At the start of the year, I wrote two different posts about debt repayment. First, I talked about how we paid $18,000 towards our mortgage. Then, I copped to the fact that we actually paid $24k towards debt, because Mr. P still had a car loan until one final click paid it off in full.
In both posts, the tone is not entirely celebratory. Part of me is proud that we were able to put some extra money towards our mortgage and towards paying off his car ahead of time. But most of me thought it wasn’t really worth celebrating because so many people put so much extra money towards their debts. That fact, coupled with my feelings that a mortgage isn’t actually good debt at all, kind of soured my celebration.
Like most situations, it was Mr. P to the rescue. About a week ago, I was blogging* and started reading aloud one couple’s story of putting $6,000 a month towards their debt repayment. Thankfully, Mr. P was within earshot, so I wasn’t completely talking to myself. After he scooted closer to my desk, I looked at him incredulously and almost shouted, “These people put over $60,000 towards their debt last year. What did we do? Nothing!”
He paused — because he is calm, cool, and collected, because he is everything I am not. Then, he said, “I don’t think we actually make more than $6,000 a month, right?” Irate that he obviously never pays attention during my much-beloved spreadsheet sessions, I opened our budget and tapped the screen. It turns out I am apparently the one who doesn’t actually pay attention. I get so lost in the details, that I can’t see the spreadsheet for the line items or the forest for the trees.
Our estimated net income is exactly $6,000 a month**. So, it turns out that we couldn’t be like that other couple. We simply don’t have an extra $6,000 to spare each month — frugal or not, side hustle or not. It’s simply not there. And that’s okay.
Instead of comparing our goals and accomplishments to other bloggers, now I’m going to start comparing them to our net income. $24,000 doesn’t seem like much when there are so many six-figure success stories in the personal finance blogosphere. But when that same $24,000 debt repayment is compared to our estimated $72,000 net income for the year, it’s looking like quite the cause for celebration.
* Reading other blogs, commenting on other blogs, and then Googling topics related to said blogs. That’s blogging, right?
** Our estimate does not include income that fluctuates like tutoring, lunch duty, subbing, and coaching. Plus, that’s after money is taken out for our insurance and our pension plans. Because yes, teachers pay for those things. Insert side eye here.
So Tell Me…Do you ever get so caught up in the success of others that you forget to celebrate yourself?