Progress

I thought about modifying the headline of this post to include the recent setback, but I really do want to try to focus on the positive, here, instead.

Remember last year? When this happened?

Yeah, that sucked. But then we got a new used car and a new car payment. And as I looked up that post I found myself  still seething about the way we happened to come about purchasing that Nissan (stay away from Cowles in Woodbridge, I’m just saying)… but I digress. The point was that at the time, the other major factor in my dissatisfaction was that I was seriously bumming about having to pay for another car when we had been so close to the end of the loan on the Pontiac (which we might have paid off even sooner with some discipline, but still only had about 8-10 months left).

We have been trying very diligently to manage our financial situation. It’s one of the few controls I have over factors that may sway my husband’s reluctance to try for another baby. His job situation being a thing that only he can ultimately change for himself. I manage our money, and I’ve been on a great program to help me pay off our mountains of debt.

One week ago today, I paid off our new, used 2007 Versa. Four years early.

And I didn’t do it by sacrificing savings or clipping coupons or selling my toddler or any of that. Though I have been trying to sell off some of our stuff that’s just been sitting around taking up space. (Anyone need a nice Nikon 35mm SLR camera? Graco stroller? Cute wool longies? Anyone?) Sure, we go without certain wants so that we can meet our needs and make this kind of headway, but really, it’s not that hard to shop secondhand, borrow books from the library, drive instead of fly, etc. And the rewards, well the feeling of this small burden having been lifted is quite good, to put it mildly.

Our car loan was about 1/3 the size of our credit card debt, and it had an interest rate about four or five points lower. So it’s true that by some debt payoff strategies, we should have thrown our extra money to the loan with the bigger interest rate. But we didn’t do it that way for two reasons. The first is this awesome feeling of ownership on our vehicle and not having to pay that (admittedly low) monthly payment to the bank anymore. The second is the fact that our economy is still shaky, at best, and even that (admittedly low) monthly payment will be able to help us in a pinch. Outside of a pinch, however, that amount will now be added to the (three times larger) monthly payment on the next debt. And the next time we (by some miracle) have extra chunks of money coming in, those chunks will pay that balance down even faster.

But speaking of pinches, our freshly paid-off car now needs $940 of work, which our ever-so-diligent dealer service department (seriously, buy from anywhere else but Cowles) should have caught when they checked it out that time BEFORE THE WARRANTY EXPIRED. It’s not the end of the world, since, as it so happens, we were getting ready to pay about $1000 extra to the other loan, anyway, but suckage nonetheless. A minor setback, really, but it just feels so cruel after such a victory.

As for the other loan? I don’t know what the magic number will be for James not to be so freaked out by it, but for now, I just have to assume the right answer is “zero” and make it happen. And what an incredible day that will be. I will be doing my victory dance all over town.

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