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No. of Recommendations: 10

Loan Aug. 2016 Jul. 2016
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A/C Loan (7.36%) 7,900 0
Student Loan 1 (6.41%) $18,533 $18,693
Car Loan (4.45%) 8,511 8,685
Student Loan 2 (3.86%) 5,206 5,256
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$40,150 $32,634
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Well, as is so often the case whenever I start getting a little ahead, along comes a four-figure expense to throw a monkey-wrench into my efforts to get out of debt. It might be a totaled car, an expensive home repair, or a major medical expense.

Anyone who says it's hard to get out of debt is silly. I've been doing it every year for twenty-seven years.</joke>

In this case, the expense was a new air-conditioning unit, as our 13-year-old Builder's Special finally gave up the ghost. After draining my emergency fund dry, I was forced to get a personal loan at a local bank. I'll probably balance transfer it to a credit card--hardly a day goes by when I don't get an BT offer in the mail, and that rate makes me sick to my stomach.

I'm still better off than I was a year ago--September of 2015 my loan balance was more than $52,000. So I'm calling this the Three-Steps-Forward-Two-Steps-Back Shuffle. It's not in the same league as a Happy Dance.

On the plus side, I did also manage to put $537.16 into my Loan Payoff savings fund. Also, I decreased my mortgage by $1070.
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No. of Recommendations: 2
Tough break. At the same time, I'm glad you had an emergency fund to use as your first line of defense. Rebuilding it will be important -- and now you know to make it bigger, eh?

I could be heartless and say you should have gone without AC. However, I live in DC where the temps have been almost 100 and the heat indexes higher than that in the last couple of weeks. AC is not optional for us, and I assume it's not optional for you, either.

Keep grinding away at the debt. You're so right that it's three steps forward and two steps back. You'll get there.

ThyPeace, and it's hard work.
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No. of Recommendations: 1
His profile shows Rockwall, TX, so AC is a must 5 to 6 months of the year. If the AC truly was a builder's special, based on the cost of the unit, my gut is it got replaced with one more efficient.

Depending on the differences in the builder's special vs what went in, he might save enough on power to pay the interest.

http://www.lennox.com/buyers-guide/tools/energy-savings-calc...
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No. of Recommendations: 4
13-year-old Builder's Special finally gave up the ghost

My dad's 12-yr-old builder grade unit had never been cleaned, so it blew a capacitor recently. The compressor was still working, but rather than wait for that to fail, he went ahead and got a new furnace & A/C, for about $6k (small house). Also spent the $150/yr extra for the maintenance contract. Having the HVAC cleaned & serviced every spring & fall will make them last a lot longer. (I'll get a box of filters so the techs can change the filters when they're there to do the service.)

Even a builder-grade A/C can last if it's well maintained. My dad's neighbors' A/C's are all still chugging along. So if maintenance isn't in your budget, check online how you can at least clean the outside unit as a DIY project. And do change the filters every 6 months (min).

Newer A/C's are more efficient. Another thing I just discovered: if you set the fan to "on" instead of "auto," it'll run at low speed constantly (higher speed when the cooling kicks in), and that makes things comfortable enough that you can set the A/C at a higher temperature. A lot of times in my house the temperature would be OK, but the air would be stuffy, so I'd turn on heat or A/C just to get some air movement. Using the fan instead is more efficient.

And congrats. 3-steps-forward-2-steps-back is still progress.
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The fan will only run at low speed and then change to high speed when necessary if you have a two stage/speed fan, so check that before setting it to run all the time.
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The fan will only run at low speed and then change to high speed when necessary if you have a two stage/speed fan...

True. My dad's thermostat fan options are "auto" or "on." If it's set to "on," it runs at 70% by default, then kicks up to full speed if needed for temperature. (According to the technician; I didn't go thru the owner's manual to verify.)

My thermostat's fan options are "auto," "low," "medium," or "high." I keep it on "low" by default. It speeds up when it needs to.

Googling "HVAC fan on increases humidity?" provides links that assert the answer is "yes." However, for my own house the humidity's OK. (My thermostat has a humidistat also, so it's pretty easy for me to check.) I think that's something to check, especially if you have an older system.
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