Saturday, February 26, 2011

Renewal Time

In the past three years I have worked and worked and am finally doing well with work that I love. However one thing hasn't happened, we haven't gotten out of debt. Our lives with all the business took some strange turns over the past five years, that maybe I thought we were immune to as frugal as we are. My husbands employer required him to get a degree in order to move up the proverbial ladder: Cost $16,500. Somehow I bought into the fact that my perfectly good eleven year old Honda needed to be upgraded to a newer model that would house all my long legged teens: $15,000. Of course Murphy knocked at the door and my husbands car broke down:$2500. Then it broke down again:$1000. Then we decided to replace it:$9,000. Our windows in our eighty year old house were literally falling apart and so we replaced them $6000. Did I mention we adopted a child a little over four years ago. So if you were to compare us to other Americans we look pretty good actually. Our home is well within our budget, actually quite low at 15% of our gross bring home with payment, taxes, and ins. Our cars are used and our payments are half of the average American. Our consumer debt and school loans are around average, but I don't want to be average. Average is not good these days. Most Americans are struggling.
Now while we have everything we need and can usually find a way to take care of all the things our four teenagers's still a struggle. Recently our son started soccer, an investment of $150. Our other son needed new clothes for a job interview $80. These things are affordable yet they add up really quickly, especially when you and a dog with an emergency vet bill at $300,the money that goes to pay down the debt gets smaller and smaller.
Since Sept. (five months) our debt has gone down by over $6000, with us making a little extra on our payments. Our goal is to be out of debt all but the house in three years. Which brings me to Spring and renewal. Though I am not a religiously dogmatic person, I do love the season of Lent. Lent represents a season of renewal, rebirth, & cleansing. Each year we make a commitment during Lent to renew our lives in a positive way. So for the season of Lent I want to repeat last years commitment of letting go and not buying anything that isn't food,shelter, medicine, or absolute necessity. If you need or want something, such as I know we have a big commitment to a parade, we will borrow it or find it at a thrift store. This takes quite a lot of effort on my part because I have no time right now, literally I do not have a day on my calender free until the day of the parade, but I am going to commit. Each year its a powerful commitment, which always results in a renewed sense of happiness with lasting effects.

What in your life can you commit to this year? Maybe it's your relationships with others or possibly taking care of yourself. I encourage you to give it a try, you might just find some happiness in doing so.