The one thing I am learning since not just deciding to become Debt Free, but actually making the changes so we CAN become debt free is that Debt is NOT a Life Sentence! It does not matter the amount you have, whether it be 30,000 or over 100,000 (like us) it is NOT a life sentence, but rather a decision everyday to live in a way to eliminate it. Even when life throws curve ball after curve ball at you. Trust me I know all to well how hard it is to stay on track with snowballing our debt.
Take the month of January for example, in less than 10 days we had the following unexpected expenses:
- Medical Bills – As of January our health insurance changed to a $1,500 deductible. Before it was a simple $20.00 copay if we were sick, but now we have to pay everything up front up to $1,500. We thought it would be no problem – we are never sick or at the doctors. HA! Scott came down with bronchitis, Hudson needed his tongue tie clipped and was diagnosed with a breathing disorder (he is fine but it requires medical tests to keep track of it). I woke up with the worst tooth pain I could ever imagine- and needed an emergency root canal and medications. BAM $1,500 spent. :-/
- The equinox needed new tires – $450
- On the way back from my emergency root canal, the brake line on my car snapped. Another unexpected $400
- Scott got into a fender bender the day he went back to work after being sick – $500 deductible
And in just a few short days we spent $2,850!!!!! *gag* That is insane, but those curve balls are why I say to have more than $1,000 in your savings account!
So instead of letting this get us down, or stopping our get out of debt quest, I am DECIDING to roll with it. We are making small changes the best we can to make up for the unexpected $2,850. Being smarter about grocery shopping, working harder at this ol’ blog to bring in a little extra next month, etc. I am CHOOSING to be grateful that we had a savings account that could cover these expenses – and not having to put any of it on a credit card.
So with that said, it is not always easy to stay motivated. Here are the top 5 things that keep me motivated (not in any particular order)
Yep, anger! I vividly remember the feeling I had when I sat down and crunched all the numbers. The moment I realized that Greyson (our then 3 year old) would have graduated college himself, before our student loans were paid off! What-The-What!?!? After feeling physically ill, I became angry. Yes, I know we chose for Scott to go back to school. But now we are choosing to not have the payback held over our heads for the next 25+ years!
Both Scott and I have big dreams. Dreams of traveling the world, owning a business, sharing HUGE experiences with our boys. Financial freedom will make them all possible. We are sacrificing now while our sons are little so we wont have to when we could actually create those experiences for / with them!
3) Clean House
I am sure some of you are thinking, “What, how does a clean house motivate you to stay on the debt free track?” Don’t worry, I am going to tell you…right now! 🙂 When my house is clean, clutter free, and picked up I feel a lot happier. When it is clean and tidy I actually love my home. I have no desire to go shopping for home decor items when it is neat and clean. I wish I was a much better house keeper, to be honest BUT making my home a top priority makes everyone happier. Even if we are living on a really tight budget, it does not feel like it when I look around my home.
When the house is messy I have a stronger desire to hit up TJ Maxx to spruce it up….when all it really needs is a good scrubbing.
4) My Soon-To-Be Debt Free Binder
In all honestly, you can have all the motivating factors revving you up to tackle your debt. BUT if you do not have a clear plan on how and when to eliminate you’ll be spinning your wheels. It wasn’t until I created my workbook did I feel like there was any hope for us. Thankfully, now we have a very clear and detailed plan.
I am a very competitive person by nature, and so is Scott. When we see the ETA (estimated time of arrival) on our GPS system we both see that as the time to beat. Our estimated pay off dates for our debts are all dates we want to beat. Even when snowballing we are always wanting to beat that date by a month, or more.