Can we just be real here…there is nothing pretty about finances. Not at all. Money brings out the worst in me…it gives me all sorts of anxiety…and it has left me sleepless on many nights. Back in May, the hubs and I decided that it was time that we planned our road map to financial freedom.
That financial “come to Jesus” meeting about our debt was not an easy pill to swallow, nor was it easy to sit at the kitchen table surrounded by spreadsheets, bank statements and bills…our financial life was staring us in the face. I basically said that we both needed to quit ignoring this extra baggage that we’ve lugging around….the extra weight on our shoulders that has been weighing us down, and we needed to stop being held hostage by a credit card, (or 3), payment.
This conversation wasn’t easy, it most definitely involved a lot of tears, frustration and possibly a little bit (a lot) of embarrassment. We talked about the all the extra, unnecessary spending that has been going on: eating out when there is food in the pantry, stopping at the gas station to buy drinks, STARBUCKS trips….going to Target…getting my nails done. Like I said, this conversation wasn’t easy, and it definitely was hard to actually look at the extra spending and own up to it.
After the initial, “holy crap”, moment, we moved on to what bills we could cut back on. Cable was the first to go. We were spending almost $80 a month on cable, and we rarely watch it. Aside from watching Alabama football and other sports, that is it. We may occasionally watch Food Network, but hardly ever. In fact, unless it is a sporting event, we don’t even watch live TV, everything is recorded. Next on the list, and this one I thought was going to literally kill me….my daughter’s dance tuition. For the past 4 years my girl has been competing with her studio’s dance team. Every year, she got accepted into more dances, and she earned a duet and a solo….with that comes more lessons, more costumes, more fees. Dance has become a part of our life, our studio has become our family. The teachers have become friends and positive role models in my girls’ lives. Making the decision not to compete this upcoming season was the most difficult and most emotional adult/parenting decision I’ve made in a while. I walked into the dance office and had this talk with the studio owner, cried……ugly cried, and told her that we are cutting back in order to get out of debt. I honestly felt like I was breaking up with a boyfriend of 4 years….LOL…I mean seriously, I was a blubbering, emotional mess. While this decision hurts deeply today, I know in the long run that this is the best decision…and we are only stepping back for one season..it is definitely not the end of the world.
Financial Freedom | Our plan to be debt free
We made a spreadsheet, and it has the month, debt, debt amount, extra amount paid, and new balance. Underneath the “extra amount paid”, we put another row that shows the total extra amount that we paid that month, that way it is easier for us to see our progress and to be able to check something off. We have a goal for each month from TODAY all the way until February 2017. Our goal by that time is to only have our car payment and our larger credit card left. In February we are going to reevaluate those two bills and make a new plan. We have a goal to be completely debt free, (except our mortgage) by 2018!!
In June our debt, (car included), was sitting around 31k. I know…..it makes me want to throw up. We made our first large payment towards our debt this month, and let me tell you…it was scary, and it hurt a little….it was almost like doing a cannonball into the deep end when you know that the water is chilly….you know that your body will adjust to the water and warm up, but goodness it’s a shock at first.
Today, it feels like we are staring up at the largest mountain in the world, and we have such a long way to go. It seems like an impossible and exhausting task, but I know that if we stick to our plan, before we know it, we will be bigger than the mountain. Little by little, we are taking back control.
For the next 3-4 months we are budgeting to tackle our smallest credit cards first. We are pouring whatever we can into them. As soon as those guys are out of the way, then we will stare the big guys in the face and take them down. We have one larger credit card and car payment that I am more than excited to get rid of.
This process should be interesting to say the least, because not only are we getting out of debt, but we are also working on 3 things: building our savings, saving for our Disney trip, and planning a kitchen remodel. Realistically, I know that the kitchen remodel is last on the list of important things, and we might not even do it until 2018, but I would rather take our time with the planning and the money side of it instead of rushing and making the wrong decisions.
While are are on our way to financial freedom, I am going to be blogging our story throughout this process…the highs, the lows, and everything in the middle. I really want to encourage y’all to get real with your money and to stop being held hostage by a credit card bill!!!
I would love to hear from y’all, do you have a plan to get out of debt?