My “Get out of Debt” Journey: Part 4
My husband and I had finally gotten serious about getting out of debt and had been slowly making progress for several months. Although we faced the usual difficulties that come with living and breathing, we soon discovered that the biggest obstacle was ourselves. Our own enthusiasm and motivation were starting to fade, and we were getting a little sloppy about sticking to our budget. We needed a support system to keep us on track.
At the time, I was participating in an online forum that focused on credit cards and consumer debt. The folks on that message board gave me another set of accountability partners, in addition to our classmates in Financial Peace University (FPU). Having a support group is extremely important to anyone pursuing a long-term goal, whether it’s weight loss, getting out of debt, or getting a college education. The great thing about the online forum was that many of the posters were further along in the process than I was, so I got to seem them do a “victory dance” when they finally paid off that last bill. It was very motivating.
Sometimes I had to post messages to my online friends to psych myself up. Here is one post of mine from 2004 to show you what I mean:
“Before now, we’ve been making extra payments willy-nilly, then slacking off every time something came up. Problem is, something’s always gonna come up. But starting now, we’re getting lean and mean.
No more eating out every time we get tired. We’re putting $100 a month in an envelope for “blow money.” When it’s gone, no more fun and games until next month.
The Dodge Neon needs a new air conditioner. It will have to wait. I only drive five miles to work, and I can stand to be hot for ten minutes. Fixing it will be our reward once the other car is paid off.
The Ford Taurus could use some dent repair and a new paint job. Tough. It can wait until the credit card debt is all paid off.
No more using the Emergency Fund for non-emergencies. I have about $200 in my Paypal account that we can use for Christmas. Any other non-budget items will have to be negotiated at a family conference. According to the snowball calculator, we can be debt free (except the house) in about 18 months. Yippee! Now for the hard part–DOING IT!”
We had a couple of smaller bills that we were able to pay off within a few months. It felt so good that I took one “Paid in Full” receipt and hung it on the refrigerator for several weeks. It made me smile every time I looked at it.
But I also had a much bigger motivator to keep me going. I’ll tell you about it next time.