We've been debt free for nearly a week now and already I'm overwhelmed with feelings.I thought I'd feel completely at peace and free. I do, mostly. But now I feel even more dedicated to living below our means so that we can really accomplish our goals. Because our debt was so high, buying things didn't seem like as big of a deal. Now that we have our eye on the prizes, I am even more dedicated to simple living.
Now that we are debt free, we are spending the next two months paying for Jarrod's school. Seminary tuition is due on September 20th, so we have to use every extra penny between now and then to hit that goal. There's no other option.
After September 20th, every penny will go to our 3 month emergency fund. We're opting to make our emergency fund a little smaller than it could be because our next goal is also a huge savings goal.
Once we hit our emergency fund goal (which will hopefully happen before the end of the year!) we'll begin saving for our adoption. I wrote about this yesterday and I am passionate about putting every free penny towards finding and bringing home our baby. No book, pair of shoes, or new dress will stand in my way.
I haven't decided if it would be best for us to begin saving for retirement after the emergency fund or after the adoption. I'm not exactly sure what Dave Ramsey would say about this. Hopefully I'll have the opportunity to ask him! Either way, I pray that we will have enough money to fund our adoption around the end of 2014. At this point, we can begin saving for retirement, college, and a down payment for a house.
For many people, a house would be a higher priority than adoption. Because of Jarrod's job and school, we will not be buying a house for a few years, at least. In the United Methodist Church pastors are itinerant. This means that at the call of our Bishop and others, Jarrod can be moved anytime. We won't buy a house unless we think we will be in one place for at least a few years. There is no guarantee, but at this point, we know we won't be here for more than 3 years or so. The house can wait. Perhaps someday we'll know we'll settle somewhere and be able to pay cash...
I'm not even thinking about a house right now. I'm completely focused on bringing our baby home. I don't know where she is, but I know she's out there, or will be soon, and we'll do whatever we can to bring her home.
I know that now that we're debt free, we should celebrate. We should go on vacation, spend money, and live a little. That sounds like fun, but we can do that once we have the money saved for our adoption. Because we've been so tight for so long, another year or 18 months doesn't feel bad at all. Especially since the reward is what we've wanted.
I'm thrilled to be debt-free because it means that we can begin to do what we want with our money. For my entire adult life, I've spent my money on things I HAVE to. I am not finally able to spend money on what I WANT to because with the exception of normal bills, every other penny is completely ours!