You close your eyes and try to sleep, but your thoughts are racing. You roll over and try to get comfortable, but you just can’t find peace. Your thoughts are haunting you, filling you with fears and doubt.
Does this sound familiar?
For the last few weeks, this has been my experience.
Our Finances Are Keeping Me Awake at Night
My thoughts go something like this:
I’m 42, and my husband is nearly 40. We still have $46k to pay off in debt.
We’re not going into debt anymore, but our gazelle intensity is gone. Let’s just say if we were gazelles, we would have been consumed by a lion by now.
We’re paying off about $500 of debt a month. At this rate, our debt will be paid off in 93 long months.
Gee, that’s only 7.75 years from now when I’ll be 50!
Then, after the debt is paid off, we’ll need to save money for a down payment for a house and buy one. Oh, and the timing coincides perfectly with Bookworm getting ready to go to college. He’ll be 17 by then!
Let’s not even mention that Peanut Butter and Jelly Girl and Cuddle Bug will be 12 and 11 then.
Or that retirement will be a mere 15 years away.
See why I can’t sleep?
Getting My Grip on Our Finances Again
Finally, when I asked my fabulous Mom’s Plans’ fans on Facebook for their opinion–pay off my small student loan first or pay off the credit card first–I realized why I haven’t been able to sleep.
I’ve been feeling powerless–and trapped.
Hopeless, you might say.
And let’s be honest, feeling hopeless is a bad spot to be in and is rarely conducive to fixing your problems.
The Power of Prayer and Determination
Sure, saying a prayer or two can help, but if you can’t let go of your problems, prayer doesn’t help much.
I realized the true solution to my problem is to get gazelle intense again. If we can just eliminate my $3,090 student loan, I’ll feel so motivated. We’ll have another $192 in cash flow freed up to apply to the credit card, and finally we’ll start making some traction.
The simple fact is that we have about 20 years to achieve our financial goals–get out of debt, buy a house, save for retirement, help the kids pay for their college education and weddings. . .On that kind of time line, we just don’t have 8 years to pay down debt.
Finally feeling renewed, I sat down with my husband, and we decided to set the audacious goal of paying off my student loan by August 31, 2013. Four months to pay off $3,090.
We’ve sold much of our junk downstairs, so while we might be able to wring out a few more hundred dollars on Craigslist and at a garage sale, that’s not going to be the solution.
We honestly don’t have $1,000 a month to throw at this debt.
And, it’s not like all of our free money can go on debt. We’re still facing a $700 spark plug car repair and a $750 medical bill I just got in the mail last week. Not to mention buying uniforms for the kids.
But that’s where faith and prayer come in.
We’ve been very responsible with our money these last few months.
We’ve sat down together for regular budget meetings.
I’ve tracked EVERY.SINGLE.PENNY. we’ve spent.
We’ve stuck to the budget.
And in return, strange things have been happening.
- We got over a $150 refund from the hospital for a visit for Bookworm 2 years ago.
- We got a tax return when we were expecting to owe.
- We got a $175 refund from our doctor for overpayment.
- I’ve been blessed with extra jobs at just the moment I needed them.
I have faith, and I have prayers and determination. I can’t see now how we are going to get this debt paid off in 4 months, but He can. I’m going to do what I haven’t been able to do earlier and trust that God will help us free ourselves from our debt so we can use our money in ways that are more fitting to His purpose.
I don’t know if we’ll accomplish this audacious goal with our limited income and other expenses we have to pay, but we’re going to work together and make paying off my student loan a reality by the end of the summer.
Have you set any audacious financial goals? If so, what were they? Have you been able to accomplish them, or are you still working on them?
Photo courtesy of DDFic on Flickr.
I shared this post on Gratituesday.