January 25, 2012

A Breath of Hope

The past several (5, 6, 7) years, Josh and I have been working hard on paying off debt. Oh yes, debt. That horrible, consuming, unforgiving, slave-owning debt. I was one of the unfortunates that was never counselled about debt and the avoidance of it. My parents never talked about money and budgeting with us kids. I knew we never had any money growing up, but that was the extent of my knowledge. It would have been so much easier to have been taught instead of figuring things out on our own along the way. Oh well, lesson learned.

Paying off our debt gets really discouraging when we think of how much farther we have to go. We were actually doing really well for quite awhile. Josh was working tons of hours and we were throwing every penny we had at our debt. And then available overtime was cut way back, and we lost a lot of income. Our debt snowball had stopped rolling. This was towards the end of 2010. It continued through 2011. And so far, 2012 has been the same.

It seems as though just when you're about to give up hope, something that feels like a miracle happens. You see, we were planning on visiting my brother and his family in Germany this coming April. But due to 2 cars that had broken down (twice each), a tire that needed to be replaced, plus several other suckish and expensive things that happened --- we aren't able to go. We had no choice but to use all of our vacation savings to pay for the repairs, plus half of our emergency fund.

Though the funds were used up, I was still hanging on to the hope that we might still, somehow, be able to make it to Germany. I told Josh we could use our tax return. This was just me grasping at straws. Really, we have no business going right now. We simply cannot afford it. And I know it. Germany is not going to happen, and I am heartbroken about it.

So, where is that miracle? I realized ... with our tax return, we will be able to pay off one of our debts. I will also be babysitting a friends soon-to-be-born baby when she goes back to work this summer. The funds from babysitting will only go towards debt, making our snowball pretty substantial again.

I found a breath of hope for our future. We will be able to have 2 of our 3 major debts paid off before the year is over. We cannot go to Germany this year, but with debts paid off, we will be able to go next year. There is something to look forward to. There is an end of debt in sight again. A miracle has happened for us. There is finally a light at the end of this tunnel we have been walking through for 7 years.

I suppose it's true. You have to sacrifice a lot and give things up until you feel you just don't have anything else left to give. After you have done that, a miracle can happen.

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