One of the best feelings in the world is changing something in your life and immediately reaping the benefits of the change. For instance, if you take my advice and create a budget in order to viciously pay off debt, you will see results immediately in your first month. It will feel awesome for the first 3-4 months as you watch your credit card balances plummet and experience better sleep. The feeling of your “life overhaul” will truly be overwhelming in a good way!
6 or so months into your venture, whether it be a financial makeover, an exercise routine, or whatever, things will level out. You will stop obsessing over your budget sheets, bank statements, and debt snowball plan. If you are exercising or on a new diet, you will have evened out after feeling completely awesome for the first few months. Life will get into a groove.
This is the most crucial time during your makeover, and the chance is great that you may slip back into bad habits!
Let’s just talk about the financial makeover for now. After the initial craziness of selling my stuff, creating my budget, and paying cash only for purchases, my credit card balances really went down fast; way faster than they do right now. I cancelled some cards and threw them out right off the bat; it felt amazing! But then there was no more stuff to sell, budgeting became easy and predictable, and I simply had to stick with the plan. Being that I love the learning curve, I got a little bored. That can be bad…very bad.
You cannot cave in to the boredom that is being responsible! Of course it is easy to want to buy something once you realize that your financial life is headed back into being in order, but unless you plan ahead and put a purchase in your budget for the month, it is crucial that you stay the course.
Getting out of debt is boring in many ways, and so is saving, but it is very exciting in other ways. Once the “quick wins” are over, you need to find ways to have fun with the long wait toward debt freedom. Some things you can do:
1. Create some spreadsheets. In the book “Your Money or Your Life”, the author (Joe Dominguez) has a great method for creating a roadmap to financial independence with graph paper and 3 colored pencils.
2. Check out different financial calculators on the web and run scenarios where you take your debt payments and go after your mortgage, increase a college savings fund, throw in investments, or save for a big purchase. It’s not that far away!
3. Find other ways to get your heart to beat faster other than shopping. Spending money for some actually has that effect! Exercise helps, or exploring a new hobby that doesn’t cost a lot of money works as well.
4. Read blogs and books about this very subject (trust me, there are a ton!)
Remember, if you are the type of person who has to go to the store once in a while that is fine. Just put it in the monthly budget so you can do it guilt free! Once you are on the path to winning, do everything in your power to stay on track!
Do you ever get bored of paying off debt, saving for retirement, etc.? Do you cave or keep on trucking? Any advice on defeating the boredom?