Budgeting can be very, very difficult, especially when starting out for the first time, and even more so if you’re crazy enough to get into this idea of becoming debt free. I know I talk a lot about this journey i’m, and i’m afraid that sometimes I only share the good parts – the happy, exciting parts of our journey. There are also many struggles of eliminating debt.
This process is not easy. If it were, everyone would be debt free and happily living a life without owing anyone. Today i’m sharing the struggles I face when budgeting to get rid of debt.
Debt Struggle 1: Creating a Long Term Vision is HARD, especially with no Short Term Gratification
I suppose this goes along with the idea of instant gratification, because i’m all about some quick results. This is likely why i’m such a huge fan of the Whole 30 diet ;). I like my hard work to show results, and I always want those results FAST.
This doesn’t go so well when you have over $50,000 of accumulated truck, student loan, and credit card debt.
Taking out the credit card debt was very easy, and I think most of that is due to the amount we were paying off. The credit card debt was pennies compared to the truck loan and student loans that we owe, so being able to knock out a huge milestone quick was very exciting.
This is not so easy with the truck payments, considering the final payment amount fluctuates depending on how early you pay off the loan, the principle and interest amounts constantly fluctuate based off the point in time of the loan, and the amount we are able to put towards the loan changes month to month depending on how much we have budgeted. This makes it literally impossible to know a pay off date due to so many variable factors.
This makes it so difficult for my instant gratification, goal oriented mindset.
We do know that Kevin’s student loans, currently deferred due to his graduate school, will kick back up this November so our goal is to get as much as we possibly can paid down on the truck before then, and continue to aggressively pay off the truck with minimal student loan payments coming out. This deadline does give us something to strive for, which has helped me!
That being said, my advice for you is to set some sort of deadline, regardless of when your debt is due. Be realistic given the debt amount and your income, but also be aggressive! Getting rid of our credit card debt was so. dang. exciting, I can’t wait to do it again with another debt!
Debt Struggle 2: Irregular Expenses
Irregular expenses can be so difficult to track, they drive me absolute nuts. For example, this past week we had to get the brake pads on my car replaced and tuned up. There goes a little over $300.00 that we could have put towards debt, but there’s no paying off debt if I can’t drive myself to work! These irregular, somewhat unplanned expenses make it very difficult to keep a budget on track for paying off debt.
I’ve found that keeping $500.00 stashed away for any irregular expenses is very helpful for us. I say irregular, not unplanned, because lets be honest, in this example car maintenance is a very regular occurrence and should definitely be planned for. The same goes for things such as taxes, unplanned medical emergencies, or even utility cost fluctuations throughout the year. We know these things are bound to happen, but their fluctuating nature can make budgeting for them difficult.
Once your debts are all paid Dave Ramsey recommends saving 3-6 months living expenses away for instances beyond our control. I cannot wait to be able to stockpile this safety net!
Debt Struggle 3: Social Media Envy
As we pay off all our debts it’s inevitable that we have to make sacrifices. It is so easy to sit at home and scroll on my phone and see all of the amazing trips, dinners, events, and adventures that our friends are experiencing. While not something to be proud of, I am very envious of what I see others doing with their money (or credit line).
It’s important to remember that tackling our debt now will free us up for so so much more later on. Having the freedom and security to rely on ourselves and no one else will be so freeing, and allow us to make our own decisions.
I do my best to limit my social media intake, as much as I love my Instagram stories. I also have had to make an effort to “unfollow” some of my favorite fashion bloggers, as they convince me of clothing that I think I need, but really only want ;).
Ultimately the process of eliminating debt will really open your eyes to know who your greatest friends and supporters are. We have several friends that are more than happy to sit on our deck or host us at their homes for dinner or beverages, which is SO much more affordable than going out! We’ve been able to really see the value of these relationships, and love their support throughout our budgeting out of debt experience. 🙂