Our Journey to Financial Freedom – Pt. 3: Celebration

holding medalOne of the most important elements to any journey is celebration. However, it is often one component so commonly overlooked.

As we began to knock out our debt we began to develop the art of celebration. Going through Dave Ramsey’s process of the Debt Snowball in The Total Money Makeover: Classic Edition: A Proven Plan for Financial Fitness helped provided a clear strategy to take out the debts from smallest to largest.

In the natural this doesn’t really make sense. I know what you’re thinking, larger debts have larger interest rates so shouldn’t you take out the larger ones first? Theoretically, yes. Practically, no. Why?

The reason you take out the lower debts first is because it allows for you to build a sense of momentum. Momentum is such a powerful force for any journey. By knocking out the lower debts first you begin to gain a sense of excitement, accomplishment, and confidence.

After every debt we took out we celebrated. We danced, laughed, high-fived, and thanked God! We knew we still had a long journey ahead of us. But, we made each debt settled a milestone of victory.

After every single debt we paid off we would either go to dinner, a movie, buy a new shirt or pair of pants, get dessert, or treat ourselves to something we had been wanting for a while. Half way through we even went on a mini vacation to San Diego to celebrate being half-way through our debt and my wife graduating from college.

Honestly, at first I was thinking, “Why are we spending this money celebrating and going on vacation?” But, I realized after every celebration we felt rejuvenated. It gave us a time to thank God for moving us forward, acknowledge all the hard work each other had done, appreciate one another for sacrifices we had each made, and prepare for the next milestone we were moving towards.

Celebration became a weapon for us. We used it to propel us forward. After every celebration we felt more inspired, hopeful, and determined.

Too often you go through a tough journey just trying to keep your nose to the grind so you don’t lose momentum or get your hopes up. Every day seems like the same ‘ol thing. You never feel like you’re making progress until you  actually cross the finish line. But, when you celebrate you deliberately take the time to acknowledge your progress and it fuels you to keep moving forward. It actually gives you a greater sense of momentum to keep moving forward faster and stronger than ever before.

When we started our journey our consumer debt was almost $22,000. After the double job, sticking to a strict budget, tons of conversations, a lot of prayer, negotiations with debt collectors, and some fun celebrations we were able to cut our debt down to $11,300 and pay it off!

Most all the debt collectors settled for lower than 50% of what we owed. We paid off our car, a medical and dental bill completely dropped, and we knocked out some other small bills.  Within one year, almost to the date of when we started, we were fully out of consumer debt!

We are still on this journey. Our next step is to tackle our student loans. But, we are moving forward on this journey together with great tenacity. We have vision, we are a team, and we are ready to celebrate our way through! We have realized, the journey is hard, but you have to make it fun. You have to choose to enjoy the work of your hand and watch as God blesses it.

Let’s Do This Together

What intentional ways can you celebrate the small victories in your life? Where are you far to rigid, not allowing yourself to celebrate your progress?

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