I’ve spoken many times before about doing what you feel is best for you in your debt payoff journey. I’ve also spoken about how important it is to learn to deal with criticism, with roadblocks, with the scarcity mindset and with the monsters of your own mind that will work to tear you down as you try and make your way to debt free.
A year and a half in, we are still dealing, in some way, shape or form, with all of this stuff. Whether it’s financial emergencies like home repairs or broken appliances, spiteful comments from Internet trolls, or simply the discouragement we make up in our own minds, there are still plenty of days and mishaps that make us want to throw in the towel on this debt free thing and just live with massive amounts of debt like everyone else. Luckily, we’ve got an amazing support system, both in real life and via our blogging pals, that encourage us to stand strong and not give up.
Your debt payoff plan will probably not look like other people’s plans, nor should it. Each person/family has different definitions of what value-based spending is to them. Each one has a different debt load, different income, and different ideas about what debt freedom and financial independence means to them, and that’s okay.
As I’ve said before, what’s most important about a debt payoff plan is that you stick with it through to the end, no matter what roadblocks come your way. Being we started our debt payoff journey with such a high debt-to-income ratio (65%), and being we’ve chosen to cut some expenses (such as cable tv and vacations) and keep others (such as our beloved pets), our journey to debt free is taking longer than many other people’s journeys. Some people don’t like this and think we should do things differently, and although we eagerly welcome constructive criticism, at the end of the day, we’ve got to do things in a way that helps us sleep at night – and you do too.
When planning your debt payoff journey, you need to decide what you’re going to give up and what you’re not going to give up. And it has to be a list you can live with. Yes, you can eat ramen noodles every day for three years and spend zero dollars on entertainment and clothing, but if that’s not going to work for you, or if that strict of a lifestyle is going to tear apart your family or make you give up your quest for debt freedom, then you’d better figure out another plan, because it’s only money, and it’s not worth your family, your relationships, your health or your happiness.
My point is this: Yes, you absolutely should start and finish a plan to debt freedom. The peace it grants you is immeasurable. And yes, you have to commit to truly making an effort to change your ways and cut expenses and dump that debt. HOWEVER, it’s vital that you customize your plan to fit your life and to fit your situation – no matter what anyone else thinks.