My Bucket List – What Being Debt Free Means to Me

Working in a mortuary can be depressing in a lot of ways.  We are constantly confronted with our own mortality and the mortality of those in our community.  We are always reminded of how fragile life can be, and how – sometimes – it can end so quickly and unexpectedly.  As we perform funeral services throughout the years, I often wonder if the people we care for got what they really wanted out of life.  Did their dreams come true?  Did they accomplish everything that they wanted to?  Is this the ending they envisioned…or do they wish that things had turned out differently?

Unfortunately, I will never find out the answers to those questions.  As funeral dates come and go, I will never know whether the people we serve got what they wanted out of life.  Maybe no one will ever know if they left satisfied, feeling that they had grasped everything that life had to offer.

Although funeral service definitely has its downfalls, I believe that my job has bestowed an amazing gift upon my family – the gift of being aware.  My job is a constant reminder that my life is ticking away day by day and hour by hour.  Every day is a blessing, and I am always under pressure to make the most of it.  I am always thinking to myself, what do I really want out of life?  And if I died tomorrow, what would I wish I had done differently?

Fortunately, I am only 32-years old and I likely have many, many years ahead of me.  I have so much to look forward to, and I wish I could slow down time with my young children.  People always tell me how I will look back on this time when my kids are little and see it as the best time in my life.  In a way, I hope that they are wrong.  There is so much I want to see and do, and I am hoping that this is just the beginning of many amazing years and decades.  I have been thinking a little about what I want to accomplish in my lifetime and decided to make a short list of what I have thought of so far.

 

My Bucket List

My Bucket ListPay off our house and become 100% debt free by our 10th wedding anniversary

Our tenth anniversary will be on December 17, 2015.  That gives us 3 years and just a couple of months to pay off approximately $140,000.  I crunched the numbers a few days ago and am now confident that we can accomplish this.  Paying off my house seems like a lame thing to put on my bucket list, but here it is.  I cannot wait!

Take my parents somewhere they have always wanted to go

My parents have done so many amazing things for me.  They have been there for me in the best times of my life, but more importantly in the lowest lows.  They have provided constant support and encouragement and have always been my #1 fans.  I want to pay for them to go somewhere amazing.

Travel

There are so many places I want to go.  Alaska, Europe, South America, Australia, Hawaii, China, and so many other places are on my agenda.  I love the kind of vacation where I just sit my ass on a beach, but I also want to see the world!  I want to go places that most only see on postcards or the internet.  I want to travel the globe and have experiences that others only dream of.

Pay for my kids’ college

I want to pay for my kid’s college – in full.  We have been saving in the 529 plans since they were babies and have several investments in place that I think will help us reach this goal.  I want my kids to graduate with the degree of their choice and no debt.  I want them to be able to take a low paying internship, travel, or do what they dream without having the burden of student loan debt.

 

Adding More to the Bucket List

There are also many other smaller things that I want to do:

See a show on Broadway in New York City

See Les Miserables in London

See the Terra Cotta warriors in China

Party in Paris and Amsterdam

 

I could go on and on and on.  Right now these are only dreams…but with each passing month, I get closer to achieving them.  Each month, I get closer to being debt free and living the life that I truly want to live.

What is your bucket list?  What are your hopes and dreams for the future?  Did this post depress or inspire you? Let us know in the comments below!

 

 
About Holly

Holly Johnson is a wife, mother of two, and frugal lifestyle enthusiast. She is the co-founder of Club Thrifty and a staff writer at Get Rich Slowly, Frugal Travel Guy, and U.S. News and World Report's "My Money Blog." Holly has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, Kiplinger Personal Finance, Fox Business, and Daily Finance.

Comments

  1. Yes I guess you would always be reminded about this stuff with where you work. I admit I’ve never really thought too much about bucket list type stuff. I guess it’s because I still consider myself pretty young…I’ll be 32 in a couple weeks. If I were to create a bucket list it would be the typical stuff: get married, have kids, travel, etc. By the way, I find it surprising that you include Alaska on your travel list with all those cool destinations.

