As I was looking thought posts I had written in May of 2011, I almost skipped over this one post on May 10, but the first paragraph grabbed me and shook me up a bit, especially the fact that we still had over $33,000 worth of consumer debt at that point (outside of my student loan). In almost a year and a half we had paid off an equal amount of debt but we still had such a long, long way to go. In other words, we had reached a point of celebration, but one strongly tempered by the reality of what still needed to be accomplished. I knew what lay ahead and was dreading it.
All the feelings I carried back then came rushing back as I read – especially the sense of anxiety that always seemed to hover over me. I remembered feeling proud of all we had accomplished at that point as well as feeling very motivated to continue, but also feeling tired and overwhelmed by what we still had to do to get to the end. Of course, I know now that we did finish, and accomplish our goal of moving to Hawaii, but at the time I honestly felt anything but accomplished.
Fast forward to the future though, and I remembered that we saved a little less than $30,000 in the same amount of time for our Big Adventure, but only by selling most of our stuff and our car, so I am amazed by how well we did in our first 18 months of debt repayment. The amount we paid off from January 2010 to May of 2011 was something to be celebrated, especially after all that had been thrown at us in 2010. What I know now though was that it never really got any easier, and that slog is the perfect word to describe the journey. And, that we didn’t quit.
I don’t remember searching for employment at this time, but I guess I was. And, Hawaii must have really been coming into focus at this point, although I still don’t think we had made a final decision. What we were focused on at this point on going to Japan to meet our first grandchild!
As of this week we have paid off more than half of the debt we started with in January 2010. While paying off more than $33,000 worth of debt in less than 18 months is certainly a milestone to be celebrated, it’s also extremely sobering to realize that we still have that much to go to become debt-free.
I told Brett last week that while I want to feel like we’re standing at the top of a mountain with an easy downward walk to the finish, it instead feels like we’re at the bottom of a deep valley looking up at a difficult, vertical climb to our goal. In other words, the “easy” part of the journey is now over, and the real work to the finish begins.
I have created a budget to get us to the end of the year, and with everything we have coming up, the amount we can put toward our debt is going to slow up some. So far I have not found any additional employment, although I’m still keeping my fingers crossed. We no longer have anything as major as a second car to sell, but hopefully, we will be able to find additional items around the house that we can part in the coming year to bring in some extra funds.
In spite of what we still have to accomplish, we remain extremely motivated to be debt-free by the end of 2012, for several reasons. Brett will retire then, we want to take a special family vacation, and we are now focused on relocating (to Hawaii?) in 2014. In the meantime, the slog continues!
6 thoughts on “Back to the Future: Half-Way There”
It’s really wonderful to have those posts to go back and see how far you’ve come. I can’t imagine knocking out that much debt in that short a time. It’s very impressive to me. You guys are clearly very goal driven, and it’s commendable that you were able to all get on the same page and make it happen.
Sometimes those posts are terrifying to read (we had that much debt?). However, I empathize with so many now who are going to be in the same position within the next year because of unemployment, debt, etc. It is a tough place to be and not easy to get out of once you’re there. I am frankly very thankful we made it to retirement and have a solid income.
A slog it would have been but you showed such determination. You can’t slog away without it. I wonder how families are doing in the current situation with high levels of consumer debt! Mr S and I, and I’m trying not to be smug, only but what we can pay off in the month. We overpay on the mortgage and have redrawn for cars and house renovations.
Remembering what we went through, I think often of families and of those who have lost their jobs through no fault of their own, and what they may be faced with in the future, especially the debt they make take on to make it through. It adds up so quickly! We had some debt before it all spiraled out of control, a car payment, the loan we took out for our youngest’s adoption, a mortgage, but it was all affordable and we always had funds to put away into savings, and for other things, but raising three children on a reduced income changed the game completely.
And add in the cost of medicine in the US. That’d be quite scary if you were without medical insurance.
One of our best military benefits has low cost/free health insurance for life. We have been blessed to have it. The whole country deserves what we have though.
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