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!
And now it’s finally here!
It’s so nice to have that loan gone from hanging over our heads, and to help keep us motivated for this next phase, we wanted to celebrate!
For us, a dinner out while grandma watched the kiddo – which incidentally happened on my birthday! – was enough for us.
For you, that might not be the type of celebration that keeps you motivated. Regardless of what works for you, celebrating milestones is an important part of achieving goals. However you choose to celebrate debt payoff , follow the same S.M.A.R.T guidelines (sort of) that you used to set your Goal in the first place!
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!
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.
How did you celebrate when you paid off all of your debt? If you’re still in repayment, how do you plan to celebrate?
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Nichole @Budget Loving Military Wife says
We didn’t celebrate each consumer debt, but we had planned on a vacation to Mexico when we paid off $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! :)
Best wishes with your debt free journey! :)
Wow – you’ve paid off a ton. Plus, it sounds like the move to Europe came at an very opportune time, and I would have done exactly the same thing. Enjoy your time while you’re there!
We should be student loan free approximately 1 year from now. I haven’t put a lot of thought into how we will celebrate, but I would definitely like to do something!
It’s definitely something you should think about – Setting a reward for all of that hard work should keep you motivated :-)
Petrish Dyer says
This is perfect for the new year goals. I am officially moving back to the states next year December to await retirement from the military and I am determined to be debt free before I leave this organization for good. I’ll have to keep some of these points handy. My celebration will be to fly to Europe for the summer of 2016 to travel and take in the sights.
That sounds like a fantastic celebration for a hard-to-achieve goal! Love it!
Emily @ Simple Cheap Mom says
We don’t have consumer debt, but do have a mortgage we’re trying to pay off quick. I think we’ll celebrate by doing some renovations to OUR home.
Love that! It will finally be completely yours! Good luck :-)
Congrats on your pay off! I haven’t thought about how I will celebrate paying off our debt. Probably by doing lots of cartwheels! :-)
Thanks Kara! Love the cartwheel idea – free & fun!
Jayleen @ How Do The Jones Do It says
Hmmmm …. once my car is paid off that will be reason for a great celebration. I hadn’t even though of the importance of celebrating. I’ll start planning now;0)
I think that you should be allowed to celebrate, as long as it is within your means.
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. Congrats on paying off the loan!
That sounds amazing, both your incredible debt paydown and your celebration! Congratulations!
My husband and I just yesterday celebrated the final payment on our once $100,000 of student loan debt!
We are celebrating this April by taking a trip to Ireland and Egypt, two places we’ve always wanted to go! We’re already paying for everything up front, and plan to never go into debt again!