    • I already got marriage and kids out of the way so now it’s time to start checking off other things that I want to do! I think that Alaska looks amazing and I want to take my kids there some time in the next couple of years!

  2. 140k in three years is pretty impressive.

    I’ve never really created a bucket list because there is not too much out there that I feel I would regret if I hadn’t done. Mostly, I just play things by ear.

  3. I think it both depressed and inspired me. Time IS ticking away. I have to hurry to get stuff done. I think about this every time I want to take a “little break.” No time for that! I’ve got bigger fish….

    • I can be a little depressing at times….sorry =( But now that we know that life is ticking away second by second, we can act accordingly. Seize the day!

  4. Wow – you are VERY ambitious. I think it’s great! It’s awesome that you will be able to pay off your mortgage so soon.

    • Oh, yes! I cannot wait to pay that sucker off! Every month when I get my mortgage bill in the mail feels like Christmas. I love watching the balance drop!

  5. Thanks for the post. I’d imagine that your workplace definitely helps put things in perspective.

    In terms of a bucket list, I’ve never really given much thought to it. Not to say I don’t have goals, just looking to enjoy each day to the fullest I guess. If I were to make one though, I’d definitely have to include travel as well. I’ve been to Europe a number of times as well as the Caribbean a couple of times. Traveling really does open your eyes to the fact that there are SO many things to see & experience that so little do for one reason or another. In regards to Alaska, I would definitely recommend it. I spent a summer there while in college and it is so beautiful!

    • I cannot wait to go to Alaska. I think that would be a great place to take the kids. It looks so beautiful in pictures and so many people have told me that they loved it!

      • It’s definitely a great place to take kids. Beautiful really doesn’t describe it, I was in awe so much of the time there. There is just so much to see there…the wildlife, the mountains and all the nice little towns.

        • It will be awesome. I would like to incorporate a cruise into that trip and spend some time on land as well. I do love my beach vacations though so we will have to do this when I am in the mood for something different!

  6. Veronica @ Pelican on Money says:

    Nice list. I hope you get to achieve all of those things and more! I’m glad I don’t have to take my mom anywhere, she travels so much that I should be asking her to take ME haha. Seriously though, I think she’s been everywhere. Me thinks me jealous.

    • =) Hey, why not ask her if you can come with her? The worst that could happen is that she will say no. =)

      Yes, I am obsessed with outer space and since this is the only planet that I currently have access to I want to explore it!

  7. Great post. I’ve never created a bucket list of my own, but I should get it. There are lots of things I’d love to do. I’m impressed that you’ll be 100% debt free in 3 years. Way to go!

  8. My wife and I have thought about our bucket list quite a bit and we started compiling a list a few months ago. We’ve taken a break from it and really need to get back to it…and accomplishing some of them.

    I had no idea you worked at a funeral home. I don’t think I could do that. While it’s cool you’re gaining awareness from it, I’d just find it extremely depressing.

  9. Paying off a house is not a lame thing to put on a bucket list. Not having car payments is a great feeling, I can’t even imagine what it would be like to not have to pay a mortgage every month! In fact I can’t imagine what it would be like to not have to pay student loans either. Hmmm looks like I might have to steal a few of your ideas….

    • Paying off our cars and student loans was awesome! Now that we are down to mortgage debt only, I am more driven to pay it off than ever!

  10. Your post is definitely not depressing!! It is encouraging!

    It is full of things that you plan to accomplish, and that is always a good thing.

    But speaking of death though, for some reason over the last few years I think about death too often. I think it comes with age and feeling like my life is more than half over. It’s weird.

  11. 140K is 3 years is an awesome, although I think the fact that you want to take your parents somewhere nice is AMAZING.

    I’m adding that to my bucket list.

  12. I made a bucket list last year, but haven’t really done anything about it…I think. I haven’t even looked at since I made it, so I guess it’s not a big priority for me.

    Mainly, I want to travel and experience other cultures.

