Monday, April 29, 2013

Keeping Our Eyes on the [Financial] Prize

For the last several months and with the help of the budgeting tools on, Kendan and I have aggressively been paying $1,000 a month on his student loan debt. We're now at roughly $13,000 dollars (quite a ways down from the $24k where we started), and we're beginning to dream about the day we'll soon be debt-free. At the pace that we're going, we'll be debt-free in about a year, or 13 more months. I'm hoping that we can pay it off sooner, but for now, that's all we can comfortably muster each month.

This all started when I found a TED talk by Adam Baker. We watched this video together which was focused on "What does freedom mean to you?", and afterwards, I looked at my husband and said, "Freedom to me is no debt and living within our means for a happier, more fulfilled life!" I think we were on to something, and each day we talk about this debt. It's at the forefront of everything we do, every decision that we make, and we have our eyes on the prize.

While we are extremely lucky and fortunate to have had very little debt compared to others, we treat it with pure seriousness and want it to be gone as soon as possible. So, what's keeping us in line and focused on our goal of paying off that debt? Another goal! We still aren't 100% sure what we'll do at the end of these 13 remaining months, but we have two ideas. One I like to think it a goal that benefits us both and the other is a pat on my husband's back.

Between our two choices, we have an idea to take the honeymoon we were too poor to afford two and half years ago, or selecting a moped for my husband. Either are really good choices, and we probably will end up doing both at some point. I'm thinking a visit to Yellowstone would be fabulous as a road trip where we could really "rough it" and take our dog with us for a week or two. The moped option is still well within our means, and would provide a fun alternative to a drive in the car for our short commute to work each day.

The main point is that we're looking forward to one of those two as a congratulations for meeting our financial goal and really setting us up for our future. From there, we'll begin to see where we are and start discussing our other goals, one of which is a new means of transportation for myself. My old Status that I've had since turning 15 years old just isn't going to last me another five years, I'm afraid. We're saving for my next car right now, but we'll tackle one reward at a time.

Keep in mind that you have to stay focused on your debts and why you are wanting to pay them off. It's not just to get rid of that number, but to lift a huge burden off of your shoulders and start focusing on the fun stuff.

Kelsey is a passionate vegan living in Houston, Texas, spreading the word about the benefits of eating a healthy, plant-based diet. She's also a minimalist enthusiast, a self-proclaimed financial guru of her household, and founder of The Little Red Journal.

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