The Winds Of Debt Only Blow In One Direction

Wind

Image courtesy of Vlado / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

A windy day was in the forecast with gusts up to 40mph. I didn’t care, I was going for my run. The wind smacked me in the face almost immediately as I started off down the street. I tucked my head down, turned the volume up on my iPod, and cut through the wind for the first half of my run.

Every step was a struggle, the end of each block a victory.

I was grateful when I reached that familiar street corner that represented the half way point of my run. I smiled as I turned the corner, knowing exactly what was about to happen. Not only was the wind now at my back pushing me along, but I was also heading down hill. I found one of my favorite songs, picked up speed, and starting singing along out loud.

The worst was over. This was the fun part.

I couldn’t help but think how my run reminded me of where we are with our journey out of debt. When we first enrolled in our debt management program, the immediate changes necessary to our life were shocking. With all our our lines of credit closed, we were forced to live within our means. We looked for ways to cut expenses, reduce our lifestyle footprint, and started to learn ways to save money on the necessities. We even increased our income by both of us taking on additional work, but somehow it still wasn’t enough.

Every day was a struggle, the end of each pay period a victory.

We didn’t reach that familiar street corner at the half way point like I did in my run. We had to run against that gusty wind for far longer on our get our of debt journey. We were communicating better, but it wasn’t enough. It wasn’t until we had a knock down, drag out argument that literally lasted the span of an entire weekend regarding why it still seemed like we never had any money left over even on weekends when it didn’t seem like we did anything extravagant.

The conclusion was, our attempts at having consistent financial discussions were half-assed at best.

From that day forward, we have scheduled budget discussions on Thursday and Sunday. Together we go over the balance of our checking account, what bills need to be paid, and what hasn’t posted to our account. We talk about what we have to spend, and how we’re going to spend it.

We’ve turned that corner, and we’re headed downhill, with the wind pushing along. We’re gaining momentum, and with only eleven payments left until we’ve eliminated that mountain of debt nothing can stop us.

The worst is finally over. This is the fun part.

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13 Responses to “The Winds Of Debt Only Blow In One Direction”

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  1. Perfect timing as usual, Travis. We’re feeling overwhelmed again and like our journey will never end. Thanks for the pick-me-up. Any further advice would be greatly appreciated. :-)

    • Travis says:

      Oh Laurie – I know that feeling so very well. Some days you wake up and you feel like you could take on the world. Some days you wake up and the world punches you right in the face.

      On days like the former, I go looking online for people that could use some support.
      On days like the latter, I go looking online for people to give me some support.

      One of my greatest source of inspiration is actually my wife and children. Getting rid of this debt will make such a difference in their lives. Saving for my wife and I’s golden years, saving for my kids’ college education.

      As a husband and a father, nothing pushes me along better than thinking about that. :)

      Keep fighting the good fight, Laurie – you’ve got this!

  2. Beautifully written, as always. While winds may change the difficulty of any “run,” we are in control of how we respond.

    • Travis says:

      Thanks Mike – I could have chosen to quit or not start at all – with both the run AND the get our of debt journey. But that’s just not me. :)

  3. We started our journey out of debt with consistent communication, but we went into auto-pilot after a while – and our finances became a mess. We’re getting back on track now, and I hope we build the same kind of momentum that you and your wife have. Enjoy the wind at your back!

    • Travis says:

      Congrats on getting back on track Prudence…….keep going and you’ll get a head of steam going that nothing can stop. Thanks for the encouragement!

  4. Moni says:

    This is an excellent post – sooner or later the worst will be over its just surviving until then. Communication is so important, alas I haven’t quite embedded that concept into my husband but I will keep hammering away. His opinion is that I am responsible for the household purchasing and bill paying, therefore our situation is not of his making. Hmmmm. Until I remind him that he too ate the food, used electricity, water, fuel etc but most of all he knew I was sinking and lived in the land of denial. And as for me, I knew he’d be angry when he found out our situation so I sidestepped discussion and would comfort spend but in the name of household necessities. At least it is all out in the open and we’re working together in a “running on 3 out of 4 cylinders” sort of way. This post has given me reassurance that it will get better if we stay on this path.

    I also like the illustration of running into the wind, turning the corner and then suddenly the wind was helping you. This made me think of our snow ball debt repayment plan, and when everything is under control, those same skills and discipline could carry that snow ball onto our mortgage, wow – suddenly the wine would be at our backs and pushing us along.

    • Travis says:

      Keep hammering away at your husband, Moni – 3 out of 4 cylinders isn’t good enough. We ran on 3 cylinders for about the last 2 years and in some ways it made it even harder. You think you’re communicating, you think you’re doing everything you can….you think you’re on the same page with your significant other – but you’re just a half step off.

      You’ll know when that final cylinder kicks in, Moni…you’ll turn that corner – and it’s so freaking awesome. Life is just so much easier….I just stare at myself in the mirror sometimes and ask myself why we couldn’t get it together sooner.

      I wish you success on turning that corner, Moni – please stop back and let us know how you’re doing from time to time, and thank you again for sharing your experiences!

      • Moni says:

        Hi Travis – I just reason that 3 out of 4 is better than 1 out of 4 which is where I put us earlier this year. I still hand him our spending journal and I still expect him to read and comment – and I keep a note pad of upcoming expenses (over and above mortgage, utilities etc) so that he’s in the loop in advance. I’m sure one day the lightbulb will go on over his head. I have always admired couples who consult each other and communicate well.

        • Travis says:

          I’m happy you’re making progress – that’s awesome! Just don’t be satisfied – keep working and keep fighting to make things better. I don’t want to give the impression that I think our work is done either – a couple can always do better, right? :)

  5. cjb says:

    Thank you for such a wonderful peace of encouragement.

    My husband doesn’t really communicate his thoughts much into our budget. it’s really disappointing but one thing blogging is helping is, I think he’s my only reader and it’s causing him to notice and take notice..

    • Travis says:

      You are so welcome, cjb – I’m glad you took something positive away from the post. Reaching out to other people going through a similar journey is one of the things that keeps me blogging, so I really appreciate your comment. I checked out your blog and I hope it is indeed causing your husband to take notice. If your husband was your only reader, well, now you have two. I’ve added your blog to my RSS reader and look forward to following your journey. Hope your back feels better very soon!

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