Episode No. 052

Lessons I Learned From Paying Off Debt

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Happy ONE YEAR anniversary to the Inspired Budget Podcast! 

To celebrate, I’m not only sharing the three most important lessons that I’ve personally learned from paying off debt, but I’m also interviewing Cheryl, an amazing Inner Circle member who is in the middle of her debt free journey! Through this conversation, my goal is to inspire you to take the next step in your own journey to financial freedom AND  keep you motivated along the way.

Paying off debt gives you an opportunity to learn more about yourself, your money, and how much self-discipline you actually have. Going though 4 and a half years of my own debt free journey required SO much discipline and taught me more about myself than I ever imagined. Heck, I even learned that I wanted to make an entire career out of teaching people about money! I think it’s so incredible that when you become intentional with your debt payoff goals, you start learning more about what habits you actually want to keep, implement, or get rid of!

Today, I’m going to be sharing the three most important lessons I learned from paying off debt and managing my money better.

3 Lessons I learned from paying off debt

Paying off debt takes time

I know it might feel slow in the moment, but paying off your debt goes faster than you might think.

Looking back, the 4 and a half years that my husband and I spent paying off debt was literally a blip on my timeline. It truly was a small fraction of our lives. In the moment however, it felt SO SLOW. And I sometimes gave into the temptation to spend excessively because I felt defeated. It wasn’t until I actually committed to the process that I started making better decisions with my money. This led to experiencing small wins that kept me motivated and actually made the process more exciting and fun. I stopped dreading each second of the journey and before I knew it, we reached our goals and I actually saw how worthwhile the journey was!

Woman holding up a debt free sign

If you’re in the middle of your own journey to paying off debt, I want to encourage you to stay the course! You will never regret sticking to your budget. I promise you, sticking to your plan is worth it!!!

Small progress equals BIG RESULTS

One of the things my husband did to bring extra income in while working as a school teacher (anywhere from $50-$100 per week) was drive the bus for the school band to Friday night football games. Sure, this amount was small in comparison to our mound of debt, BUT it’s actually one of the things that made the biggest dent in our debt in the long run! Those little, small deposits that felt seemingly small and minuscule in the moment actually had a BIG impact.

So whether you’re able to find an extra $10 in your budget or you’re able to sell some gently used items around your house or even start a side hustle to send extra cash toward debt, small progress adds up. The same is true for making seemingly small changes in your daily routine to create better money habits, like opening your bank app daily or sitting down once a week to review your spending. All of those small choices made to intentionally start working on managing your money better add up. Those choices can add up to you developing more patience in a world that tells you that you need everything right now, right away. Taking small steps toward developing patience gives you so much more power over your decisions. It creates deep-rooted self discipline that so many of us lack because we never had to practice it before. It gives you the opportunity to become disciplined with your money, that way you can continue towards your goal to financial freedom.

Your thoughts can lie to you

I used to believe that if I thought something, then it must be true. If it’s an opinion of mine, it’s fact. And that was a terrible habit that proved to be destructive in my life!

Your thoughts can lie to you. Not everything you think about your money and your finances is true, especially when you’re just starting out or re-starting on your debt free journey. It’s easy to feel like paying off debt is impossible when you’ve failed before or when you become overwhelmed just by logging into your account.

Instead, I want to challenge you to question every thought that comes into your head when it comes to your money. Ask yourself: “Is this thought true? Or is this thought just based off past experiences?” By doing this, you will be able to change your mindset and the way that you see not only your money, but also yourself.

When I reflect on my own debt free journey, it’s incredible to see how much I’ve actually learned about myself, even beyond personal finances. Deciding to get serious about my finances truly helped me become a more disciplined, intentional, and thoughtful individual and I hope that by sharing what I’ve learned along the way, you’re inspired to do the same!

If you find you’re wanting more support that comes from a step-by-step plan to paying off your own debt, then you will love my FREE debt free roadmap! Maybe you’ve just lost a little bit of your motivation, or you need a simple system to follow because paying off debt isn’t always as simple as it seems. In this roadmap I’m sharing the seven easy steps that my husband and I followed to help pay off over 100k in debt! Sign up below!

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    Meet Allison

    Allison Baggerly is a blogger, author, influencer, speaker, podcaster, and founder of Inspired Budget, which is proudly a Latinx and women-owned business. A former teacher, Allison blends her talents for teaching with her passion for personal finances to help others learn how to start budgeting and build a life they love.

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    DIY Resources to ramp up your budget

    Yearly Budget Sheets (Modern Version)

    Debt Free Guide

    Budget Life Planner (Modern Version)