Things have been a little slow on selling the house.  I was hopeful that listing the house on a Friday might mean we’d see some action that first weekend. After all, weekends are when most people go house hunting. But the days passed by without so much as a nibble.

I was starting to get worried. We already knew interest would be limited on a one bedroom house, especially since it was on a bigger piece of land. What if the house sat on the market, and no one ever even came to look at it?

Things finally started looking up going into this weekend. We had some people request information. There were two showings on Saturday. The feedback on the house was all good. I haven’t heard anything else yet. But, then again, most people view a house then go home and think about it, usually coming back for a second viewing before making a decision. Nothing may come from those first two showings. But at least there is some interest on the house.

Things are starting off a little slow. But I have to keep reminding myself that it’s been just over a week. There’s no reason to panic. We just need to stay the course, and see what happens. Worse comes to worse, the house will become a rental property. But we still have months before we need to make that decision.

– Cindy W.

On Friday the 13th, I officially paid off my student loan. I was super excited to finally be done with student loans. But, if you’ve ever heard anyone talk about paying student loans, you know things rarely go smoothly.

When I checked my account balance with Sallie Mae/Navient on Friday morning, it sat right around $1,110. Of course, payoff amount is always slightly higher than the account balance, since any accrued interest has to be added to the balance before the loan is paid off. Knowing this, I clicked through the account information, and found my “10 day loan payoff amount.” That amount ended up being about $1,113. After running my financials a few times, I decided to go ahead and pay off my student loan that day.

But when I went to the “Make a Payment” section of the website, the system would only allow me to enter a payment for $1,111.36. On the payment screen, it referred to this as the “3 day loan payoff amount.” I wasn’t too worried about the $2 difference; I figured after a few days had passed, and the payment cleared, I would go back into the system and check to see if the balance had dropped to “$0″, or if I would need to pay a few more dollars.

I’ve been a little distracted lately, between training someone at work, and selling the house, and Spring, and I haven’t gone back to the Sallie Mae/Navient website to check on my payments. So I was a little shocked today when I went into the website and realized that, even though their system showed me paying off the loan last week, they still deducted a regular monthly payment from my bank account this week. I’m setup on their monthly auto-payment so that I can receive the miniscule discount on my interest rate. I assumed once the payment cleared and the loan was paid off, the auto-pay feature would be shut off.

You know what happens when you assume things?

Instead, I’m now showing a balance on my student loan of -$105.05. That’s right, Sallie Mae now owes me money. Sigh. I’m not even sure how they came to that amount, since my regular monthly payment is $104.58. Luckily, I’m in a position where this isn’t a big deal. Sure, it’s my money, and I want it back. But it isn’t like them taking the money prevents me from paying my other bills, or buying groceries or gas for the week. It’s more of just a hassle. Which is one of the best benefits of finally having my finances on track; Little hiccups don’t create dire situations.

Right now, my plan is just to wait and see. I know that calling Sallie Mae and trying to get a refund is going to be an exercise in frustration, so I’d rather save my patience and wait to see if the system will correct the error on its own. If it doesn’t correct itself in the next few weeks, then I’ll call and try to get things straightened out. I don’t want to risk waiting until next month’s payment date rolls around, and risk them owing me $209.63 (and me being out an additional $104.58).

Just goes to show that moving on is sometimes harder than expected!

– Cindy W.

Despite all the superstition surrounding Friday the 13th, it actually ended up being an awesome day for me. Friday I posted about how my house officially hit the market. Getting all of the work done on the house and getting it listed for sale was a big goal for me going into 2015. Of course, listing the house is only half the battle; We still have to actually get it sold. I’m hoping the entire process goes smoothly, and it sells quickly (and for a great price). But, heaven forbid, no one wants it, at least we know, and can reluctantly move on to plan B: Finding a renter. My preference is for selling it, but either way we’ll be stopping the money bleed.

I’ve also been super excited about finally paying off some debt this year. I wrote last Wednesday about how, if I shifted some money around, I could probably pay off my remaining student loan by the end of March. In the long run, it probably makes very little difference whether I paid off the student loan in March or April. But emotionally, paying it off one month earlier was a definite win. I’ve had that loan FOR-EV-A. Seriously, it was my last remaining loan from my undergraduate days. I graduated in 2000. On top of that, it was a Parent PLUS Loan. Which means, since it was technically my Dad’s loan, there was no grace period on paying back the loan. I started making payments back in 1997. 1997! I’ve been paying that loan for 18 years! That’s half my life!

