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Working to pay off debt is often a long-term solution to a problem that is months if not years in the making. It’s hard to keep your motivation up when it seems like it’ll take forever to reach your debt free goal. My journey started about a year ago and it has NOT always been smooth sailing. Unexpected expenses always seem to creep up at just the wrong time, don’t they? The rainy day fund is vital at times like this. Even with it in place, though, we’re human. Perfection is an ideal none of us can ever hope to achieve so it’s in everyone’s best interest to stop trying. I’m a perfectionist on steroids so you just have to know this is an ongoing struggle for me but I’m trying my best…

 

Have you fallen off the budgeting bandwagon? As much as I talk about walking past temptation, I will admit to being sucked in every once in awhile and I end up buying something I really should not have. Does that make me a hypocrite, or a bad person? Um…NO! And neither are you if you sometimes manage your money in ways that, in hindsight, are probably not very smart.

 

Baby Steps…

 

Dave Ramsey calls the steps in his Financial Peace plan “baby steps” and I truly believe he was onto something there. Cliched as this sounds, getting and staying debt free is a marathon, not a sprint. I can tell you from personal experience that when you train for a marathon, some of your runs will be so awesome you think nothing can stop you. Other runs during your training will suck so badly that you’ll want to throw your running shoes in the trash and never run another step as long as you live. Each step you take, good or bad, makes you stronger and moves you closer to reaching your goal. The key is sticking with your plan for the long haul, even if you make some short term mistakes. You’re not bad, and none of us is perfect. Stop beating yourself up, learn from your mistakes and, most importantly, MOVE ON!!

 

Resistance to Change

 

According to Brad Klontz, PhD in chapter 5 of his book “Facilitating Financial Health”, resistance to change is a normal part of the change process. While you are working to clear debt, you’re also working to change your habits from those of a spender to those of a spendthrift. Becoming intentional with your money is a process and it won’t happen overnight. As time passes, though, it will become easier to work your new habits into your life so that they become second nature. Be patient with yourself and keep working towards developing the good habits of a person who is responsible with money. Your patience WILL be rewarded.

 

Worth the Effort

 

If you’re on a debt elimination journey the rollercoaster ride is SO worth it once you reach the end!! I still get a little giddy whenever I log in to pay my mortgage. Right below the field on the screen that shows my mortgage payment is the field that shows the HELOC (Home Equity Line of Credit). Seeing that ZERO balance makes me smile every time. Hang in there if you are still paying off debt. The feeling you’ll carry with you once it’s done is worth the hard work and sacrifice you’re going through now. I don’t make promises lightly but I can promise you this.

I’d LOVE to hear from you-do you have some strategies to stay motivated when paying off your debt? Please share in the comments!

 

Be well and God Bless-until we meet again…

 

Note-Any and all items contained in the Older Wiser Money Miser Debt Free Challenge are intended as a resource for informational purposes only and should not be construed as professional tax or investing advice.

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