April finally arrived, our tenants moved out, and we moved out of my parents house back into the Brooklyn House. For 2.5 years we had thought about this moment, and sadly, it was not such a happy time. I will spare you the drama and gruesome details, but I'll tell you that when we moved back in, we were not alone. We had some new house guests: rodents. We spent the first two months back battling and reclaiming our house from critters and repairing the damage the renters had done on the house.
As previously mentioned, we VERY naively thought that the renovation would take about a year to complete and cost roughly $25,000. It makes me laugh so hard now. In reality, it took closer to three years and about $100,000. Needless to say, there were a lot of unforseen costs with the renovation.
Our debt-free story is far from conventional (like most things in our lives :). We didn't simply save all of our pennies and pay off each debt one by one. Though not the typical path, it got us to our destination nonetheless, and we hope to inspire others to think outside the box when eliminating debt. Before I delve in to how we are 100% debt-free and own our humble little home outright, I need to talk about how we got into debt in the first place.
This past week, I sent in my very last payment for my car, and it felt pretty amazing. My five year loan was up in July, but it was driving me crazy to have a couple hundred bucks of debt pending for my little Yaris. I bit the bullet, sent in the balance, and was kind of shocked by just how good it felt!
I remember when I bought my car and where I was in my life. I had graduated the previous December and just landed my first "big girl job" (full-time with benefits and everything!) the following summer. Since it was 2010 and it was so hard for this interior design degree gal to secure a job in Raleigh, I accepted a position about an hour away in a different field. I didn't completely trust my beloved 1990 Toyota Celica to get me to my new job for much longer, so I decided to buy a "big girl car" to go along with my fancy new job.
As grateful as I am for my now paid off and reliable car, I have a certain nostalgia about my cherry red Celica. I LOVED that car, not necessarily because of the way it looked or drove, but because of the freedom it allowed me. I don't have memories of commuting in it for two hours a day (in order to pay for my new car) like I do for the Yaris. I have memories of driving down to concerts in Charleston with friends on a last minute weekend getaway, just because. I don't think of sitting in bumper to bumper traffic in downtown Raleigh fighting to get home. I think of buckling in the two adorable red headed kiddos I was fortunate enough to nanny for during high school and college (probably still my favorite job to date). While it is nice to have power locks and working AC (it is the little things), there is something about not having the looming car payment and debt that makes your paid-off, crappy car a tad bit sweeter.
Now that our vehicles are paid for, our plan is to never (never ever ever) have a car payment again and will instead pay for new cars in full at the time of purchase. Is paying off your vehicle loan(s) something that is important to you?
P.S. I have thought about adding a few more topics of interest to my blog, and becoming debt free is one of them. I hope you enjoy these new posts and I can't wait to hear about your stories as well!
When you are living on a tight budget, date nights often fall to the bottom of the priority list, which I think is quite a shame. If you are working towards a goal of saving or paying off debt, you don't have to sacrifice quality time with your significant other. Some of my favorite dates with Brian have cost little to no money, so I thought it would be fun to list some of our favorite $5-ish dates as we commence the weekend.
- Enjoy a cheap bottle of wine al fresco - One of my favorite things in the whole world is great conversation. Conversation that is full of belly laughs and chats about life things. I can recall many heart to hearts on our front porch rocking chairs over a bottle of vino. My favorite wine is from Trader Joes and it costs five bucks (plus a bit for tax). I am no wine connoisseur, so I am okay with the cheap stuff, but if you enjoy the finer wines, this might not be the best date idea.
- Frozen pizza and Netflix movie night - After a long week of work, sometimes it is nice to just throw on sweat pants, shove a pizza in the oven, and binge watch your favorite Netflix show. We are also big fans of the hot-n-ready pizza from Little Caesars. Don't knock it until you try it.
- Go for a long walk - This is especially fun if you have a pooch to walk. We take Lola for walks usually daily, and it is a nice way to talk about the events of the day and spend some time outside excercising. The best part about this date? It's free. :)
What are your favorite inexpensive date nights? I would love to hear them!