It actually sometimes helps us get what we need, like our college degree. But once we get what we need we want it to just disappear, like #girlbye!
While some debt could help us, others could’ve been the result of a little too much splurging.
Either way, we still have the same issue to work out.
How can we rid ourselves of the anxiety that is debt?!
Seriously, what’s scarier than looking at an invoice from your student loans or credit card debt?
The feeling is like getting gas bubbles in your stomach when you know you ate something that wasn’t ripe.
Tackling debt can be summed up in one word. Adulting. Pure Adulting.
It’s not the easiest thing to think about, much less try not to cringe when making a plan for it.
But for sanity sake, we have to do something so we can finally live and slay all day!
Things like “wake-up call” moments are usually what help get the process started.
Maybe a life event, like turning 30, getting a promotion, or having a baby.
Well not too long ago, I had a major life event happen that served as my wake-up call.
Divorce creeped its ugly face around the corner and I knew I had to tackle it head on.
I was actually pretty scared that my divorce might blow up into one of those financial nightmares we hear about in magazines, where their divorce cost them millions of dollars.
Obviously, mine wasn’t going to cost millions but I was definitely scared of it getting out of hand.
I also didn’t want to compromise on some crazy, exciting events that I had planned, or my financial goals for the year, so I needed to get serious quick.
That’s when I made the commitment to get grinding on my debt payoff. Mainly, because no one else was going to save me. I had to have my own back.
“no one else was going to save me. I had to have my own back.”
Paying down debt is a lot like losing weight. It’s not a “take a pill and lose it fast” solution.
The super aggressive debt payoff plans usually end up gaining the debt right back.
When you start your debt-payoff journey you are basically starting to lift 5lb dumb bells and gradually build some strong financial biceps.
With this in mind, I didn’t set myself up for any aggressive payoff mark. I just wanted to pay off my debt gradually while still having drinks with my girls or go rock climbing every once and awhile.
So here’s how I did it:
First thing I did was get my budget in gear. If you follow my blog, you know I’m huge on budgeting. The first thing to paying off any debt is to start where it matters most, your budget. I knew my budget would tell me what extra cash I had each paycheck to throw towards lawyer fees and the debt. So, I made the necessary adjustments to get a new plan set.
Lower expenses or increase my income: There is a simple formula to debt payoff. Either lower your expenses or Increase your income. I was already good with keeping low expenses, so I knew my only option was to get more income. But trying to do that without hindering my precious time with my son was tough. Thank goodness, we live in the new age of Ubers, Lyfts, and Airbnb. Since I take Chicago Transit, I don’t have a car to do Uber or Lyft (part of keeping my expenses low) but I did have a pretty awesome condo. I was able to do a couple of months of Airbnb to supplement extra income to cover the lawyer costs.
Budget my entertainment. Seriously, no one wants to live life meagerly. The debt payoff process is a series of rollercoaster emotions. One moment you’re excited and proud of paying off the first credit card, then you get anxious because an unexpected expense popped up. Paying off debt takes a lot of sacrifices but if you are not able to enjoy yourself during the process, it will come back to bite you with an impulsive splurge moment. The best thing you can do is budget the entertainment but don’t go overboard in this area. Just budget for small entertainments along the way. Most of my entertainment ideas, were done with frugality in mind. Riding shotgun on a NASCAR Race track is not as expensive as you might think! You might have to get creative in this area but it’s well worth it in the end.
Commit. None of this could really even happen unless I made the true commitment of finally tackling the problem ahead of me. Most people get scared to even look at their debt, so it stays in an “out of sight out of mind” place. During the payoff process, doubt creeps up. You might wonder if you will ever get through this. You might have to re-adjust your budget a ton. But if you remind yourself about your commitment, and the feeling of truly overcoming this debt, you will keep moving forward towards your goal. Even if it’s baby steps.
The key is no matter where you are in the journey, keep moving toward the ultimate goal of paying off all the debt. Because even slow progress is still progress.
"Slow progress is still progress"
Also, once you have the first few wins of paying off a credit card or loan, you’ll have that happy moment in your memory to hold you through the hard times that come with this journey.
I’m still on this journey but I know it’s a marathon towards true financial freedom. My goal is to be financially free (including paying off my condo) within 5 years.
Ambitious, but still do able.
I’ve been through the ring and fought a good fight. I want to train you to throw some good punches against your debt by showing you the millimeter mind shifts that I used to combat debt fatigue.
If you're feeling guilty from tons of impulsive spending moments, come join me on my upcoming free webinar for That Fabulous Money Life.
These 30 short minutes, will give you such an unfair advantage towards your long lasting wealth. You’ll get to avoid the unnecessary struggles of starting and not sticking to the plan.
And I’ll be there the whole time to answer any questions you might have.