Debt Free Puzzle: March 2017
I had better get this out before it gets much later in the month! Our debt journey for March has been a ride, to say the least. We had very high expectations that were dashed pretty low. I am working on a blog post to share more of those details. But in all, we are still on track & we took off 3 more pieces to our puzzle! This last loan is going to give me gray hair as I wait for it to be gone out of our lives! #debtfreejourney # thisisexhausting #financialfreedomisworthit #keepingon
My husband and I are on a Debt Free Journey to pay off $94,000 of student loans. We created a puzzle to help us keep track of our progress (because a thermometer tracker just wasn’t good enough for the graphic designer in this family.) Each piece is equal to about $200. We took off 30 out of the 500 pieces before we started to equal our $94,000 worth of debt. Each month we post an update on Instagram and Facebook of how many pieces we took off or what our thoughts are on this journey. Because I share this on Instagram, my updates are short and sweet so I am going to start sharing them on our blog as well and give a few insider stories to our journey as well!
Our reward is a trip to Iceland. The picture underneath the puzzle slowly reveals a collage of Iceland to help us stay focused and encouraged on our journey-there is a goal and reward after all this sacrifice!
A Lesson in Perspectives.
This month started out super strong! We received tax refunds, I worked extra hours, and we were pinching pennies like maniacs. We were really hoping and expecting to pay off a boat load of debt for March! Our end goal was coming soooo close and we were thinking that we could beat our goal deadline!
Yes, I am using past tense because none of that really happened. Well, we did receive tax refunds, work extra hours and pinch pennies like maniacs but it didn’t exactly turn out the way we expected.
I’m going to get real and put numbers out there, which I don’t normally do, but I need to express how life hit us this month.
Things Were Good!
- I worked extra hours and received $700 more than I usually do
- We received a larger amount of tax refunds due to our move last fall. It was about $2400
- We were planning on putting $4000 for our March payment!
- It would have gotten us in the single digits of our debt
- We were going to be debt free by Summer rather than late Fall
The Downhill Part
- A random bill came in that used up $2250 of our extra earnings.
- Turns out that we need a State Inspection of our cars- that used up another $1550
- Both of us traveled for the first part of April. We fund our trips with cash and everything is paid from the month before.
Expectations can be real killers. Everyone expects something out of someone or something. I expect my phone to work and the battery to not die every hour. I expect to eat every day. I expect my cat to be cute. Those expectations, though mostly valid, can really rock our world sometimes. If things go opposite of what we expected, it’s hard to deal with the damage.
Our March expectations were to be 3 months away from DEBT FREE. We expected to pay off $4000 and be around the $6500 mark in debt. We were very excited and anxiously awaiting the end of the month so that we could pay off more of our debt, post our picture, and shout to the world how ecstatic we were with our progress!
Then, one fateful day, that all changed. (Yes, I’m being overly dramatic, I know.) First, I was pulled over and asked why I didn’t have a State Inspection sticker on my windshield. Thoroughly confused, I was able to get off with a warning to go get this procedure done. It turns out that Virginia makes you repair your car to a certain standard every year to ensure that it is road-worthy. While I admire that to some (very) small extent, I really don’t like the regulation aspect and the fact that I had to pour $1550 into our vehicles just to be registered in Virginia! We both have “beater” cars, I have 235,000 miles on my car, and we are planning to run them into the ground. I don’t want to spend money on my piece of junk vehicle!
Next, we received a very large bill that basically negated all of our tax refunds. We waited so long for those refunds! Well, we anxiously awaited them so it seemed like forever. And it was just gone in one second.
Lastly, although some of this was planned, we both ended up traveling for the first week of April. Hubby had a work trip so that was mostly paid for, but I drove to Michigan and needed gas and hotel money. It wasn’t a huge expense, but it certainly added to our dismal month.
I’m sure this post is a real downer right now. What I want my point about this post to be is a look at choices and perspectives. Now I gave you the real downer side of the story. I will admit, I still really feel down and depressed about this situation, but there is a positive side here. I promise.
Imagine we had a normal month with no extra income, no refunds, and no extra anything. Our expectations wouldn’t have been up, yes, but those bills would still have come in.
I would have still been pulled over and expected to dish out $1550 to repair our vehicles.
That bill would have still come in and expected us to dish out $2550.
I probably would have still gone on my road trip. (You may think I should have stayed home, but it was legit, I promise.)
So we would have still ended up paying $4400 but we wouldn’t have received the income from the taxes or extra hours. We would have been stuck. Possibly, gone back into debt because our emergency fund is only $1000 and we needed $4000!
In the end, God protected us. He allowed our refunds and my extra hours to show up in the month that He knew we needed it the most. He protected us financially in our desperately long journey and prevented us from going backwards. Sure we didn’t go forward much. Certainly not as much as we expected but still, we didn’t go backward.
We were faced with a choice: do we get mad and upset about the lack of progress or do we thank God that He protected us and provided for us so perfectly? I will admit, I mourned the “loss” of what we could have had, but I have been thanking Him for days now that He did so perfectly protect us.
What about you? Have you had a wake up call when it comes to perspectives? Please, share your story!