“If it doesn’t make you happy, its not worth doing.”
If you hadn’t noticed by now, I’m all about saving money, living richly and happily and paying down debt. Just about all the posts on this blog have to do with one of those topics – give or take a few about my love for zumba, pole dance and volunteering. What you won’t see, however, are posts dedicated to cutting back until nothing is left. Yes, learning to save is essential to gaining financial freedom but it isn’t essential to living a happy life. Yet, that doesn’t stop people from fawning over those blog posts in which the blogger pours out details of how they went extreme minimalist to achieve financial freedom. You know the posts I’m talking about.
They’re the ones in a which a stay-at-home mom proclaims her decision to ditch all forms of television and entertainment in favor of getting rid of medical bills.
Or the engaged couple who gave up their monthly date nights to rid themselves of student loans lighting fast.
What about the blog post in which the single mom who eliminated all free time to pick up extra jobs to work 80 hours a week for that extra cash to be applied to debt.
Or the one in which a family of three willingly sold their house to live in a cardboard box so they could pay off $100,00 of debt in two months.
That last one is a little extreme but, you get the picture. While I admire the determination of these bloggers who do all that was necessary to rid themselves of debt, I am certainly not envious. It takes a very special person to make such huge sacrifices to make that kind of speedy headway with finances. I’m not ashamed to admit that I’m not that special person. I thought I was at one time, but I’m not. You see, if I made that kind of sacrifice to pay off debt, I’d be miserable. Sure the weight of my student loans would be lifted of my shoulders, but I’d be unhappy, unbearable to be around and unmotivated. And I’ve found that since dealing with debt can be so unpleasant at times, the most important thing I can do for myself during the repayment journey is to remain as pleasant as possible throughout the process. It’s hard to stay motivated enough to make financial progress when you are miserable. Yet, it’s almost impossible to make progress without making some spending changes and sacrifices. I’m by no means an expert, but below are the things I did to find a balance between maintaining a happy life and sacrificing enough to pay debt.