Yesterday- after six months of sharing one car, borrowing other people’s cars to get us to work on opposite ends of the metroplex, leaving an hour early so that we can drop each other off where we needed to be before being where the other needed to be to then swing back around and pick up later, and saving every single dollar we possibly could- we paid cash for a 1999 black CRV in impeccable condition that I have fondly already named ‘Carley, The CRV’. She has a window that sticks, a door that can only be locked manually, and a questionable stain on the back left passenger’s seat, but I freaking love her. Some of you are probably thinking to yourself, “You must be kidding. You have saved up for six months to put all your cash into a 17 year old vehicle?” Sure, it’s totally not what most would do. It doesn’t follow the social norm of getting your first “adult job” followed by your first adult car purchase, with which will come that first big adult car payment, right? It’s different than most expected for us to do. Understandably, I get that you might be thinking, “what the heck?”
But, listen to me and hear me out, and perhaps I can even talk you out of your car payment, too.
At least for now.
We have all fallen into this social norm of being in debt, and if you ask me, it’s pretty silly. Now hear me out, having a car payment isn’t a bad thing. Having a mortgage is a wonderful thing. If you have the surplus and are in a position that you feel comfy taking on the next big step, that’s awesome. I am not speaking to that. I am speaking to this lifestyle of trying to be in a spot we just aren’t at yet all for the sake of feeling good about what we have. This is especially so in Dallas- the city of “$30,000 Millionaires”. (<<< That’s a thing, y’all. A show was even going to be made about it, which is just so embarrassing.)
The best thing Paul and I have ever been told is to live simply now so that we can live lavishly and more comfortably sooner than the rest.
I have needed some serious heart surgery to get to the point I am at as I write this out, but I can assure you that it feels awesome. To be debt free is extremely important to me and Paul. Being debt free for us is separated into two categories: School Debt and Stupid Debt. School Debt is inevitable, unfortunately. I am in way more school debt than I ever thought I could possibly be, but it gave me a degree and at the end of the day, school was an investment. That is something I am paying as much as I possibly can toward every month, but even still, I will have that on my back for a long time. Debt is debt. But, Stupid Debt is spending money you do not have on things that ultimately do not matter. Paul and I got into Stupid Debt right after we got married. It took just one credit card for just a couple of months to ruin our credit and get into a rut. In our defense, we were so broke that buying things on a credit card was kind of our only option. Comparatively speaking, our stupid debt also isn’t even that crazy, but it’s still debt and we have been crippled by it while trying to pay it off, pay rent, and pay off school in the midst of a million transitions. Oh, and eat. That’s important, too.
So when we found ourselves without a car unexpectedly at the end of January, we had no margin to work with to take on a car payment. We were still trying to catch up on mistakes we had made previously. Our only option was to change up life drastically and start saving every penny. Our savings for a house turned into savings for a car, which was already our leftovers from a very small margin, and then, if there was anymore leftovers, that could spill into our “home fund”. Luckily, moving to McKinney meant way cheaper rent simply because of location. The rest, we’ve had to work hard for. We had to start taking the long way home to cut our toll bill back $100 every month. We had to start sitting down and say “do we love it?” Almost every conversation ended with, “do you want a car and a house, or do you want this?” Eating out became “let’s just go get drinks” or “let’s drive around and look at houses”. Life changed, but I am so glad it did. We are well on our way to being home owners and “Stupid Debt” free. We didn’t get to buy an awesome new car yesterday, yet we feel on top of the world. (Believe me, I really wanted a decked out 2017 Jeep.) Paying for our bills and paying off school loans on time every month is working our credit back up, though, and a home isn’t a complete fantasy anymore.
It’s actually realistic, and I can kiss goodbye to apartment living soon (fingers crossed).
Working hard, saving up, and having no car payment is the best feeling ever. Being able to pay for Carley without a co-signer or taking out any loans of any kind that would, ultimately, hurt our chances of buying a home in the next year felt so liberating. Sure, Carley isn’t my Jeep I desperately want nor is she a Range Rover, but I am proud as I’ll get out of her. We poured blood, sweat, and tears into that thing.
I have thought a whole lot this past week about intentionality. I want to be intentional in my marriage, my finances, my health, my friendships- this is really hard to master. Time is hard to get a hold of. I honestly feel like time is out of control and somehow every week I find myself on the sofa Sunday night in a haze thinking,”My gosh, how is tomorrow already Monday again?” I have failed at being intentional in all of these things- even in just the last six months. Buying this CRV is, and will be, a constant reminder of what it means to be intentional, though. We had to be intentional with our money to be able to buy this, we have had to choose to be intentional in our patience to have a second car again in a way that would keep us on track to have a home. We want a home to have a better space to host family, friends, and our Young Adults group from church. We want a home to be our first wise investment. Having a home ultimately points back to our desire to be intentional with our relationships and our finances. This means being intentional with my money today, getting out of debt and having no car payment gets me one step closer to my dream farm I want to buy for my whole family to live on.
Yes, my dream is to live on a massive piece of land in a dolled up farmhouse with goats, cows, doodles, and chickens. And, I want to be able to buy land big enough for my parents and in laws to build on, too. And my parents have a crazy awesome dream of owning an event venue up here. (Trust- we have talked through it all haha.) This is what keeps me going, though! Investment real estate in Mckinney as a side gig sounds pretty awesome, too. Just call us the Chip and Joanna Gaines of McKinney. 😉
All this to say, everything Paul and I have chosen to do in the last six months circles around intentionality in all things. To be intentional is to think beyond what is right in front of our faces.
Being intentional in all things, not just our finances, is wise, but it’s certainly not easy. It’s not the norm. It’s not “sexy”. It’s not always immediately satisfying. But, I encourage you to write out what things you want to be intentional with in your life. Then, write out your dreams and goals, and align what you can be intentional in to make those dreams and goals come to fruition.
Keep your eye at the end goal, and that will affect what decisions you make right now. Again, I can tell you that getting to my point of view on intentionality in our finances hasn’t been easy. If you have questions about living debt free or getting out of debt, I would love to hear from you! Not gonna lie, I will share this because the timing is impeccable, but as I am writing this, Paul just ran our credit scores and they have both gone up hundreds in the last three months. We just almost died from shock and excitement. I promise, be intentional now and you won’t regret it.
Love y’all and happy Tuesday!!
Jennifer Reed says
This is such a real and raw post that speaks volumes! Thank you for sharing!! Xo!
Congrats on the car! I’m about to start a budget so I can pay off my car and house. I’ve already thought about getting a car with a cheaper payment. Any ideas for budgets would be great! 🙂
Hannah Morrison says
I have thought about sharing our system before, maybe I will have Paul write about our budgeting system!!! Thanks for the suggestion!!
Thanks so much for sharing, Hannah! It’s so hard to stay focused on the things that really "matter" and not get caught up in what society portrays as important. I have been guilty in the past of getting into "stupid debt" and work daily to be sure I never get in that situation again. This is a great reminder to keep myself in check and to go through my list of things to purchase and separate into "needs" and "wants". Congrats again on Carley, the CRV! <3
Esther Havens says
So awesome Hannah!
Thank you for sharing your heart in this post! My husband and I are very much in the same place (we chose for me to stay home with our baby girl and live off of his teacher’s salary). It has brought us so much closer together in so many ways, and living more SIMPLY is truly the best … the Bible encourages it because it is healthy for us! 🙂 Thank youfor this encouraging post! Keep up the amazing work, girl!! 🙂
Hannah Morrison says
So glad it encouraged you!!!