Earlier this week, my husband and I almost made a horrible financial decision. For the past eight months we have been working on a financial plan that is smart, doable, and will help us be debt free ASAP. We have done an amazing job so far! We have stuck to our budget almost every month, and even if we don't it's by a few dollars here and a few dollars there. Either way, we have done some great things with our money and already have quite a bit to show for it.
It hasn't all been easy and happy though. I have had a difficult time with the no vacation part of this budget. Before we got pregnant with our little gummy bear, we had fully planned to take a small family vacation this summer, our last one just the three of us. But since the news hit, we switched the plan just a tad and decided to try to pay off the car sooner, making it easier for me to stay home after the baby is born. This change of plans required no family vaca.
It's been hard, but worth it! There are days when I wish I could be planning something fun, but that has really been then only difficult part of the financial plan. I don't mind the budget at all, because I have really gotten into couponing we have saved tons of money on food, and I love seeing our debt dwindle so quickly (thanks Sarah for the arrow idea!).
But things almost came undone when we decided to use the extra cash we have been accruing through garage sales and watching a friend's little girl to restore my Grandma Smith's armchairs. She passed away a year ago January, and since her passing they have been hanging out in our garage. We were a bit naive when we thought about a budget for the chairs. We were hoping that we would have some money left over to put towards the car payment. Little did we know, that it would take all of what we had saved to do just one of the two chairs.
In the heat and excitement of the moment, we decided to have both done, planning to pay the second one off by adding the bill to our monthly budget and paying it off as soon as we could. The second we left the shop we began doubting our decision. We had been working so hard for months, had stuck to our budget, and missed out on a family vacation, and now it seemed that was all about to go down the drain. It was so hard to decide what to do, because obviously the chairs are important to me and hold tremendous sentimental value, but our budget and life plans mean a lot to us as well.
After a night to think it over, we decided to go ahead and have one of the chairs refurbished now since we could pay for it in cash and in full without touching/hindering our budget in any way, and then once the car is paid off, take two months off putting that payment toward the first student loan and save to have the second chair done. This way, our plan stays the same, we get a bit of reward for doing so well now (the first chair) and a second one (the second chair) once the car is paid off.
This decision gave us the best of both worlds. We keep to our budget, get both chairs done, pay off the car as planned, and get to continue on with our financial plan without a hitch. I'm so proud of us for coming to this decision. We have never been big impulse buyers and have always been somewhat financially aware/responsible, but this situation showed both of us just how much we have grown as a couple, as a family, and as adults. Nothing can stop us from reaching our goals, on time and under budget!