Sometimes, when you’re facing down what feels like a mountain of debt, it starts to feel like you’re always going to be in debt. That no amount of frugality is ever going to be enough to offset the amount of money you owe. I get it. I do. I have been there before. I was there last week! Every month, when I put together our monthly budget, I get so excited about the amount of money we can put toward student loans. But then I look and see that our overall balance is still well over $100k.
Some days, the weight of that feels crushing. I sit and think, why bother? What good are we doing? Why not just pay the monthly minimum until ten years from now and toss this whole frugality thing in the metaphorical garbage can.
I had this thought last night as B. and I were sitting down to dinner. It was a rather sad dinner, which consisted of the remnants of an old bag of chicken nuggets, some eggs with cheese and some leftover apple halves that were hanging out in the fridge.
It is not a pretty meal. It honestly wasn’t even that good. But it kept us from getting takeout, which was pretty much the point of the meal. Frugality at its finest. But a non-small part of me really wanted to say “screw it” and just order takeout. Part of the impetus for starting this blog was to put some accountability on myself, because I’ve given in to that “screw it” urge many, many times.
But here’s the thing- even though it doesn’t seem like it at the time, the little things add up. Frugality, as a lifestyle, leads to small savings, day in and day out, that eventually lead to big savings over time.
I calculated today how much we’ve managed to pay toward student loans so far this year and the total actually kind of blew me away: $49,878. By the end of the year, that will be well over $50,000.
I swear, I thought I’d calculated that wrong when I added it all up. I really didn’t believe that we could have possibly paid that much. But guys, we did!! That’s around 30% of our student loan debt paid off in one year! If we can keep up this pace, we’ll be debt free in 2.5 years.
Suddenly, my sad little dinner didn’t feel quite so sad anymore. Neither did my thrifted clothes, my fifteen year old car or any of the other frugal choices that B. and I make on a daily, weekly and monthly basis. The small choices we made over the course of the year have cumulatively added up to some really big savings and meaningful progress on securing our financial future. It really is the little things, the every day frugality that make a difference.
What daily frugal things have you all been up to?