So, as I’m writing this, we are 21 months into our debt-free journey, that we approximate will take us somewhere between 36 an 48 months.
Basically, we’re halfway through.
We’ve we weathered quite a few storms as a family, here on the blog, and have seen tons of changes in income, employment, and we even slipped back into some credit card debt, which means that our rate of debt repayment has varied so much over these last 21 months.
The first year was the easiest. We were unbelievably gung-ho about getting debt paid off, The Big Guy and I were 100% on the same page financially, and we were rocking it. But then the second year hit and paying back our debt got hard! Instead of being able to pay off little debts quicker, we were in the trenches, and it was hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel!
Ever felt like that?
I know that we’re very lucky to only have one young child to say “no” to when she wants something frivolous, to be as young as we are, and to be surrounded and supported by everyone online sharing our journey.
So today, I want to give you little encouragement, 12 things to remember when paying off debt gets hard.
You’re Already A Step Ahead
First and foremost, take a step back and remember that so many people never realize how enslaved they are to their debt, incurred by their need for new cars, the best electronics, and the nicest house on the block. Because you actually realized that there is a better way puts you so far ahead on the happiness curve.
Debt Is Not Forever
Yes, you’ve been paying off debt as fast as you possibly can, but it’s still going to take years, and that’s hard. I get it, believe me, I do! No matter how far you’ve come, or how far you have left to go, remember that you’re further today than you were yesterday, and that you will eventually get it all paid off – and it’s going to be so worth it!
You’re Learning Lessons You Will Never Forget
After paying for 3 years just on credit cards, including thousands of dollars of interest, will you ever let yourself sink into credit card debt again? I didn’t think so!
After seeing just how much that new car really cost your family, will you ever sink that much of your hard-earned money into that car again? Let’s hope not!
Everyone learns different lessons during their debt payoff journey, but it doesn’t really matter. What you’re learning now will be ingrained in you for the rest of your life, and hopefully in your children as well.
If Your Marriage Can Weather This, It Can Handle Anything
For most couples conflict tends to bring out either the worst in them. And to make matters worse, debt payoff involves money – both making lots of it, and spending as little of it as possible. This is a recipe for disaster for many couples.
But, just like any other tough situation you and your spouse find yourself in, if you can power through by keeping the lines of communication open, working together, and using each other’s strengths to your advantage, then your marriage is not only going to survive, you’re going to be so much stronger for it!
You Now Have An Arsenal of Frugal Meals
How much were you spending on groceries each month before embarking on your journey to debt freedom? Do you even know?
And how much do you spend now?
Rather than running through the drive through at every possible moment, buying convenience foods at the grocery store, or tons of expensive cuts of meat, you’ve learned how to feed yourself and your family healthy food, but for way cheaper than you did before! Congratulate yourself!
The Kids Will Survive
Does it suck to only get then one Christmas present each – and that present was from a yard sale? Yes, yes it does. But guess what? They’ll be perfectly fine! They’re bellies are full of those frugal, nutritious foods, they have ample opportunity to use their imaginations and boost their creativity, and they have you. They really, truly, need nothing else!
Your Kids Are Learning Not to Repeat Your Mistakes
More than just surviving, your kids are learning the ins and outs of managing daily household finances, what being in debt looks like, and just how much you all have had to sacrifice to correct your debt situation.
Hopefully, you kids are not only learning to live with fewer toys, but to appreciate the little things in life, and to never, ever get themselves in debt over their head.
If an Emergency Arises, You Know How To Scale Way Back
Because you’ve cut just about every area of your budget, you are now much better equipped to handle a financial emergency. Sure, you have an emergency fund, but doesn’t it feel nice knowing that there are areas in which you could cut back before dipping into your emergency fund. How empowering!
Those Math Lessons Actually Did You Some Good
Ridiculous, yes. Remember all those math lessons you hated in middle school? All of those word problems you struggled with? Well now you’re putting that stuff to use! Creating a budget and paying off debt require so much creative math logic it’s crazy. Isn’t it nice to know you’re actually using that stuff?
You Have A Story Worth Telling
Have you ever felt like you were ordinary, nothing special? Or like your debt journey was something you neede dto keep secret? Well don’t, because you have a story that can help so many other people! Maybe it will inspire them to start their own journey to debt freedom, motivate them on the journey they’ve alreay begun, or stop someone from making a bad decision regarding money. While your journey may seem embarassing or ordinary, remember that you’re doing something no many people do successfully, and that’s worth sharing!
You’re Going To Have An Amazing Life
Yes, you’re in the trenches and it sucks right now. You’re sick of eating rice and beans, just want to take a tropical vacation, and are sick and tired of your beat-up Camry.
But you know what?
When it’s all said and done, and you’re celebrating your freedom from debt, you’re going to continue eating rice and beans on pretty regular basis, continue driving your beat-up Camry, and take that tropical vacation (albeit by travel hacking!).
Because you’ve learned that rice and beans actually taste better when you’re eating them by choice.
And your Camry looks like a brand new Corvette, because it’s paid for and it still runs.
And vacations are 100% worth it when you’re celebrating getting out of debt, and you’ve done your best to save!
See, once you’ve gone through years of paying back ill-begotten debt, frugality becomes a way of life. You learn to enjoy it, to a certain extent.
But more than that, you’ve learned what things actually add value to your life. What things, when you spend your hard-earned money on them, actual bring you happiness, rather than tie you down. Conversely, you now know exactly what you hate spending money on – so you don’t!
Keep on, keeping on guys,
It’s going to be so totally worth it!
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Maureen @ A Debt Free Stress Free Life says
I remember the day I became debt free from school loans and credit card debt. My god it was better than almost anything I had ever experienced. It does get hard when you’re in the thick of it and it’s great you have a partner to help you stay motivated. Being single and paying off 80K by myself was difficult but I just kept going. I’ve never looked back.
Wow, congratulations! That is a lot of debt to knock out all by yourself!
I so needed this today. I took on an extra shift at work today to get rid of this debt, and I was almost in tears, because it’s my younger child’s first birthday. I get to take my kids with me to work, but I still would love to just stay at home and have a fun family day. But getting a job and taking as many shifts as I can are part of our get out of debt plan, and I know it is worth it. This post truly helped me this morning, thank you.
Wow! Happy birthday to your kiddo – and remember, it does get better!