Purpose

I love the word purpose used as a verb, don’t you?  “We purpose to start our studying at 8:00.”  “So I purposed to get out of debt.”  “I am purposing to finish this project by Thursday.”  It is a verb full of action.  It’s like the combination of goal, hope, and what you will do.

“We purpose to start our studying at 8:00,” doesn’t just mean we are aiming for 8:00.  It means that which we do before 8:00 is moving towards beginning at 8:00.  It means that the hope of starting at 8:00 is more important than just a wish or desire, it is so important that we must purpose it.  If, in order to start our studying at 8:00, we must take a shower at 6:30 and have breakfast at 7:00, starting at 8:00 is our purpose for doing the prior activities.

I am purposing to get out of debt.  To be fair, I go through these phases every so often, usually when I’m in transition in my budget.  Right now I’m transitioning to a new car payment and a new monthly salary.  At this moment, I am not extremist about this.  While it would be very freeing and wonderful to pay for everything outright, it’s not possible in every situation.  A mortgage can be good debt.  Car debt seems pretty much inevitable.  We’re taught that student loans are good debt.

Wouldn’t it be nice to own a car and not make a car payment?  I did, for about a year while I was student teaching and awhile after.  But eventually, you need to buy a new car.  So you’re either making a car payment or saving for your next car.

Wouldn’t it be nice to own a house, free and clear?  But how do you get there?  Just by month after month of paying for it.  You can pay extra and get there sooner than 30 years, but you can’t do it overnight.

Wouldn’t it be nice to be free of student loans?  Well, that ship has sailed!  When you’re 18 years old, a loan that you have to pay back for 20 years, but not until 4 or 5 years from now, when your life is wonderful and you make, like, a bazillion dollars a year, sounds great.  You don’t realize that a bazillion dollars doesn’t go as far as you think it will!  🙂  “But the minimum wage for teachers in this state is $25,000 a year.  Twenty-five THOUSAND DOLLARS a year!  How much could it possibly cost to live?  I’ll easily have my student loans paid back in two years!!!”  What was I thinking???  🙂

So, yes, I’m still purposing to get out of debt, even after all those disclaimers.  One, I don’t own a house, so at this moment, that’s not an issue for me, even though I do think of it as a good debt.  Two, I am well aware that it will not happen tomorrow.  It takes time, and you have to purpose for it.  Three, I am at a stage where life is very changeable and the situation will probably be different before I am done.  But even if I get 1/3 of my debt paid off and then the situation changes, won’t it be nice to enter into the new situation with less debt?

I know some women who blog about their specific financial goals.  Maybe I should.  I’ll think about it.

For now, goal #1 is an emergency fund.  This will come as a huge disappointment to those who have taught me better, but I have $12 in my savings account.  I’m sorry, teachers!  I am learning that having an emergency fund is more important than paying more than the minimums on debt.  First of all, if you have an emergency fund, there is a security and comfort that no matter what, you will be okay.  If you have $12 in the bank and you are trying hard to pay off debt quickly, you are looking forward to the day when you can have that security and comfort.  It’s this underlying stress that isn’t made better by the fact that you are working towards freedom from debt.  You should build your emergency fund, then pay more than the minimums towards debt.  If you have to draw from your emergency fund, you should then pause your efforts to pay off debt, (still paying the minimums of course), and replace your emergency fund before you resume paying more towards debt.

The information I read stated basically the following steps:  Emergency fund, pay off “bad debt” (consumer credit, cars), build 3-6 months of expenses in savings, pay off “good debt” (mortgage, student loans) faster.  BUT…one step at a time.

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