I won’t lie. Paying off a lot of debt can be a brutal process. But you’ll find a strange strength in the middle of your journey. Learn how to get it done here.
I think it was the open window that did it.
My daughter and I were sitting down to play cards. (She’s becoming quite the card player at the age of 7. We may have a card shark on our hands!) It was a pretty hot day, so we were spending the afternoon inside.
We aren’t real big on air conditioning here. Our old drafty house doesn’t usually get too hot, so an open window or two is good enough for me and the kids.
But since Hubby spends his day in an air conditioned building and then rides home in an air conditioned car, the house doesn’t feel cozy to him when he finally gets home. So I try to turn on our window units and close up the house a little before he leaves the office.
On this day, I started the air and then did some chores. When I sat down to play cards and noticed that the window was still open, I closed my eyes and let out a big sigh.
Money was floating right out the window, and I had no one to blame but myself.
The Brutal Truth About Paying Off A Lot of Debt
Guys, we are in month number 19 of paying off debt. Our fight against debt is the age of a toddler. It would be running around the house, climbing on tables and trying to put forks into outlets if it were a child.
Maybe that’s why it’s so exhausting.
When you’re paying off debt on full blast, it kind of consumes you. You have to be ever vigilant about money leaks so you can keep all of the cash flowing towards debt. A constant “thanks for giving us all that stuff (whatever it was) a bunch of years ago” gift to the credit card companies.
Our #yearofno and #presson battles have got us to this point. We’re finally down to credit card debt in 4 digits, a mile marker that seemed far off a year ago. It’s a nice place to be (in comparison).
And if we were DINKs (dual income, no kids), that kind of cash would be simple to come up with. But soon, all 5 kids will need new shoes. Then we’ll be paying the fees that come with the start of another school year.
Getting debt free on one income (albeit, a decent income compared to some!) while raising five kids ain’t for the weak.
The Truth About Paying Off A Lot of Debt
So back to that open window. It highlighted a fact that I haven’t really faced head on yet. A light bulb moment. This debt looms over us at all times.
It’s in the small steps we take (or don’t take…hello, guilt) every day that move us a step closer to debt freedom. Steps like avoiding the a/c or choosing cheaper meals.
It’s in the no’s that are less and less spoken around here. The kids have learned that our hands are tied when it comes to most spending. We provide for their needs, of course. There are still occasional surprise splurges. (We did pause our extra payments to take a beach vacation last month.) But most of the fun activities their buddies get to enjoy, we have to skip.
It’s in the sobs over a garbage bag of toys when I realize that the kids never cared much for them anyway. All of those Christmases and birthdays…some of which we’re still paying on…wasted. Wasteful. My fault.
Why didn’t we start this years ago? Why did it take so long to see what was happening?
But even more, it makes me realize that we have to win this fight now and permanently.If you're going through hell, keep going. ~Winston ChurchillClick To Tweet
Paying off debt is far more than a snap decision to send in a payment. It’s a decision you have to make over and over again. Every time there’s a temptation to spend that money in a more fun way, you have to stick to the plan. You must know the difference between need and want.
This blog has been a fantastic tool for me, because it’s my teacher, my diary, my accountability partner, and my best hope for helping our cause. When I have to make a decision, I consider how it’s going to look in a 5 Ways We’ve Saved Money This Week post or a monthly update. Occasionally, I make some extra money from blogging that goes towards our debt.
But I hope the version of our debt fight here at Medium Sized Family hasn’t simplified the struggle too much. I try to keep things positive and encouraging!
Motivating and pushing you to escape the heavy chains of debt is one of my main goals. This post isn’t some admission that everything I’ve said until now has been a lie or somehow wrong.
Just that it’s downright hard.
If paying off debt feels discouraging to you, know that you’re not alone.
Sticking with the fight month after month isn’t glamorous. It’s lonely sometimes, even with the best support systems of family and friends.
But when it feels like we’ll never get to the end of the tunnel, I renew my energy by imagining doing the things I’d like to do debt free. Taking a child to see a museum exhibit he’d love. Giving money freely to someone in need without worrying that I’ll bounce a check. Catching up on house projects without paying double the price in interest.
Struggling against temptation and discouragement day after day isn’t easy for anyone.
But the change you’ll create for your family is worth it.
Keep fighting the good fight.
Get extra help in your fight against too much debt!
If you like the idea of having public accountability and creating a tribe of people who think like you do, why not start your own blog? This idea isn’t for everyone, but I’ll be the first to tell you that my blog has been the key to keeping me on track throughout our debt free journey.
If you’re at all interested in blogging, I recommend you start with this free webinar by Crystal Paine of Money Saving Mom.
Read 14 Ways to Stay Motivated While You Get Out of Debt when you’re feeling discouraged.
And here’s more help when you feel like giving up.
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Have you ever paid off a ton of debt? How did you get through it?