan and Kimberly for helping me through that long wait!

Frugal and delicious!

So this, I’m sure is old hat for some of you professional baking types, but I just made my first homemade chocolate pudding! It’s always been Jello brand in my house…. But this was Yummy and all with ingredients I had on hand!

Here’s what Ben has to say about the book:

My favorite thing about the book is that each person profiled, or “Debt Hero”, got into and out of debt in a different way. So as you read the book you’ll connect with the profiles that are relevant to your individual financial situation.

Each person shares their main downfall that played a big part in them getting into debt. They also share the most effective method they used to get out of debt. So you get a feel for the financial mistakes made / hardships endured and also how they beat debt.

Debt Heroes

My friend Ben from MoneySmartLife.com just finished up his new book.
It’s called Debt Heroes and profiles 21 different personal financial bloggers or authors that struggled with and successfully paid off large amounts of debt. Collectively they paid down over $1.7 million in debt!

The book is part of a program called KDP Select on Amazon that allows Ben to give it away for 5 days every 3 months.

Today is the 5th day (sorry for the short notice) in the promotion so after tonight Amazon automatically raises the price.

Even if you don’t have time to read it now, go download it for when you have a few minutes to check it out. Here’s the link (you don’t need a Kindle to read it). You can read it on a Kindle app on an iPhone or Android phone

We’re slowly recovering here from my whirlwind trip to Phoenix for the funeral last week

Parents ended up covering the cost of the flight, so monetarily we weren’t out that amount (which was a darn good thing because it was $943 for that RT ticket). I stayed at my Mom’s house and was shuttled around in various family member cars, so no hotel or rental car fee either. Financially, it only cost us some vacation time for DH since he stayed home to tend the farm while I was gone, and the parking fee at the near-airport garage. I didn’t feel too badly about that one since taking the shuttle down would have been just as expensive.

But there was also the sudden paradigm shift from a DR type of “don’t spend it unless you have it” lifestyle, which we’ve only been on for 18 months, back into the “spend like there’s no tomorrow” lifestyle for most of the rest of our family/friends. On the one hand, it was jarring to hear folks talk about all the services they hire out – cleaning houses, tending yards, doing 1001 other things that my DH and I do for ourselves now (either to save money or because we always liked doing them for ourselves anyway). On the other hand, dang it was sure nice to be back in the realm of new furniture, new sheets on the bed, new dishes in the new kitchen, new appliances, new clothes in the closet, new new new new everything. Our life seems so ……….. dingy ………. by comparison.

I got on the return plane feeling rather discouraged by our self-imposed hardships, and I knew that most of our family and friends would either question (or have already questioned) the wisdom of “doing without” for the sake of paying off some bills. Never fear, DR fans, I was also working on 4hrs of sleep at the time, so nothing looked particularly appealing at that moment except my own darn bed. But getting home and getting back into the swing of things, I’m once again convinced that this really is the right way to go. We aren’t at the point yet where we can drop $1000 on airfare without blinking. We can, however, look forward to that day coming when we have quite a nice stash of cash BECAUSE we’re not paying on old debts anymore.

I got home in time for end-of-month paying off this-or-that bill, and it actually felt sort of good to do so. We may never be jet-setters. And I will probably never have as nice a house as my mom (which is an ongoing sore point for both of us, but we’re working on it). Yet I can look forward to the day when we can say we don’t owe money to anyone, and everything we have is ours, and maybe we won’t spend it on new sheets and new dishes and such. But we’ll spend it according to our priorities, not someone else’s. So I guess that’s a pretty good way to start a new week and new month.

The qualification process is not all the same between children and adults

Soc. Sec. has a list of qualifying conditions. If your children have one of those, then possibly it can go quicker, but not always. If their conditions are not listed, then they will try to find an equivalent condition to match it to. Our dd has at least one qualifying condition because I’ve seen the list and, like your kids, won’t outgrow it or be “cured”. If I can find the list, I’ll try to send it to you by email.

My revolution for today

I have no real homework because we are debt free! So today for the first time ever I am taking my kids to the movies! It’s a cheap $3 movie but, I am excited. Dave is right money’s fun when you got some and before I found Dave I never had some. So, if your still paying your debt remember one day you too shall be free!!!!!!!