(Seriously, when you pay off tens of thousands of dollars in debt – confetti should fall from the sky.)
Okay – so it was no New Years Eve at Times Square when I wrote the last check. It was better. I felt peace, shoulders so light they could lift me to the moon and a smile that literally spread from ear to ear.
I did it.
It was a long journey – over 4 years for me to become debt free. The majority of those four years was filled with failure. Trying the same old tactics, restricting myself with unrealistic budgets and denying myself fun – all in the name of being debt-free.
Finance books bored me with their big talk. (And I am an accountant – so that should tell you something.) Conventional methods weren’t going to work for me. I was a natural + emotional spender. I needed to be inspired + allowed to spend (admittedly not with the same gusto as what got me into debt) + I needed to be creative with my money to satisfy my cravings.
So I developed a method – one that didn’t start with numbers. Rather it started with my dreams. What I would do if I weren’t saddled with debt. I used those dreams as fuel to build physical tools (i.e. creative budgets) to make my dreams a reality.
I scribbled my dream on a piece of paper with a pink sharpie along with a quote. I taped the piece of paper to the back of my debit card as a reminder. Along with a picture of Adam Levine. (just sayin)
I broke that dream into bite-sized celebrations. Then I worked on the numbers. After devising a budget that would work for me based on my personality and natural spending habits, I plotted a road map. Each milestone was met with a celebration to keep me inspired.
If you are bored, overwhelmed or intimidated with the typical financial advice and then find yourself easing your frustration with retail therapy – STOP.
- Break out your pink spectacles.
- Buy yourself a pink sharpie.
- Write down the first thing you’ll do when you pay off your debt.
- Break that dream down into smaller celebratory steps.
- Make a list of all your debt and assign a celebration to each milestone.
- Then, and only then, start on your budget.
Inspire yourself, motivate yourself and keep your eye on the prize. You’ll find sacrifices will become less so. Now – don’t get me wrong – sticking to it is the hardest thing you’ll ever do. But finally, you’ll earn your place as emperor of your financial domain.
Author bio: Taynia Aarnink is founder of the Fiscal Flamingo – a smart + sassy financial program designed to navigate your journey from big spendah to dynamite saver.
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