2019 has kicked off and the two most common resolutions are again reappearing as topics of interest in all blogs, news outlets and streams everywhere. The two biggest personal challenges people look to conquer every year but the majority fail to do so.
- Paying off Debt
- Getting in Shape
Why is it so hard for people to achieve these two common goals? When people talk about going to the gym, it seems so simple.
“Hey, this year, I going to start going to the gym and get in shape.” It’s so simple and easy to say that the person you are saying it to will probably respond with a, “Yeah, me too!”
Yet, both will probably fail to accomplish that task or even act on that thought.
I think the main reason is because repetition becomes boring and most do not encompass that in their illogical theories of getting in shape or paying off debt.
It’s the discipline that’s required to perform these boring tasks repeatedly until you get the desired result. It’s the most important skill you can develop to reach your goals in my opinion.
And the discipline is to sacrifice the things you would like to do and only do the things that you need to do in order to achieve your goals.
Let’s talk about debt for example. Last year, I made it a personal goal to pay off my revolving debts. $24,795 to be exact. It’s not easy, especially when you have a 5-year-old daughter to take care of. But once I decided to be committed to paying it off, I jumped in.
As of today, my revolving debt balance is now at $10,282 and I plan to be a $0 on my birthday this year, May 17th. (I’ll give a more accurate summary of my debts on a future blog)
Here are 5 quick pointers that have helped me along my debt payoff journey.
1. I cut off TV. (At least 95% of it)
I can’t cut everything off, it’s just impossible and there’s no need to torture myself. Giving up my money to pay the damn debt is torture enough. After all, I want to succeed.
I do watch YouTube and Netflix occasionally, but I set a time limit and I try do something constructive at the same time such as my budget, cleaning, working out or blogging.
2. I cut off Social Media/ Phone
This one is the ultimate time saver.
Back in March, I had an update go though my Moto Z and the next very day, my phone started crapping out. It just wouldn’t stay charged for more than 1 minute unless I kept it plugged, pretty much making it a stationary phone.
I still had 8 months left in the contract so buying a new one was out of the question as it would severely impact my money saving goals. Phones these days aren’t cheap.
But I didn’t deem it an emergency to replace the phone immediately, though it was very annoying. That’s one example of an obstacle I had to face where a sacrifice was required to overcome it. I’m sure most would of got a new phone right away…on credit.
As upset as I was with the Moto Z, it proved to be a blessing in disguise. I couldn’t carry the phone with me everywhere, so I was able to to be out in the world without a constant tracking unit on me. It felt in my 20’s again.
I know now we really are slaves to our devices.
Facebook or Instagram wasn’t immediately in my reach. If I wanted to access them, I had to make time for it from my desktop. I can honestly say, I get so much done without the constant distractions of the tech social world.
I just got the Sony Xperia XZ2 at $0 from my provider which I will be reviewing shortly. So far, I love it! And I love even more that I’ve yet to connect my social feeds… and I’m not planning too either.
3. I focus on increasing my Cashflow
Everyone will tell you to penny pinch, but in the end of the day, there’s only so much that you can eliminate from your lifestyle.
I couldn’t decide between the debt snowball or the debt avalanche, so I just did my own thing, which was eliminating the debt that would secure me the most cash flow to pay the next.
I only shopped at specific locations that would get me rewards or cash back for my dollars spent.
The Paymi app has select partners that sometimes give up to 40% cash back!!! That app came in handy around Christmas time as I racked up over $70 just for shopping at 2 locations.
Whenever I could make extra money, no matter how little, I would. But I made sure my time was worth it.
For example, Cash back takes no effort at all however paid surveys are too time consuming and the payout is not worth my time. But if you have absolutely nothing to do, then why not complete a survey here and there?
4. I avoid all unnecessary fees
I avoid all fees in general, especially banking fees. My banking is now done on line with no fees. I make sure that all my bills are automated so that they are paid on time to avoid late fees.
I even drive better to avoid paying speeding and parking tickets. My province takes enough of my money.
In addition, I’ve also converted all my credit cards to no annual fee cards. I was still able to obtain some great reward cards at no annual cost.
5. I track my spending twice a week
This is where the discipline comes in. You need to know what you spend and more importantly, what you spent. It doesn’t matter if you over spent, you need to know. You need to be able to rectify the issue immediately so that the over spending doesn’t compound and ruin your efforts.
I guarantee you that tracking it will make you feel bad and keep you on course for the next time. You have to teach yourself how not to over spend and buy items you don’t require or it defeats the purpose.
Emergencies (and not urgent requirements and urges) should be the only exception to the rule. Once your efforts are ruined, you will fail and be trying to pay off the same debt or more next year.
This repeated failure is why discipline is so important. It is not fun tracking the money you spend, knowing how much you give away to pay down debt when you could of done plenty more exciting things with the money instead. But it is necessary.
Money will come to you in many ways. Whether it’s a gift card at work, a found $5 bill on the ground (I once found $260!!!), $20 in the pocket of some jeans you haven’t worn all year…the possibilities are endless.
You just need appreciate it when it comes in and use it for the things you need and not for the thing that you want. Once you fulfill your need, you will be able to purchase your wants without even using credit.
But your need right now, our need right now, is to pay off debt.
As I mentioned, I plan to be done paying my revolving portion in May, however, this year’s added challenge is to get my credit score to 760 by December 31st. I will be posting about my credit score journey throughout the year.
For those of you paying off debt that may have so additional pointers, do not hesitate to share them in the comment section.
“If there is no struggle, there is no progress” – Frederick Douglas
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