Thoughts and Feelings on the Start of our Last Month in Debt

Jen SmithDebt, Personal Finance14 Comments

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We are officially in our last month of being in student loan debt. I thought this month would never come, but here it is.

How I’m feeling about being almost debt-free.

I’m not good at writing about feelings. If I take the time to write something I want it to help people, not give them an inside look at what’s going on inside my brain. But I see a lot of posts about people “in debt” and “debt free” but not many about being “almost out of debt.”

We’re one month away from completing the journey of paying off $78,000 of car and student loan debt in less than two years. 23 months to be exact.

It’s hard to imagine being in the last few months of debt repayment when you can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel. We were at the midway point last year and I was crushed. It’d been a hard year and we still had a year to go.

Starting this blog was how I dealt with that hopelessness. I thought if I could help people starting their debt-free journey it’d help me finish out mine. And I was right a million times over.

Does it ever get easier?

Not really. I’m still whiney about budgeting, Travis still looks at cars and big screen TVs online, and we are both worn out. But in the end, it’s made our lives so much better.

Travis and I are now comfortable being completely honest and open with each other about our spending. I’m a more frugal shopper and Travis makes fewer thrift store trips (you’d be surprised by how much those add up.)

All in all, I’m so ready for this season to be over. I’m ready to watch interest work for me instead of against me, to not feel bad about treating myself, and to scream “WE”RE DEBT FREE!!”

Our plans after making that last payment:

Why yes I have made a list of what I’m going to do when we’re debt-free.

Book a cruise. As soon as I have enough in our bank account to book a cruise, I’m doing it. I know I should be working on an emergency fund at this point but I’ve been salivating over a cruise to the Bahamas for more than a year and I have Travis on record agreeing to it. So we’re doing it.

Max out our Roth IRAs. Yeah, I still know I should be working on an emergency fund but we’ll never get 2017 back. I plugged it into a calculator and if we retire at 60 we lose out on $60,000 by not maxing out our Roth IRAs this year. We can start investing next year but no matter how much we make we’ll never be able to put that extra $11,000 into pre-tax retirement.

Get life insurance. Nope, still not working on that emergency fund. Dave Ramsey has basically denounced us at this point but he said we should’ve had life insurance this whole time so better late than never right? I also want to look at long-term care insurance for my mom who’s 59. In a perfect world, she’d split the cost with us but I’m not holding my breath.

Build our emergency fund. OKAY, I HEAR YOU. Now we’re going to work on building a $10,000 emergency fund. We already have $1000 so only nine to go!

Upgrade to a king sized bed. And finally, once all the necessities are met (cruise was definitely a necessity) we’re going to get a king bed, and maybe a bedside table because Travis has been using a cooler since we moved in.

We plan on putting our queen into the spare room and putting it up on Airbnb. With the money we make we’re going to pay for our next car in cash!

Final thoughts and some encouragement.

About three months ago I determined the date of our final debt payment. On the 100 day mark, I started an Instagram account as a declaration of my commitment to that goal. Since then we lost side jobs and had a few surprise car repairs. But we adjusted our spending whenever those things popped up.

I am 100% certain we would not be making our last student loan payment on August 31, 2017, if I had not publicly declared that goal. Something changes when you have 1500 Instagram followers holding you accountable to your word. It’s no longer a goal, but a deadline.

So don’t be afraid of setting specific date goals along your debt freedom journey. You may miss some but you’ll probably make more than you miss if you keep making them. And declaring them publicly makes all the difference. You don’t have to have a blog or Instagram. You can post it on Facebook or tell your friends, your true friends will be supportive and encouraging.

Happy debt-paying my friends! And to the #debtfreecommunity: I’ll see you on the other side!

We're paying off debt and I loved this post about being almost there. It makes me know these feelings are normal and we can be debt-free!

14 Comments on “Thoughts and Feelings on the Start of our Last Month in Debt”

  1. It’s funny, but when I paid off my last credit card bill, I thought I would *feel* a lot more than I did. Maybe the anxiety of “next steps” was holding me back, but I wish I’d celebrated more. Y’all have totally earned that cruise and king size bed; get it!

  2. That is absolutely amazing! I know you may not be as pumped as you could be, but C-E-L-E-B-R-A-T-E! Hubs and I have just started our journey too, but I’ve left the workplace to stay at home so we’re now doing it with only one income. While we’re making headway, there is still a long road ahead (like 10 years). This is very encouraging, one day I’ll see that light too.

    1. Thank you Sami! I’ve been investing a lot in passive income and work-at-home type stuff so I can stay home one day. There are a lot of opportunities!

  3. Congratulations!!! I remember when I wrote the last check to Sallie Mae, it was a moment like no other. There are a couple things I did then and do now the would have Dave Ramsey basically denounced us too; and I’m okay with that. 😉

  4. This is so encouraging! We are about to start our journey. I know it will be tough, but I also know the rewards are greater. Thank you for sharing!

    1. You’re welcome Kim! Best wishes in your journey. It’s not easy but the best things never are!

  5. How exciting! I was chasing my dream career for about 4 years. Even though I was working 2 jobs I didn’t have income from 2. I’ve been able to keep up with my student loans but not get ahead. Now that I made the choice to give up chasing that dream (for now hopefully) I am seeing how much not getting ahead affects my finances and my overall feeling of success. I’m looking forward to reading more about your journey as I figure out what I can do to help myself find my financial balance. Thanks for sharing!

    1. You’re welcome Caitlin! chasing the job before getting a financial head start is a mistake a lot of millennials make. It’s easier to make job decisions when there’s not so much financial stress riding on it and often you find a different dream along the way you’d never have been exposed to otherwise. Best wishes on your journey and glad to have you around!

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