In July, my wife and I celebrated our 15th wedding anniversary. Instead of putting money into savings, we allocated money to taking a mini vacation to someplace we have never been before, the Lake of the Ozarks. We did a staycation for the first few days with the kids, then my parents took our three children while my wife and I got away for a few days all to ourselves.
It was great to be able to take a vacation and not be burdened by “How are we going to pay for this later?” However, the month was not without some share of financial setbacks. We had some van trouble that needed repairs, but fortunately only had to dip into a little bit of savings to pay for it. Plus, we know how to take a cheap vacation. We used Airbnb for our lodging, rented a vehicle at a discount with our Costco membership, and didn’t eat out much. Instead we cooked meals in the kitchenette where we stayed. An anniversary gift that paid for a meal at a nice restaurant also helped (thanks mom and dad).
We’re no further ahead from when we paid off debt in June, but we’re not really behind, either. Now we have a new goal. It’s clear to us that the van is reaching the end of the line for our needs. Although I would love to save up a big, fat emergency fund we will have to instead save to replace the van within the next six months or so. I suppose that while we save, we will still be saving money, so that still sort of counts as a temporary emergency fund. It sucks that we need to replace a vehicle, but that’s the way it goes.
It could be worse; we could have debt left to go. But, we don’t!
Sadly, this means that we’ll have to put off our trip to Disney World. We had hoped we could go sometime in February, but now I have no idea when that will come. That’s not an easy trip to take because of the expense, but this will give me some additional time to research how to take the least expensive trip there to celebrate our debt freedom with the kids. I keep finding resources on how to make that trip less expensive, and I’ll be sure to share my findings when I figure out more in the months to come.
So now, we return to our frugal ways. It’s becoming more clear to be that being out of debt is not the end of the journey, but rather, the beginning.