Obviously the idea of being done with it was super motivating. So Friday morning, I started shifting around some money. And suddenly I realized, I could totally pay it off that day. Without touching my emergency fund, or the money I have set aside for April’s bills. All it would take was a couple of clicks of the mouse.

And so, I did!

As of Friday the 13th, I was officially done with my student loan. I’ve said goodbye to Sallie Mae forever. With my house on the market, I’m one step closer to being mortgage free. The only debt I’ll have left is my auto loan.

Oh yeah, I’m coming for you next, Mr. Capital One Auto!

– Cindy W.

I’m super excited to say that, as of today, my house is officially on the market!

In hindsight, Friday the 13th may not have been the best day to pick. The Realtor had mistakenly said it was the 14th, so I didn’t make the connection until later. But honestly, I’m not much of a superstitious person, so I’m not going to let the date slow things down! I’m ready to get this house sold!

I ended up signing with Realtor #3, who I met with last Thursday. This will officially be his first listing, so he’s working very closely with his mentor. Actually, their company has a team of people who work on every deal, including the Agent, a person who handles all the paperwork (from loans to titles), and a media person, who does everything from photographing the home for listings to creating a YouTube video. I was really impressed with how tech-savvy their company is. It’s a little weird to think that people all over the world can take a virtual tour of my home. But hey, you gotta keep up with the times!

I was also impressed with the amount of information they were able to provide me when we met. The last two Realtors I met with seemed to be at a complete loss as far as what to do with my little 1 bedroom home. These agents came prepared. Turns out, there are 6 two bedroom, one bath homes, with no basement, currently on the market in my area. Square footage wise, I’m in the same ballpark; There’s every indication my home used to be two bedrooms, but one bedroom was removed to create a much larger living room. No doubt, that’s a negative when it comes to selling. But my house has more than twice the land of any other listing. And my house has been extensively updated, which definitely adds to the value.

The listing price of those other six homes ranged from $54,900 to $84,900, with most of them being on the higher end. Since home prices are set by comparison, this was great news for me! The mentoring agent felt that listing the house between $59,900 and $65,000 would be our best bet, and starting below $63,000 would probably garner more interest. That was music to Bryan’s ears; For some reason he’s been stuck on the idea that we should list at $62,500. So that ended being exactly what we did.

Another reason for setting the price at $62,500 came from planning ahead for the possibility that the house may not sell. The agents informed me that, at this time, houses in my area are on the market an average of 90 days. There are general guidelines that help them decide if the house is appropriately priced. If a house is on the market for two weeks with no showings, the listing price is too high. Also, if a house has ten or more showings, but no offers or second showings, then the house is probably priced too high. Their preference is to review the listing price every 30 days, and decrease the price in $5,000 increments if activity on the house indicates it is priced too high. That shocked me a little bit; $5,000 is a lot on a $62,500 listing! Of course, that number/time frame isn’t set in stone. We can choose to hold off on lowering the price, or lower it by a different amount. With $48,500 still owed on the mortgage, I can afford to take two $5,000 price decreases, if necessary, before I end up owing to sell the home (when calculating in commissions and other possible costs of selling).

Of course, my hope is that the house will sell quickly, and I won’t need to worry about price decreases. But I love that they prepared me for all possibilities, and let me know what I could expect if things take a little longer. They also warned me that they’re seeing a lot of buyers “testing the market” right now, and I shouldn’t be surprised if the first offer I get on the house is a complete low-ball. Someone putting in an offer of $49,900 is no indication of what the buyer is willing/able to pay for the house, but rather them testing to see how little I’m willing to accept. They recommended that I always make a counter-offer. The deal may fall through anyways, but at least then I will have attempted to find a middle ground.

I’m definitely nervous to see how this plays out. But I’m also super excited. I felt so much relief the instant we set a date and signed the papers. Everything we planned to do on the house is done. After such a long time, it feels so good to finally be moving on to the next step. Getting rid of the house will be one less financial burden, and many fewer worries and stressors. I’m looking forward to being able to focus our attention on other things.

And now we wait to see what happens!

– Cindy W.

When I set my goals for 2015, I decided paying off my student loan would be my top priority. I had hoped to pay it off in 2014. But hoping and planning are two different things. I ended the year still owing $4,843 on my student loan. Not exactly chump change, but I figured I could probably knock it out before summer ended.

