Monday, March 25, 2013

We've graduated!

Team Watkins aka #DebtSlayers2013 have graduated from FPU! Woot woot! It was kind of funky how it ended. We got to class about ten minutes late, and instead of waiting until the end to go through questions, the facilitators did this in the beginning. We thought it was odd, but I wasn't concerned because I honestly didn't want to go through them. The same six or seven people always answer, and I've grown tired of hearing my own voice in class. Nonetheless, the class ended with a whimper instead of a BANG! After 9 weeks of seeing the same people, learning Dave's baby steps and money principles, and sharing our life experiences,  the facilitator got up and said "Okay, that's it. Everyone can go home now." For real? That's it? Dan and I are excited about being facilitators at Alfred Street, but I know one thing we aren't having is people leaving without a support network or a proper send off. It was just shameful.

Okay that was the negative. Here is the positive. Our class started off with $1.1 million dollars in non-mortgage debt. In 9 weeks, we paid off $52K+. How awesome is that? Dan and I accounted for 15% of this debt alone! Before I think there was only about $24k in savings and at the end of the course our class had $95k+ put into their savings account. That was just nine weeks. Things will start to move faster and the debt slaying and savings accounts will only get bigger over time. I hope everyone stays on it. I know we will.

Starting Debt January 2013- $13,366.54
Current Debt March 2013- $5,182.87
Difference- $8,183.67

What's better is that we have a huge payment that we are making on Dan's student loan this week because we had an extra pay period this month! We'll be done next month!

Other Goals:
Joint Bible Study- Not so great, but we set our days and they are not to be negotiated anymore. Sundays and Tuesdays. I've started a women's Bible Study at church and I've read 1/3 of the Bible.

Weight Loss- March hasn't been a great month for weight loss. I definitely hit a plateau, but I won't let it stop me. I've lost 14 of my 30 lbs so far, and I know I can lose at least 2 more this week if I can get over this nasty sinus issue. I hate allergies!

Making Friends- We met another couple in FPU, and the husband is just as big of a nerd as Dan. The fiance is cool too. Dan and Eric are bonding, and it's so cute.

Volunteering- I'm going to take on an official role with Cub Scouts at Church. After our last lesson on giving in FPU, I became fired up and ready to go. I didn't want to commit at first because I know there are other things I want to do, but I like the little guys and they give me a healthy dose of birth control every time I see them.

Career Change- My meeting got moved, but on April 10th at 12:30, I'll be meeting with the director over financial education at the CFPB. I'm praying! Pray for me! I've been blessed to work at FERC, but Lord knows I need something that has meaning to it for me.

There are some other things, but I don't know what they are right now. I need to go read a previous post.

I'll try to be more consistent but life has been a haze of tissue, meds, coughing, and liquids. I just want to run!

Have a blessed day!

- Team Watkins

Thursday, March 7, 2013


For the first time in my post wedding life, I'm setting goals AND accomplishing them. Here are some of my goals for "The Last Year Before 30":

1. Read the Bible in it's entirety. I've read 20% of it in 15 days.
2. Do a joint Bible study with the hubby. We started one this week.
3. Attempt to let my husband be the head of our household. I'm really struggling on this one. I think I'm going to fail.....I am giving it a valiant effort.
4. Prepare myself for a career change. I meet someone tomorrow to work on that.
5. Lose 30 lbs and focus on being healthy. I'm down 11 lbs, but I think I've hit a plateau already. Sigh.
6. Call my Grandma at least once a month. I always have such great conversations with her.
7. Become better equipped financially. Working on it (Debt Slayers 2013)!
8. Show love to people more often. Volunteering more often would be a great start. I should stop to talk to Clayton and Freddie more often. (I think Freddie may be crushing on me. He gives me that "Hey Gurl!" wave in the mornings and then asks for change. He could just want the money.....)
9. Worry less.
10. Cook more.
11. Do something with my hair! I've been rocking the same style since I've been natural. I guess I'm overdue for a change.

I read somewhere that writing down your goals increases your likelihood of achieving them. Looks like I have about 8 new things I can write about.

These are my goals for The Last Year Before 30". Nothing crazy. I just wanted them to be achievable. Now, when I turn 30, this list will look be insane. Why wait until 30? I've got some basics I need to get accomplished first. 2013 is shaping up.

Have a wonderful and blessed evening!

Monday, March 4, 2013

Insurance: Better Late Than Never

Last night in our FPU course, we focused on Insurance. When I saw the topic, I was ready! I've got this or did I? I didn't. I really didn't. I actually felt a little immature that I didn't have it together like I thought I did. We have health, life, long term disability, auto, and rental insurance, so I thought we were good to go. It's great that we have these things, but 1. Do we fully understand our policies? (No) and 2. How often do we review them? (Rarely) Last night's lesson wasn't just about understanding and reviewing our policies and comprehending premiums and deductibles, but it was about protecting ourselves from liabilities that we are not financially capable of handling on our own. It's why we have insurance.

It should have dawned on me a few weeks ago when I took a trip to Target. I was getting ready to make a left hand turn on to a street that I have made hundreds of left hand turns on, and I've done it plenty of times at night. This particular night as I was getting ready to turn, I didn't see that there was a woman crossing the street (Yes, she had the right of way.). I was so close to her that I could see the paralyzing fear on her face. She stood in the street frozen from fright because my vehicle was less than a foot away from her. I too was frightened like I've never been in my life. My first thought was that I could have seriously injured this woman or worse. I had to let my window down to apologize to her. She told me that it was "okay", but no it wasn't. My carelessness could have cost her her life, potential jail time for myself, and created a financial liability on my family that we aren't equipped to handle.

I continued along my journey to Target, and I thanked God for the blessings he bestowed on both of us. I thanked him for having properly functioning brakes, and it dawned on me just how important FPU is because what if my insurance wasn't enough to cover her medical expenses if I had hit her. That was a great reason why 6 months living expenses would have been needed. All of this dawned on me except to check my auto insurance policy! I found out last night that we have been riding around with what I'll call "basic" auto insurance. It's the minimum that the state of VA requires. I'm almost 30 years old, and I'm rolling around with basic! Now it's one thing if that's all you can afford, but for 1, 2, 3, 4 $10 extra a month, I was able to increase my insurance by 20 times more than what I previously had. INSANE!!!! Now, we know we have way more than what we need, but there was only a $2 difference between really great coverage and insane coverage, so I got a little crazy.

Our lack of coverage isn't about maturity but about financial literacy. It's a topic that I love, but even I didn't have it all together. I shared the topic with friends, and I found out that many of them had just increased their rates or they needed to review their policy as well. Some didn't respond at all, but that's okay. I just hope they read the e-mail.

Insurance really is one of those peace of mind financial products out there. I encourage all to learn more about it and make sure you have the right coverage. We all know that we need it, but fully understanding what we have is a different story. Insurance is marketed to us on a purely emotional level for a reason. Companies know that you don't want to leave your loved ones behind with a financial burden. If you put aside your feelings about marketing and salespeople, you will find that this one is pretty spot on. I don't want to leave Daniel with a ton of debt, a decrease in household income, and have to deal with my death. We want to make sure that if anything happens to either of us, the other one will be okay at least financially.

I love how God doesn't stop speaking to you. You may have not gotten it the first time, but he'll find another way to get your attention. I'm very appreciative that I didn't have to go through the School of Hard Knocks for this one, and I hope that this may prevent someone else from being a part of the School of Hard Knocks Class of 2013.

- Debt Free in 2013