Long path

Last August, my husband and I set a goal to pay off all our consumer debt in a year.  We looked through every area of our budget and trimmed as much fat as possible.  We cooked our meals at home, packed our lunches, sold our second vehicle and a few other things we didn’t need. We started riding our bikes, avoided buying new clothes and found creative/free things to do on weekends.

Eleven months later, at the beginning of July, we were delighted to have met this goal a month ahead of schedule.  We had successfully paid off $25,000 and changed our habits to avoid future debt. Another benefit is that my husband lost 20 pounds from our new healthy lifestyle. Proud moment!

One week later, our appliances seemed to be plotting against us.  Our AC unit died, as did our water heater. Since our furnace was old and needed replacing too, we decided to take care of it at the same time – a decision encouraged by rebates available through the city if we replaced the whole system at once.  The price for all this came out to almost $13,000.  After all our hard work over the last eleven months, this was very discouraging.  We had only enjoyed the feeling of no debt for a week!

I should also mention that our refrigerator began leaking too.  The problem was with the water/ice dispenser.  With all the other expenses, we decided to disconnect the water and wait until later to fix or replace it.  The refrigerator worked fine and life can go on without an ice dispenser – somehow.

Keeping Perspective

Isn’t that just like life?  You think you’ve arrived and then a setback happens. This wasn’t how we’d imagined it would go.  We had planned to start saving aggressively this year for some other goals. This week has been a reminder that we have to enjoy the simple things everyday rather than waiting to arrive at a life that is perfectly put together. Thinking outside the box has actually been fun this year; we’ve learned how to simplify and find contentment along the way. Life is good and, in maybe because we’re weird, we enjoy the challenge of making good out of a bad situation.

It will take months to pay off this debt, but we know what to do now; we’ve been doing it for a year. We’ll buckle down and try to stay positive; at least we had the means to pay for repairs.  The company we chose to do the work was offering a 12-month interest free finance deal.  As long as we pay the balance in full at that time, there will be no interest charged.  We could have paid in full now, but instead we’re going to leave our money in an interest earning account for the year, let it grow and then pay the leftover balance when it’s due.  Our goal is to make extra monthly payments so that there isn’t too much left by then.

So, challenge accepted!  We are going to rock this and hopefully end up ahead anyway – even if it may not be as much as we’d planned.  And…this new AC feels amazing!