Back in the beginning, when we started our debt payoff, I made a Excel spreadsheet that listed all of our debts, from highest interest rate to lowest interest rate. I made our budget and figured out how much money we could allocate towards our debt every month. Then I went online, found this debt calculator, and plugged all the numbers into it. Shazam! We would have our debt paid off by October 2007. I made my goal December 2007 to give myself a little wiggle room, and rejoiced that I would enter 2008 debt-free.
It is now May 2008. I am not debt free.
Sometime in the summer of 2007, I re-did our calculations and determined that we would be out of debt by the end of April 2008. I continued with that assumption and even made it one of my goals for 2008. Now in May, we are in more debt than we were at the beginning of the year.
What happened? Life. Not planning for things. Not seeing the writing on the wall.
I counted our chickens before they hatched. I did the same thing before, back in the day when we accumulated all of this debt. I planned on using future money to pay for things, not thinking that the future money would vary and would be needed for more immediate concerns.
This was illustrated to me all too clearly at the beginning of the month. In November, we decided that, instead of exchanging gifts with my in-laws, we would all take a trip together. We scheduled that trip for the first week of May. I planned on being out of debt by the end of April, so I was psyched about the prospect of having no financial worries and relaxing in Mexico. Of course, that's not how it all turned out. We had to put our continued debt reduction on hold to pay for the trip, and there were quite a few stressful days where we weren't sure if we would have cash spending money to bring along with us. Not the relaxation I was hoping for. In the end, it all worked out, the trip was completely paid for, and we had a great time.
But moving forward, I will not be counting my eggs and making plans until they are chickens. Or at least not very rigid plans.