Keep on Keeping On When Paying Off Debt

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Have you been following our journey towards debt freedom so far? If not, catch my previous posts for January, February, and March.

I worked up yet another depressing debt payoff chart today. It feels like we were spinning our wheels this month – getting nowhere.

But the fact of the matter is that we’re doing alright, given the circumstances. With Ben still unemployed and the house still heavily under construction, that is. We had to run up a bit more credit card debt if we wanted our kitchen to be functional. Having already lived here once with no running water in the kitchen, we really, really do. Doing dishes in the upstairs bathtub is not something I’d like to repeat.

Other than that, we’re holding steady. Still paying off the car loan slowly, but we should break even on it soon so that we can get out from under it. That would really free us up to move forward quickly!

Plus, it looks like we have good news coming on the job front. Ben should start bringing in an income again, soon. And I have some new opportunities on the horizon, as well. So hopefully I’ll have better news next month!

Without further whining, let’s check out the debt chart for March:

chart_1

Just as I said, credit card debt is up a bit, and car loan debt is down a bit. Other than that, we’re pretty much holding steady across the board.

So What Do We Take from This Month?

For our family, the past two months have been about keeping our heads above water. And it’s been about finding our motivation to get out of debt. It’s not been easy keeping our debt under control – and making minimum payments – with our primary breadwinner out of commission. But here are the things we’ve held on to:

Our Dreams: Ben and I are both dreamers. Dreaming has got us into some trouble with debt in the past. (“Well, we’ll be making a bunch more money in a couple of months, so why not just charge this?”) But, right now, it’s also keeping us going.

Through all of this, we keep talking about what our lives will look like when we’re debt free but for a super-small mortgage on the house. And that keeps us pushing through – even when that means saying “no” to dinner out with friends so we can save a few bucks.

Lots of little and big dreams are keeping us going. For instance, we’re looking forward to the day when we can grocery shop without a super-strict budget. And the day when we can take a couple of date nights a month without busting our bank account. And we’re looking forward to bigger goals, like saving for retirement and our daughter’s college education.

Talking about these things over and over have really helped us keep on keeping on.

Our House: Surprisingly, I think being homeowners has kept us on track more with paying off debt than ever before. For one thing, we aren’t paying rent or a mortgage payment right now. Without that advantage, we’d be in some serious financial straits.

But, also, renovating the house has been turning us into better planners. We’re spending less money on random odds and ends – like dinners out – so that we can both pay off debt and put some money into the things we need for our home.

For others struggling under a load of debt, I don’t have any major words of wisdom for you today. Just keep pushing through, even when it gets hard and you’re getting nowhere. Keep your dreams at the forefront of your mind, and that’ll help.

Published or Updated: May 7, 2014
About Abby Hayes

Abby is a freelance copywriter and blogger who writes on everything from personal finance to health and wellness. She spends her spare time bargain hunting and meal planning for her family of three.

Comments

  1. Even Steven says:

    I read this article as I like to listen to dougroller podcast expecting some sound advice along the way. I read this thinking something must be wrong. I empathize with being unemployed I have been there and it was difficult.

    Why do you think things are not going in the right direction? Take away the unemployment, because you mentioned you could be debt free in a previous post. I see redflags and pyschology getting in the way. I’ll make sure to check out future posts and hope I’m 100% wrong.

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