Goals aren’t worth achieving if the journey is not a struggle. <–Tweet this!
Over the past 17 months, we’ve struggled every single day to put Just. One. More. Dollar. towards our personal loan. While the struggle has been very real, so has the payoff as I look back at the numbers: in just the last 12 months, we’ve paid $9,600 towards that loan, which amounts to 20% of our income – and that’s something I’m really proud of!
Now comes the hard part: How do we celebrate?
Of course, I asked you, my readers!!
As general guidelines, I’ve decided that our celebrations must be SMART –
S – Specific
Set a specific reward for each milestones of your debt repayment journey. For us, there are 4 milestones along our journey plus the last one when it’s all paid off. When we set our specific celebrations, we didn’t know exactly what we wanted to do, but we did set a specific budget for each milestone – $100. That’s ok because it is specific
Or maybe you know exactly what you want to do – that’s great as well! Use whatever criteria you’d like, as well as you have specific milestones and celebrations thought out.
M – Moderate
You’re paying off debt, folks, so keep it moderate. I’m all about making yourselves feel special, but make sure your milestone celebration doesn’t completely derail
A – Attainable
It’s usually not good form to plan a vacation to Nairobi for your first debt payoff milestone when you have 4 more to go. Make it something that can fit in the budget, that both people will like, and that doesn’t take a whole lot of planning. You’re already planning and sacrificing enough to meet your debt goals, why strain for a milestones celebration?
R – Realistic
This is on the same terms as Attainable, at least that’s what I think. For us, $100 was doable – $1,000 wouldn’t be. Tailor your celebration to your budget and timeframe in order to avoid un-realistic expectations of each milestone celebrationi.
T – Timely
We celebrated our first milestone in November, so we celebrated in November, no December. It is best, if at all possible to celebrate when you make that final payment, or when you finally have accumulated enough in savings to pay it all off. Don’t wait, or the moment will be lost!
So – How did you celebrate when you paid off all of your debt? If you’re still in repayment, how do you plan to celebrate?
Kassandra, from morethanjustmoney.com said “After making the last payment online on my $55K of consumer debt, my DH and I did a high five and later that evening celebrated quietly at one of our favourite restaurants. That was it and plenty enough for me.” Very well put Cassandra! The biggest celebration should be that of your teamwork with your spouse. Debt repayment is a hard road!
Kara, from The Daily Wisk, said she’s probably do lots of cartwheel. Great plan, by the way! Frugal and fun!
Petrish Dyer from debtfreemartini.com has slightly more expensive plans, “My celebration will be to fly to Europe for the summer of 2016 to travel and take in the sights.” Still very valid…
But Nicole, from Budget Loving Military Wife has the best, most well thought out plan yet: “48K in consumer debt. However, life had different plans (found out we were moving to England just before booking our Mexico vacation). So we never took our Mexico trip, but we’ve loosened the debt payoff slightly and have enjoyed our travels throughout Europe. We have $59K left on our mortgage and it should be gone in about two years. Our celebration will definitely be a party with family & friends and a once in a lifetime vacation… possibly Bora Bora or Tahiti. I can’t wait! :)” They’re further along in their debt repayment journey, but I’m really looking forward to celebrating with them when they pay it all off!
No matter what you choose – be proud of yourself for all that you’ve achieved! They say
“Nothing worth doing was easy” <— Tweet this!
– and I believe that to be true.
Even thought this is only the first leg or our debt payoff journey, I still feel an immense sense of pride, and I’m trying to let that linger a little longer while we celebrate the holidays and take a month off from debt repayment.
*This post may contain affiliate links
Nichole @Budget Loving Military Wife says
Thank you for the mention Gretchen! :) You will definitely be notified to celebrate as soon as we finally hit that last “submit” button to our mortgage company! :) Best wishes to you and your family with your journey and congrats on a successful 2014!
When I pay off all my debt, I’m going on vacation. No clue where– I could visit friends for cheap OR go on a once-in-a-lifetime trip to Europe for a few thousand dollars– but somewhere, ANYWHERE to celebrate!
Petrish @ Debt Free Martini says
Thank you so much for the mention. Well my plan is to become debt free by June 2015 and I have decided not to just travel to Europe but move to London for a while to hit up all its neighboring countries. I can’t wait.
Wow! That sounds amazing!
Shannon @ GrowingSlower says
We paid off $22k in 9 months, and at the end I think we were so entrenched in the frugal living lifestyle, I don’t think we even did anything to celebrate. A few months later we did pay cash for a cheap second car and moved to live closer to family, which in itself has been a huge blessing and celebration. After reading all these fun ideas I wish we would have done something a little more exciting to mark the milestone! :)