By the end of this year, I will have paid off $50,000 in student loans. How is this even possible? I don't know. I didn't think my husband and I made enough money to send $50,000 in a year. I can remember last year when I woke up in a panic because I didn't know if we would be able to afford to pay my student loan at all. It seemed like we had no money. I literally took my piggy bank and cashed it in so we could buy groceries one week between paychecks. This was the low point of my financial life.
Then I signed up for mint.com, and I tracked my money for two months. No two ways about it, I was ashamed. I was averaging $700 a month on stuff, and I had nothing to show for it. No fancy t.v., no pretty art work.
All of that is in the past though. I've come a long way in 10 short months, and I was thinking this morning about the $50,000. What could I have done this year with $50,000 if I hadn't been in debt? If I hadn't started this journey, the $50,000 probably would have been spent on a bunch of stuff. Even now, it doesn't seem fathomable to me that I could have an excess of that much money for free spending. I probably wouldn't have even been aware of the excess. I wouldn't have tracked my money at all, and the dollar bills would have flown out of my hand unmarked.
But now what would I do with $50,000? Assuming the hubs and I have this amount in excess next year, what could we do with it? Obviously I'm going to get my emergency fund in place, and I'm going to fully fund a Roth IRA for retirement, but even that leaves some excess. First, I think I'll put some fun money back into the budget. Not crazy amounts, but I do want to be able to eat out once a week with my husband. We really enjoy going out to dinner. Second, I will do a few house updating projects. Margot needs a fence so she can go outside (and so mama can tan without being in full view), and we will also expand our deck this year so we can finally have people over to grill out. Third, we're planning on doing a little traveling. I'm going on a girl's booze cruise trip, and the hubs and I are still planning where we want to go. Fourth and finally, I hope to send an extra five payments to my mortgage next year. I know this sounds boring, but I really want to be completely debt free before I'm 35.
What would you do with $50,000? Would you update a kitchen, save for a new house, spend it all on trinkets?