In our last Debt Discussion, we talked about Deciding on a Debt-Free Date. Now that you’ve nailed down a specific date or time-frame that you’d like to have everything paid off, let’s look a little closer at the “how” of reaching your goal.
Assuming you aren’t still adding to your debt, paying it off is simply an equation of spending less + earning more + time. You might already have some plans for how you’ll cut your costs and earn extra this year. Unless you have already optimized your budget and cut out any fluff, chances are you have some room for improvement.
If you want different results you’re going to have to do something different.
If you’ve been at working to tackle your debt for a while, you have probably trimmed some excess from your budget already. It’s normal to start by giving up things that don’t matter very much. Depending on the depth of your debt and your own motivation to get out of it, to make real progress, or sometimes to get any traction at all, you will have to give up things that matter.
It’s going to take sacrifice.
By definition, a sacrifice is giving up something of value to gain something of greater value. Since we all value things differently, sacrifices are personal. Sacrifices will be different for each of us.
For example, we have never had a TV. Neither my husband nor I have ever been interested in having a TV. For us, not having cable is not a sacrifice. It’s the norm. For others giving up cable would be a huge sacrifice.
It’s okay to have things you aren’t willing to sacrifice. For example, even though we are nearly Six Figures Under in debt, I have no plans to work outside the home. For us, my being home with our young children is more important than getting our debt paid off faster. The things we aren’t willing to sacrifice also vary from person to person since they are based on what we each value.
What are you willing to sacrifice to get out of debt?
- Eating out?
- Buying new clothes?
- Movies in the theater?
- Upgrading your phone?
The list could go on and on. Only the very basics are non-negotiable.
A few things to keep in mind:
- You don’t have to give up everything. Just choose something.
- If you are married, be sure to make decisions together. Cutting cable on your sports fanatic spouse probably won’t net you “something of greater value.”
- Your sacrifice can be temporary. Setting a time limit on hard things will make it easier. Give up fast food for a month. Cut your own hair for a year.
It’s your turn…
What sacrifices are you making to get out of debt? What things are non-negotiable for you?
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