"In the end, we only regret the chances we didn’t take."

The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year.

It’s funny how there is so much build-up and preparation leading up to Christmas.  Then, so quickly, Christmas is over and everything seems to return to “normal.”  Josh and I made the decision to “take it easy” buying Christmas gifts for each other this year, keeping our focus squarely on continuing to pay off our debt as quickly as possible.  I’m pretty happy to say that we both stuck to the plan, spending less than $200 on each other – a drastic change in comparison to years past.  We escaped Christmas with no new debt – paying for everything from our checking account.  And that feels GOOD!  What a great feeling…to have exchanged a few small things between us and know that we continue to work towards our goal.  We’re also planning to use the money we got for Christmas from family and part of Josh’s work bonus to put additional money towards our efforts to eliminate our debt.  Family time at Christmas is always sweet, but, knowing that we did really well financially this year made Christmas just a little bit sweeter.

During November and December we’ve been working on hashing out details for a family trip to Colorado in June / July 2017, too.  Josh’s Uncle Pep and Aunt Connie live in Denver, Colorado and the family thought it would be cool to make a coordinated effort to all end up in Colorado at the same time to surprise Uncle Pep for his birthday at the end of June 2017.  We’ll be staying in a cabin at Pagosa Springs RV Park in Colorado for a week to sight see and spend time with Uncle Pep and Aunt Connie.  Pagosa Springs looks absolutely beautiful and I am beyond excited to be able to spend some time there.  Josh’s mom graciously offered to fund our cabin stay for the Colorado trip as our Christmas present.  I could not think of a more perfect present to help us along our debt-free journey.  There is a lot of stuff that we’re interested in doing while we’re in Colorado, so, having some extra money available will be a huge help.  We’re going to try to pay cash for as much as we possibly can while we’re in Colorado, hoping to keep our credit card expenditures to a minimum.  As this may be our only opportunity to go to Colorado for a while, we plan to experience as much as possible and try not to get hung up too awful much on how much we spend.  We’ll see how it goes!

I’ve continued working on de-cluttering our home over the past few weeks, too.  Accomplishments on this front include digitizing 20+ binders of paper “stuff” and then purging the hard copies.  (We’ve had some AWESOME fires in our fireplace so far this winter!)  I’ve continued to scan new paper “stuff” as it comes into the house and then discard the hard copy.  It’s been working really well so far.  Making a pile throughout the week and then taking a few minutes each weekend to scan, file and discard seems to be working for me.  I also learned about a new (I think) program that Goodwill is participating in called “Give Back Box.”  Seems pretty simple – take any box, fill it with “stuff” you don’t want / need anymore that’s in good condition, print a shipping label and ship it to Goodwill.  For FREE.  Once the shipping label is printed, there’s an option to itemize the items you include in the box, including estimated value, in order to have documentation to support the tax write-off.  So far, we’ve packed five good-sized boxes and have them ready to ship.  From what I understand, once Goodwill receives that box, the shipment will get confirmed and then a receipt for tax purposes will be e-mailed to me.  So, we’ll see how these five boxes go.  If all goes well, I anticipate continuing to purge using this program.  I would be loading up the car and driving it all to Goodwill or Salvation Army anyway, so this option really appeals to me because I don’t have to wait until I have a car full of stuff to make it worth the time (and gas).

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