The more popular our site becomes, the more flack we seem to get for what we spend our money on. And I’m sure that there are many more critics who think we don’t do enough to payoff debt but don’t have the guts or the time to leave a brutally honest criticism in the comment section – thank you for that. 😉
I’d like to talk today about why it’s so important to define and write your own, individual plan for debt payoff, instead of simply following somebody else’s plan to the T. This is not to say we shouldn’t glean wisdom from the plans of others – we should. If you want to be rich and thin, study the habits of those who are rich and thin, am I right? However, just because a plan works for somebody else doesn’t mean it will work for you, and I think this mindset is a lot of what prevents people from starting or staying on their own debt payoff journey. They think they have to run things like so-and-so did, and then when they can’t follow through, they give up.
I read a story recently about a kid who lived in his van for most of his 4 college years so that he could graduate debt free. That is AWESOME! What a tremendous story about perseverance and commitment. But that does not mean that every kid who wants to get rid of college debt sooner rather than later should – or could – follow suit.
What matters most about a debt payoff plan is not how quickly you get there, or how much you sacrifice along the way, but what matters most about a debt payoff plan is whether or not it will allow you to stick with it through to the end. As myself and many other PF bloggers have written, the most intimidating aspects of a debt payoff or financial independence goal are psychological.
It’s when you break down mentally from the weight of the debt or the weight of the sacrifice that you throw your plan out the window and go back to leading that life of irresponsible spending with no goals or limits.
We do things here in The Frugal Farmer family that some people consider irresponsible with our money. We’ve kept our pets, but we work extra hard at bringing in extra income to make up for their expense. We buy mostly new clothes as opposed to used, but we choose to not buy very many clothes – and to buy them on sale or clearance – to make up for that. We’ve dumped cable, but we still spend roughly $60 a month on entertainment. We’ve cut allowance and most all extracurricular activities, but we do spend $100 on each kid for their birthday and for Christmas.
Some might say we’re not doing enough, and that’s okay – we appreciate the input of our readers. But we have to do what’s best for us. We have to make spending decisions (and believe you me: we weigh each one very carefully) based on what’s best for our family, not just financially, but emotionally and psychologically too. We have to weigh the expenditures and make our money choices based on what will give us the very best chance of sticking with this journey to get out of debt till the very last dime is paid off.
We may take longer to get out of debt than others on this journey, and we may not, but one thing I know for sure, is we will indeed complete our journey and see it through to the end, because we are managing our journey in the way that’s most productive for our family, and you, my friend, if you really and truly want to get out of debt for good, have to do the same.