It should go without saying, but it often doesn't, so I will go ahead and say it...
I am so sick of not being able to what we want to with our money because in the past we have spent money we didn't have on things that were mostly unimportant. Those things important enough to borrow money for would have been long ago paid off if that was all we used credit for in the past.
And now we are paying the price of our stupidity.
The good news is we figured out how to stop and we have a plan on how to get out of this miserable existence of indebtedness.
The most frustrating part of this whole climb out of this abyss is seeing something that I would really love to use our money for and not being able to because it currently belongs to someone else and not us.
I don't mean a nice new pair of shoes or a delectable dinner out with my husband, although both of those things would be nice.
I mean seeing others in need and not being able to help more than we currently can. I am at a period of my life when I have felt more generous towards others than I ever have and yet I have no money to contribute towards the needs which I would like to support. It's beyond frustrating.
Here is a list of things I hope we can do once this burden of debt is lifted:
- Create a real emergency fund of 6 months of expenses. This will be our first goal just to ensure our financial security.
- Up our retirement contributions to approximately 15% of our income. We currently have IRAs and Roth IRAs that haven't seen a contribution in a while, and I have a 401k that could use a boost.
- Start some type of education fund for our kids. I know. It's awful to some people that we haven't done this yet, but I think we need to get financially healthy before we throw money somewhere else.
- Send much larger payments to pay off our mortgage. I can't wait until we're paying more than the minimum on this!
- Start an allowance system for our kids. Seriously, Patrick is a great kid. And he helps out around the house a whole lot with no reward. I want to continue to encourage that. But I also would love for him to get to buy some of the things that he wants so much when we're shopping (we do not currently buy things "just because" so he has to hold out for his birthday or a holiday).
- Sponsor two children in need. I hope to pick one with each of our children's birthday just so they can have something in common with them. I want to really make a change in someone's life. A change that costs so little to us, but is currently unaffordable because we have to send money to banks.
- Be able to make larger monetary gifts as needs arise. I want to be able to donate $3000 toward building a house in Guatemala through an initiative our church is currently working toward. I want to be able to donate school supplies to local schools for children who cannot afford them (we do this some, but I want to really grow this giving), etc. I want to be able to really fund a big project that will make a difference to a family or a community.
- Keep up to $100 in McDonalds gift cards on me to give to the panhandlers I frequently see at our exit. I don't know their story. I do not know what decisions or circumstances got them to the point they are at now. And frankly, it is not my job to judge. But I would like to offer a hungry man food.
- Take gift bags to the homeless. Savannah is a city full of history, beauty, charm, and yes...homeless people. I would love to put together 10 or 15 gift bags containing things like a bottle of water, a ham sandwich, some gloves, baby wipes, or something similar and hand them out at places where you can always find people loitering. Just because.
There are plenty of others, but these things pierce my heart. These things drive me to become debt free. I have a spirit of giving flowing through me that is quite new to me and I hope to one day be able to unleash it.
What would you do with no bills?
Photo credit: TangoPango