Mad Money

Money has been on my (mad) mind a bit…you know, ever since I upped and quit my job last summer.  Sure, I got a new job (with a handsome boss) but the pay is lots less than what I was making before.  And in truth, money has always been something I’ve thought hard about, even as a little girl.  I can get all ninja psychoanalyst and tell you the root of why I feel the way I do, but let’s not waste your time.  Since you’re already here though, I thought I’d start a running conversation about some ways I am trying to cut spending, save greenbacks, but still live life in between.

Today’s topic: DEBT. Eew.

Just a month or two back, we became completely debt free and that got me thinking about the journey we took to get here.  Fresh out of college, I bought a car and paid it off just before purchasing my house in 2004.  Then, shortly after getting married, Hubs and I paid off his car loan.  As you know, last summer we sold our house.  Thanks to  having renters early in my mortgage and throwing in a few extra payments, we were able to come out just *barely* above zero, even though we sold it for 20k less than I had bought it for.  But, above zero nonetheless.  My final debt was a small chunk of school loans that was so piddly, we decided to pull the trigger and pay it off a few months back, leaving us completely debt free.  Wow, it feels niiiice.

A few contributing factors to this new found debt freedom:

*We both bought used cars and they have been low cost to maintain (thankfully).  I bought my car in 2002 for 11k and was still able to sell it, 9 years later, for 4k!  It was a great little car and I’m hoping Hub’s car writes us a similar story.

*I bought a cheap house and rented it out.  Sure, I wanted a yard so I could plant a garden.  Sure, I wanted a few extra bedrooms so I could sleep overnight guests.  Sure, sharing your space with renters isn’t always a dream come true.  And SURE, I yearned to host a bridal or baby shower!!  My place was just was too small to do so.

*We both went to cheap colleges.  In fact, I spent my first two years at a community college, living at home (thanks, Mom) and sharing a car with my twin brother (a truly awful experience).  It was far from glamorous and you’d better believe I was incredibly jealous of all of my friends that went away to college and got to live in the dorms.  I felt like a complete lame wad.  But, it saved me a ton of money.  Then, I transferred to the University of Minnesota and thanks to some healthy internships and a few scholarships, I walked away with 8k in debt after 3 years, and even got to live on campus!  But, let’s be honest, my college experience was fairly low on the “fun” spectrum.  I was dead broke.  I had stupid clothes, couldn’t go out to eat and didn’t do much of anything, unless it was free.  Hubs, on the other hand, got a full ride.  I know.  So, when we got married, he didn’t come with any school debt – only good looks!  Go me!

Anyway.  My point is, being debt free feels good and has given us some leverage to take new risks but it came with sacrifices.  It came with some serious lack of fun.  And one day, we can only hope to afford a house again and we’ll be back on the debt wagon.  Until then, we’ll have to endure the annoyances of apartment living.  But for now though, we are trying to enjoy the ride and I’m trying to look back on each of these sacrifices with fondness, because it was part of the journey.

Does anyone want to talk about debt and what they are doing to pay theirs down?  Any sacrifices along the way?  Any mistakes, bumps in the road?  Anyone want me to just shut my trap already?

15 thoughts on “Mad Money

  1. While it wasn’t easy getting there, eliminating our debt has allowed us to make risky life changes such as me starting a company, Candace quitting her job and us moving to Boulder. It feels good to know that our early sacrifices have really paid dividends.

  2. Yay you and zack! You both continually remind me of tyoe of person I want to be. Love this post and the reminder of sacrifices paying off.

    • Thank you, Kari. I always find these type of blog posts interesting and inspiring and am so relieved I’m not the only one! I still have a long way to go as far as budgeting and such, so there’s always room to learn and change.

  3. Yay you guys! Congrats! I remember when I used to not have debt; before I went nuts and decided to go back to school again…maybe someday I won’t have any again.

  4. Money is another form of energy…and like our time, it’s another area where we can conciously decide how WE want to spend it…or not spend it. While there isn’t a right or a wrong item to spend on, kudos for your awareness of needs, wants, sacrifices, and taking charge of these decisions. Sounds like the new adventure has been renewing and adventurous in ways that are beyond “money well spent”! Double KU-dos!

    • Sweet Gina, we miss you too!! Thank you for the link and the inspiring quote – the sacrifices will be worth it!

  5. Pingback: Mad Money | the candace

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