Now that we are on the other side of our debt free journey, I’m gently tip-toeing into living like a human again. We were so nuts about meeting our timeline goals that, when the light bulbs in our house started burning out, we didn’t replace them. The month I paid off my student loan, we were down to one light bulb. Little I commented that it was like living in medieval times and I tried to find humor in the situation. We went pretty nuts with our intensity to get our finances in order, but I’d like to think that our priorities didn’t get quite this nuts….
I’ve talked about this before, but we followed Dave Ramsey’s baby steps to get our finances in line. There are seven steps in his plan:
- Save an emergency fund of $1000
- Pay off all debts (except your house) smallest to largest
- Save three to six months of expenses
- Start contributing 15% to retirement
- Save for kids college
- Pay off the house as quickly as possible
- Save money
We’re now on steps 4-6, which are done simultaneously, so we can start to breathe a little. Before that, I took a secret pride in being the cheapest bitch alive so that we could get through steps 1-3 as quickly as possible. My favorite phrase anytime Dr. S. suggested spending even a little bit of money was “Kyle! You don’t have any money!” (which is a reference that is absolutely not safe for work or life in any universe). I realize that I was very good at this – being goal oriented. Now that we’re on the other side of the steps that give our family a strong foundation and safety net, it’s harder to set priorities. What’s ok to spend money on? What’s not? Is it ok to spend money on myself again? It was scary to leave my divorce with absolutely nothing (financially), looking at two kids and a student loan. I felt ashamed taking money from my father in order to get settled in our new town. I don’t ever want to feel that way again.
But, it eventually became time to stop washing my hair with the equivalent of dish soap and my glasses had gotten so old that the coating was coming off the lenses. I bought new glasses last month and this month I bought a bottle of my favorite shampoo and conditioner. I tweeted about this but, for real, this stuff will change your life. They also sell an Argan oil which has now made it possible for me to get a comb through Tiny Diva’s mop of curly hair..
Last night I had insomnia and was reading the internet when I came across a tweet that said that anyone with a .mil, .gov, or .edu email address is eligible for a free online Washington Post subscription. When I woke up after a 5am cat nap, I couldn’t find the tweet or the link and was convinced I had dreamed it…until I did a smidge of googling and FOUND THE LINK!!!
So, today I am living the dream. I can see, my hair is shiny, and I have all the Washington Post I can read. Life is good…