Normally, this date brings three minuscule occurrences for me:
- My anniversary at work. (Yawn.)
- The return to Hogwarts. (Harry Potter nerd alert.)
- The sharing of pictures of fall foliage with the words “Goodbye August, Welcome September” by about half of the fellow white girls on my Facebook, when they know good and well that we are lucky to see the leaves change in east TN by mid-October.
This year, however, it brings a fourth, slightly larger occurrence for my husband and me.
I contain my excitement when I think of how long two years actually is, but then I get excited again when I think of this time two years ago and how fast it flew by.
So, how are we doing this?
We are avid followers of Dave Ramsey, so much so that our daughter drew a picture of a boy at school and named him “Day Vramsey”. But for this, we made our own call. When we got married in April and combined finances the next month, we didn’t have Baby Step 2, and we went straight to Baby Step 3. From there, we progressed to the next baby step each month until we hit Baby Step 6.
To learn more about Dave Ramsey’s financial plan, I suggest purchasing or checkig your local library for The Total Money Makeover. It is a complete life changer!
Now, if you’re unfamiliar with Dave Ramsey’s Baby Steps, I’ve listed them below:
We talked about it for a month. The big question was this – should we follow the baby steps according to plan and keep contributing 15% to retirement and saving for college? Or, should we treat this as our Baby Step 2 and stop contributing?
Like Diamond Rio, we met in the middle. We are keeping our emergency fund fully funded and are continuing to contribute enough to our 401(k)s to receive company matches, but we have stopped contributing to our Roth IRAs and college savings. This gives me major, motivating anxiety, and I was willing to do this only if two years was feasible.
Our reasoning? By cutting out the Roth IRAs and college savings, we are able to live on my income alone. My husband’s checks, as well as any extra money we stumble across, will go straight to principal payments.
Of course, there are smaller, day-to-day sacrifices. Not eating out as much, not buying new clothes as we move into a new season, no vacations…just to name a few.
Which leads us to the bigger question, why are we doing this?
Freedom is the goal, people! I cannot wait to own my house by the age of 30. I cannot wait to walk barefoot in my backyard and see how different the grass feels when it’s mine. I cannot wait to know that everything in my possession is mine. Not the bank’s. Mine. (Well, of course, with my husband.) Our house, our cars, our appliances and even our furniture, for goodness sake, is ours.
I cannot wait to maximize our retirement contributions as soon as the house is paid off, knowing that I will make up for the two years that I lowered it, and so much more.
I cannot wait to get towards the end of this goal and start talking about the next goal.
- Have a baby – and security – knowing that no matter what happens, we have a house for our family?
- Keep stockpiling money, sell the house, and move to the country where our child and (future) dogs can run free, and I can lay out in the sun topless if I so choose?
- Stockpile money to purchase a rental house, debt-free, and sit back and collect the rent?
Who knows what our next goal will be at that point, but we do know that we will be in the position to choose.
Before I let my head get too far in the clouds, let’s bring it back to reality for a moment. Here is our starting point – a financial snapshot of September 2016.
I will update this on the first of every month to see how we’re progressing. Visual aids really help me keep an eye on the prize, as you can tell by all of the goal reminders I keep at home and work. The debt free chart is my favorite!
I have never felt so dedicated, motivated and positively excited about a goal in my life. I can’t wait to see how we do!
[Psst…17 months later, we accomplished our goal! Check out my final mortgage update here.]