When I first moved home and focused hard on getting out of debt I kept my expectations low, simply because of the unknown. How many babysitting jobs would I get? What would my budget look like?
As time went on, I continually knocked my expectations out of the park, which built my momentum but also my expectations. Over the past week I started to feel like I’ve reached a plateau with my progress. The glow of paying $1,000 extra a month towards debt quickly wore off and has become the norm. No matter how impressive it used to feel to put an extra $50 towards debt, I don’t feel like I’m making a dent unless it’s at least $250. As great as it is to continually beat my financial goals, I can’t dismiss little victories or I will quickly lose my momentum.
I recently read “No More Harvard Debt” from start to finish. It was fascinating to read about how he paid off $90K in 8 months but I also fell into the habit of comparing our stories. He had many assets to sell and a large income to help with his goal. I don’t have as much debt but I also don’t have nearly as much strategy to be so quick to shed the debt. I rarely compare my story to others anymore since everyone is different in one way or another but for some reason this one bummed me out. Admittedly, it made my efforts feel like chump change but I shouldn’t disregard my hard work.
I’ve reached a pace that I can maintain and I’m at a loss to figure out how to bring in larger numbers. I’ve read a ridiculous amount of articles on bringing in side income and I know what to do, it’s a matter of being patient for these opportunities to develop. I’m at my best when my passion for a project is high and so far it’s been better than expected. As often as I babysit, my attention span is short and I want more opportunities to maintain my excitement. Until then I’d rather go out to dinners or happy hours instead of working on this goal. I’m not saying it’s a bad thing to have a social life but having a balance between the two is exactly what I need to find. That sweet spot will be hard to maintain but I know that’s the only way to get out of debt while staying sane.
As of Sunday I had already blown my $100 allowance and even over-spent on miscellaneous social outings with 9 days left before payday. They were great fun but moderation is key. Being social five days in a row is not something I can maintain while staying on track for my budget. I completely neglected my financial goals and ended up babysitting a few hours less than expected – not from being too social but because the family’s plans changed. It all just added up to me feeling like my progress is dwindling despite my efforts.
Maybe it is just a rut (I hope) because this goal is crucial to my future well-being. I’ve initiated a no-spend challenge to last me until payday to avoid making this hole any deeper. I’ll continue to chug along and hopefully find motivation where I can. Maybe those simple steps will eventually lead to finding that passion again, where ever it is hiding. All I know is that I’m not giving up.