Thursday, October 28, 2010

Stuck in the Middle

If you are just joining us from Carnival of Money Stories – Halloween Aftermath Edition hosted by Live Real, Now, I want to extend a warm welcome to you. Things look a little crazy around here right now, as I just started a series of giveaways to enter for Christmas goodies. It will run the entire month of November, featuring over 30 sponsors. Feel free to join in! If you don't want to win stuff, feel free to stick around and browse about anyway. We'd love for you to hang out for a while!

We've been on our debt repayment plan for 1 year now. Following Dave Ramsey's Total Money Makeover we established a tiny emergency fund and started paying off debt.

Our first steps were the big ones.

  • We sold off a lot of stuff including a third car that was Chip's "play" car. (I still applaud him for that).
  • We downgraded in vehicles to use the profit off the sale of the van to pay off debt.
  • I had already learned how to shop frugally, but in the past the money I was saving in shopping was not being spent wisely. So our debt was not being eliminated in these efforts. That changed.
  • We refinanced our home to save over $250/month in mortgage payments.
  • We basically stopped buying things unless they were necessary (with the exception of food. Eating out is where we still struggle).

We banked a lot of money up front. We made a lot of progress. In the first year, we've paid off $19,170.86 and increased our net worth by $32,328.22.

It was fun.

Now it isn't as fun.

The progress is slower now.

Life sometimes hits you hard and that large payment you wanted to send to pay off a big chuck of debt is retargeted to pay an unexpected doctor's bill or car repair.

I feel stuck.

I know the end of the road is out there, but since I'm not approaching it as quickly as I once was and the ride isn't as exciting as it used to be, I am starting to get bored of the trip.

Not bored enough to turn around, of course. I mean, that would be totally counter productive and stupid.

But just tired of being on the road.

"Are we there yet?" is a pretty good analogy of how I feel about our debt repayment at this point. And no, we aren't. We aren't even halfway there in fact.

I'm trying to find encouragement along the way, but that isn't always easy.

I mean, it's cool to read about someone's success about becoming debt free and celebrate with them. But in the end, it's just a reminder that I'm not there yet. And that is depressing.

I try to help others see that mindless spending is not smart and going to catch up with them one day. Hopefully they will wise up before it does. But then I feel completely unequipped to do that because how am I any better with our loads of debt that still haunts me?

Sadly it is so much easier and takes so much less time to get into this mess than to get out.

And I'm tired of trying.

I'm not going to stop.

But I need some encouragement. Some inspiration. Some cheerleading.

Anybody know where I can get that? Am I just being a whiny baby who needs to deal with the damage we've done and shut up?

Are we there yet?

Photo credit: runrunrun


  1. As someone who is just starting out on this ride, I can see where is might get wearisome. I would like to point out though that when you have medical bills or repairs you could pay them and not add to your debt. It might not seem like much but a lot of people are not as fortunate. I hope this doesn't sound high horsey, I hope it encourages. I think the thing that encourages me the most is the idea of how much we could be saving and investing and giving every month when we are debt free.

  2. What you guys are doing takes such time and dedication. Keep on going, the rewards in the end will be far greater than the frustration.
    You are an example to many!!
    Just when I feel like Kevin and I are on top of the financial game, our air conditioner breaks to the tune of $575 or someone hits my car in a parking lot and doesn't leave a note, another $500.
    Just know that you are not alone and there are so many folks out there that support you.

  3. @Niki--Yes, you're right. It is awesome to be able to pay for those bills rather than add them to a list of debts. To pay using a debit card rather than a credit card. Those are the types of reminders I need.

    @Abby--I know that we'll never feel like we've totally arrived, as there will always be another, loftier goal. But I can't wait to be out from under this mess we've gotten ourselves into! Thanks for the encouragement!

  4. @Abby--By the way, you mean someone hit your car and didn't leave a note? That's low.

  5. I feel the same way! We've had a lot of hardships (no more than anyone else, but certainly our fair share) in the past year and while my debt payoff plans have come to a very slow creep, I remind myself that despite the financial challenges of the last year, we have not added to our debt. It slowly creeps down and for now that will have to be enough. Maybe if you break down your goals into smaller goals you will feel more satisfied. The big goal will remain the same, but you will feel like you are reaching milestones faster.

  6. @Noelle--I too try to boost myself by thinking "at least I didn't use the credit card." Thanks for the suggestion about using smaller goals. Best of luck to you in your debt repayment!

  7. Y'all increased your net worth by $32k?! That's AMAZING. Maybe you should set some intermediate goals to keep up your motivation; like a weekend getaway when you reach your next big milestone.

    The self-deprivation part can be so exhausting.