Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Tough Choices

Pre-K T-ball: $52
T-ball: $61
Dance: $70
Swimming Lessons: $50

The above activities are items I'd love to sign my two kids up for this summer. There is just one hurdle - a big pile of debt to the tune of $40,000. We actually have enough to pay for all of the activities and go on nice summer vacation, but a big chunk of the debt will be gone by October if we budget and spend wisely this summer. So that leaves us with a tough choice. Invest in recreational activities that our kids will enjoy now, or pay off debt quickly.

How do you make tough decisions in life? How do you prioritize? What do you value? During the last 16 months I've tried to align our family values with our family decisions. We prioritize our most important values and make decisions based off those values.

For example our top three family values are (in order)
1) Faith in God
2) Family
3) Financial security

We made decisions in the past that were made in haste, and not in alignment with our values. Those past decisions ended up straining our family and our finances.

As hard as it will be to say no to our kids this summer, I know that the financial security of not being a slave to debt, to be able to put money into college funds and retirement funds sooner rather than later, will be worth it.

I tell you what, debt sucks. I don't want to stay in debt long, because saying no to enriching my kids' lives hurts - but at least my decisions are based on my values. By saying no, I can provide financial security to my family much quicker than saying yes.


  1. Nate,
    This sure came at a funny time for us, we just finished our budget committee meeting and decided that our YMCA membership and us using the outdoor pool there was going to be our primary source of summer recreation because we don't want to be paying Bank of America this time next year. It was a TOUGH choice, but reading your blog let me know that we aren't the only ones sacrificing for the larger priorities. Really, I doubt my children will be any worse off if I don't fork over $67 for the Summer Sports Sampler. If they are we can hook them up with your kids, maybe they can get a group discount on therapy!
    Keep living like no one else. You'll get there!

  2. Sheridan,

    I REALLY appreciate hearing that from you. It is my hope when the kids are in college, and they need money for books or tuition, I can turn to them and say, "Because we all sacrificed when our family was young, I can give you the finances to support you".

    You have a gift Sheridan - you know how to lift others up. Thank you for lifting me up!