    I think working in funeral home puts you at a great advantage, it’s impossible to forget the inevitable. I’m sure you two will leave very full lives and have no regrets because of that. :-)

  13. I don’t have a bucket list per se because I’ve done a lot of the things I’ve wanted to do. I’d love to own a house that could operate off the grid a lot, with a sunny yard where I could grow vegetables and raise chickens (and possibly rabbits). It would/will take me some time to get that and if I never obtain it, it will still be okay. (I have gardens and I’ve learned a lot of skills I never had before regarding gardening, some craft, and food preservation.)

    I love that paying off your home is on your bucket list. I think that’s great–and it will free you up financially to do the other things you want to do!

  14. I had no idea you worked in a mortuary….it must be a humbling and inherently reflective job. Love your bucket list…having dreams is so important. Writing them down turns them into goals. I don’t think we should feel unfulfilled if we don’t get to finish all of them (did we enjoy the time we did have here?), but we are closer to achieving them if they’re written.

    • Yeah, exactly! I like having what I want to do in writing. If I don’t get them all done, that’s ok. It’s still nice to have goals!

  15. i didn’t know that you worked in a mortuary either.. but i think it is a very impressive way to make a living.. the death of a loved one is obviously vary trying on many people.. and you guys help folks get through a very difficult time. you are definitely doing a good service to the world, and for that you should be proud.

    as for your bucket list.. kudos to you.. many of your items (at least on the 2nd list) center around travel.. will you guys take the little ones with you, or try to find a sitter for a week? i would love to take my kiddies to europe, but i am not sure how much they would get out of it..

    one thing is for certain, les mis in London would be truly amazing..

    • I don’t know about taking the kids. We have talked about that before. Maybe we will take the kids sometimes and leave them at home other times. Grandma is usually willing to watch them for a while! She is watching them in February when we are going to the Dominican Republic for our first adults only vacation in 5 years!

      When our kids get older, we will probably be more likely to take them with us.

      Les Mis in London is truly something that I want to do. I want to eat an amazing meal, drink a bunch of alcohol, and go see my favorite show live on a stage in London. I WILL DO THIS!

  16. With the exception of the kids, our bucket list is pretty similar to yours! Pay off $100K in the next 24 months, and work on more passive income streams (or jobs that we can do anywhere) that would allow us more freedom to travel for extended periods. Good luck to everyone on their lists!

  17. With the exception of the kids, our bucket list is pretty similar to yours! Pay off $100K in the next 24 months, and work on more passive income streams (or jobs that we can do anywhere) that would allow us more freedom to travel for extended periods. Good luck to everyone on their lists!!

  18. laura @ move to portugal says:

    Hi, love your bucket list! We have mortgage freedom by Dec 2015 on ours too – balance currently £89k, so a similar amount

    Good luck. Happy to find you site :)

  19. Great list! I did this myself a while back, and we share a lot of elements (like paying for college for the kids, becoming debt free, etc). I love how you’re not only paying it forward, but also paying it back to your parents.

Trackbacks

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  11. [...] We will definitely be going back to the Majestic Colonial in Punta Cana.  Not only was it beautiful, but it was reasonably priced as well.  In addition, we found the beach to be much nicer than the neighboring resorts we would pass in our daily walks.  All in all, we had an amazing vacation.  We highly suggest the Majestic Colonial Resort in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic…and we cannot wait to go back! [...]

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  15. [...] It gives us something to talk about – ad nauseam – for months on end. It reminds us of why we work so hard in the first [...]

  16. [...] Congratulations! You’ve just become debt free. Now, don’t go out and do something stupid like going back into debt. What you should be doing is completing your emergency fund. I would recommend that you save somewhere between 6-9 months of your take home income and place it in an account that is liquid – like a savings account or money market account. From there, the sky is the limit. You can start saving for your child’s college education, invest in the stock market, or even save for that brand new car you’ve always wanted. Above all, remember to keep using that zero-sum budget so that you can carefully and consciously “spend” every dollar that you earn.  Remember, pay cash for your wants and enjoy living debt free. [...]

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