Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Breaking Through Complacency

For over a year hubby and I cracked down and battled debt. We clipped coupons. We said "no" to going out. We made sacrifices. We scrimped and we saved, and we paid off all $40,000 in debt.

Then, it was Christmas time, and a time to shop, and hang out with family and friends. A time to celebrate reaching our huge goal. A goal that we watched week by week decrease in number. A goal where any little bit helped and saved us in interest.

Now, we are on the other side. We are no longer paying DOWN debt, and PAYING interest. We are saving UP and EARNING interest. (Well, interest rates aren't that great right now, but it's still better than nothing.)

So why does it seem to be so much harder? It shouldn't be. We get to reap the rewards this time. It will result with a new (to us) car, and a house. But for some reason it's so hard to find the motivation to kick my butt into gear, put my nose to the grind and save, save, save. Maybe it has to do with the end goal being so far in the future. Or maybe because even when we do save up for a down payment we will be going back into debt with a mortgage. We'd be luck to find a decent house around here in the low 200's. We want a fix-er up-er, but we don't want a house that sucks all the money out of us. If, we were lucky enough to find a place for say $200,000, we would need $40,000 for the down payment, plus at least $6,000 for closing cost. If we could save $15,000 a year towards the house, it will take us 3 years to reach it. 3 YEARS! That seems so far away. We do have some in savings, so it probably won't really take us that long, but it's still far away.

Hubby and I sat down together and talked everything out. We decided to leave a little extra 'play money' in our budget and get back on track. There's only so long you can stretch before breaking down. If we can stick with our budget longer by leaving some flexibility and blocking more off for fun, then that's what we're going to do. If we have some leftover at the end of the month, then great, we'll add more to savings! And if we don't than no harm done. (As long as we don't go OVER.)

Sure, it may take us an extra couple months to reach our goal, but is that worth losing our happiness along the way?

How do you motivate yourself to keep chugging along?


Brooke said...

sometimes breaks and celebrations are needed!

i'm experiencing similar anxiety - we are debt free, but now our savings looks pathetic because of the new house. 20% down is a lot of money!

The Lost Goat said...

In analogy: You were a 300lb person with high blood pressure who lost weight because she saw she was going to die otherwise. Now you're a normal-weight person striving to get abs like Jillian Michaels'. It's not surprising that your sense of urgency has decreased.

I think that you should give yourself a pat on the back and some space. Remember that life is not certain; you guys could both be hit by a bus tomorrow. So save with the cautious expectation that there will be a tomorrow, but don't deny yourselves everything today.

And pat yourself on the back again for being debt free - you deserve it!

Live Simply- Live Well said...

i know the feeling. P and I went through that last year right when we got out of debt.
Keep going. You guys can do it!!!!