The debt-free journey is not easy, somehow we know this instinctively, but when things get hard we feel the urge to just give up. It can be hard to keep going no matter how much we want to become debt-free it just is not easy.
The thing is, the debt-free journey isn’t characterized by how much money you can throw at your debt, even though that’s definitely an important component, it is characterized by how much you’re willing to give up in order to achieve debt-freedom.
Wait, what do you mean give up?
Yes, I mean that becoming debt-free isn’t all about making plans, working a side hustle, and throwing money at the debt monster. It is about how much you are willing to give up and go without in order to pay off your debt.
In 2014, I gave up my beloved Tahoe in exchange for the ugliest car I have ever had (according to my dad and brother at least) and in order to dump over $18,000 of debt in one day. For me, that was a difficult sacrifice because I’m the American poster child of the “you are what you drive” belief. It was a very humbling experience and it brought us one-step closer to our debt-free drive.
However, there are not just big, obvious sacrifices to be made like giving up a car with a loan attached to it for a paid-for-in-cash one. There are harder sacrifices to be made, the kind that make you want to give up and throw in the towel.
For the past three years, I have not had a birthday present, Mother’s Day present, Christmas present, anniversary present, or any other type of present. At first, it wasn’t hard giving up those things because the energy of William Wallace was rushing through our debt-free journey but as the years go by and more and more sacrifices are made, it becomes harder to deal with.
“I mean, don’t I at least deserve a present on my birthday? Is that asking too much? Heck what about mother’s day – being a mom is the most exhausting and sometimes just flat-out no fun job I have ever had. Shouldn’t I at least be rewarded for my efforts with a little something special?”
It can be easy to let these negative thoughts take over, because it really is no fun not receiving special gifts on special days. No matter how fun it is watching your kids open their gifts on Christmas morning, but knowing that Santa didn’t leave you anything special under the tree because well, this is a debt-free Christmas. No credit cards, no in-store credits were taken out to purchase it, which means that you had to save and save and go without Mother’s, and Father’s Day presents in order to pay for Christmas in cash.
You know there’s a reward at the end of this long, tiring journey of never worrying over how you are going to be able to pay back money you’ve borrowed and being able to provide for your family in ways you were never able to before. But sometimes, that’s just not enough, we need more. We need that amazing new shirt at Target that is going to help us feel better about our post baby bodies and we need that fancy dinner date with our husbands because we are simply too exhausted to cook dinner tonight.
On days like this reminding myself of what our financial goals are is critical. We have to keep telling ourselves that there is a reason that we are giving up so much. That we are creating a better life and leading an amazing example for our children of what true financial freedom looks like. Keeping ourselves in debt is keeping ourselves in chains. We will never be able to realize our dream of owning our homestead, bringing my hubs home full-time to pursue his passions, giving our treasures like never before, and providing a financially sound life for our family with debt.
Keeping these reminders in front of us makes dealing with the difficult days of “I want this, I want that” easier to manage. Hold onto your goals and keep them in sight so you don’t forget why you are on this journey in the first place.
What is the hardest thing that you have to go without in order to become debt-free?
JOIN THE CHALLENGE!
Money controlling you? I know the feeling. My family has been living this real life on a budget for a long time and I can tell you that there's never a perfect season, but with a few changes you can start to reign in your money issues.
Join the 5-Day Challenge today and start getting your money life in order this week!