Sunday, October 21, 2012

3 1/2 Weeks and Counting!

We had no trouble deciding what our family reward would be when we achieved our big family goal.  In January, I mentioned that we had wanted to take the kids back to Disneyland this year.  We hadn't been since 2009.  But we decided to postpone that trip until next year, once we were debt free, so that we could speed up our debt payoff.  We also wanted to pay cash for the entire trip, so we could really enjoy it without worrying about paying it off later.  So we planned on going in March of 2013.

And then we got that snowball rolling and paid off our debt early!  Achieving our goal early meant celebrating early!!

So off to Disneyland we go!  We leave in 3 1/2 weeks and I can't tell who is more excited: me or the kids?!?!  As soon as we booked the trip we started planning out every little detail!  We immediately made a countdown paper chain (although it was MUCH shorter than the last one).  We also made each of the kids sticker charts so they can earn cash to spend on our trip.  I've researched just about everything out there that is Disneyland related.  (I grew up going all the time, so I thought I knew quite a bit, but there is a LOT of info out there!!)  Now just about every little thing is planned out in detail, so all that's left to do is WAIT!

This trip is a big deal for us because it signifies reaching a really big goal, but ALSO because this is the very first vacation that we are taking just the five of us!  We've taken lots of little road trips over the years.  And we've had a few bigger trips too.  But we were always either going to visit family or friends or going with family or friends.  This is the very first real vacation that we're going on, just our little Ralls family.  And I can't wait!  The 4 people on this trip with me are, hands down, my very favorite four people in existence and I can't wait to spend a whole week having fun and celebrating with them!

Now, next big goal?  Become rich enough to make this an annual thing.  :)

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

We did it!!!!!

I know I have been awful about posting lately.  But today, I have to share our BIG news!!  We accomplished a HUGE goal.  And we did it way before we thought we would.

Waaaaaaay back in 2010, I posted about it for the first time.  Then in January of this year I posted about it again.  And then again.  Then one more time in February.  And then instead of posting about it, I just got to work.  And guess what?  Working....WORKS!!

We worked our butts off this year at sticking to our budget.  We made lots of cuts and were super disciplined.  We planned on spending all of this year and maybe a little of the beginning of next year to get out of debt.  Turns out, once you get that snowball rolling it gathers speed and momentum like you could never imagine!

We did lots of research and reading and saved our baby emergency fund in January.  Then in February we started knocking out debt.  And on September 28th we made our LAST payment!!!!!  The very last one!  EVER!  We are 100% debt free!  We don't owe a single penny to anyone.  Not one!  In an 8 month period we paid off $25,316.43 of debt.  Yep!  We worked THAT hard!

I don't think I can explain how it feels for me.  This is years and years of bad habits.  Years and years of stressing about money.  Years and years of talking about how we are going to pay this off and make big changes.  YEARS of talk.  But this year it wasn't about talk anymore.  It was about ACTION.  Finally!  And we did it!

Accomplishing this goal together has changed Jason's and my relationship.  It has improved it so much!  Our communication is a thousand times better.  We know how to set goals and make plans and then work those plans together to achieve what we want.  We have really grown together.

In January, for our birthday, my parents gave us the greatest gift ever.  A gift certificate that said they would book us a hotel, take the kids for the weekend, and they even gave us cash for dinner.  We asked if we could wait to cash in our gift until we were able to leave Lucas behind as well, since he was still little and nursing at the time, and they obliged.  So to celebrate our new found debt freedom, we left the kids behind and spent a weekend together in SLC.  Just the two of us.  And it was heavenly!!

And now we have a new list of goals to work on.  Everything is mapped out clearly and we know that we will achieve those goals.  Piece of cake.  Because if we could do this ($25k in EIGHT months!!), we can do anything!