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Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Taking Small Breaks to Break Free from Debt

Grace and Peace to You,

Debt as of 06/09/2012:  $92,645.00

Debt as of 09/30/2014:  $11,063.76

Total Debt Paid Down: $81,581.24

We've been needing to get a post up for sometime now!  Since our annual fall break is upon us, Emily and I decided to get something down this week.  In the spirit of breaks, this post is about that very subject.

We are always working hard at our debt goal at every turn.  We look to save money in every budgeted category from gas to groceries.  We look for ways to increase our revenue or extra income.  We do our job.  Come on now, can we take a break?  The answer is yes, but it depends on what your debt goals are.

Of course, no matter what debt goals or budget you have, we promote just that very fact:  have them.  Our goal and pay down system is very aggressive.  It's probably more aggressive than most.  However, it is worth noting that we have met people along they way who are more aggressive than us (try going on a complete Ramen noodle/vitamin diet)!

OK, so you have a budget.  You can build in breaks.  We are currently on a fall break with our education jobs.  Now are we taking a trip to Key West or Destin, FL?  Well, no, but we did set aside some money to go out to eat, take in a movie, and go hiking.  Now could this money help reach our debt goal just a little bit faster? It is true that it would, but this small amount is worth the sacrifice to be able to reward ourselves with some albeit small, but important experiences together.

Back in August, Emily surprised me with tickets to a concert of one my favorite music artists who is playing out of town in November (btw:  she bought those tickets with online earnings).  After looking at the destination and time involved to get there, we decided to make a long weekend out of it.  Again, are we slowing our progress a little?  Yes.  I maintain that it is because we have a budget that we are able to plan for these breaks.  We know where our money is going and therefore can direct it where we want.

Now you can't spend whenever you want or do whatever you want.  If you did that you wouldn't make any progress.  You can look at what we've paid down and decipher for yourself that we've said no to a lot of things in the past two and half years.  There is a famous quote from 20th century music giant Nadia Boulanger that goes like this:

"To study music, we must learn the rules. To create music, we must break them."

For me, you can apply this to your budget and life.  There are times when you can take a break.  Maybe your favorite music artist is in town and they don't come through that often.  Maybe your favorite sports team, pro or college, has reached the championship for the first time in awhile.  By all means go, but if you're going to take a break in your budget you must first have one and learn it's rules.  Have a plan and follow it.  Then when your life presents one of those "once in a lifetime opportunities" you can free the money to make it happen.  Keep paying and saving!

"Wake me up when September ends."

--Green Day

In Christ,
Bryant & Emily

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