The more obsessive I became about the goal, the more extra cash I managed to find. I paid off $1,289 in January. With the addition of my tax refund, I managed bump up my payment in February to $2,445. I started March with only $1,109 left to pay on the student loan. Between my regular payment and extra payment, I should be able to end March with less than $550 remaining on my student loan.

My drive to make that loan disappear has me questioning whether I should just shift some money around and be done with it by the end of March. After all, I have $500 sitting in my house fund right now. Squeezing another $50 out of the budget shouldn’t be a big issue. Why not go ahead and pay it off?

I was holding on to that $500 house fund as extra cushion, in case I needed it to sell the house. I don’t think I’ll need to do any more work to the house, but who knows what kind of feedback I might get from potential buyers? Then again, is $500 really going to make that big of a difference? On the other hand, is waiting one more month to pay off the student loan really so bad?

If I pay off the student loan in March, that means I can switch my focus to the car loan in April. My plan is to up my “regular” monthly payment from $380 to $500. I’ll then stockpile my extra $140 per week during the month, making an extra payment of $560-700 at the end of every month. Since April has 5 pay periods, paying off my student loan in March means putting an extra $820 towards my car loan in April. But it also means I don’t have that extra $500 in my house fund. And my emergency fund is still short $500 from when I lent Bryan money; So if something unexpected happens, I only have $2,500 set aside to deal with it. I could pay off the student loan in March, and then use some of my extra payments to put back the $500 I used from the house fund. But then, how is that any different than paying off the student loan a month later?

What are your thoughts? Keep to the original payoff plan, and finish the student loan in April? Use the house fund to payoff the student loan in March, and then pay back the fund in April? Get rid of the house fund all together, and move on to the car loan? Invest the $500 house fund in a good therapist, so I stop obsessing over payoff dates and fund amounts?

– Cindy W.

Update: Running the numbers again, I’ll actually owe closer to $460 at the end of March, if I follow the original plan. I forgot to account for the regular monthly payment!

For the last several months, I’ve been in serious debt payoff mode; My student loan is almost history, I’m working towards selling my house, and I’m planning for how I’ll tackle my auto loan. Bryan is working on straightening out his own financial picture; Building a new career for himself, and trying to reach an agreement with his ex. Our focus right now is on the present, and fixing our past mistakes. But part of becoming financially responsible means that we are planning for our future as well.

At this point, we don’t have a solid plan for the future. Right now we’re in the dreaming phase. We talk about our likes and dislikes, and then discuss ideas from there. We both have a lot of family and friends here in our home state, so we might stay here. But neither of us enjoy the cold and snowy winters. So maybe we’ll move south? Or become snowbirds?

There’s almost a 20 year difference between Bryan and I. Day to day, that age gap doesn’t even make a difference. And I’m one of those people who everyone assumes is either much older than I am, or much younger, depending on the context that they know me. When Bryan and I go out, no one even gives us a second glance.

But planning for the future has many more nuances when there’s a large age difference. And, honestly, it brings up a lot of uncomfortable feelings for me. I don’t want to end up in a situation like so many older women find themselves in, where their husband passes away, and they’re left unable to make ends meet. In a traditional relationship, women outlive their partners by 5-10 years. In Bryan and my situation, that’s likely to be 25 years.

I’m in the weird situation where I’m having the same conversations with Bryan about health, and retirement, and long-term care, as I am with my parents. There’s literally only a couple of years age difference between them. I’m often a “worst case scenario” kind of person, so I think of all of the things that could go wrong, and plan for how to make the best of each situation. Bryan hasn’t done the best job of taking care of his health, so I’m prepared for that to be an issue as he ages. He has high blood pressure, he’s always been a smoker, and he drinks more than he should. Add to that the fact that he’s really tough on his body (his back is a mess, and is filled with plates, and screws, and clamps), and it’s pretty easy to predict that aging is going to be tough on him. I imagine he’ll need to retire before he’s mentally ready, because his body won’t be able to keep up anymore. He constantly jokes that he doesn’t expect to live much longer than 5 years, but with a grandmother in her 90’s, and both parents striding into their 80’s, I expect him to have a long life ahead of him.

