Remember when you were young, and holding a crisp five-dollar bill made you feel like royalty? You could barely keep yourself together before slamming that money down in front of the cashier in exchange for your favorite candy.
Later, as a teenager, you leave the house with 20 bucks—a few bucks in the gas tank of your 18-year-old car, a few more on a movie ticket, and your remaining singles on the popcorn. Twenty bucks bought a little freedom and independence (and fake butter).
In college, you don’t have a car; you hoard cereal in your dorm stolen from the dining hall; and you live on Lucky Charms, macaroni and cheese, 99-cent pizzas, and cheap beer. You get a part-time job so you can live off-campus and buy more expensive beer, but you still call your mom to help pay for the clothes you’ll need for your teaching internship.
That may not sound familiar, but I’m sure we all have similar stories where even a little money felt like a lot, and it left our hands almost immediately. There was no room for long-term, at least not the way I viewed the financial world at the various stages of my life. Now, at 29 years old, I’ve said goodbye to the lifestyle creep that comes with the first post-undergraduate jobs, and I’m trying to keep only the long-term in mind.
It’s been almost two months since I shared my financial woes on this blog. Since then, I’ve been able to pay off a little over $1700 in debt. To the child, teen, and college versions of myself, $1700 would have felt like a ridiculous amount of money–so much money I wouldn’t know what to do with it! Now, $1700 feels like it barely puts a dent into the damage I’ve done. After all, it’s only 4% of my debt. The other 96% sounds so far away, and my motivation if waning.
This post isn’t like the others, where I end with some grand conclusion and sweeping declaration. It’s to pose a question:
How do you maintain motivation when you’re still in the debt-destruction phase?
Some helpful and inspiring reads:
I thought the rest of my life would include more spending, more bills, more collection calls and more stress.
The Get Out of Debt Free Post
Turns out that I’d been running as fast as I could in the wrong direction.
Joshua Fields Millburn
Rule #1: If you’re trying to get out of a hole, stop digging.
No magic, no quick fixes, no debt consolidation, or bankruptcy filing. Just persistent sacrifice.
33 Proven Ways to Reduce Personal Debt
Gina and Josh Masters via Joshua Becker
It may feel like you’re riding a tricycle in the Tour de France, but you can move forward!
Featured Blogger Budget: Jennifer from Ditching our Debt
Jennifer via Mark (the bare budget guy)
To say it was stressful would be like saying this winter in Boston has been chilly.
Banish Debt Like a Boss: Demystifying Personal Finance Part 2
Kim Parr via Mr. & Mrs. Frugalwoods
I’ll never forget the grin that was glued to my face for the rest of that day.
What a Year of Being Debt Free Has Taught Me