Sunday, April 21, 2013

Financial Maturity (Yes We Are Moving Again)

A question many have asked me after proclaiming our Debt Free status is what are you going to do with all of that money? My first thought is all of what money? The student loan payment was only $280.61 a month. If we were to stop our plan this is all we would have added back to our monthly budget. That's not very much. As a result, we have to find money elsewhere.

Our biggest expense is our rent. I live in a building that many would agree is a really nice building. I love it. It looks more like a hotel than a rental property, and it was a great ride. See in an effort to fully gain the benefit our our new found Debt Free status, we must now become financially mature. Now, I am not saying that people who live in our building or want to live here are financially immature. In fact, I think they have made a wonderful home decision. However for us, we see it as an opportunity to find money to help us build our wealth. The maturity part comes in deciding between granite wannabe counter tops vs. actual granite counter tops, relatively new appliances vs. older appliances, tile vs. linoleum (Oh sweet Baby Jesus!), and hideous fireplaces that take up space vs. no hideous fireplaces that take up space. Sigh. We found a place. It's actually right down the street from us. It's a nice place, but it means giving up our 23rd floor view of the National Mall for a courtyard view in a garden style apartment. It's quiet, clean, and almost serene in certain parts. The problem is it's not our home; however, it helps us to walk in path of the financially mature. The apartment is $771 a month cheaper than our current apartment. That is $9,252 a year! Now, $280.61 wasn't much of an addition back to our budget but $771+$280.61=$1051.61 is. That gives us $12,619.32 a year! We found a leak, and now it's time to plug it up. Put that into an investment account at 10% (that is on the side of extreme optimism for some) for the next 40 years. Drum roll: $6.7M!!! My mind is just blown! BOOM! At 5%, which is about average, it's $1.6M. Crockpot millionaires...I'll take it. Oh imagine the good we would be able to do! Also, this is just an investment account. This doesn't include whatever other retirement/savings accounts that we will have as well. This is what financial maturity can mean for us. Our situation will probably change as I am trying to find a job that I care about which means a very probable decrease in pay, but the lifestyle change and behavior modification is the important part no matter how much money we make.    

So those are two big things that we were able to do to find this additional money. It's going to be an exciting journey to find out what small things we can change as well that can help us add to this amount. I'm just excited to see all of the things that we can do to be able to do so many wonderful things in life. Not just 40 years from now, but starting in July! This is going to be a great start to that down payment on a home, saving for a kid(s), and increasing our giving at church. Amazing. 

I am grateful for all of the many blessings that God has given us. Right now, I'm especially grateful for the ability to give up granite counter tops and a concierge for linoleum and $771 a month. I'm becoming financially mature, and I'll admit it less bougie. Linoleum is not the end of the world. Lol.   

-Debt Slayers 2013

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Brene Brown: The Power of Vulnerability

I really enjoyed this TED Talk. I have tweeted it and shared it with friends via e-mail. I hope that anyone who stops to read my blog will enjoy it as well.

My next personal topic may be on fear. Ooh wee!

-Still Debt Free ;)

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Toodaloo Nelnet!!!! WE'RE DEBT FREE!!!!

On January 1, 2013, Daniel and I embarked on a path that we had been wanting to embark upon four years prior to finally doing the darn thing! On April 10, 2013, we made our last student loan payment. It's really surreal. Many have asked me how do I feel. Honestly, I was expecting to feel overcome with joy, but I didn't feel anything. Unfortunately, on the same day that I should have been rejoicing in us achieving this wonderful goal, I was dealing with a situation that I have dealt with for a while on my job. I thought my feelings were subsiding, but on the day that I was supposed to be experiencing unbelievable joy, I found myself needing to close my office door and cry. And I cried. I cried for 3 minutes maybe even more. I was crying because for as much as this was a wonderful moment, the devil has been tap dancing on my spirit. Someone was playing the song, and he was doing some of his finest footwork on my heart. I hate letting him ever have a moment where he feels that he is winning. What was even worst was that this was the time when I should have been praying more and lifting my eyes to Heaven, but I found myself falling  asleep without praying and waking up without giving God His due as well. I was reading my Bible, but I was really going through the motions. In my moment when I needed God most, I was turning away from Him. I hate to admit it, but it's what I was going through. Flesh sucks. (Pastor Wesley's sermon was on this very topic today. Perfect timing.)

For as horrible as this situation has been, I have people in my life who are simply amazing. On the same day that I was going through this low moment, I received a call from a friend at work. She was calling to ask me some standard questions, and I decided to open up to her. She gave me the kick in the pants that I needed. DON'T YOU LET THIS STEAL YOUR JOY FROM YOU!!!! (Yes ma'am!) I know most of the right words to say to anyone for their down in the dumps moments. I actually don't like to address these moments because most people know what to do, so I try to just listen. This showed me that sometimes people just need to hear it. I needed to hear this more than I knew it. She reminded me that it's okay to let it out, but you will not let this steal your joy. I thanked her, got off the phone, cancelled our fancy reservations, and decided I just wanted to chill at lively restaurant in DC. It was everything that I needed.

So...It's Saturday, and I'm debt free. How do I feel? Well, I still don't feel like throwing a party. My current work situation may have had an impact on this, but I really think the reason is that this is now a way of life for me. It's my new Sunday through Saturday. Being debt free is just a result of this lifestyle. I'm really happy that we can start working on Baby Step 3. We aren't slated to finish this until August of this year. Once we're done with that, then we can move on to Baby Step 4, a baby, Baby Step 5, another baby maybe, Baby Step 6, no more babies, then Baby Step 7. We found an awesome program and it works.

Starting Debt January 2013- $13,366.54
Current Debt  April 12, 2013- $0.00

Toodaloo Nelnet! My next step is to figure out what all I need to call into the show to do our Debt Free Scream. 

1, 2, 3 WE'RE DEBT FREE!!!!!! (Just Practicing)

Thanks Daniel for being the wonderful husband you are. Back in January, you made me put down the Christmas ornaments. They were only $2 a piece, but they weren't a part of the budget. Of course I could have afforded the $6 to buy the ornaments, but this was about modifying our behavior. Small steps lead to huge bounds.

SN: I did end up getting those ornaments in February for 25 cent each. I got 2 whole dollars worth of ornaments from my budgeted blow it money. Lol.