Happy Friday everyone!
If you have been following my blog for awhile, you know that I have been on a debt free journey. For the newcomers, this year I have been more intentional about paying off my student loan debt. Last November, I started with around $33k in student loan debt and now I have paid off around $11k. But trust and believe that it hasn’t been an easy journey; it has taken a lot of support, a lot of sacrifice, and continually recreating realistic budgets and goals. So if you are thinking about starting your debt-free journey or you’re in the middle of it, then continue reading.
5 Things They Don’t Tell You
There will be more people discouraging you, than encouraging you, on your debt-free journey
Getting out of debt seems like a great thing right? So why is there backlash from others when you actually start trying to get out of debt? Perhaps it can be jealousy that they’re not motivated/capable of/etc. about getting out of debt. Or maybe they can’t see the vision you have for yourself. But regardless of the naysayers opinions, continue to be intentional and disciplined in your journey.
It may take longer to pay off than you originally planned
I wished, prayed, and believed that I would have paid off my student loan debt by next month. I have cut it down significantly, but I still have about 2/3 of the way to go. Yes, it is disappointing and sad to know I’ll have this debt for at least one more year. However, short of working overtime every weekend and removing all non-essentials from my budget (like traveling), I know that I have done all that I could this year to decrease my debt. It’s easier to accumulate debt than to pay it off, but it’s not impossible. It takes discipline and being intentional. Don’t give up because it’s taking too long, keep chugging along like the little engine that could.
You’ll feel guilty
One of my goals in life is to create two scholarships, one for a senior from my high school and one for a student from my college. With the way that my budget it set-up to pay off my student loan debt, I haven’t been able to put much towards the scholarships. But last week when I was paying my tithes online, Jesus revealed to me that I am still making a difference, even though it is not the way I imagined. We have the option to direct our tithes towards student scholarships and I do that at times. I also sponsor children, a girl in Zimbabwe and the boy in Jordan. I also spend time every Sunday with students from my church. I don’t say all of these things to toot my own horn, but to challenge you to see the things that you are currently doing. It may seem that you’re not doing much because most of your money is/will go to paying off debt, but you are still making a difference…don’t downplay it.
You’ll have to continue the same/a similar lifestyle once you get out of debt
Think about when someone gets a personal trainer at the beginning of the year, gets to their weight goal, then gains it all back. Why does this happen? Because once they achieved their goal, they went back to their old habits. It’s the same with getting out of debt. Once you get out of debt, you have to ensure that you are maintaining the same or a similar lifestyle as when you were in debt. Now, this is not to say that you can’t allow more flexibility or “fun money” into your budget. You can, you just have to ensure that you are not sliding back into the old habits that got you into debt or kept you in debt.
Your obsession to pay off your debt can prevent you from living your best life
I have noticed a significant difference in the way I lived my life this year versus last year. Last year, I was traveling more, going out more, and splurging on myself more. This year, I have gone on two trips, stayed in more, and toned down on the (Target) splurges. This is not to say that my life is boring, but I recognize the short-term changes that need to happen to achieve my long-term goals. Your future debt-free self might look exciting to you, but appreciate how great you are now…for having a goal, for showing up, and for giving it all that you got. So between trying to figure out how to increase your income, decrease your spending, and pay off your debt, remember to enjoy the present.
If you are on your debt-free journey, what are some mindsets or things you have learned to be a misconception? We are all on a journey of growing and learning. That’s why I titled my blog, “My Attempt At Adulting: And Lessons Learned Along the Way,” because I wanted to share tips and lessons from my life to help you. So if you know anyone that can benefit from learning about God, learning about traveling on a budget, or cooking, please share my blog with them. And I really love it when you all comment and share your stories, so subscribe to my blog to never miss out on the next conversation.