Just less than a year ago, I read The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey and became an immediately believer. Chip had given me the book and although he has only read part of the book, we are followers of the plan. We could definitely be better at it, but we're working on it and we've made a lot of headway. In fact, we have increased on net worth by almost $27,000, including paying off over $17,000 in debt since last October. Pretty cool, if I do say so myself.
However, there are things that I just didn't expect after reading the book. Here is the list of things I didn't see coming:
- There will be roadblocks. Now I didn't think that the path would be free from all hindrances. I knew there would be some bumps. But I didn't know that some months our debt repayment would be completely derailed. I mean, there have been two of the last three months that we paid nothing but the minimum payments due to some other setbacks.
- There will be foreseeable circumstances that I won't see. As in birthdays. I know when our family has birthdays. I know they require money. I like celebrating them and try to do so inexpensively without compromising the focus. However, I still get frustrated that this does not allow me to send as much to the credit card companies as I would like.
- Buying a reliable used car is not always as easy as it sounds. Chip got tired of the minivan. I get it. So we sold it and he found another car that he liked. He drove it, he looked under the hood. All seemed well. A month later the problems began. We still need to have work done on it to make it run better and not do things like leak oil. Frustrating.
- It gets old. Real old. I can get fired up when I see the balances decreasing. I can get fired up when I type something like, "paying off over $17,000 in debt since last October." It doesn't make the absence of new clothes or less frequent trips to eat in restaurants any more enjoyable though. I know...I am truly blessed that I can afford to eat outside the home at all. I am blessed that I have more that enough food to eat every single day. But I'm spoiled. And as wrong as it is, it makes this path to financial freedom tough.
- I am weak. I should have gathered this by the fact that we were in the mess that we were in. But I've always been a strong person. A fighter. A winner. And to realize that I'm not is humbling and painful. To realize that despite really, really wanting to beat debt, it does not always win out over grabbing lunch with a coworker makes me disappointed in myself. And I hate that.
- The timeshare will not just disappear. I hate that thing right now. I know it isn't anyone's fault but ours that we "own" it, but I still hate it. If I hadn't have been swindled out of money trying to get rid of it, I would probably feel less resentful towards it, but I just want it to be gone. I would even give it away if we could just stop sending money in to pay for it. If you know a real way to get rid of one of those things, please let me know!
- It is sometimes hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel. That's kinda' where I am right now. I can look back and see how far we've come. And I look forward and see that the destination is still farther than we've already come. And since repayment has been slow lately, it makes getting there seem so much realistic. I know I'm in the middle of it, but I feel stuck there. Instead of feeling good about how far we've come, I focus on the fact that it is not enough, and I get discouraged. And it doesn't seem to matter that our setbacks have been justified. It doesn't seem to matter that we've done well with our situation in those setbacks. It just seems far away still. I need a windfall to get me motivated again.
- Those windfalls don't usually come. In the beginning, those giant leaps were so easy. We sold a lot of stuff we didn't need. We got a huge tax refund. We made some major changes. Now those changes are made. We don't have a lot of big stuff left to sell. We changed our tax withholding so I don't know what our refund will look like this year. It was easy in the beginning to think "this is easy." But now that we are left with nothing but plugging away to do, it does not seem so easy.
And there are probably plenty of others. These are just the ones I am feeling while I sit here and type.
What about you? What pitfalls did/have you hit? How did you overcome? Are you looking for inspiration too?