Closing in on these final months of our year long Operation Debt Reduction, we feel the need to set a dollar amount goal for our debt payoff from July 1, 2011 to July 1, 2012. Initially, we didn’t want to give a specific number so we wouldn’t feel defeated if we were nowhere near reaching it. Last summer, when Brad and I set about this challenge to change our spending behavior in an effort to pay down our debts, we honestly had no idea what we were even capable of saving on a monthly basis or paying towards debt. We were newbies to the world of saving. However, we feel now that we can aim for a set number knowing how much time is left in our spending lockdown. Having already paid down nearly $20,000 in just over 9 months, we believe we are capable of paying off $25,000 by July 1. What an achievement it would be to say we paid off $25,000 in 1 year just by changing our spending habits. So there it is, our goal is set.
And there ya have it, our total savings after all monthly expenses including minimum debt payments. This may sound crazy, but I’m not nearly as elated as I thought I’d be. The competitive side of me wanted a MEGA number to kick off the first month of Operation Debt Reduction. I was thinking we could accomplish a superhero-like performance, and instead, life happened. Yeah, that’s right, good ol’ everyday life made us realize that we have to be patient with this debt free journey. This isn’t a game, and there are no rules. Unexpected expenses popped up, not uncommon expenses, just normal life expenses.
Smack dab at the first of the month, one of our kitties became very ill. And I’m pleased to report that several vet visits later, she is a happy little purr motor again. Coinciding with that, one of our other babies got sick - the 5 year old Camry. After visiting three auto shops, we went with the lowest and most trustworthy repair bid. Can’t beat our next door neighbor mechanics. The early cost estimates for repairing our car were well over $1000, but in fact the actual cost came in just under $800. Our neighborhood shop not only had the better prices on parts and labor, but they also took the time to figure out what needed fixing now and what could wait a few more paychecks.
On top of the unexpected, there was savings that we had to put towards future trips planned prior to our spending lockdown. In actuality, my thoughts the first two weeks of July were, “Here I’ve gone and made a big spectacle about our new penny pinching lifestyle, and we’ll be lucky to have a nickel to spare at the end of the month!” I was straight up in a funk. But we stuck to our guns with the budget. Not only that, we slimmed down the budget even more on groceries and household expenses each week. My husband was reassuring in our progress and said it best, “We used to worry about not having enough money, now we worry about not having enough extra money.” He’s such a positive thinker and always kills the pessimist in me.
So onward we go! We will finally be able to pay off the old hospital bill after applying an extra $315.60 on top of the minimum payment. BUH BYE! And with the remaining savings, we’ll be able to pay $428.97 on top of our credit card’s minimum payment. I look forward to calculating new debt totals over the weekend and posting them next week. I can’t believe we’re already facing a new month with new challenges, but this time around I’m feeling a little bit lighter.