“How A Hashtag Helped Us Get Out Of Debt” is a Guest Post by Jaime Jeffers
When the ball drops on a new year, our family has a small celebration before falling into bed. Within a day or two, one of us grabs a notepad and my Hubby and I sit down to write our plans for the year.
We like to create plans for the house (finally fix the gap in the back door), the family (teach the kids to swim so I have one less worry), and, of course, our finances. For the past few years, we’ve realized that our credit card debt was a problem. And we’d make plans to get out of debt, but it was never anything firm.
This year, we looked at our budget numbers and faced a big Aha! moment. That credit card debt that we knew was a problem? It was actually much more than a problem.
It was a disaster.
In fact, that debt was holding us back from many of the goals that were closest to our hearts. We knew it was time to get serious about eliminating that debt.
The Motto is Born
So we discussed the debt problem in detail. Why were we in this position, and what big changes could we make to fix the problem?
Hubby took notes while we talked (because writing goals down makes you 42% more likely to achieve them according to this article). As he wrote, it became obvious that paying off the debt had to be our top priority. More important than any spending we’d been planning to do. He jokingly wrote down #yearofno at the top of the page.
And it stuck!
We explained to the kids that we were entering a self imposed year of not buying extras. And henceforth, this year would be known as the #yearofno (yes, we say hashtag year of no).
No more stops for fast food. (#yearofno)
No more Pinterest inspired house projects. (#yearofno)
No more extras. (You get the picture.)
The simplicity of this statement was beautiful. No, it wasn’t easy. No, the kids weren’t in love with the plan. (In fact, our 6 year old daughter kind of hates those words.)
But #yearofno is not complicated. It’s an explanation all its own. It relieves you from constant decision making.
This motto has made all the difference in our debt plan. In past years, we had half-hearted attempts at debt repayment. It was easy to get sidetracked by shiny object syndrome.
And no, this phrase hasn’t made us perfect. We still have busy and distracting weeks that lead to the occasional pizza delivery or a round of fast food drinks.
The difference is that we now recognize when those expenses are getting out of hand. We notice that we are overspending and can curb it before it turns into extra debt.
It’s easy to reset to #yearofno when we stray, because it’s an exact way of life. It doesn’t leave room for worry or decision making. That makes up for any restrictions we might feel from not buying things.
Has It Worked?
So far this year we have paid off 62% of this year’s goal. That’s a significant change! (See our latest goals check in here.)
In previous years, we tried to pay off debt only to replace it with more debt during the next “emergency”. It felt like an endless cycle, and it was discouraging.
The year is 75% over, but we are only at 62% of our goal. In the past, that would have discouraged me and caused me to give up. But #yearofno has given me the gift of a new mindset. I can see change happening in our daily lives that will have a lasting impact. We’re finally getting real control over our finances in a way that is going to stick.
I still have time to get creative and find more ways to hit our goal before the ball drops on this year. But even if I don’t make it to 100%, I’ll be happy with our progress.
You Can Do It, Too.
If you are struggling with debt, it’s time to make a change. Choosing a motto can hone your mindset and help you focus on one thing that is holding you back. Make a change and win the fight against debt for once and for all.
Jamie Jeffers blogs at Medium Sized Family. There she gives practical tips for saving money and simplifying life. Follow her family as they dig out of debt in their #yearofno, and be sure to grab the free Identify and Destroy Your Budget Busters course!
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