Saturday, February 14, 2015

Financial Freedom: Choose Less (the Journey Begins)

At the heart of everything is choice.

Sometimes choices are connected to other things, like time and money, but a lot of times we also use time and money to excuse ourselves from making the best choices.  However, when you make a choice, set a goal, and start establishing the steps to reach that goal, sometimes things start falling into place. Being organized and living a simplified life are both about those kind of choices, and at the heart of that is financial freedom.

I haven't always made the best choices.  My choices are never of the devastatingly BAD variety, but still, I could choose better.  This time though, I feel like moving into this new house was the beginning of new and better choices for us.

It was extremely tempting to buy a house at the very top end of our budget.  It would have had a custom look with a three stall garage, been in a neighborhood of other custom built houses, and been outfitted with an already finished basement.  There would have been upgraded cabinets and countertops, and it would have had some other perks we don't have here.  Unfortunately, all of that comes at a payment about twice the cost of this one as well.  Yes, we could have comfortably made the payments.  Yes, it would have fit neatly into the correct percentage the experts suggest on housing costs.  But it likely would have left us little room afterwards to plan cool vacations, and it definitely would have taken thirty years to pay off.

So, while a custom house would have been nice, we can add many of those things to this house over time without actually spending twice as much.

My original train of thought was that if we chose a house with a smaller payment, we could afford yearly vacations and a boat on which to enjoy the summers.  However, last week, I had another thought.  What if, instead, we used the budget freedom to completely change our lives?

Last Friday morning, I made a goal, and I am currently working on the plan to implement it.
My goal is to pay off our whole lives - huge student loan debt, our van, a credit card, and the house we've owned for a month now - within the next five to seven years.  When I said it out loud to myself on the way to work on Friday, I felt a huge load instantly lift from my shoulders.  Because, if we have no debt, I don't need a full time job.  At that point I will have the FREEDOM to decide if I'm going to teach or write or work part time somewhere.  Freedom to choose NOT to keep teaching had never been part of my reality until just that moment.

My motto for this journey is Choose Less.

2015 Goals:
1) Payoff our credit card
2) Payoff our van loan
3) Payoff one third of my remaining student loan

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