Recently, for about a day, I actually had more money in savings and the emergency fund than I owe on my last non-mortgage debt, and for a minute I felt debt freedom. If I wanted I could be debt free tomorrow, but I made a conscious spending decision by choosing to save for a European vacation monthly for the last year and delay debt freedom by two months. I was just approved for my time-off request for summer vacation and promptly bought 4 plane tickets for my wife and I, taking a $2,100 chunk out of vacation savings and putting my plan for paying off debt back on track for August 1, 2012.
Last month our balance decreased from $4,834 to $3,079 – a reduction of $1,755.
I've mentioned that I have a buffer in my final month's payoff amount of $462, which will come in handy with the vacation expenses.
Normally I show you in graph format how much is left on my debt repayment plan, but that seems a bit silly now that there are only two payments left. One of $1771 and another around $1,326, give or take a few bucks in interest.
I had originally expected that our vacation would cost $4,000 to $5,000, but that has been revised because our friends will not be able to join us. Instead of going to Paris, Switzerland and Italy, we will be in London for the night of the Opening Ceremony of the Olympics and then in Croatia for relaxation at the vineyard and on the beaches with my family. Because I have relatives there, I won't have to plan for a ridiculous amount of hotel lodging expenses. This is always a good way to go. If you have relatives near your ideal destination, take advantage of it. Even if they are slightly out of the city, you can use it as a base to take city breaks into your destination. Also, maximize vacations by taking advantage of nearby hotspots. If you're visiting London, why not use one vacation day to double your vacation experiences? Be sure to stay within your limits though.
Many of you know I was planning to be on vacation any day now, but my supervisors wouldn't approve my June request until some things were known. Once they were known, I submitted a new request for the end of July, and will now be officially debt free the day we take off for our trip.
It feels even better knowing that the trip will be paid for before I even leave.