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This is a little embarrassing to admit, but our family is carrying a pretty hefty amount of credit card debt. The good news is, we’re done over-spending and we have enough to start paying it off for real! We’ve paid off two credit cards so far using the Debt Snowball method, and now we’re working on the high-dollar ones. Since we’re putting so much money towards our balances, you might be wondering – how do we feel about having fun with debt? Well, unlike a lot of tough-guy financial gurus and bloggers, I’m in favor of having fun with debt. Read on to see what we do for fun, why, and where we draw the line.
What we do for fun…
Even though we’re in debt, we still go on monthly date nights. We drive to the beach in the summer. We get lunch when we’re out doing errands. And we even throw something extra in the cart every so often! If we need something new, like a piece of furniture or cookware, we’ll get it.
Why is this okay?
I know, I know. Other bloggers you’ve read about do things like eat only rice and beans until they’re paid off their debt. Or they live as a one-car family, or heat their houses with firewood only when it gets below freezing, or only get clothes from Goodwill… and good for them! They’ll definitely pay off their debt faster than us by using these methods. They’ll probably save a buttload of money on interest. But our family is not willing to do all that. Because…
We’re still living our lives.
That’s right. Our time and enjoyment as a family is just as important as money to us. In fact, we earn money so that we can enjoy our time as a family. We don’t want to put our lives on hold and live in a way that’s uncomfortable to us, just to save money. Yes, we would be able to have more fun sooner if we were stricter. But life has an end point, and we don’t want to waste precious moments on being stressed about our debt.
Our daughter is still young.
Emma is four years old, and these are the memories she’ll hold onto and build on for the rest of her life. We want to give her fun Christmases, a membership to the zoo, and preschool. These things are expensive and not essential, and if we were being more stingy, we wouldn’t get to experience them together.
We’re caring for our marriage.
One of the biggest marriage stressors is financial issues. And we certainly feel that in our marriage! But going on date nights and doing some shopping together helps us remember that we can still have fun with debt and with each other at the same time.
We believe in moderation.
Paying off debt is like going on a diet, I think. If you do too much, too soon, you’ll probably burnt out and go on a binge! That’s not great for your wallet, or your mentality about paying off debt. Doing things in moderation is usually the key to long-term success. So, we’re not doing no-spend months or cash envelopes or going off the grid. Instead, we’re putting a good amount of money towards our debt – enough that we feel it, but not enough that we’re suffering.
Our plan is working for us!
This plan is exactly what our family needs. We’re having fun with debt, but still paying it off. At this rate, we’ll have the rest of our debt paid off in about two years. And I’m happy with that! We’re enjoying our time as a young family, furnishing our home, making memories together. If that’s what you feel will work for your family, I’m officially giving you permission to do it! You don’t need to go to extreme measures to pay off your debt if you don’t want to – practicing moderation will get you there, while still allowing you to have fun with debt.
What do you do to pay off your debt? Are you moderate or extreme? Leave a comment and tell me!
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