Monday, January 18, 2010

Keeping Gazelle Intensity

First let me say happy Martin Luther King day to all! I am glad to be back up and running, feeling a lot better than last week.

As I have entered my last year of being in debt, I have been reflecting on how I have gotten to this place. Though I haven't been 100% focused in the scope of the 2 years. I have managed to not return to most of my old habits which to me is worth a big ole pat on the back. The last 2 years have sailed by and If anyone wants to partake on this journey I encourage people to NEVER GIVE UP. Once you start you will be amazed at how much time flies. I do realize it can be a challenge to sacrifice so today I will share a few things that helped me stay on track. Please keep in mind this is about personal finance so always do what works best for YA!

1. Be honest - This was by far the best thing I could have done right from the start. It was very scary to account for all my debt, ie car payments, student loans, pay day advances and credit cards. I decided from the start that I wasn't going to lump debt into good vs bad, i had to deal with ALL OF IT. Once I figured the true number I was able to devise an action plan to pay it all off.

2. Pay cash for big ticket items - Since working the debt snowball I have made a few large purchases, some good some not so good. I made it a point no matter how stupid the purchase was to keep it cash. I knew that once I got back into my old habits of using credit, it would be hard to break. Though it has taking me longer to be completely debt free I feel much comfort knowing im not deeper in a hole.

3. Reevaluated my goals - I had to do this a LOT, with moving 3 times, working extra jobs and still dealing with life I had to change my money plans. I started out wanting to be debt free in 15 months but as you can see im a little bit past that lol. When I looked at my budget for the year I could see if I was on track and also if I needed to make changes to the plan.

4. Took a break - Since becoming debt free is all about personal finance I made it super personal and took a LOT of breaks lol. In 2009 I took more than a few trips but I paid cash for them. You should treat yourself every now and then, just don't get carried away.

5. Worked a lot - I have had 4 different extra jobs since I have been working my debt snowball. The most recent job I have taken on however is unpaid to advance my endeavor to be self employed one day. I do believe had I not been working to become debt free I wouldn't have as many opportunities put before me as I do now. Trust God honors your hard work and commitment.

6. Watched my funds - Even though this is last on the list it is the biggest of them all. I have an electronic check book in excel that will calculate my end balance every time I make a purchase. Its been the best thing I can do. It keeps me from stressing out about how much money is in the bank, and it also lets me see where I need to cut back.

If you have anything to add to this list please feel free to post it. I hope these things help each of you to stay encouraged and know there is an end in site if you keep at it!

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