Hello wise readers. I have a lot on my mind these days and sometimes, I just REALLY don’t know what to do. I can ask a few friends (and I do) but I always want more opinions. So I’ll be asking you all for your thoughts on some of this stuff because you all have experience, wisdom and perspective that I lack and I’d love to avoid mistakes by learning from all of you.
So here is my first question. It might seem supremely silly or stupid but I’ve been going back and forth on this for a little while and I really want to make a decision and just move on already.
First a little background.
So, as you all know, I’m paying off some credit card debt that we racked up during my maternity leave, when our insurance coverage through Mi.Vida’s work was stalled for several months. I was able to put the entirety of my tax return toward the debt, so now I have about $7000 left. It’s on a 0%APR-until-March-2015 card, so it’s not currently accruing interest. My hope is that I can get half paid off by the end of the year and the other half paid off when we get our next tax return in 2015. If that is the case, I’ll only be paying interest on it for a few months, while we wait for our tax return.
Of course things can happen and the resolution of our debt might not be so neat and tidy resolution. We just had to spend over $5000 on a plumbing problem in the tenant’s unit and we have a LOOOOONG list of projects we really should do on the house, so who knows where we’ll be in a year.
Anyway, that is where we stand debt wise. We’ve tightened our budget. We’re living within our means. We’re putting money toward our debt every month. We’re living frugally but not denying ourselves EVERYTHING. We still go to the movies every three or so months. We still treat ourselves to burritos once or twice a month. I’m taking our daughter to Disneyland for her birthday (though my parents are paying, as a present to both of us). My point is that, we’re giving ourselves a little leeway–we feel we can afford a little happiness here and there, despite not actually being able to afford it.
Having said that we are denying ourselves quite a bit. We are making sacrifices. Every time I make a purchase I consider the fact that any money I spend is money I can’t put toward our debt. I want to get rid of that balance on my credit card. I want us back in the black.
So here, almost 450 words later, is where I finally ask the question. I want to do some work on my yard this summer. I want to plant more miniature stone crop in the middle square of the yard (half of it died in the great clover take over of 2013, and the other half just hasn’t spread very quickly, but is still thriving) and I want to plant succulents on the left side (the blue star creeper was also choked out by clover–I think it got too much sun over there too). I think all in all it will cost about $500, maybe $600 at the most, but I can’t decide if I should do it. It certainly isn’t a necessity. I can keep what is still growing alive until next summer when hopefully we’ll have more money to plant these things. But if I plant them now, then the ground cover can spread all year and the yard could be done next summer, and we could actually be enjoying it when Monito is walking and I need a good place to hang out with the kids.
I REALLY want to have ground cover in the middle square, so there is actually a place for the kids to play (that isn’t concrete). And I really want something besides dead plants on the left side because, well, dead plants don’t look nice. They look dead, and they depress me. I worked SO HARD on my yard last summer, and I learned a lot about what I need to do to keep it healthy and happy this past year. I know this year I’ll be more successful combatting the problems that overwhelmed me last winter and led to the demise of certain sections of the year. Also, it’s supposed to rain a lot this coming winter, and after the crazy drought we are still suffering this year, it’d be great to watch nature do all the watering work, so that my garden can not just grown, but thrive.
So, do I spend the $500ish dollars on the backyard, even though that means I don’t get my debt paid off as quickly? Or do I not buy the plants and pay off the debt, waiting until we’re in the black to spend that kind of money? I know people will have different opinions on this, and that no one answer is necessarily the right one, I just want to know what you all think, so I can make the best decision.
Thanks in advance for your wise words.