Having spent close to 30 years as a union employee, Bryan is in a pretty good situation when it comes to retirement. Last year’s statement showed that, as of his full retirement age of 62, his union pension is currently worth $6,000 a month. Every year that he continues to work, that amount goes up. Of course, there are a lot of things that will affect how much his benefit will actually be worth. For starters, his ex-wife is technically entitled to 50% of that (up to the date that they filed for divorce). But she also has a pension with her employer of the last 35 years, along with other retirement accounts, which he is entitled to 50%. He’s hoping to be able to leverage other assets, and leave their respective retirement funds in tact. How that gets settled is between them and their lawyers. Bryan is hoping they can reach an agreement in the next few months. Given how things have been handled so far, I’m guessing she’ll drag everything out as long as possible.

So, his pension is currently estimated at $3,000-6,000 per month, as of age 62. Every day he works increases that amount. He became eligible to retire as of age 55, but would lose up to 3% for every year between age 55 and 62. He’s 56 now, so if he retired this year his pension would be worth up to 18% less. There’s also the “beneficiary factor”. He only gets 100% of that amount if he chooses not to leave anything to a spouse or beneficiary when he dies. So, for example, if he wanted me to continue to benefit from his pension once he was gone, his monthly benefit would be decreased, depending on how much I would continue to receive once he was gone. The options range from 50% to 100% of the monthly benefit, but they don’t provide any information on how that changes the payout amount until your are ready to retire.

And that’s where things start to get weird for me. I’ve always been an independent woman, and am used to taking care of myself. I don’t feel like I’m entitled to the pension that he’s spent his whole life earning. But the choices he makes regarding retirement will have a huge impact on what I’m able to do. If I’m 100% responsible for my own retirement, then it will likely be 20-30 years before I can consider leaving the workforce. Let’s be honest, my $14,000 401(k) isn’t going to go too far when I’m 65.

I sometimes feel like I have an overwhelming number of priorities when it comes to retirement planning. I’d like to have a 100% paid off home, in both of our names, before Bryan retires. I can’t consider retiring, or even switching to “alternative employment”, (i.e., us running a small business) unless I know that I’ll have enough money coming in when I reach retirement age. And, should I decide to retire early, I’ll need to know that I have money available until I reach full retirement age. Bryan doesn’t really understand all of my fears. But then, he potentially has a $6,000 per month pension, plus is at an age where he can actually expect to get something from social security. All of which took zero planning on his part.

All of this brings me back to my last post; I’m learning that I don’t have to follow the expected path in life in order to find happiness. When Bryan and I talk about what we want out of the future, it doesn’t include the “work a regular job until we’re 65″ module. But, especially as a woman, living outside the norm can be uncomfortable. If I retire with Bryan in 5-10 years, will people see me as a gold-digger? Is it fair to depend on a pension I didn’t earn? Let’s face it, women are judged if they choose to leave a career to raise children. Leaving the workforce early, and not even having children? As we plan for the future, Bryan is looking to me as the financially savvy person who can make our dreams come to life. And, even with his higher income, I’m much better at saving than Bryan. Even if I bust my butt for the next 5-10 years so we can buy a home, and live the lives we want, people will always attribute our lifestyle to Bryan’s higher salary and pension. Does any of that really matter?

The reality is, Bryan and I aren’t a “traditional couple”. And we aren’t planning a “traditional life”. Instead, we’re planning a life where we can both be happy, and comfortable, and secure in our future. We want to be able to enjoy whatever time we have left together, and do what we can to take care of each other. And that means we have to be willing to break a few rules, and deal with other people’s judgment and assumptions.

Does it really matter what anyone else thinks?

– Cindy W.

Growing up, I was taught that life had a set narrative: Go to college. Start a career. Fall in love. Get married. Buy a house. Have kids. Retire at 65. Live happily ever after.

I never much questioned the expectation. Everyone knew that life was better if you followed the rules! And I started off right on track; I went to college, and stumbled into a job. Having a “career” was more of a struggle, but everyone assured me it was normal to flounder at first until you found a fit. Love turned out to be even harder, which put a damper on the marriage part of the equation.

I was in my thirties before I really started to consider that life may not work out the way it was “supposed to”. Following the rules hadn’t gotten me where I expected. I started to question everything: Did I really want to be a “career woman”? Was marriage a necessity? What about kids? If I didn’t find Mr. Right, did I want children badly enough to go it alone?

It took me really questioning the norm before I was able to start letting go of all of my expectations, and really start considering all of the possibilities in life. Would life really be so bad if I wasn’t able to check all of the boxes? I had turned down so many opportunities in my 20’s and early 30’s, because they didn’t fit the expectations of what my life was supposed to look like. I’d never even considered that I could be happy with something different.

