Spring break! Which doesn’t mean a whole lot when you’re working on getting out of debt. The kids are off school and life is slow and simple. I love turning off the alarm clock for the whole week!
You could add “take a nice little trip during spring break” to the list of things I’d like to do once we’re debt free. But my list has gotten as long as Santa’s. Once we’re out of debt, we’ll prioritize the things we want the most from our lives. Until then, I’ll have fun in my little fantasy world! It gets me through the journey to debt freedom, so it’s fine by me.
Inside: Wondering what it takes to get a paid off credit card? Here’s what our family did to claw out of debt and what we learned from our journey.
In early 2016, my Hubby and I sat down to set our family goals for the year, when we realized that our credit card debt was worse than we thought. In fact, it was so obnoxious that the best we could do was go round and round in circles. Pay down the balance… watch it go back up.
Too much of our money was going towards that debt, but somehow the balances never seemed to get any smaller.
Why should hundreds of our dollars be handed to a credit card company every single month for the privilege of…what? Owing more money? We weren’t getting anything out of this deal.
Inside: Tons of tried and true easy meals for large families. Make meal time less of a chore!
Waaaaay back in the day, I was a young girl in 4-H. My goal was to take every single cooking project. I did well enough to compete at the state level more than once, and even won an “Outstanding of the Day” award there for my bread. Which I probably work into more conversations than I should.
To this day I maintain that I learned more usable life skills in 4-H than I did from my school. Which may or may not be true, I guess. After all, I’m using the writing abilities I got from school right now.
Anyway, I have always enjoyed cooking and baking. But those competitions are a lot different from creating a meal night after night. Especially when you’re cooking for a large family.
Even when you hold yourself accountable to saving money week after week, you’re going to have times when you fall off the wagon a bit. Some weeks are going to cost more than others. Sometimes life throws you curve balls.
And sometimes you don’t have a good reason for why you spent more than usual.
This would be one of those weeks. After we came back from our last minute road trip, we had a busy week planned. There were school fundraisers and events that I needed to take part in. I’m helping to begin a PTO for our school district from the ground up, and I know how much need there is in our small community. That increases my (perhaps self inflicted) obligation to take part in these fundraisers.
Finding a balance between giving and continuing our plan to pay off debt is going to be important in the coming months. The reality is, if I can continue to throw as much money at debt as possible, I’ll be able to give so much more once we’re debt free.
Who doesn’t love the idea of saving money? You set money aside and forget about it. Then that magical day comes when you want to take a trip or make a fun purchase, and the money is there waiting for you. No need to worry about payments or how you’ll cover the cost.
Except that the whole part where you actually save the money is hard. Even if you find money in your paycheck to save, something always seems to happen to it. Whether that something is happy hour or too many searches through the dollar bins at Target, either way it’s gone.
Back when I only had two babies (16 months apart), I was just winging it. At that stage, aren’t we all? I mean, you have a baby, the nurses help you out for a couple of days, and then they send you home without any grown ups to make sure you’re doing it right.
If you’re lucky, you have family members to lean on. (Or call every 20 minutes to ask what you should do next. Not that I’d do anything like that.)
Slowly time goes by. Eventually you’re able to get longer stretches of sleep. You might have more babies. And after a while, something clicks. You learn to let go of unimportant things, and cling tightly to ideas that are proven winners.
My Hubby got the call we’ve been anticipating for months late last week. After that, our weekend became a whirlwind of activity as I tried to get all the kids ready to sleepover at their grandparents’ house. They’d leave for school from there, so that added another layer of preparation to my work.
Meanwhile, Hubby and I drove two states away to attend a funeral. We packed a lot of emotions into that overnight trip.
We also tried to keep the trip on the frugal side.
Being in debt is the worst! Back when we began our journey to get out of credit card debt, I couldn’t have imagined what it would look like. We’ve paid off half of our credit card debt now, but we’ve still got a long road ahead of us.
We have changed everything about the way we view spending. In fact, we don’t really like to spend too much unless we decide that it’s totally worth our money. That’s given way to some crazy ideas to get out of debt.
Now the word “crazy” is rather subjective. Some of you will read this list and say, “Nope. Too crazy for me. I’d never do these things.”
Others will read it and say, “Psssh. She didn’t once mention rinsing out generic Ziploc bags and reusing them. This list is dumb.”
My sophomore year, I walked into my English class, plopped my books on a desk, and took a seat. I was feeling more confident than I had as a scared freshman, so my first day of school was already off to a better start.
I was wearing my “no strike” t-shirt to display my annoyance at the Major League Baseball strike happening at the time. When I looked over, I noticed the guy sitting next to me wearing a similar shirt. Obviously, I had to strike up a conversation.
I thought he was a cool guy. Clearly he had good taste if he loved the best sport ever created as much as I did. He liked the fact that I could quote baseball stats like any guy in the class.
Little did I know, that friendship would later develop into a relationship. That would eventually lead to a marriage and five kids. And it began our big family story.
Several mornings ago, I pried my eyes open and discovered that a hard storm was hitting our home. I’d been up all night watching the radar, and nothing had come our way. Until now.
I walked out to our dining room and looked out the window. I couldn’t see anything. We were being hit hard by straight line winds.
I casually told my son that maybe we should head to the basement. I quickly woke the other kids and shuffled them downstairs. By the time we got to the bottom of the steps, the winds had died down.