Doing Hard Things…

Many things that are worth doing are hard, as you might be experiencing, nearly a month into whatever goals you set or resolutions you undertook for 2018.

As you followed our journey last year, you may have noted that we made choices and sacrifices that enabled us to pay down our debt as quickly as possible.
For example:

  • we forewent the convenience of having two cars and just made it work with public transportation, personal flexibility, and communication;
  • we chose to make career moves that we might not have otherwise made so that we could be making as much as we could to get out of debt;
  • we didn’t take international trips or high cost vacations;
  • we did dinner at home for date night and just went out for Frosties at Wendy’s sometimes;
  • we spent at least a couple hours each month monitoring our money, naming our dollars, and reconciling numbers;
  • we had hard conversations;
  • we flew standby rather than having the assurance of a seat to take advantage of family pass discounts; and once Josh even let me go on a family trip alone when we ended up having to pay full price for my ticket.

In short, we made a lot of decisions that were tough, uncomfortable, and even unpalatable to accomplish the financial goals we set for 2017. I don’t say this to toot our horn because we have lots of friends and family members who have made bigger sacrifices for their goals, we just say this to say,

“It can be done. You can make the hard choices you need to make if you can see how valuable your goals truly are.”

The good news is that being willing to do hard things and sacrifice for your goals often opens doors that you might not have even anticipated.

…Lets You Do Important Things

Not only did those choices lead to the exciting news at the bottom of this post, but they also let us consider things like grad school for Mr. A and adopting our son. Grad school wouldn’t have even been on the table if we had been paying 100% out of pocket; but between my benefits at work (that pay a significant part of his tuition) and his employer’s tuition reimbursement program, we’re barely spending anything to put him through a program that has great return on investment potential. But, like our financial goals, this choice requires doing hard things, things we don’t want to do, but know will pay off in the long run.

Without the choices we had made over the past two years, both school and adoption would have been either impossible (if we decided that we were going to forego these special paths due to our goals) or would have massively delayed/destroyed our progress. Instead, Mr. A is in his second term of a degree that is giving us even more latitude to dream and we now have Little A to share those dreams with.

Done With Debt

And now for the news at least some of you have been waiting for —

“WE’RE DEBT-FREEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

I don’t think we’ll go to Nashville to do a debt-free scream, but you can bet this resounded through our apartment when we finally made it to that milestone.

We had the amazing privilege of experiencing loan forgiveness with our family loans near the end of last year – an unexpected and pretty amazing end to 2017. The special thing though, was that we had the money to pay off one of our two remaining family loans and would be nearly halfway to paying the other one had we not had those loans forgiven. We still would have reached our goal within our time frame!

Not only that, but we adopted out of pocket – no debt, no fundraisers. Now, we’re by no means taking the credit on this – there was obviously a lot of grace and answered prayer involved – but it is thrilling nonetheless.

Bold Goals

We had (and developed) some pretty bold goals in 2017 that kept us working as a team and communicating – which, as a side benefit, strengthened our marriage. And, some of the goals that developed over the course of the year have greatly influenced the trajectory of not only our 2018 goals, but our hopes and dreams for the next 10+ years!

What are the bold goals did you accomplish in 2017? What bold goals do you have for 2018? We’d love to cheer you on and hear your stories in the comments!