I had a lot of uncertainty when Bryan and I first started dating. In some ways, the age gap didn’t matter; We had a great time together, enjoyed a lot of the same things, and could even listen to the same music. But I’d be lying if I said the almost 20 year difference in our ages made no difference. He was struggling with preparing two kids to leave the nest, and I was contemplating the when/if of having children. We both had an idea in our heads of where we should be at, and what we should be doing at this point in our lives. The first few years were the hardest.

We were sitting on the patio one night, early in our relationship, when he mentioned that he could retire in a year and a half. I almost choked on my drink. At the time, I was taking classes for a graduate accounting program. In two and a half years I planned to be completing my degree and really starting to move ahead in my career (spoiler: I didn’t finish the program). And my boyfriend might be retired?!? How was that even going to work?!?

We’ve learned a lot about ourselves in the last few years, and a lot about each other. Bryan figured out that he wasn’t ready to retire, yet. But he really did need to get away from the stress of his job. It wasn’t ideal, but that situation ended up working itself out. He’s much less stressed out now, and enjoying figuring out what he really wants to do. Likewise, I figured out that while I crave change, and feeling like I’m succeeding, a “high-powered career” isn’t really for me. We’ve both realized that Bryan prefers that I have the same flexibility and down-time as him. It’s great when we’re both working, but he’ll drive us both insane if I’m working and he’s not. It’s definitely something we need to consider in planning for the future.

What does all of this mean? It means that we’ve let go of idea of what our lives are “supposed” to look like, and are considering a variety of alternatives. Maybe we’ll both work another 5-10 years, and then retire together. Maybe Bryan will retire and start a small business, and I’ll continue working. Maybe we’ll start a small business together. We have a friend who moved down to Tennessee a few years back. He raises a few cattle, keeps a big garden, and chops his own wood. Honestly, we’ve spent a lot of time down there, and really enjoy it. There’s a good possibility that we’ll spend the next couple of years getting our “ducks in a row”, and then transition into a simpler life, someplace further south.

We still have a lot of loose ends to tie up before we really start planning for our future. But we’re both aware that there are circumstances we’ll need to plan for that don’t affect most similarly aged couples. Even if I wanted to work until my full retirement age, there’s a good possibility I’ll need to leave the workforce at some point to take care of Bryan. If we choose to retire together, we need to be prepared for an “extra long” retirement. After all, even if Bryan retires at 65, and lives to 85, I’ll only be just reaching 65 myself. One of my biggest fears is that Bryan and I will have a wonderful life together, and then I’ll find myself in my 60’s, alone and penniless, and trying to rejoin the workforce. There’s a lot of planning and consideration that we need to do when thinking about pensions, and IRA’s, and 401(k)’s, and marriage, and social security. And kids. But that’s a topic for another day.

It’s exciting, and terrifying, and nothing like the life I imagined I’d live. But it’s full of possibilities. And happiness. I’m happier than I’ve ever been, living a life that I never expected.

And isn’t happiness what we’re all striving for?

– Cindy W.

Who knew that selling a house could be such a hassle? Probably the millions of people who have sold homes before me. Anyways, 2015 has already been a roller-coaster for putting my house on the market: I had a potential buyer. I met with a Real Estate Agent. I lost the potential buyer. And then, last week I got a call from the Real Estate Agency telling me the Realtor was “No longer available”. Did I mention this was already the second Realtor I’ve met with?

Luckily, I didn’t waste any time moving on to Realtor #3. Honestly, I’m taking a bit of a gamble on this one, but I’m hoping it will pay off. A girl that I was really good friends with back in school announced on Facebook that her husband is now a Real Estate Agent, and looking to pickup some new clients. Being brand new, he’s going into this with zero experience. However, I think this could work in my favor for a multitude of reasons:

1) Even in the Midwest, where property values are low, a house under $100,000 doesn’t exactly excite experienced Real Estate Agents. Which means my options for finding an agent are A) Someone I know who’s willing to help me out B) A new Realtor who is looking for experience C) A crappy Realtor who doesn’t do well enough to elicit more lucrative listings. I don’t mind getting someone without a ton of experience, since usually they’re hungry to prove themselves (and earn their commission). If I’m getting a newbie, might as well be a newbie I know something about.

2) Since he’s just starting off, everything he does is being overlooked by his mentor. And his mentor just so happens to be a Realtor who specializes in Seniors and people looking to downsize. Which just so happens to be a great market segment for my 1 bedroom house! At ~$60,000 my house isn’t worth enough to draw the interest of a specialist. But I might be able to benefit off of their relationship.

