Monday, April 20, 2015

Getting out of Debt

A few weeks back a milestone came and went. Life these days often happens in a flurry of activity and this particular night, the epic moment was really just the click of a computer mouse. It was the final payment of my student loan. But it was even more than was the last and final debt payment, aside from mortgage.

About 7 years ago Jon and I started a plan to get out of debt...all debt. Sounds crazy...and we had undergraduate student loans, graduate student loans, car loans, credit cards, etc. It seemed the hill was just too high to climb, and yet when we went to refinance our house that year, we ran into some snags that ultimately made us realize to what degree we were slaves to the bank because of our debt. So we started...and month after month, year after year, the debt mountain got smaller and smaller. We no longer used credit cards and we paid cash for vacations and gifts, or we did not go on the vacation or buy the coveted item. Crazy things happened soon after we started...our washing machine died, our fridge died, our dishwasher died, we added two children, we finished our basement. Oh the basement. Jon worked very hard to finish our basement debt free. He did 99% of the work himself: electical, plumbing, painting, dry wall, made his own trim, built a fireplace, tiled the bathroom, built bookshelves. This was a huge sacrifice on both of our ends, and took us nearly two years to complete. But we did it...without a dollar of debt. We carefully paid as we went, and although there were times I thought the house would be torn up forever and it would never be finished...we now have a beautiful basement family room, study, bathroom and big boys room.

I have worked for nearly 6 years, and every single paycheck has gone to debt. With the click of that mouse button, it meant for the first time we would start to see those work dollars enter the bank instead of leave it.

With so much yuck going on lately, this seems something to celebrate. And yet it still slipped by. I wanted to take just a moment to commemorate that little click of the mouse...the culmination of some serious hard work and sacrifice.

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