Checking Off the Bucket List While Paying Off 6 Figures of Debt

Checking Off the Bucket List While Paying Off Six Figures of Debt

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Joe has been a Duke fan (all Duke sports not just basketball) since before I was born. Duke won their first basketball national championship the year I was born. Joe was 6. In our first conversation, we obviously started talking about sports. I said I was a South Carolina fan and he said he was a Duke fan (thank god because if he said he was a Clemson fan we probably wouldn’t be getting married in August).

Our first year of dating we went to an early preseason Duke basketball game and that was my first Cameron Indoor experience. If you’ve never been, I highly recommend going to a game because there really is no atmosphere like it.

I knew very early on I wanted to get him Duke/UNC basketball tickets at Duke. That was his #1 bucket list item. A game he NEVER thought he would ever get to attend. I checked prices our first year of dating and was like HOLY SHIT (excuse my language). You can google the average ticket price, but it is NOT cheap. It is not a game 99% of people can attend every year. PSA: if you do have Duke season tickets and want to gift us the UNC or any ACC game any year, please email me we will gladly accept your donation.

Last year, before we got engaged, I knew I was getting him the Duke/UNC tickets for 2019. I honestly didn’t care much about the cost. That might not be the best approach when you know you are about to acquire six figures of debt, but I didn’t care. I wanted to give Joe the tickets before we moved into together and combined finances because I knew once we did, and got a debt payoff plan together, it would be extremely hard to justify.

To be completely honest, there would never be a 100% good time to buy these tickets. We are currently paying off $148k of debt, paying for our wedding, paying for Joe’s school, and paying for our honeymoon. That is all for 2019. After 2019 we will have to finish paying for school (2-year program), save for a house, save/pay for kids, etc. The list goes on and on.

I told myself I would buy the tickets if I could pay for them with any extra money I made throughout the year. I did not put any paycheck money towards those tickets. I actually got bit by a dog trying to save for these tickets (make sure to read this post).

As much as I want to pay off $148k of debt, I also want to experience bucket list items together and make memories. I am not saying you need to spend what I did on tickets to make memories (I know I went a little over the top). But when you are on a debt free journey that will take longer than 3 years, I don’t think you should put your entire life on hold.

I gave him those tickets as an early wedding gift and pre debt free journey gift. His reaction was even better than I could have imagined. I know this game will be something we both talk about for the rest of our lives. This will be something he tells our kids while watching Duke basketball games.

If you have been following me for a while you know I became debt free at 25 so I had no debt before we moved in together. This debt free journey we are on right now is to pay off Joe’s student loans, truck, and credit cards. I am 100% on board and it is now our debt.

Questions to Ask Yourself:

1. Why Do I Want to Do This?
2. How Many Hours of My Life Does This Cost?
3. What Am I Sacrificing/Gaining?
4. How Will I Make It Happen?

Maybe you are someone who wants to be 100% consumer debt free before checking off the bucket list, but I am not that person. It is great if you are! It is also totally fine if you are like me and are not. I need to have balance. I need to have more than $1000 in an emergency fund. I need to live my life. I also need to become debt free ASAP. Sometimes these goals clash and I need to prioritize what is most important at that moment.

In the end, I am saving money, making memories, and paying off debt.

I do not regret buying the tickets at all. Could that money have been saved? Definitely. Could we have used that money to pay off debt? 100%. The phrase “If not now, then when?” pops into my head whenever I think of this. I do not believe in YOLO or mindlessly spending but I do believe in planning for once in a lifetime experiences and making them happen.

I spent about 6 months thinking about how to make this work. I told myself “If I can make extra money selling items, tutoring, other side hustles, etc. and I can pay for the tickets, I am getting them.” That is exactly what I did. Figure out why you want to do it. Develop a plan and stick to it.

Set a goal of side hustling an extra $2,000 to go on a trip. Sell items in your house to take your significant other or parents to a fancy restaurant. Find a second job to save up to see your favorite artist with your best friend.

The purpose of this extremely long rant is you need to do what is best for you. Don’t let others tell you how you should or shouldn’t spend your life/money. Seek advice and counsel from others but then make your own educated decisions.

If you want to take a vacation while paying off debt, DO IT. If you want to save $5k to feel less anxious before paying off debt, DO IT. If you want to save for a trip before saving for a down payment, DO IT. Make educated decisions that work for you and your family.

Life is short.

That doesn’t mean YOLO but it does mean you have to live in the present sometimes and make memories with the people you love.

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Alli Williams

I’m the CEO of FinanciALLI Focused LLC and our mission is to you get rid of financial anxiety, build wealth & reach your big money goals. You can pay off debt, save, and spend at the same time (I’ve done it, you can too). 


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