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During my debt free journey, I struggled figuring out when it was best to tell my loved ones, “No.” This is the first part of a series – most difficult moments paying off debt. It is the time I felt like a bad friend.
The first 16 months I tried to get out of debt, I only paid off $20,000. At that rate, I would be in debt for at least five more years and I could not wait that long. I decided to intensify my progress, which called for making even bigger sacrifices. At the time, I felt like I was already making huge sacrifices. Plus, I could not increase my income anymore because I reached a ceiling at work and I was already working a part-time job. I even considered delivering pizzas at night in Baltimore City, but it seemed unsafe.
Eventually, I realized there was a way to find more money and it was within my budget. I needed to learn how to tell my friends, family, and myself, “No.” I was making extra payments of about $750 a month and that was cute. Being cute and subtle with it was not going to knock out debt. I had $60,000 in debt, a record of making slow progress, and a deep desire to go harder.
What to Do?
I reviewed my budget and realized I had a large expense looming on the horizon – my friend’s out-of-state wedding that I was supposed to attend. It would have cost between $1,000-$1,500 with flight, hotel, and rental car. I had a tough decision to make. Do I use the money to go to her wedding or do I put the money towards my debt? I could attend the wedding and delay the plan to go harder by a month or so. However, I realized if I continued to make excuses like that, I was never going to change my behavior.
I called my friend on the phone and explained to her that I could not attend her wedding because I was working towards becoming debt free. I also apologized for telling her that I would attend when I should have told her the truth. I felt like a bad friend, but she understood.
People often ask me how did I become debt free. Learning how to make tough decisions like that helped me. I looked at my goals and my budget and, attending an out-of-state wedding did not align with advancing my priorities. Once the answer became clear I needed the courage to admit it.
I share this story to show the type of sacrifices I made to become debt free. Comment below and let me know if you have made tough decisions on your journey to financial freedom.
By Simone, creator of Slim Fit Wallet
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