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You know what’s crazy?
Giving all my money away to a computer screen.
Well, technically to a “loan servicer” but for all I know, the computer is using all my loan payments to buy those annoying games on Facebook. How would I know? All I do know is that we give away most of our money to an invisible company on the other end of the Internet.
Since February 2015, we’ve paid a grand total of (I’d appreciate a drum roll, if you don’t mind):
That’s a lot of money thrown away to loan servicers. That’s even more than our RV cost, including renovations. On average, that means we’ve paid roughly $1,800 a month, instead of the suggested monthly payment of $250, (which would take an estimated 10 years, ew).
And we still owe a grand total of $14, 907.09 with interest currently accruing at $1.99 a day. For the record, in 2014 when we were ignoring our debt, interest grew at a rate of $5.66 a day. By March 2015, we had it down to $3.18, in May down to $2.89, and in July down to $2.10.
We’ve paid off roughly 45% of our beginning total balance of 27K and are making a lot of progress. We are thrilled to see our debt balance shrinking each month. But guess what?
Paying off debt is driving me INSANE.
Money is stressful. I mean, eat the cookie dough straight from the mixing bowl stressful. (That is, if you can afford cookie dough. We keep a bag of chocolate chips in the freezer as our go-to inexpensive dessert.)
Before we wed, Heath and I made a rule for ourselves:
We aren’t allowed to talk about finances without either chocolate or wine.
We knew talking about money, especially the lack thereof while paying off massive amounts of debt, would stress us out and cause fights. Nothing makes stressful situations better quite like chocolate and wine. Of course, to save extra money, we agreed not to buy wine for the past 6 weeks. We tried to do the same with chocolate, but lasted less than a week.
But as we near the halfway mark on our goal to pay off our student debt by the end of the year, we are getting a tad anxious. We are almost two-thirds of the way done with the year, and not even halfway paid on our debt! We are hustling on multiple projects so we can increase our income in this last part of the year so we can meet our debt-free by 2016 goal. We’ve had our heads down, glued to our computer screens, working hard as we can to make money.
Working towards a big goal is a great feeling. I’d argue that the best way to have a great marriage is to work toward common goals together. It teaches us how to work together and allows us to celebrate wins together.
However, sometimes you can get too intense. You get too focused on pinching every penny and forget that the goal itself isn’t the most important thing.
A few weekends ago, Heath and I had the opportunity to take a weekend off and spend it on the Frio River in West Texas. Heath’s entire family was driving out for a long weekend and they called us on Friday morning to see if we wanted to join. We could stay at his Granny’s and enjoy a few days on the water.
But, it would cost roughly $50 in gas, plus a couple of meals. Plus, we had plenty of work we really needed to get done. The harder we work, the more money we make, the more debt we can erase…
So we almost didn’t go. In fact, we fought about it at length until 3:00 pm that Friday before we just jumped in the car (and then fought about how much we fought about deciding if we wanted to go or not).
Like I said, paying off debt is driving us insane.
But after two days being refreshed by the aptly named Frio River, Heath and I returned to Austin ready to hustle.
Did we go over our gas budget? Yep.
Did we spend money on a restaurant? Yep.
Did we need to get out of town? Yep.
Paying off debt, especially if you’re trying to do so in a tight time frame, isn’t easy on the mind. Sometimes you need to take a small financial hit for the sake of your sanity. Because if you don’t take breaks from your hustle every once in a while, no amount of $2 bags of chocolate chips and $5 bottles of wine will keep you from going crazy.