3) I haven’t seen the friend that he’s married to in years. She’s a wonderful person, and I wish we were closer. But, we ended up going to different High Schools, and lost touch somewhere along the way. We’re pretty much just Facebook friends now. Why is this a plus? Because when you mix business and friends, things have a possibility of going wrong. I don’t expect there to be any issues. If things go well, maybe this will lead to bringing an old friend back into my life. But, heaven forbid something goes wrong, I don’t have to worry about losing a friendship.

So, I meet with Realtor #3 on Thursday. Something tells me this is going to work out very well; I’m motivated to sell, and he’s motivated to make a sell. I think I’m a pretty easy-going seller. We’ve already emailed back and forth a few times, and I think we’re on the same page.

Now if it will just stop snowing, I can clean out the garage and get this thing on the market!

– Cindy W.

February is a short month anyways, so I’ve decided to go ahead and post my net worth for February a day early. It’s not like I have any plans for today that involve blowing a lot of cash (or other big changes). And with the month ending on a weekend, it’s just easier this way.

Plus I’m really excited to show off where I’m at this month! Can you blame a girl?

Net Worth as of February 27, 2015

Net Worth as of February 27, 2015

In one month, I managed to gain $3,686! Over a grand of that gain was in retirement accounts, so I’m trying not to get too excited about that; It could all be gone in a market heartbeat. But look at my student loan! I’m $1,109 away from it being GONE. FOR-EV-A!

I’m really motivated to have that student loan gone, and move on to the next big thing: My car loan. Technically, I have the cash in the bank to cover the student loan now. But all of that money is already spoken for: Upcoming bills, emergency fund, house sales fund, etc. So, for now, I’m trying to be patient and stick with the plan. At most, it should be gone in 2 months. That’s not too bad.

You may also have noticed that it looks like I didn’t make a mortgage payment this month. Have no fear, I’m not skipping payments! Since my payments are due at the end of the month, short months and months that end on the weekend tend to throw things off. It will end up looking like I made 2 payments in March. Makes no difference in the long run, it just looks a little weird this month.

February has been a good month for me the last few years: Tax refunds come in, the Holidays are FINALLY over, and things just tend to go smoothly. Obviously every month can’t be this good. But it’s a great push into the new year, and helps to get the ball rolling. I’m exciting to see how the next few months pan out!

– Cindy W.

2015 was the start of my intense effort to finally pay off debt, starting with my student loan. In fairness, I started “straightening out” my financial life several years ago. But there have been several money hurdles that had to be overcome first, like sewer connections, getting the house ready to sell, going back to school, and building a bigger emergency fund. There were also a few distraction, like vacations, that came up. Hey, no one said I was perfect!

I’m finally in a place where being debt free is taking priority, and I’m willing to cut back considerably to make it happen. I feel the rush of excitement when I run the numbers, calculating how soon the student loan can be gone, followed by how quickly I can get rid of the car loan. I look at where I can trim a little more, or earn a little more, bringing my goal closer and closer. It’s been incredibly motivating.

But then once a month I log on to my student loan provider’s website to make that extra payment, and I have to admit, it isn’t excitement that I feel. Rather, it’s fear. I just finished making my extra payment for February: $2,350. That’s a lot of money! What if something happens? The car dies? Bryan can’t work? One of us gets sick? What if…

The terror is real. But it only lasts a minute. I remind myself that I’m one step closer to having one less bill. And once that bill’s gone, I’ll be in a much better financial situation. Sure, the cash is gone. But someday, I’ll be debt free. And then all that extra cash coming in? It’ll be mine. To grow, and dream, and plan with. That $2,350 today is helping me to a better position tomorrow. If I’d left it in my savings account? I’d eventually fetter it away, with nothing to show for it in the end.

Slowly, I’m redefining what security means to me. If something happens, I have an emergency fund. I may not be able to cover every situation, but I’m better prepared than I ever have been before. Becoming debt free is the next step in the process. I’m super excited by how far I’ve already come. Seeing how quickly I can become debt free is a huge motivation for me. But I can’t ignore the fact that it can also be a scary process. Money isn’t always as much about logic as it should be; It’s rife with emotion and habits. And changing those isn’t always a comfortable process.

But I’m not going to let my fear keep me from moving forward!

– Cindy W.