I just sealed our first extra vehicle loan payment into its envelope. According to the math, we should be able to pay off the remaining three year term of our loan in... 5 months. When I figured (and refigured) that timeline, there was no way to do anything but dive, head first, back into frugal living. The numbers work on paper; in reality we will undoubtedly be faced with unexpected expenses along the way (like the thousands of dollars we poured into vehicle repairs last year). Realistically, we should be able to finish before Christmas.
We've knocked our vacation plans to the bare bones: our beloved east coast beach vacation... the one that we take almost every other year. We share the cost of a beachfront house in a gated neighborhood with several other families. We make the 16 hour drive there and back without an overnight stay. We spend little extra while there; the beach is our amusement park/spa/party scene. We'll spend $700, far less than the $2,000 I wanted to spend taking the family to Pennsylvania this summer. We could have saved the expense completely and stayed home, but there's something to be said for truly resting and enjoying your family for a week.
Drive thru trips for caffeine have been diminished to once a week, house projects requiring a purchase of materials will be postponed, and the mattress that might have been purchased with a tax return will wait. Yard sales are in the works, an embarrassing amount of baby clothing and gear to purge. Extra income opportunities will go toward debt instead of fun. We'll spend more time at home.
Sure, we'll get off track. We'll kick ourselves for purchases we didn't need. We'll bask in a splurge on pizza for dinner once in a while when this mamma's just worn out. But the reality of our finances is not easily forgotten; I am reminded of the potential power in the budget I've written each time I hold my debit card. At the very least, I'm constantly weighing our financial options and making smarter choices. It's amazing how much money we throw into drive through windows if we're not careful.