Month one down. Twenty-three to go.
Or, will it even be that long?
Last month, my husband and I paid $4567.61 toward our home mortgage. Leading up to the decision to put his entire income toward the house, we were only paying our monthly payment of $637.88.
So, was it difficult? Honestly? No. Not at all. I asked my husband, and he said he never missed it. We have our eyes so set on this goal that we didn’t even spend half of the money we budgeted to spend in different areas.
We did exactly what we decided a month ago to do and put every cent of my husband’s income toward this goal. It started off with a bang, as my husband, who gets paid bi-weekly, had three paydays instead of two. We also received unexpected child support, which went straight to the house. It’s funny, I have found that since taking control of our finances and assigning a purpose to every cent that is spent, money seems to find its way to us.
[UPDATE: We’re still chugging along! Check out our latest balance here.]
At the beginning of the month, we delivered the news to our financial advisor. We weren’t sure what his reaction would be, since we were canceling contributions to the Roth IRAs and college savings fund that we had just set up with him a month prior. He was very intrigued by our decision and set up appointments to check in for updates with us along the way. He cancelled our automatic monthly contributions without hesitation and talked excitedly about how much more we will be able to contribute toward our future after this goal is met.
When we told other people, however, the same level of excitement was not shared. The reaction was mostly that of, “Oh, that’s cool,” with the underlying tone of doubt. It has been obvious that the people we’ve told do not believe that we can actually do it. One of my coworkers, on the other hand, enthusiastically agreed that she needs to do the same, but in the same conversation explains that she needs to build her credit and teach her daughter how to handle money through acquiring student loans and financing a car that will get her through college.
If you’re on a path at all similar to mine, you will understand the frustration I felt at that moment, as well as the familiar feeling of seclusion. The idea of needing credit is so ingrained in our culture! What is the point of paying off your home while also wanting to raise your credit? We all know that the way to raise your credit is to go into debt, and the sole reason for wanting better credit is the intention of going into more debt in the future!
Want someone to look at you like you just sprouted an extra head? Tell them you want a zero credit score. They will treat you as if you have absolutely no understanding of how the world works.
Or, they act like THEY somehow feel sorry for YOU by saying things like, “You only live once!”, “Enjoy life while you’re young!”, or “You’ve worked hard; you deserve to have the things you want!”
It’s two years (or less!) of our lives! Take a moment to look back at your life two years ago. I guarantee you can’t believe how fast it flew by. Two years is nothing. I would much rather spend two years devoting myself to paying off the LAST DEBT I WILL EVER HAVE than to spend the next 12 years paying the monthly payment on my 15-year mortgage (imagine 30 years!) and not being able to get ahead.
In two years, my husband will be 38, I’ll be 30, and my stepdaughter will be 7. We will be plenty young enough and able to do FAR more of the things we want. More importantly, we will never have to worry about finances. One of us loses our jobs? That’s okay. We’ve put into practice living on one income, and we’re doing fine. There will never be any risk of us losing everything we have, because we don’t OWE anyone for it! How much more “free” can you get?!
Free. That’s what this goal is about. Freedom, starting with financial freedom. I will have a completely different reason for driving to work the next morning after we make the final payment toward our house. The reason will lie in using the money I’ll earn from that job toward the things I want in my FUTURE, not what I’ve purchased in my PAST. I will even be free to think about what I want to do with my life instead of continuing to work in a career for which I settled by default when I had debts to pay and another week to survive until the next paycheck.
I refuse to be normal. Spend the next 40 years of my life using the majority of my day, my week, my year doing something I don’t love, to retire with a small percentage of the pay that I barely made it by with for those 40 years? No. This will not be my life. I will have the freedom to spend my time how I want. For me, this means breaking the cycle for good.
Freedom. No more wishing every day for 5:00 or wishing every morning of four of five working days that it was Friday. No more wishing for those few hours a day and two days a week of freedom. I’m making the CHOICE to have a life of freedom by making sacrifices now. Going to work at 8:00 on Monday morning is a lot easier now that I view my current job as being a stepping stone to freedom. Now, while everyone at work rejoices on Friday, I just smile and nod in polite agreement, thinking of my future.
A few questions to ask yourself:
- Think about the few weeks leading up to you high school or college graduation, when you were itching with excitement and anticipation to live life your way and make your dreams happen. Are you doing it?
- Or, do you find yourself during the day asking if it’s 5:00 yet? On Wednesday, are you making hump day comments? On Thursday, “If we can just make it to Friday!”?
- How would you rather “spend” your time?
For inspiration – read, watch and listen as much as you can. Brainwash yourself. Check out your local library; you may be surprised at what you find. Below is what has inspired me this past month.
This book is a LIFE CHANGER. Seriously. Drop everything you’re doing and get this book any way you can. It has completely set me on fire and made me realize I can get whatever I want in this life. No limits.