Well folks, we’re practically halfway through the year and, as timing would have it, I’m also halfway through my debt at $6098. For June, I managed to bring it down by $899, which I could have brought it down more but little expenses are starting to creep up with wedding stuff (which I’ll hopefully be able to talk about in a couple of weeks once plans firm up). For now, I thought I would reflect on things I’ve learned since starting this whole process:
1) No clothes shopping is, like, the best diet ever! Obviously, this is tongue-in-cheek, but hey, it’s kept my weight in check since there were times over the winter when my jeans were just a bit too snug for my liking (the breaking point was after getting back from lunch, and literally popping the top button for an hour. Only happened once, but once is enough!).
2) The PF community is a lot like joining a running group (or I’m thinking any hobby/sport club). Just like in running groups where there’s people from different ages, walks of life, and running times, there’s also a ton of diversity in the PF community. Some are single while others have families, some are working on their debt while others are striving for financial independence, some are paycheck to paycheck while others have a huge stash in their accounts. But, both communities serve a common goal and have a central purpose, and, moreover, both communities are so nice, helpful, and very supportive towards each other. It’s pretty awesome.
3) It’s never too late to start, whether paying off debt or investing. Is it helpful to start as soon as possible (or not even incur debt at all)? Obviously, yes, but once someone is aware of a problem, the only productive thing to do is improve upon it. It doesn’t matter how old you are or how far in debt/no savings, just like with losing weight or trying to improve upon anything in your life, you just have to start, and progress towards your goal.
4) Stay motivated. In running, a cool trick I learned is that for each mile, dedicate it to a loved one, so that when you’re running that mile, you’re motivated to give it as much as you can because you love that person so much. With paying down this debt, what’s kept me motivated is that I tell myself that just like most things in life, this is transient, and though it’s like this now, it won’t always be like this. I also remind myself that sure, I’m probably paying a 70-80%/20-30% ratio in debt to savings/investing (excluding mortgage in debt), but how exciting will it be when the ratio is reversed and increased to be exclusively savings/investing. Giving myself pep talks tends to help, and apparently, I’m a big believer and fan of myself. j/k
5) It’s all a work in progress. After eliminating this debt repayment, I have more financial goals that I’d like to accomplish, from diving into investing since I’m currently just in the wading area, maintaining what I’ve learned during my debt repayment as to not fall back to my old ways (since from my experience, maintenance has been at times more difficult than actual loss), and learning to juggle long-term goals like how to save for family needs, house and what to do with our current place, college educations for hopefully future kids, etc. Thankfully, there’s a plethora of PF blogs where I’m learning the different methods, so I can cultivate them into processes that work for me.
There’s been a lot of teachable moments from this process, and I’m sure I’ll learn more in the next half of this process (and beyond). Have there been any teachable moments for you?