I’m in a lot of debt. I really hate it. I really want to be out of debt as soon as possible. I’ve given up a lot of things in order to pursue getting out of debt aggressively, and I’m seeing good results. I’ve lowered my student loan debt free date from ten years into the future to about 27 months. I’m on track to save myself thousands of dollars in interest charges. I’m doing a lot, but I’m not doing everything I can.
You see, I want to get out of debt so that I can enjoy my life to the fullest, without having to worry about a mountain of debt, without having to devote 25% of my pay cheque every month to debt repayment.
I want to be out of debt, but I’m not willing to give up making progress in other areas of my life in order to achieve debt freedom a few months earlier. I want to be free from debt, but I want other things too, and finding the right balance to my priorities is a careful balancing act.
Here are some of the things I’m willing to give up, in order to become debt free, faster:
- My appearance. I don’t colour my hair, do my nails, or visit the salon.
- Exercising in public. I don’t go to yoga classes or the gym. I work out at home.
- Eating locally all of the time. I buy veggies and meat locally, everything else is from the grocery store.
- Clothing. I still buy clothing, but dramatically less than I used to.
- Square footage. I live in 400 sq feet of living space, and consequently pay very low rent.
Here’s what I’m not willing to give up:
- Getting married.
- Having pets.
Getting Married While in Debt
Weddings are expensive, and we’re paying for ours mostly by ourselves. Is there some part of me that is thinking “That money could be going to your debt?” Absolutely. There’s even a part of me that feels slightly like a sell out for having a personal finance blog and then going and spending money on something like this, while I’m still in debt.
But then, I think this: I’m willing to make sacrifices in my life to get out of debt. I’m not willing to put my life on hold to get out of debt.
Getting married is very important to me. I could wait a few more years for it, until I was out of debt, but I don’t want to. I’m ready to make that commitment, and I would rather do it sooner than later. Call me selfish, I don’t care.
Having (and adding) Pets While In Debt
This is less of an issue, but still a bit of an issue. I’ve wanted to get a dog basically since I moved away from home five years ago. Now I’m finally in a position to have one, and I’m taking that opportunity. Dogs cost money, the initial expense can be quite high, and the cost of upkeep would shave a few months off of my debt free date.
While it would be great if I could hold off on getting a dog until I’m out of debt, it’s just not a realistic thing for me. Having one would bring me so much joy and it’s something I’ve wanted for so long, I’m willing to delay my debt free date by a few more months in order to complete this part of my life, now.
Cutting the Excess, Not the Essentials
While I completely agree with making sacrifices and trimming down spending in areas that aren’t important to me, I don’t agree with completely hitting the pause button on life because of debt. I think sometimes there is a bit of over zealousness in the personal finance world when it comes to debt and money management, and the result has been an “all out” approach to debt repayment that can be detrimental to long term success.
In my opinion, as long as there is a realistic plan in place to get out of debt, as long as spending is kept in check and no new debt is being acquired, I’m comfortable with spending in the areas that are important to me.
What do you continue to spend money on even if you are trying to get out of debt? I want to know!