|This is a portion of the "book" of claims associated with the |
pregnancy, birth, and Tennyson's hospitalizations. You know it's bad when
the claim recaps arrive by a shipped package instead of through the regular mail.
When the bills hit following my high-risk pregnancy, c-section, and four weeks of hospitalization for Tennyson, they hit hard. One evening while paying bills I realized I had spent over an hour clicking "submit" and writing checks. I then counted the billing statements piled up to my side- 22. We were paying 22 bills each month!
I've long been on the side of wanting less debt in our lives. Now, we needed less debt. Just keeping up with all the statements that arrived throughout the month was a nightmare. Yet, I've been told several times to "not worry about it" and to "just pay something no matter how small the amount." Ugh, such bad advice. First, not everyone will accept just any amount. Nearly all of the bills required a $25-50/month minimum payment (uh huh..do the math). Second, debt should be something to be concerned about. If we just didn't worry about it then we'd eventually find ourselves stretched too thin and living paycheck to paycheck. Opportunities, including that of working within the home and affording additional children, would be severely limited.
I ended that evening of bill paying with a good laugh at the ridiculousness of it all and a resolve to see it gone. My plan has been to use the debt snowball method. I rank all the bills according to amount, smallest to largest. Each time I finish paying a bill, I first and foremost resist the temptation to consider it as funds gained. Then, I apply it to the minimal payment of the next bill. Little by little the giant stack of twenty-two bills is getting smaller. Bills are being paid off completely years sooner than the minimal payment plan! That's an incredible burden lifted and life regained!
Despite the debt-elimination motivation gained from current progress, we still aren't aiming at being completely debt free. We desire to focus on being debt-limited and continue allowing our family to grow. Since we know that all pregnancies will be high-risk and followed by a premature c-section birth and NICU stay, we do have to be mindful of finances. We want the expenses from one child to be manageable, so that we could then safely take on additional expenses associated with another child. Waiting until one child's expenses is completely paid before having another child would risk not having that additional child at all (did you see the giant stack in the photo?!). Honestly, it's freeing to know that we are making choices that permit us to continue to accept a child whenever God see's fit. (It's also freeing to know that I don't have to keep up with paying twenty-two bills every month!). Hooray for making progress! :)