How do you balance the aggressive desire to be debt free AND live life? Do you completely sacrifice happiness? Do you take advantage of opportunities which may result in extending the life of your debt? What do you do? Can there be a happy medium?
This is the journey I’m on currently. As a single woman working in the non-profit arena. I had a lot of experience with budgeting, prioritizing payments, and not always having adequate funds. Basically finessing the art of robbing Peter to pay Paul. Taking the skills I’d learned on the job and applying them to my life, I was able to climb out of debt more than once. Proving to myself that I could do it. Completing the process of climbing out of debt gave me a sense of confidence. A sense of financial security.
After getting married and incurring all the expenses that came along with having a wedding, plus going through the growing pains of combining not only lives but financial commitments. I found myself in a brand new place. A place I’ve never been. I’ll admit, I have not been as committed to financial freedom as I tried to convince myself I was. But now, coming up on my husbands and I’s 1st marriage anniversary. I’m looking towards our future. Traveling? Children? New Home? All discussion topics that naturally arise as your marriage grows.
Now, I’m ready! I’ve got the eye of the tiger! I’ve taken care of implementing a monthly budget (since that’s within my skill set). My husband and I have bi-monthly meetings to discuss where we actually are versus what we budgeted. At month end I’ll adjust the upcoming month’s budget based off our actual spending. Sounds good, right? Now that all these things are in place, I find myself asking just how much am I willing to give up? How much “living” am I willing to sacrifice for financial freedom? Does it have to be all or nothing?
I’ve come to learn that I need balance. I thrive when I can find balance in a situation. For short periods of time I can live in the extreme but after a while I shut down. I get exhausted, lose focus, and I become quite unhappy. That’s not a recipe for a happy marriage nor is it the greatest cocktail for maintaining overall health and wellness which is uber important to be.
So what do you do? Along with creating and implementing a monthly budget, I’ve also created my own personal timeline reflecting a detailed payment schedule I need to stick to in order to meet personal goals/deadlines. Also having a pretty clear vision of our travel plans for the remainder of the year allows me to figure out far in advance, “must-do” activities versus “want-to-do” activities. Knowing these things in advance grants me the opportunity to break down how much can be saved per month, per pay, even per week in order to have the funds we want to have for Trip’s A, B, and C.
As this process goes on and my husband and I fine tune our processes. I think seeing the fruits of our labor will serve as a driving force to motivate us to perhaps sacrifice more in order to enter the mythical land of financial freedom sooner. No matter what, balance will be key for me. Consistently evaluating what are realistic sacrifices and what is above and beyond is what’s going to help me maintain my sanity.
Do I have all the answers? No, not even close. BUT, I am ready, more than ready to get this party started. I believe the hubster and I have almost found OUR sweet spot in-between the pay-off-debt to live-life ratio. As long as we continue to plan accordingly I know we will be able to accomplish both, becoming debt free and enjoying a little bit of life in the process.
Any married folks? Combined household couples? Does this process get easier? Or, does it seem to always be something? Anyone that’s made it to the mythical land I referred to, I’m interested to hear your tips and tricks. How’d you get there? Leave a comment below. One very helpful resource I found that helps me stay focused is a YouTube channel called His and Her Money where they share different stories from people who’ve made it to the promised land. They also have a website.
Let’s open up. Share the knowedge and resources that may help someone get closer to their dream.