When Bear and I first got together, our relationship moved very quickly. We had our first date in the middle of November, he first asked me to marry him at Christmas, I moved in with him the following March. The same spring I moved in with him, we started the arduous process of combining our finances. One of the things that became clear to me early on was that Bear was in a lot of financial trouble and that it wasn't his fault. You see, Bear's mother passed away when Bear was 18, after a long battle with cancer. Because she had been sick for so long, Bear had been forced to work full time as well as go to school full time just to make ends meet. It is tough to make ends meet, however, so after his mother's death Bear was stuck with a pile of past due bills. We talked a lot about the bills he had in collections, and how he couldn't get a loan to pay them off because they had ruined his credit score. My credit was excellent, however, so we hatched a plan for me to take out a $10,000 dollar loan and pay off most of his debt and a bit of mine as well. The loan was for three years and had a monthly payment amount of $351.52.
We have been paying that amount each month for nearly our entire relationship. It was supposed to be paid off this summer, but due to life getting in the way (doesn't it always?), we are a few months behind. This loan has become a pain in our collective ass. We want more than anything to get the frigger paid off so we can put that money towards other things.
Last week while Bear and I were both not working (his last week of layoff, my Feb. vacation), we hatched a plan. A budget that will get the loan paid off in August, just one month later than originally planned. It means, however, that instead of paying #351.52 a month, from March to August we will be paying $800 a month.
Eight hundred dollars a month.
On the one hand, I'm thrilled that we found that much money in our budget to throw at our debt. I didn't realize we had that much left over after bills are paid. On the other hand, though, it makes things *very* tight for us for the entire spring and most of the summer months. It means fewer camping trips and cookouts, fewer yarn and fiber purchases, fewer adventures in the world together. I'm slowly becoming accustomed to this, but it hasn't been easy. I know that this is important and that we are doing what's best for us. But I am going to need a lot of help in putting my debit card away for the next six months. A lot of help. Any ideas for things we can do on the cheap?