18 Jan LASIK, and other awesome things we have been able to pay cash for.

I am not writing this to brag about all the cool things we have. So I hope it does not come off that way, because anyone could have these things by borrowing to buy them. It’s not the things that are impressive, it’s not having the debt that usually goes along with them. Even so, I want this to be more of a pep talk for those thinking about trying to pay off your debts. You can’t get out of a hole by digging your way out of the bottom. So in order to get out of debt you have to stop spending. So that means for a few years you shouldn’t be buying any big ticket items. Afterwards, however, you have the ability to save and pay cash for things like you never did before. Without a car payment, credit card payments, any other type of loan payment, all that money can be put towards savings and spending. My wife and I like to make out goal lists for personal, financial, health, family, etc. Here are a few personal purchases we wanted to make in the next 5 years, but were able to do in 2012.

1. Temper-Pedic mattress.

Best purchase you can ever make, talk to any doctor and they will tell you how important a good night’s sleep is. Yet, how many of us are still sleeping in the crappy bed our parents bought us in high school? You spend a third of your life here, get something that helps your quality of sleep. Yes it is expensive but there’s a 25 year warranty, so I think you can justify the expense.

2. LASIK eye surgery

Ever since I started losing my vision in 5th grade I have wished I could see without glasses or contacts. And ever since I heard of Laser Eye surgery I wanted it. But the cost kept me away. During open enrollment I was searching around my insurance website and I noticed they offered a discount on LASIK through Qualsight. I checked it out and set up an appointment. I was a strong candidate. I put the money in my FSA so it takes 1/26 out of each paycheck in 2013. It ended up being $1400 which is extremely reasonable. I wouldn’t trust the $299 an eye places, there is a reason good doctors charge more. My doctor put me through hours and hours of tests to make sure I was a strong candidate and that the surgery would be a success. Don’t be cheap when it comes to your eyes. By the way, best purchase I personally have ever made. I was almost legally blind before without glasses.

Me and the kiddos after surgery

3. Honda Ridgeline

In 2007 my wife and I purchased a brand new Honda Ridgeline. It was amazing, we loved it. However, we paid about $31,000 on a 7 year loan! It was insane. After that we decided to become debt free so we had to sell it. We lost a lot of money. We vowed to buy another Ridgeline with cash as soon as we could. This past November, we sold our 2007 Camry to an individual and I randomly checked craigslist one night just in time to see a 2007 Ridgeline posted right in our price range. It was at a Chrysler Dodge dealership and they had just received it as a trade in. Luckily for us they didn’t like to keep vehicles on the lot that were not they’re brands. So he was ready to flip it and make a deal. Despite them telling me they “sold it at cost”, I know they made a few thousand off of it, which is fine because we got it for a few thousand less than we could have anywhere else. Pays to be patient and wait for a deal. And despite having to pay sales tax on the full amount, we still saved over a thousand dollars by selling our old car ourselves.

Isn’t she beautiful?

Again, I am not trying to show off here, I am trying to show what can be accomplished when you don’t have the burden of debt around your shoulders. We probably would not have done these things had we not been out of debt, in fact I know we would not have. My current income would not have allowed it. And while the vehicle doesn’t necessarily change our life, LASIK and the Temper-Pedic Cloud certainly did. So next time you want to sign up for that new car payment, or put that $300 pair of shoes on your credit card, think about what you could be giving up. Things that may actually change your life for the better. Material purchases don’t really make you happy in the end. Being able to see and have a good night’s sleep, priceless.

Message to Claire and Gabriel:

From here on out my messages will be only to Claire as they have always been (I have something else special for Gabriel). But I wanted to make sure I acknowledged my first born son. Gabriel Robert DeLeon was born November 3rd, 2012. His middle name after my late father who had recently passed away. We now have two amazing and beautiful children and I couldn’t be happier.

A lot of these messages will be applicable to all of my children, even if they are addressed to Claire specifically. This is one of those messages. To go along with what I was saying at the end of this blog, always remember “stuff” will not make you happy. Experiences are worth much more than a new stereo system (that makes me sound old, who buys stereo system’s?). Do your best not to get hung up on the cool new style and instead make your own style. It won’t cost as much and you will be unique instead of just like everyone else. Oh and lose the attitude, at least with me. ha

What attitude?