Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Debt-Freedom, what now?

I wrote this post shortly after we were debt-free. I was completely overwhelmed and didn't know what being debt-free would feel like. We had cars to repair, seminary to pay for, and couldn't really see beyond that. While we weren't paying money to student loans anymore, we were still paying money to things I wasn't thrilled about! We are now paid up on seminary with grants and scholarships ready for next semester. On top of all of that, we're scheduled to have our emergency fund complete (5-6 months of expenses!) by the first half of April.

In the past 4 years we've paid off almost $116,000. This means that if nothing changes in our financial situation, we could buy a house with cash in less than 4 years. It means we could fully fund a college fund for Wesley and fully-fund Roth IRAs for Jarrod and I. It means we can give additionally to our church, on top of our 10%. When I start to run the numbers and realize I could have college fully-funded for 2 kids (we're not expecting!) in the next 6 years, it's overwhelming. How incredible would that be!

Because of Jarrod's new situation within the church, we are called to itinerate - meaning we can move because of a phone call. This is not likely to happen soon, but will definitely happen in the next few years. It doesn't make sense for us to buy a house right now. I thought we'd be saving for a house right now, but that's not our situation. We're saving for a newer car and by December we're likely to be in the market for a larger, newer vehicle. It's helpful that we drive older cars that aren't worth much because it means we can get a car 3-4 times the value of our current cars!

Since paying off our debt in July we have had a few hiccups. We're not sitting on a fully-funded emergency fund, yet. We aren't saving for retirement until we do that. We have both scheduled for the next 6 weeks or so. It's very exciting, but it's only recently sunk in. Every dollar that comes into our house now is ours. Once our emergency fund is complete, we will have options on how to spend our money. We're already working on future budgets - what will our budget look like when we don't have any debt, have an emergency fund, and are putting money away for retirement and college. It's amazing to have money left over!

I wish I could say that it was a simple transition. It wasn't. It's still happening. I'm still in awe. I'm still waiting for the other shoe to drop. I feel lighter and more free. More than anything else, I'm so excited about the future and the incredible things we will be able to do.

What brings you the most freedom? If you could do one thing to bring more freedom to your life, what would you do?
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