So today my husband and I finally set aside the time to get our taxes done. Last year, we ended up owing money for the first time, which I must say was not a pleasant feeling. This year, although we were able to claim our home for the first time and we now had our son to claim, I’d being lying if I said I wasn’t a little nervous to start crunching the numbers.
I’m happy to say that this year we will actually be getting a refund back (thank goodness) but going over the numbers and realizing just HOW MUCH my husband and I brought in last year; it’s frustrating to feel so tight on money on a day-to-day basis.
Around this time last year I came across some articles on Pinterest about going ‘debt-free’. I’m a little embarrassed to admit that prior to reading those articles, the thought being ‘debt-free’ never occurred to me.
So many of us live our lives in this paycheck-to-paycheck cycle, with very little in our savings account (if anything). It’s so easy to get caught up in that lifestyle, but I must say that those posts changed my life and view on money. With our first child on the way, I didn’t want to restrict his childhood because we ‘couldn’t afford’ the sports and/or classes that he may want to do. I realized that if there came a day when we wanted to go to the zoo and spend the extra money on souvenirs or over-priced lunches ‘just because’, then I didn’t want to spend the day worrying about how much of that experience we could ‘afford’.
To be clear, this isn’t about becoming debt-free so I can buy my son all the materialistic items he could ever want. It’s so that we can spend more time making memories and being a part of the events, rather than crunching numbers in the background worried about how we can afford to be a little reckless to begin with.
Since I’ve made this realization, I’ve become OBSESSED with wanting to pay off debt, and do so quickly! I realized that if we paid the majority of it off, I could get away from having to work a full-time job in addition to my husband, just to make ends meet. We could actually arrange our finances, so that his paycheck could cover the bulk of our needs (house, utilities, etc), and then mine could cover the extras and entertainment. I could jump back to part-time, still help contribute financially but also be able to go to the school and sporting events. I’d be able to fit in Doctor’s appointments, and care for my kids when they’re sick without worrying about the corporate world deciding if I can have that time away from work.
My family is, and will always be #1. I’m sure plenty of you can relate to doing whatever is necessary in order to make sure your families are cared for. Even if that means hustling away for a little while so one day we can really enjoy them and be there for them when they need us without the little voice inside your head saying ‘you can’t afford it’.
So here’s my challenge to you:
Take a look at your finances. How many payments do you make a month to something that will one day be paid off? You don’t have to include your mortgage in it right away. But things like credit cards, car payments, etc. Now add up those monthly payments. Imagine having all of that stuff paid off and having that amount of money freed up again. How would that life look? Would you build up a real savings account? Would Christmas be a lot less stressful? How about a family vacation?
I’ll be adding posts on helpful ways to cut back on expenses and how to approach the process of becoming debt-free. Check back often!