I paid off my car in January. It was a heck of a journey to go through to get that car paid off and when I had about $3,500 left, I chose to pay it off before my credit cards. This means I would have my credit cards paid off by now, but I don’t because I repurposed those snowball payments. Moments like this are why I chose to do that.
Until Tuesday, the reality of having my car paid off hadn’t hit me. I immediately took that monthly payment and put it into my credit card snowball. By not “realizing” the raise of $515 that I no longer needed to pay on my car each month, there wasn’t a lifestyle change. When I looked at my budget every four weeks, I would feel weird not listing out $515 to Ford. I would also get a moment of panic when my really large snowball payment to my credit cards would come out because I’d worry, “Oh my gosh, do I not have enough money for my car payment?!”
Then I’d breathe a sigh of relief, remind myself that I’ve paid that off, and move on with my spending plan.
But Tuesday… it hit me.
I’ve been told by J, a service person at Jiffy Lube who refilled the air in my tires on Mother’s Day, and Ford’s automated service notices, that it’s time to get an alignment. I didn’t really know why or what that meant, but after I heard it from all sides, I figured these people must all be right. I also had a feeling that at least one tire needed to be replaced because every time my very sensitive tire alert light came on during this crazy weather we are having, one particular tire was always lower than the rest.
I called and made an appointment at Les Schwab tires. I dropped my car off Tuesday morning and waited for the news. A couple of hours later I got the call. The tires had been tested. One was basically a death trap waiting to happen, and thank God I hadn’t run over a piece of wood or something and had it explode everywhere. Another was nearly worn down and it would be safest to replace that as well.
I was actually willing to replace all four tires, but obviously did not tell them that. I don’t know a lot about cars but I know better than to tell a mechanic that I have money to spend! I asked about the other two tires and was told that they’re in good shape. I was given a list of options on which tire to buy, and the service person talked me out of buying a more expensive tire. With all of that, I felt really good about the purchase I was about to make and that I wasn’t being ripped off.
So I approved the charge, and waited for the final call that my car was ready. Only an hour and a half later, my car was aligned, wheel balanced, tires were on and sipped and I could come pick her up!
Here’s the point of this story:
For the first time in my entire life, I was able to replace more than one tire at once, without having to charge it onto a credit card or calling my parents or grandparents to ask for money because not only could I not afford to pay cash for the tires, but I didn’t have room on any of my credit cards either.
It was amazing. Absolutely amazing.
For the first time in my adult life, I replaced more than one car tire at a time w/o having to call my family & ask for money or charge it.
— Brittany (@Brittany_WMSB) May 17, 2016
Debt repayment fatigue is real. It can be exhausting. It can get really old to put all of your extra money toward your debt while you watch a friend buy a brand new car, or a brand new purse. Heck, even getting a sale email from Ann Taylor can make me have a twinge of frustration because I’d love to buy some new work blouses, but the ones I have are classic styles and in good shape so there’s no reason to repurpose my snowball payment into a shopping spree.
But the first time you’re able to hand over a debit card to pay for something you would have never be able to afford a year ago, you will feel so reinvigorated, so motivated, so free.
That’s how it feels to have my car paid off. I feel free. And I can only imagine how it will feel to make the final payment on my credit cards, and then my final payment on my bar exam loan… or, is it even possible to imagine this… but the final payment on my student loans.
It’s worth it. Every sacrifice is worth it. And you can do it too. I know you can.