“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.
- Cut back. Don’t eliminate
When you’re desperate to pay off large sums of money, it’s natural to cut back anything that’s not a necessity. Like most people, I spend a lot of money on wants. It only seemed natural for me to eliminate the one want that wouldn’t affect my need too much – my very expensive hobby of pole dancing. One pole dance class can cost $25-$40 and I would attend class at least once a week. However, skipping pole classes only lead to my feeling miserable and getting out of shape which only made it more difficult to stay pleasant and motivated while paying off debt. So instead of eliminating pole classes completely, I decided to cut back class attendance to once a month.
Some areas of your life are just too precious to eliminate. So many seem to forget that wants become needs when it helps make your life worth living. So instead of completely skipping something that truly brings you joy, get creative and try to enjoy it in small doses instead. it will make your journey to financial freedom even smoother.So many seem to forget that wants become needs when it helps make your life worth living. Click To Tweet
2. Treat yourself every once in a while
So you may not have the funds to go the spa anymore or get your nails done, but that shouldn’t stop you from indulging completely. Treat yourself by turning your home into an oasis by lighting some lavender calendars, and soaking in the tub all day. Or indulge by finally buying that pair of shoes you’ve been eyeing for the last 3 months. Yes, getting your finances in line means that you shouldn’t go on weekly shopping sprees, but it doesn’t mean that you can’t pamper yourself every few months. Every three months I allow myself to buy what my heart desires without any feeling of guilt. After all, I work hard and already sacrifice to meet my financial goals. Being determined to pay off debt doesn’t mean I need to deprive myself of life’s simple pleasures. That also doesn’t mean you can justify every splurge as an “I work hard. I deserve it treat.” Be selective with your treats and you’ll be financially free and happy simultaneously.
You know you don’t need the fastest internet connection or the premium passport membership to New York Sports Club, but you still want to enjoy it. Enjoy the finer things in life at smaller portions. Downgrade your internet package and opt for the neighborhood membership at the gym instead. You don’t need to completely cut it from your life if it’s something that fulfills you or makes life just a bit easier.
Don’t get me wrong. There are definitely some moments when it really is in your best interest to eliminate wants from your life to reach your financial goals. I’d be lying if I said I hadn’t eliminated some things. However, it’s equally important to maintain some balance so you can feel happy, relaxed and stress free. The road to financial freedom is a long and arduous one. Why not do what you can to make the journey less bumpy. Go ahead, and treat yourself every once in a while!
And to make treating yourself a little easier , enter the contest to win the t-shirt everyone keeps messaging me about. “If SallieMae asks, you never saw me.”
If that isn’t a reason to make you smile on on your journey to being debt free, I don’t know what will! And in case, you’re not feeling lucky you can always purchase here for a limited time.
TERRIfic Quip: Cut back until there is peace in your home.