So you are in debt (I am too!). Are you following a plan like something that Dave Ramsey lays out? I know Brad followed it and it was super successful for him.
I have a problem following Dave’s plan for a number of reasons. Number one being motivation.
I am definitely motivated to get out of debt. However, I lose that intense, uber-addicted-to-debt-reduction feeling from time to time.
I do a lot of thinking about the psychology behind debt and money. I’m very intrigued by the differences in how people relate to money. I think there are many different ways to become debt free and you really have to find what works best for you.
Brad and many others have found that following the plan Dave Ramsey sets forth to be a great way to get debt free. And it truly is a great plan. The end result of being debt free comes quicker than most other plans but during the time you are paying on your debt, you will make a great deal of sacrifices. Those who are following a plan like this can usually keep their eye on the prize and that is motivation enough.
But there are some people who need a break in their debt repayment plan. They may choose to go with another plan. One option is to pay off your debt, still live modestly but also put some money aside that is earmarked for something else. Whether it is a new-to-you vehicle, a vacation or a new outfit, saving up for “something” may be enough motivation to keep your head in the game.
I have a friend who has been working very hard at eliminating all of her consumer credit card debt. She finally paid off their last debt and was so happy. Now she’s left with student loans and a mortgage. She is worried, though. They have 3 kids, a home and aging cars. She wonders if it would be wise to save up a 3-6 month emergency fund before diving into her student loan debt, the way Dave Ramsey suggests.
I reminded her that there is nothing wrong with doing something different than DR’s plan. There is a reason that this is called “Personal Finance.” That is because it is PERSONAL to each person. What worked for Brad does not work for me and what is working for me may not work for you.
I am struggling with paying off my debt. I have only just got my snowball to do a little rolling and I’ve been very excited about that. However, I’ve been debating how I’m going to keep moving forward. I have opportunities ahead of me that involve spending money. Money that could be going toward debt. I have held A LOT of guilt over spending that money because I feel like I “should” be doing absolutely everything I can to pay on my debt. I’ve felt like I had to follow what DR says and put every penny towards debt while I continue to pass on some fun times.
I have begun to let go of some of the guilt.
I have come to realize that I don’t have to follow what people like DR say, no matter how much sense it makes. I need to do what works best for me and what will keep me moving forward in the long run. I have two chances to travel coming up in the next 6 months and I’m going to take them. I’m still going to work very hard to pay on my debt and put extra money towards my debt when I can. But I’m also going to continue to put money aside for these trips.
What works for me, may not work for you and that is ok.
The goal for those of us in debt is to NOT be in debt. The route you take to get there can be different for each one of us.
Photo Credit: aussiegall on Flickr