goals: don’t rush yourself

Do you ever rush yourself into a goal? Or rush yourself to reach a goal?

Story of my life.

My current (biggest) goal is strictly financial: pay off school loans

I’m sure you’ve seen the news articles about how ridiculous school debt is for some graduates. Although I would not put myself in the extreme at all – I still feel as though I am in a ton of debt (because, well, I am). For what seemed like the longest time the debt felt like the world on my shoulders. It was the biggest stress in my life. Now, don’t get me wrong, it is still stressful and there is still a lot of debt. But honestly that is the only thing I have to remotely worry about. I can afford my bills, I live in a nice house, I have a nice car and a job that some people would kill for. Life is good.

I’ve been rushing myself to reach this goal; ridiculously pushing myself to pay off thousands of dollars.
But why rush? – I know that may sound crazy. You may be saying “uh, what about the interest?!” But honestly I’ve changed up my spending patterns. I’ve begun to really question myself when shopping – “do I really need that?” “Is it worth the money?” etc. This has helped me tremendously. I’m not in credit card debt or anything like that, I’m not addicted to shopping. But asking those questions and making better decisions as to what to buy or when to buy something has really helped me. It has allowed me to pay more than my monthly required payments a.k.a. more than the minimum.

So instead of rushing myself and beating myself up, I remind myself that I’m doing the best I can at the fastest pace I can.
I remind myself that I’m not making stupid decisions and that I’m sticking to my priorities. I guess you can say that I’m looking at my situation in a positive light. I could be making way less money, I could be in double the amount of debt that I am. I am thankful that I was able to get a degree. I loved school – I loved the majority of my classes and I made awesome friends.

I have Danny to thank for a lot of the progress I’ve made. He is very good with finances – money and investing. He keeps me motivated and on track with my goal.

Since there are so many people out there with school loans … or hell, any other debt, here’s some tips that work for me:

1. Plan ahead!!! I love doing this. I’m a total list person. If you’re someone who knows how much they’re
going to make every paycheck this is a great idea!  I always plan out what bills I’m going to pay
each pay day. That way I know how much I have left over after my bills are paid. And it’s a way to keep an eye
on when bills are due so maybe you can shift some payments around and get more out of a paycheck and/or
have the opportunity to save more.

2. Sleep on it! Think you really need that purse or shoes? Think again.
Sleeping on it is always a good idea.

3. Make two payments a month. This is specifically for things that are gaining interest.
It helps to cut down on that. Another thing that goes with this is pay off all your interest ASAP.
One of my loans had a couple hundred dollars in interest (ugh!) so I paid off all the interest so that every payment I made after that
would hit the principle. Of course it’s gaining interest daily, but now I can make payments that cover the total interest every
time and pay off some of the principle.

4. Pay off the smallest loan/credit card etc first. It is also good to concentrate on the one with the most interest.
Those two things happen to be the same for me. When you pay off the smallest it keeps you
motivated to keep going. It’s like you’ve made progress so why stop now?

5. Stop eating lunch out at work. Stop buying coffee on your commute. It doesn’t seem like you’re spending
much at the time but add it up over the month and it can be a serious chunk of change.
It may even help you to track every penny you spend in a notebook or something for a few weeks so you can see how much
of a dent you’re putting in your bank account due to all the little expenses.

So wow, that was a lot of rambling. Glad I got it out there!

Just a note – I’m totally not a financial adviser, accountant etc. I took accounting in high school (yes I got an A+ but still) and I majored in Biological Anthropology = no financial classes at all.