Billy Joel’s “You May Be Right” plays over speakers as I contemplate what to order for my first solo breakfast since I had my daughter 7 weeks ago. It’s a reminder of the upcoming concert I will attend in December. More exciting to think today also marks one YEAR of debt freedom. So you could say it’s our Debt Free Birthday….. at least that is what I am calling it.
You may not be familiar with this term but it’s something I am starting… birthday, anniversary.. all of these are very important dates but this one marks the day my husband and I became debt free because we made our final payment to his car. It’s easy to look back and say, that was easy .. Oh, but it wasn’t.. we had fights about money and up tempo discussions leading to eventually very calm budget meetings about money.. we both worked extra jobs (at one point we both worked at Applebees, him as a server, me as a hostess) and said no to going out to eat and trips and outings we wanted to take part in, but you know it was completely worth it.. you want to know one of the reasons why?
We were about two months away from making our final payment when I saw Billy Joel tickets go on sale. You need to know, I am a BIG fan. I love all his songs, even the classical music stuff he put out during the later years of his career. In fact, I may or may not have planned to have him play at our wedding but sadly our $4,600.00 wedding budget did not cover his fee. So I was really excited he was in concert and just 3 hours away. Part of budgeting our money means discussing anything we purchase over 50.00 and we were soooooooooooooooooooooo close to being done with all the debt payments.. FOREVER, (200.00 AWAY IN FACT) I thought.. what is the harm, so I brought it to the table as a possible option. Jeremy and I discussed it and we eventually decided this was a great time to practice “delayed gratification” and he very memorably said, you know what it’s going to come around again and this time you will be able to fully enjoy it and not worry about being short a payment before we were done paying everything off. (yes I know, first world problem for sure.. but hey, it’s my blog so I get to talk about what I want to talk about)
So for me, It was a bitter pill to swallow.. Then…
Now a year later, there are so many rewards to celebrate about our debt freedom since it manifests itself is small ways every day.. but here are a few highlights-
- After wanting a dog for over 6 years, we rescued one because we could AFFORD it
- We budget and we think about money, but we no longer WORRY about money
- We don’t have monthly payments except rent and utilities
- We can be generous with our money and time
- The accomplishment of a MAJOR goal which strengthens our bond as a couple
- We can give to causes that matter to us
but they all pale in comparison to this…
The most rewarding thing about debt freedom is that my husband is going to stay home and take care of our daughter when I go back to work in the new year.
When I got pregnant, we started talking about what we would do for child care- We started doing the math and figured out that it just made sense economically and emotionally. I am OVERJOYED that our daughter will get to be with her Daddy during this crucial time of development and bonding.
Can I tell you this wasn’t even on our radar last year when we got out of debt, because there wasn’t a baby yet or even on the way. We were delighted to find ourselves pregnant and expecting a beautiful baby girl after our miscarriage in March of last year.
But now, we have a beautiful baby girl who we love and want to give her the best life possible but that doesn’t mean give her everything she asks for.. (no brats on board, thank you very much!) but then again, we have already set ourselves up to give her the best gift. She will NEVER know the scourge of debt and to me that is best gift that we could EVER give her. I am thankful to God, because there were so many things that happened along the way that could only be pointed to as God-given. He blessed us in many ways including great friends in the journey along the way. I hope and pray we get to pay it forward to others.
Am I bragging? you bet your sweet fanny I am- We worked HARD and yes we had help but it was not easy so I don’t want to give you that impression. I am ALSO telling you this story because I think it can be applied to any major goal.. your health, your job, your (fill in the blank) and it takes determination and hard work and a lot of prayer not to mention flexibility because things so often do not go to plan. I suggest if you are working towards a Big Hairy Audacious Goal that you enlist some help and ask for advice from experts.
Yep, I said it. Ask for advice because to accomplish something big you will need help.
Think About It….