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As our family spent what felt like forever to pay off debt, different thoughts ran through my mind. There were seasons when I felt like I could conquer the world (and conquer my debt right alongside it). But if I’m going to be completely honest, there were times (weeks, months even) that I wanted to give up. In case you are just now starting your debt free journey (or even if you’re already on it), I’ve created a list of 10 thoughts I had while paying off debt. I bet you’ll have these same thoughts and feelings too!
1. I can do this!
Thankfully, there were months when I felt like budgeting and paying off debt was just so natural. I thought “Oh this is so easy. I’ve got this!” I didn’t need any extra motivation because I had enough motivation within. I knew my goal, my plan, and I had no doubt that I was going to make it! This was my thought when I first started my debt snowball. I had a feeling of hope and had my mind set on the future. I didn’t feel like this the entire time, but this thought did return during my journey.
2. Will this ever end?
If you are going to be on your debt free journey for a long time (we were paying off debt for over 4 years) then you will for sure ask yourself if this process will ever end. It felt like time was crawling by and the next payday couldn’t get here fast enough. I liken the feeling to those first 3 months with a new baby. If you are a mom then you know that those first few months have the longest days and nights. You feel like time is crawling by (probably due to the lack of sleep). I’ll never forget feeling like everyone was playing a cruel joke on me when they told me that “time just flies” with a newborn. But soon enough, I blinked and it was over. When you’re in the middle of paying off debt it feels like time has stopped and you’ll never finish. Spoiler: you’ll make it there, I promise!
3. Does it even matter?
This question is born out of denial and impatience. I remember asking myself if it even matters if I become debt free. I mean, why all the hard work? Is it even worth it in the end? I believe that this is where a lot of people give up and go back to their lifestyle of spending too much and saving too little. When you start having these thoughts, then you know it’s time to get motivated again!
4. Why am I all alone?
Once you start an intense journey of paying off debt, you’ll look up and realize that you (and your family) might feel all alone. Not many (or maybe none) of your friends or family are on the same journey. You might get weird looks when you talk about being debt free. Some people may even try and talk you out it (this happened to us several times). Just know that it’s weird to be debt free and that’s okay! It’s not common and people don’t know what they’re missing.
5. But I want to go on vacation too!
My husband and I are both teachers so our summers are gold to us. Since we had so much debt to pay, we spent 4 full summers trying to save money and pay off our student loan and car debt. Let me just tell you that it’s crazy hard to see everyone else’s fun summer vacation pictures on Facebook and not get jealous. I’m pretty sure it’s almost impossible. There were so many times that I wanted to just pack up the car and head straight to the beach for a week. To combat these feelings, I would listen to podcasts about saving money to help put me back in the right mindset. It took discipline to not spend thousands on a family vacation, but we ultimately just couldn’t afford it. I’m happy to say that we took our first vacation this past summer (to celebrate being debt free) and it was absolutely glorious. We can now take vacations without guilt!
6. I’m halfway there! I can do this!
Once you reach your halfway point, you’ll be able to look back at what you have accomplished so far and realize that you’ve got this! If you can make it halfway, then you can finish this thing!
7. Oh look! There are other people with me on this journey!
Oh hi! You’re trying to become debt free too? Can we swap grocery lists, coupons, and be best friends? After some time you’ll find others who are on the same journey. Maybe you meet them in person, or maybe you only know them through Facebook or Instagram. Need friends who are also living below their means? Social media is a great place to find them! Feel free to follow me on Instagram. There are hundreds of great people who are working hard to pay off debt and live below their means!
8. I’ll never go into debt again. Debt sucks.
There will come a point when you realize just how much money you have sent away to someone else. You’ll realize that debt sucks and you absolutely hate it. It’s okay to vow to never go into debt again. It’s not worth it. Debt is terrible and you detest sending your hard earned money to someone else. Hold on to this feeling because it will carry you to the end of your journey!
9. I can see the light at the end of the tunnel!
The wonderful feeling of the last lap is one to savor! You’re almost there and no one can stop you! During these last few months, you will dig even deeper to get rid of this debt once and for all. There is a light and the anticipation is real! The feeling of being so close will carry you the rest of the way.
10. That was so worth it!
I’ll never forget the day we paid off our last loan. I felt like the entire 4.5 year process was so worth it. The sacrifice no longer felt like a sacrifice. Instead, it felt like a lifestyle and I knew that everything was worth it. I wouldn’t trade all the home-cooked meals, skipped vacations, and less than exciting weekends for the massive debt. Was it hard? Absolutely! Was it worth it? Definitely!