I love hearing about other people’s financial success. Whether someone just quit their job to become self-employed, paid off $40,000 in debt, or maxed out their retirement contributions for 5 years straight, I’m always fascinated and excited to hear their story.
While the end result seems so glamorous, the most interesting part of the story is often the journey or how they pulled it off. Improving your financial situation from the ground up is hard work no matter which way you look at it. There’s a lot that goes into meeting the overarching goals that you set.
It sounds super nice to imagine how ‘so and so’ no longer has a mortgage and doesn’t have to work 40 hours a week to bring in a stable income. But ‘so and so’ had their uphill battle to reach success as well. The person smiling in the picture no doubt had days when they wanted to just quit and times when they’d just go home and cry.
What is My Debt Epiphany About?
I kind of started this blog on a whim. I thought about waiting until I got my life more in order before purchasing a domain and writing my heart out to strangers. I initially thought, who’s going to listen to me or take me seriously? Maybe I should pay back my student loans and gain some authority before I start telling the world how to improve on managing their finances.
Then I realized that there’s never a good time to start something great. Everyone’s story is unique and I didn’t want to just pop up one day as the girl who had it all together. I started this blog when I did because I believe that sharing intimate details about the journey is just as important as sharing the success story.
So while this blog is all about the journey, this particular post is about the unglamorous side, the hard work, and the sacrifice. We all go through it. Why not talk about it? Here’s my unglamorous truth when it comes to working my way out of debt and becoming financially stable.
Working Every Single Day
Ever since I committed to building this blog, started side hustling and getting serious about paying off my debt, I’ve been working in some form or another 7 days a week. I’m sure I had a handful of off days here and there between my staycation and just lazy days when I was too tired or too sick to do anything of substance, but for the most part, I’ve been working Monday-Sunday.
Sometimes the work I do is unpaid like when I invest in a blogging course or work on my blog (which hasn’t started earning an income for me yet). Working every day is the norm for a lot of people who are aggressively paying down debt or working toward another financial goal.
Changing Your Lifestyle
I haven’t made any drastic changes or sacrifices in my opinion in order to maintain and reach my goals, but I did cut some expensive habits that were holding me back financially. When you set strict goals for yourself, it really puts things into perspective and allows you to prioritize better.
I easily changed my lifestyle by basically living below my means and refusing to buy things I knew I couldn’t afford. Instead, I found more affordable alternatives that still allowed me to meet my wants and needs.
There is nothing really glamorous about living frugal, standing in long lines to get into free events, staying home and watching movies on Netflix because AMC is too overpriced for your budget, spending extra hours prepping and preparing food when you can just go to a restaurant and so on.
When you live frugally there will definitely be times when you feel like everyone else around you is having fun and living their lives while you’re just stuck. It’s a similar feeling to sitting in an office building on a warm day and watching the cars pass by filled with people who are free to go where they want and enjoy the nice weather. You keep telling yourself, your time will come…..and it will.
Always Being the Odd Person Out
When you start making extra payments on your debt or your mortgage you will get pretty excited and want to share your success with others. But it seems like other people don’t get it.
Most people don’t budget, live paycheck to paycheck and don’t even consider paying off their debt early. So when they see someone else like you or me doing it, sometimes a light goes off in their head but other times, you may just be written off as a money obsessed weirdo.
The people in my life are supportive of my financial goals, but I don’t think they truly get it. That’s why I’m so thankful for the personal finance blogosphere. If you’re taking the time to read this post, you must be at least be interested in financial stability and living a life that allows you to control your money instead of having it control you.
Not Being Able to Make Ends Meet
Even though I work constantly, live frugally and budget accordingly, sometimes things still seem to fall apart and I feel as if I’m just scraping by until pay day. My friends who live paycheck to paycheck and don’t even plan for the future seem to have more money to go around than I do.
Sometimes I feel like I work so hard only to make just a little progress. I’m sure we’ve all had low points like these. Mine was when I looked into my account on pay day after making savings contributions, paying all my bills, and debt payments only to find out I had $26 to get me through the next two weeks.
When you’re faced with an impossible task you make it work anyway and prove that you’re better than the worst thing that’s ever happened to you.
Is It Even Worth It?
When you hear about and experience all the not-so-glamorous aspects of the personal finance journey you may stop to ask yourself, Is this even worth it? I can only speak for myself, but my answer is hell yes it’s worth it.
I’ll embrace every angle of this journey for what it is – the good times and the bad, the exciting moments and the boring ones – because I know that the fundamentals of life and success don’t always involve cupcakes and roses. At the end of the day, I’m grateful that I’m here and still standing. Things could be a lot better, but they could be a lot worse too.
What unglamorous elements of the personal finance journey have you encountered and how do you deal with it?
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