2015 was the start of my intense effort to finally pay off debt, starting with my student loan. In fairness, I started “straightening out” my financial life several years ago. But there have been several money hurdles that had to be overcome first, like sewer connections, getting the house ready to sell, going back to school, and building a bigger emergency fund. There were also a few distraction, like vacations, that came up. Hey, no one said I was perfect!
I’m finally in a place where being debt free is taking priority, and I’m willing to cut back considerably to make it happen. I feel the rush of excitement when I run the numbers, calculating how soon the student loan can be gone, followed by how quickly I can get rid of the car loan. I look at where I can trim a little more, or earn a little more, bringing my goal closer and closer. It’s been incredibly motivating.
But then once a month I log on to my student loan provider’s website to make that extra payment, and I have to admit, it isn’t excitement that I feel. Rather, it’s fear. I just finished making my extra payment for February: $2,350. That’s a lot of money! What if something happens? The car dies? Bryan can’t work? One of us gets sick? What if…
The terror is real. But it only lasts a minute. I remind myself that I’m one step closer to having one less bill. And once that bill’s gone, I’ll be in a much better financial situation. Sure, the cash is gone. But someday, I’ll be debt free. And then all that extra cash coming in? It’ll be mine. To grow, and dream, and plan with. That $2,350 today is helping me to a better position tomorrow. If I’d left it in my savings account? I’d eventually fetter it away, with nothing to show for it in the end.
Slowly, I’m redefining what security means to me. If something happens, I have an emergency fund. I may not be able to cover every situation, but I’m better prepared than I ever have been before. Becoming debt free is the next step in the process. I’m super excited by how far I’ve already come. Seeing how quickly I can become debt free is a huge motivation for me. But I can’t ignore the fact that it can also be a scary process. Money isn’t always as much about logic as it should be; It’s rife with emotion and habits. And changing those isn’t always a comfortable process.
But I’m not going to let my fear keep me from moving forward!
– Cindy W.