When you’re paying off debt, you’re committed to the long haul. For Jacob and I, we’ve been on this journey for a year and a half and have about a year to go. To say that this journey has been difficult isn’t even the beginning! We’ve made a lot of sacrifices, said no to a lot of things, and put our wants on the back burner. We’ve been very diligent, but sometimes this journey can be discouraging. Now almost 2 years after being out of college, I notice that my friends are surpassing me in life. They’re buying houses, brand new cars, and going on trips to Europe. All wonderful things that I dream of!
I can’t wait for Jacob and I to be on our own in our own house. I look forward to when I can get rid of my ’98 Camry and buy something new enough to be made with a CD player. And I dream of traveling internationally for the first time. But I don’t do those things right now. And I guess we have a good reason why. We’re working hard to get ourselves financially stable so that we can afford to do all those wonderful things down the road!
Delayed gratification. It’s not easy. In fact, it sucks. But there are things that you can do to make this season of life a lot more enjoyable.
1. Write Down What You’re Thankful For
You have so much to be thankful for. Even when getting out of debt. If you’re feeling discouraged on your financial journey, be sure to remember all the blessings in your life. People around to support you, a steady job, the ability to have a roof over your head and food on the table… When you recall all the wonderful things in your life, you won’t feel as discouraged.
2. Remember That Social Media Doesn’t Show The Whole Truth
Yes. People will post pictures of their lastest and greatest gadgets, cars and homes, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t stressed with debt too. That brand new car? It was probably financed. So was that new iPad. And little to nothing down on their house. Debt paints a false picture that we want the world to believe. But what we see isn’t always true. This is something that I have to remind myself constantly. Just remember that things aren’t always how they appear on social media.
P.S. I am not saying this is always the case. There are those of you who have all these wonderful things because you worked hard and saved for it, and I applauded you for that! If that’s you, way to be an awesome example for those of us getting out of debt!
3. Recall Your Accomplishments
If you ever feel discouraged on your journey, remember all you’ve done and accomplished. When I see things on social media about everyone’s awesome trips and new shiny toys, I remind myself how well we’re doing on our journey. I mean we paid off $30,000 last year! Yeah. We could have made several trips to Europe and bought a new car with that much money. But we’re bettering our future.
People seem to be passing us now in their finances (mostly by buying things with debt). But I know that we are doing the right thing. Someday we’ll be able to take that debt free trip to Europe, buy a newer used car in all cash, and put a good down payment on a house. But for now we’re doing what we need to. Paying off debt, and celebrating with other Millennials who are making smart financial choices at this time in our lives.
I hope that this is some sort of encouragement for those of you who are paying off your debts! You are doing he right thing by practicing delayed gratification. Just think of all the awesome things you can do in a couple years down the road!
Photography by Donny Zavala