We have been making some headway in the debt elimination process and have hit a few speed bumps along the way. For instance, at the end of 2012, we accumulated new debt because we were doing the best we could and still using up our savings while Chip was job hunting. Since then, we have replenished our emergency savings fund, paid for a family vacation with cash, and are working on whittling down that debt number again.
Although our debt is not as low as I would like, let me share with you a little incident that would have caused extreme panic just 3 years ago.
Two days ago I had to have my car towed from the side of the interstate into the dealership to be repaired. I had no idea what it was, but the last time it did something similar, I had to get a new transmission and a new catalytic converter (neither of which is cheap). Today the car is not worth enough to put that kind of money into it, so I was really hoping the repairs would be minor so that I wouldn't be car shopping again this weekend. We just bought a new vehicle and I hate having a car payment, but that's the route we chose to go (long story for a different post). I certainly did not want another. I want to continue knocking down our debts.
Earlier that day I had scheduled a $2000 payment to go to one of our credit cards to knock a chunk out of it. I scheduled it for Friday. That afternoon the car when kaput. Once it got to the shop, the service department was closed and they were not going to be able to look at it until the next morning. That evening, before I knew what the damage was, I changed that credit card payment to $500, freeing up money to use to pay for repairs.
|Photo credit: lusi|
So why can I say "yippee" over a $500 car repair? First of all, I was expecting the worst, so $500 wasn't too bad. But mostly because three years ago I would have needed to put that $500 on a credit card (because I wouldn't have had the cash - even in an emergency fund) and I'm not sure I could have fit it on a credit card - depending on what month it was.
So not only did I not have to put it on a credit card, I didn't even have to dip into my emergency fund to do it. Of course I'm sending less cash to pay off debt, but I think this is definitely a WIN siutation.
Just three years ago, this whole event would have caused more stress than I can describe. Although I'm not debt free yet, I can already feel a twinge of the freedom that allows, and I can't wait!