Financial wellness got an early pay day today! I just pulled the trigger on a massive debt payoff this morning. With scheduled payments this four-figure debt was supposed to be wiped in December. My oh-so-hopeful goal was to knock it out in March. Nope — TODAY! That’s twelve months early of the payoff date, meaning I just saved twelve months of interest in addition to crushing that debt! Twelve months! If you come near me today you will become infected with full-blown happy dance-itis!
How did I do it?
- Spending Fast. Can’t say it enough. Can’t recommend it enough. If you’ve grown tired of listening to me write about about it for over a year now, this is why we suck it up, buttercups.
- Put a freeze on my credit. No new accounts, no new debt.
- Did not spend my holiday bonuses on retail spending. I spent them on debt reduction. For the last several years. Re-gifted as much as possible. Re-used or re-purposed everything I could.
- All earnings from part-time work on the side not spent on anything; diverted straight to debt.
- Gave up luxuries like most subscription services, salon haircuts, upgrades to anything (including cell phone).
- Said NO to temptations disguised as invitations such as wine tastings, shopping trips with the girls, travel for the holidays, etc.
- Sold stuff cluttering up my home. Deferred all remodeling projects until I can pay cash for them.
- Stopped carrying a purse and/or credit cards on a daily basis. Unless I was going somewhere to spend money, no need to carry it. Deleted spending apps from my phone to make it harder and more time-consuming to spend money online.
- Spent six months looking for and landing a better job with a shorter commute.
- Committed to buying non-work clothes and shoes only four times per year with a strict spending limit. This means I missed a lot of sales, seasonal clearance, store closings, etc. But look at what I got instead — twelve months of freedom!
- Ate at home. Cooked at home. Lived on leftovers. Brown-bagged my lunches and snacks.
- Took advantage of every free perk available on the few paid services and memberships I did keep. Cashed in all reward points for grocery or gas cards, used the unspent cash on the debt balance.
- Wrote about it monthly to keep me focused and motivated. Followed blogs written by other frugalistas to inspire me.
- When I wanted or needed to make an exception, forced myself to pay cash for it.
- When I did blow it, tightened my belt the next week or month to keep from losing too much ground. When it was a full-on backslide, practiced compassion and started again.
Freedom! Early release! Whoo hoo! I ain’t sayin’ all of it was fun but now that I’m looking at big fat zeros for a balance, it was all worth it. I’ve got just one more balance to go. This breakthrough will help me pick up momentum to begin my assault right away and help me sustain effort over the hard times to come (they always come). Extra funds freed get put right back to work. Down, down, down we go.