My Plan For Financial Independence

I done write much about this on the blog, but besides writing I love to learn about
managing my finances and budgeting 
(ain’t I fun). Thanks to blogs like Financial Samurai and Mr. MoneyMustache I’m slightly obsessed with early retirement and financial
independence.
Background
I was
raised on welfare with five brothers and sisters. More than a few times we went
without electricity, water, and/or food, so I’m always scared of not having
enough money to pay bills or provide for my kids.  Fear of lack inspires me to be frugal. Personal finance blogs have helped me turned
my fear into a weapon. Budgeting and frugality  has helped me feel secure and save for things I love like travel. 
The
Strength to Change Jobs
There are
three sides to financial independence: living frugal, having multiple streams
of income, and increasing pay. Because I had a pretty secure job working with
people I loved, I stayed at a job that paid 30% below market.
Once I met
my hubby (then fiancé), I got the courage (and permission) to quit the job I
loved and venture out to make more money with a seven year goal of paying off
my student loans, HELOC, and our two mortgages. All in all that totaled $151,000. Paying
off that amount of money sounds impossible, but according to this debtcalculator by sacrificing an extra $1,200 a month I could pay everything  in 7 years.
Not
Everything Goes to Plan
Both my
hubby and I found new jobs for a 30% pay increase for each of us. However, we
made plans and God laughed at us. My hubby lost his job six months later.  I didn’t feel confident with my new job either.  It had great people, but the work wasn’t
stable.   
Because I
have a professional degree and I’m registered (thank you  Jesus for my aptitude for math), I ended up
changing jobs again with a slight pay increase. 
However, my husband’s career has gone the way of the dinosaur.  We talked about it, and instead of going back
to work at his previous job, which would have gladly took him back, he decided
to back to college full-time.
You’d think that pretty
much destroyed my get out of debt plan, but I tweaked it.
Staying
On Track
To keep
some semblance of my plan to reach financial independence:
We cut out
travel
In addition
to writing and learning about money, I love to travel. To compensate for the
loss of income, I cut travel out of our budget. Thankfully, I’ve been every
place on my bucket list except Australia and Paris. If I go to my remaining places, I want to stay at least three weeks.  That requires no kids. So I have to wait
until they are older anyway.
I decreased
my retirement contributions significantly
This is
horrible. It reads like I’m sacrificing my future for the present. But the
security of knowing I’m not dependent on any job is priceless. Once I am
out of debt, I can easily bump up the contributions. Also, according to the
calculator, I’ll be saving $30,000 over seven years. And the stock market isn’t
guaranteed, saving $30,000 is.
Used a
portion of my emergency fund
This is
also horrible. An emergency fund is for emergencies! But I have back-ups, I
have a revolving HELOC and a Roth IRA, which I can withdraw my original
funds from penalty free.
Delayed
our honeymoon
My hubby
and I were married in July, in lieu of presents we asked for monetary
donations for our honeymoon, but because of my hubby’s job loss, we used the money to pay for the
wedding. I felt bad not using the funds for their original purpose, but it’s
irresponsible to honeymoon if you don’t have a job. And its just delayed, not
canceled.
Did
the Sacrifices Pay off?
Between a
wedding and a layoff, am I on track? Let’s look at the numbers.
  
Original
Balance February 2014
$151,089
Planned
Balance November 2014
$137,632
Actual
Balance November 2014
$137,121

In nine months, I was able to pay off $14,000 in debt even with my hubby being out of work. Not bad! I’m even $500 ahead of schedule. 
Do you have financial plan? What would you have to sacrifice if you’re hubby was ever laid-off? 

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