Last summer, my husband finished his masters in accounting. It was only a one year program, and we were Texas residents, so the cost was not insanely high, but we did have to take out some student loans for it.
This year, we decided, was the year we'd try and pay the remaining loans off, if it at all possible (and I think it is).
Over Christmas vacation, my mom told me the story about a woman who called in to Dave Ramsey's radio show to celebrate being debt free. When he questioned how they'd done it, she reported that they'd taken every spare penny they could find or that came their way and thrown it at the debt. She said when they started calculating up how much they'd received in "extra" money in a year, the total was something enormous, well over ten thousand dollars.
Bart and I agreed we'd do the same thing - if we were serious about paying off this debt (and we are), we needed to make it the top priority.
It is now less than two weeks into the year, and I have been astounded at the amount of money that has come our way. Money that, a month ago, we would have considered "free money" and squandered away on clothing, dinner out, and extra things we didn't need.
We received a few checks for Christmas from generous grandparents. Did we really need to spend that on a pair of jeans? A year ago, I would have said yes. This year, I said "Student loans."
Last week, I won a $200 Visa gift card on a blog giveaway. Last month, I would have said, "Yippee! A new pair of shoes! And some shirts. Maybe a dress. Bart, let's go to dinner and then a movie!" This year, I said "Groceries" and deposited $200 from the checking account into our student loan fund.
The rebate checks from our free cell phones finally got processed and are, allegedly, making their way to us as we speak. That money, instead of being divided among us and spent on whatever caught our fancy (and then, of course, later we'd be hard pressed to even remember where that $100 had vanished to), is going straight into the fund.
I am AMAZED how much money passes our way that, if we weren't paying attention, would slip right back out of our lives. I'm glad to be grabbing it and holding it tight. Even if we have to eat at home every night for the rest of the year.