Friday, September 23, 2011

So, Can You See Progress?

Having coffee with a friend of mine last week, we were talking about my goal of paying down debt, and she asked me "So, can you see progress?  I mean, can you see real, measurable improvement since you started?" I've been discouraged lately that our progress has been too slow, but when I took a second to think about her question, I realized that, yes, we have made huge progress in the last 14 months!  To encourage myself, and maybe you too, I thought I'd take a moment to sum up what we have achieved so far!

We have found a "budget sweet spot" that works for us.  Enough structure to avoid surprises with enough flexibility built in that we don't freak out over a few dollars over or under in a specific category.  I make a plan at the begining of the month, trying to leave a bit of room in case something does come up.  But I have given up on trying to track every single item with a software program.  I just didn't have enough time, and being behind was just one more thing to feel guilty about.  I know it wouldn't work for everyone, but this middle ground way is working really well for us - right now anyway! I no longer worry that we won't have enough to cover expenses because I have a plan to save ahead for things we know are coming up.  Less stress all around!

We are working together.  When I was the only one paying attention to the bottom line, I resented being stuck with all the responsibility and Shawn felt left our of the decision making.  Now we have more equal input on where money is allotted.  I know when we need to spend on groceries and he knows when we need to spend on vehicle or home maintenance.

We welcomed our fourth child, and made it through a pregnancy and newborn period without overspending!

We celebrated halloween, Christmas and all the birthdays in our family without overspending!

We started homeschooling and adjusting to this new way of life.

We payed off over $6,000 that was on our visa, and burned the cards! ( fun pictures here! ).

We lowered the interest rate on our mastercard, and have paid off about a third of it.  We sold some belongings to pay it off faster and continue to make progress monthly.  Our goal is to have the remaining $7,990 dollars paid off by next October.  We were so excited to get that number under eight thousand!!

We put aside an emergency fund and have been able to leave it intact!!

We have saved ahead and paid cash for all the activities our kids wanted to participate in, which at different times has included ballet, gymnastics, swimming, soccer, 4H and piano lessons.

We bought a piano and built the girls a bunk bed.

Yes, I'd say we have made lots of progress in 14 months!  We still have a long way to go, like paying off the mastercard, then tackling the credit line, but when I look back, I can really see how well we've been doing!  What's up next for us?  We'll be continuing to sell some items, working out a plan for Christmas which may include a trip to BC this year, and we need to start work on renovating our kitchen.. besides all the normal stuff!


  1. I think you also made progress in helping alot of us become aware to our own financial situations. I have learned alot from you. Thank you.


  2. Wow! Thanks Bonnie! that is an amazing compliment!


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