Yesterday was my birthday. I won’t say how old I am other than I am a VERY proud GenXer. Sometimes it feels like GenXers are the forgotten generation and that we aren’t sharing our stories enough. I also wanted to touch on YOLO and my debt freedom journey.
When it comes to our financial stories GenXers had a hard time of it. I would almost argue harder than what the Millennials are dealing with because we are finding ourselves starting families later in life and managing parts of our parents financial lives as well.
That has been my personal experience as well.
Last week I shared that I’m basically rebooting my debt freedom journey. It was a teensy bit painful, a little frustrating, and let’s face it-a little embarrassing. I am my toughest critic. I had truly hoped that I would be sharing my debt pay off story by now. That’s not the case.
When sharing with people who don’t know me that I would like to pay off all my debt they typically react by exhaling strongly and looking a bit reflective as if they too are imagining a debt free life but can’t figure out how to do it.
The thing is I’ve worked very hard in the past 5 years to change my financial life and it is one of the hardest projects I’ve ever worked on (besides finding my future husband-where are you?) What I didn’t realize was that for the past 5 years I was laying the foundation for the last leg of my debt freedom journey.
- Managing my wants-I did a No Shopping Challenge FOR A YEAR. And rocked it!
- Managing my needs-I learned how to utilize mindful substitutions for the things that I want like: yoga classes or fitness classes (do them for free), travel (I am actively combine speaking at conferences whenever possible, staying with friends, volunteering, or doing anything I can to slash the cost).
- Managing my food expenses-I use grocery apps now because kept forgetting to bring coupons, I do grocery challenges where I eat what I have, grow my own food (I participate in a community garden program) and try to shop once a week for groceries to eliminate my impulse shopping.
- ROCK FREE-I can’t even believe how much free stuff is out there. Free activities, free food, free education, and free resources.
You Only Live Once but I get that there is abundance everywhere. Why didn’t I see that before? I was so busy trying to live the life that other people are living that I missed the abundance that is everywhere around us.
In fact, I kind of geek out about it.
My mom visited me yesterday (my birthday) and she said something interesting. I was telling her my plans for the next year. I’m a planner, I like to make lists, I like to think about epic goals that I would like to achieve, places I would like to visit, and people I would like to see. She then said to me “Be in this moment.” Similar to YOLO but a little bit different.
Be in This Moment
Wonderful readers my mom is right (even though I don’t plan on telling her LOL). What she was saying was to be actively present when you are with your friends and family. When you’re walking in the forest turn off your phone and just be in that moment. Listen to the birds, let the quiet take over you, looking at the clouds moving by. When spending time with your parents, your kids, your friends, your puppy, be 100% in that moment. You can be focused on the goals that you’re trying to achieve and YOLO the heck out of your life without going further into debt.
The next year will be a challenging one for me because I will have to dig deep and finally pay off my debt. I used to be scared of the process, now I just feel a sense of overwhelming relief. I’m ready for this chapter of my life to be done. I have other gifts that I would like to share with the world and debt will keep me from sharing those gifts.
For those of you who are just starting your debt freedom journey-I’m in your corner. Understand that some of you will have to try, try, try again.
And, even though you may have read stories of people paying off debt in short periods of time there are a ton of people who took years…and that’s ok. What matters is that it got done. Don’t judge yourself by what others are doing.
Start your journey now. It will take however long it takes. But, you will get it done. I’m rooting for you.
YOLO When Paying Off Debt
Looks different for different people. I will continue to take dance lessons, travel, go out for coffee, and go snowboarding.
I will look for the best deals possible, I will barter, I will travel off season, and I will go out for coffee a lot less often than I’m used to doing. I will side-hustle like a boss, grow my business, and walk to wherever I need to go instead of driving…once I get my driver’s license (next two weeks fingers crossed). I will buy Two Buck Chuck (or is it Three Buck?) when I want a glass of wine. And, I will go to happy hour after looking online at the menu and working out what my budget will allow. I will make a series of adjustments so that I can live my life while paying off debt.
I will rock Meetup.com one of my favorite resources to find epic free and fun stuff and I will take advantage of all of the amazing things that my city and my state has to offer. I will make a giant batch of delicious broth so that I can have homemade pho for lunch everyday, and I won’t eat out. Let’s be honest, I’m a food snob, I only eat out when I’m going to drop some serious cash so I don’t do it too often.
I’m going to be unapologetically me during this process and I’m not going to apologize for it. Haters gonna hate. And, I don’t care.