One month of Fa$ting in 2015 down, 11 more to go!
I am pleased to report my January total paid to debt… drumroll, please…
It breaks down like this:
$650.00 to student loan debt
$4,000.00 to car loan
The best part is.. only $621.35 remains on my car loan! If all goes well, that loan will be gone by the end of this month and then my focus will solely be on the student loan debt. Awesome. Seeing this makes me even more gung-ho and fired up!
I need to keep in mind, however, that this month was an exceptional one as I had an unusual amount of money in my checking account. When we started talking about buying a house back in May/June, I cut back on spending in prep for downpayment, closing costs, initial repairs, etc. With that behind us, I had some extra leftover, hence the big payments this month. I’m down to just over $1K in my checking + my emergency funds.
It was scary making this month’s large payments on the car loan. I don’t usually drop that much dough at once. And all the while, I’m thinking, “Is this really wise? Maybe I should tuck all of this excess in my emergency fund and then start on the debt next month? What if I have an emergency? What if something else comes up? Is this really wise?”
I had to remind myself I already have an ample amount in my emergency fund (and I contribute to it each pay day). I also have Novio and family members as a safety net. I also had to remind myself that that money does me little good just sitting in my checking account, or just sitting in my emergency fund on the off chance I'll have that big of an emergency (knock on wood). If I truly want financial freedom, I need to get rid of the debt. Then start big-time saving and maybe even learn how to invest money.
It's not comfortable. But I knew it wouldn't be. And I'm having faith that in 12 months, it'll be less uncomfortable.
As I’m telling more and more people about the Fa$t, (or they’re hearing about it from others and then asking about it!) it’s interesting to see the reaction. Most are supportive and encouraging. After last week's post, I got a few text messages from 2 friends I hadn't heard from in a long time! I love hearing from you all -- your tips/tricks, encouragement, or even just letting me know you're reading.
Of course, there have been a few critics. In fact, one coworker was especially anti-Fa$t and told me, “That is a terrible idea. It isn’t realistic.” And then went on to compare the Fa$t to losing weight via dieting. He said diets don’t work long-term, they’re not healthy or sustainable – and told me he didn’t think this would work either.
Fair enough – everyone is entitled to his or her own opinion.*
I told him I understood where he’s coming from, however, the Fa$t is different for a few of reasons.
First of all, I’m not trying to do this forever. Nope. No way. I’ve committed to 12 months. Knowing there is an end date makes a huge difference.
Second, the problem (sometimes, not always) with diets is people fall back into their old habits. And while I could easily slip back into my previous spending habits at the end of 2015, I know I won’t dig myself the debt hole I did because I won’t be taking out student loans. I won’t do it with credit card debt either. I just know I won’t – I’m scared of credit cards and have never used them for “retail therapy” or “impulse splurges”. I firmly believe in not buying things if I don’t have the money up front.**
Third, I have already learned a thing or two about being thrifty because of this Fa$t, and I intend to learn more and more (DIY home projects, soap making, sewing..?), and at the end of 2015, I will have adopted a bunch of new, thrifty habits. I’m hoping they’ll be as normal to me as my old spending habits. Hopefully, they’ll have replaced my old spending habits! Couponing and price matching, for example. Now that I know the thrill of it, I’ll keep wanting to refine and better and beat last week’s savings.
Time will tell, but naysayers beware, this Fa$ter is for real!
*I am a wee bit competitive. His doubt = more fuel for my Fa$ting fire.
**I should never say never. I know that. Accidents happen. Illnesses happen. I know people go into debt for reasons way out of their control. God willing, I can get rid of this debt and get on a saving/investing plan to set myself up to be ready for the unforeseeable.