Saturday, June 9, 2018

Luck. Or, How We're Going To Pay Off Our Last Credit Card By The End Of June.

We got lucky


I can't quite believe it yet, but it looks like we might be able to eliminate our $9000+ in remaining credit card debt by the end of this month. This is our third and last credit card. Our original plan was to pay it off by mid-autumn. This is turning out to be an unexpectedly auspicious month for us, though, and so we're putting those payoff plans into overdrive.

Here's how our financial stars aligned in June:

(1) Fortysomething received a generous work bonus. The school he works for offers bonuses as a way to supplement low-ish salaries and incentivize teacher retention. We knew he would receive one at the end of spring term, but the amount varies each year, so we had no idea what that would look like. This year happens to be a good year. Every single penny of the bonus will go towards paying off the credit card.

(2) Fortysomething is side hustling like a boss. He was initially planning to relax for most of the summer, but when a former employer offered him a short contract gig, he took it. We're kicking those paychecks to the credit card, too.

(3) We received family help. A family member sent us a monetary gift when they found out about our medical bills. We decided to put it towards our highest-interest debt. This is absolutely a privilege and we fully recognize that. Part of me feels like we're cheating, but at the end of the day, the goal is to be debt free. If someone offers a helping hand, I'm going to take it with gratitude - and promise to pay it forward.

Luck = Preparation + Opportunity


I realize this post screams WE GOT REALLY LUCKY. The fact is, yes, we got really lucky, and it's humbling.

We're lucky that Forty's school values its teachers, wants them to stick around for the long term, and recognizes the need to compensate them appropriately.

We're lucky that Forty has strong, long-term connections with a contract employer who appreciates his skills and is willing to wait until the summer to send work his way.

We're lucky that someone gave us a gift that will give us a leg up out of this debt hole.

But I also want to give us a little credit (so to speak, ha) for doing right by these windfalls. Two years ago, this money would have been in our pockets for all of a hot second before we booked a vacation, bought new gear, and treated ourselves to some fancy food. Trust me, we would have spent it quickly, and little to none of it would have gone towards debt. Our choices now reflect a complete overhaul in mindset.

They say that luck is a combination of preparation and opportunity. In our case, this month is flush with both. The lessons we've learned and the progress we've made over the past year have prepared us to make good decisions at a moment of prime opportunity.

At the same time, yes, this right here is an example of privilege, and I'm not going to deny that. I worry that in posting this, I'm going to come across as smug or spoiled. But I want my blog to be an honest, complete account of our journey, so I'm putting it all out there.

13 comments:

  1. Yes, there's privilege here. But that does not diminish your hard work and Fortysomething's awesome-sauce selves. Not only do you know what to do with your windfalls (huzzah!), but you earned them! Holy moly, you are on a roll! I am so happy for you and so inspired by you.

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    1. Thank you, Penny! You are always so supportive and encouraging.

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  2. I think everyone knows that luck plays a huge role in all our journeys (if people don't know that, they SHOULD.) That doesn't mean you shouldn't enjoy, celebrate, and use luck when it shows up! I think it's awesome that you got several windfalls and that you're using them to strengthen your long-term financial position. The only one of these you could *maybe* feel weird about is the family gift. If you really feel weird about it, then record the amount, and when you're in a stronger financial position, either repay the person who sent it, or pay it forward to someone else in need. (I don't think you *should* necessarily do this, but you could if you wanted to.)

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    1. Yeah, I feel pretty good about the bonus and the side hustle money (or, well, Fortysomething should feel pretty good about those, since he's the one who earned them... but I feel good about them, too!) I don't feel too weird about the gift. It's from a family member who randomly does this sort of thing every now and then. We will definitely pay it forward in the future.

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  3. How exciting! This is huge! I'm a person who does believe in paying it forward. I think that is what excites me the most about this journey...the ability to bless others.

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    1. YES! Same! I can't wait to be in a better financial position so that we can give more.

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  4. I'm so excited you are able to take this huge step forward!! You've both worked hard and deserve it!

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    1. Thank you so much! Fortysomething has definitely worked super hard for these bonuses and side hustles, and as a family we have worked hard to stay on course with our debt repayment plan. I feel good about it.

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  5. Congratulations! I'm so happy for you, and tbh, more than a little envious! Yes, luck plays into it, but honestly, it is your wise choices that are making the difference. Enjoy the windfall. :D

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    1. Thank you sooooo much! Yes, you can bet that in the past, we would have used that money for fun stuff - not paying off debt.

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  6. Congratulations! Yes, it's a bit of luck, but it's also definitely hard work and your decisions to use that money wisely!

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    1. Thank you, Erin! I really appreciate that.

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  7. That's fantastic ! Being done with cc's soon is a biggie. Also, love the Luck = Preparation + Opportunity... gonna remember that one :)

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