Their family and ours have been concurrently working through the Dave Ramsey Total Money Makeover system this past year and I can think of no better gift to give than to help someone come one step closer to Freedom. Freedom from being indebted to "someone" (whether a large corporation or an individual person) else. Freedom from worrying at night over what bills might not be paid; Freedom from having to delay vacations, get-togethers, and nights out because the money is needed for something else.
Along those lines, I also am excited for our family! We started 2010 with about $17,000 in debts, not including our house, but including my student loan from years back. My goal is to have everything paid off in the next two years so that when Jeff retires in four years we have about two years of savings built up and don't have to worry while we move on to "what's next." I have been working towards this goal all through the year, and will continue to for the next two years as planned.
The bill I received in the mail today is for a now-cancelled credit card that I used when starting up my business. At the beginning of 2010, I owed $3,000 on the card. It is now down to $345 - something I can even conceive of paying off in one month! Jeff is sleeping, after pulling an all-nighter as he completed a final paper for a class he's in, so I get to share the news here first.
In looking back over the events of any given year, I am always amazed at how much we've achieved in spite of spending so much time feeling like I am trudging from day to day to day, spinning my wheels, getting "no where." Our three biggest this year are:
- This year, I completed my Bachelor's Degree in Social Science - something I started eighteen years ago before I was even out of high school!
- Jeff is finally re-enrolled in college classes and working toward his degree. He has been planning, hoping, and wanting this for sixteen years, but has been thwarted for many reasons over the years. Again, I am thrilled for him!
- We are closer to being debt-free than we were at the beginning of the year.
So often it is easy to feel like we have let ourselves down in not achieving every single "New Year's Resolution" that we set at the beginning of each year. I don't put goals like weight loss, etc. in stone, but I do write them down, along with my intended path for getting there. I always end the year closer than I was when the year started, even if I didn't achieve the exact goal. In that, I am able to feel continually blessed as I come to Christmas and to the New Year. I hope, as you look at your achievements - not the ones you feel like you missed (the "should have's") but the ones you really managed to ring the bell on - that you feel as much confidence and blessing as I do entering into 2011. If you're not quite there yet, you have two weeks left to really look at what you've done, and realize it's always more than you thought!