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April is almost over, and I’m just now getting around to writing our monthly update.
I could tell you how crazy life has been and how busy I’ve been with work, but really, reporting how much we’ve saved just doesn’t seem to bring the same amount of urgency as paying off debt.
I was obsessed during the 17 months it took for us to pay off our mortgage. I only thought of two things.
Numbers and dates.
The current amount we owed, how many dollars my husband would get paid on his next check, the amount we would owe after our upcoming principal payment, how much we had left to pay off.
The date of our next principal payment, the next magical extra paycheck month, our anticipated finish date. Daydreaming of the day our balance would drop below $20,000, then four digits, the date of our final payment and how glorious waking up debt free would be the following day.
Those numbers and dates came and went, and waking up completely debt free every morning is as glorious as I hoped it would be.
But being debt free is my new normal.
And now I’m in this weird, in-between stage of having just finished a major goal but not quite yet ready to begin a new one.
I am finding this to be a cyclical stage.
Every day I listen to high achievers being interviewed on podcasts. I scroll through Instagram posts of the 150ish incredibly motivating people I have chosen to follow. I step away from my eight co-workers and read while eating lunch. This daily life I have created for myself is a bubble of attempt at self-improvement in all areas of my life, and now that we are debt free but have not yet moved to the next step of focusing on our first rental property, I question myself often. Are we falling behind by not moving directly to the next step?!
But then my husband and I will drive to the local Walmart/Lowes/Kroger in our small county, breaking me out of my sheltered little self-improvement bubble. I look around at my peers, some of whom couldn’t even bear to change out of their pajama pants before they left the house, and I am slapped in the face with the realization of just how drastically different we are from the people of the $21,000 median income town in which we were raised. In these moments I am fully aware of our accomplishments and understand that it’s perfectly okay to take a few months to create experiences and collect creature comforts.
If you read last month’s savings report, you know that we have chosen to live on $2,400 per month. We have decided to use the first half of the year for home renovations and purchases/savings for our upcoming trip to Russia for the FIFA World Cup. The second half of the year is when we will be back to business saving for our first rental property.
After the $2400, the money we spent this month was focused almost solely on our trip – $2094.94 to be exact. Another $213.49 went to a few small things for our house.
This left us with $2,340.40. Of this amount, $1,345.04 capped off our emergency fund, bringing it back the amount of $5,000 that makes us feel comfortable. The remaining $995.36 was set aside to be used soon for home updates or purchases/savings for our trip.
I’m pretty happy with our savings.
Next month, however, will be one of spending. Taxes are due, our contractor is lined up to start working on three rooms of our house, and we still have a list of things we want to buy to prepare for my dream trip.
As a natural saver, the thought of spending so much money initially makes me a little anxious, but I remind myself that we’re fine. The short-term splurges are for things we have wanted for a long time, and we obviously don’t have much of a choice about the taxes.
Be sure to check my next report to see how April went!