Paying off debt through a debt consolidation program takes a lot of self-discipline, determination and focus. 

In the beginning of the program, the required monthly payment represented over a third of our net income. Having a bill eating up that much of our funds, we had to pick and choose very carefully what to spend our money on.

We analyzed every expense, and developed financial tunnel vision, focusing on doing whatever was necessary to get us through the next month and to the next payment. 

We would delay repairs that were not absolutely necessary as long as we possibly could, like the time we waited months to replace the latch on our dishwasher because we were able to wash dishes by hand. Or, how we let our second car sit in the garage because we chose to not spend the money on the car license tabs until the month after they had expired.

Now that we have completed our debt consolidation program, my wife and I are finally able to look at doing some things that we had delayed as we made our final sprint towards the finish line.

Pet Checkups: We have two cats that our entire family adores, but they haven't been in for a checkup for a while, and are not current with their vaccinations. We rationalized that since they are indoor cats the vaccinations were not as critical, and our limited funds would be better spent elsewhere. The cat carriers have been dug out of storage, and our furry friends will have their first vet visit in quite some time in the very near future.

Eye Classes: If you hold up my wife's glasses to the light, they are painfully scratched. Our insurance covers eye exam's 100%, as well as a significant amount for frames and lenses. However, Vonnie's lenses require some special features causing new frames and lenses to cost us several hundred dollars. Because of this, we haven't made our usual visit to the eye doctor the last two years. Within the first month of our program completion, we had a family outing to the eye doctor to have eye exams, and corrective lenses ordered for the three of us that needed them.

Looking back, these are two things that should have been given higher priority to have done. 

We made a commitment to take care of our cats when we got them, and we certainly could have cut other discretionary spending to take them to the vet. But, when the cats are seemingly healthy running around the house playing our financial tunnel vision convinced us that it wasn't a priority. Our eyes need to be taken care of for our overall health. But when everyone has glasses that are seemingly working OK, our financial tunnel vision convinced us that we could make them work just a little bit longer.

It is the ability to pay for maintenance items, such as vet visits, eye glasses, auto registrations and dishwasher repair that we now have with the completion of our debt consolidation plan. 

We can do so with peace of mind, without struggling and adversely affecting our monthly budget.

Are there maintenance items that you are putting off while you are working your way through a debt relief program?

Related Links:

A Broken Dishwasher Isn't so Bad

Don't Spend Money You Don't Have

What do You Need to Enjoy Life?

Travis Pizel, debt management plan customer with leading provider of debt relief, CareOne Services, Inc. Travis Pizel

Travis is a contributing writer for the A Straight Talk on Debt blog. He is also a very active member of the CareOne community forums. Travis is currently enrolled in a CareOne Debt Management Plan (DMP). Travis candidly shares his personal journey to pay off his debt and the tips he's learned along the way. As a father and husband he provides a unique perspective on balancing debt, finances, and family in Minnesota. You can also read more from Travis on the Enemy of Debt blog, where he is a featured blogger. Compensated Blogger for CareOne Debt Relief Services.

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