There is no secret that becoming debt free requires a fair amount of focus and determination. Sometimes it can seem like the entire universe is against you getting back on track or paying off your loan, credit card, whatever it may be. Here is how I’m able to re-center and find my financial focus after a setback.
If you’ve been following our family for the past couple of years, you know I am no stranger to setbacks. After living in a motel for six months, getting into our apartment, racking up some debt, and losing one of our incomes for six months, you think I’d be ready for just about anything, right?
In the midst of wedding planning and my regular busy schedule, I got intensely ill in January and it really set me back. First, I was ill with the flu and then I was in the hospital for possible appendicitis (yikes). Then, when I returned to work I got a notification that the state would be garnishing my wages for my 2017 back taxes. I’d been attempting to work out a payment plan but didn’t owe much so they’ll be taking $460 a month until about May or June.
When this happened I spiraled a little bit. Forget the wedding, forget our savings plan, forget all of it. However, before I completely overreacted, I decided to take a step back and reset my financial focus.
Finding Financial Focus
Obviously, this isn’t the first time this has happened. Sometimes, it is hard to focus on the big picture when everything seems like it is going wrong. Because I have the tendency to overreact, I need a go-to list of things to do to recenter my personal financial focus.
- Set small, obtainable, short-term goals. If you put your mind in the now and set more immediate goals you won’t be able to be bogged down by the “what ifs” of six months from now.
- Write it down. After you’ve set these smaller goals, write them down. We do this with everything. Whether it is our debt payoff plan, weekly budget, or savings goal. Writing it down helps us set our mind to the task at hand. Then we walk by it daily and are reminded of what we’re working towards.
- Search for inspiration. I cannot say enough about following fellow debt-free folks! If you follow the hashtag #debtfree or #debtfreecommunity on social media, you will find loads of inspiration. People will share their stories with you, favorite inspirational quotes, and motivational tips to help you continue on your journey.
- Spend time doing things that make you happy but also make you feel responsible. I like to try and avoid spending money when I feel I need better financial focus. To do this, we have a list of things we enjoy doing that cost little-to-no money. For instance, we have favorite walking trails where we take the dog or scrape for free coupons and grab a coffee together.
Lastly, if you’re really struggling to manage your finances, consider speaking with a professional. There is no shame in reaching out for help if you need it. Some financial advisors will even offer up their services for free (or cheap) if you qualify.
Readers, how do you recenter your focus when it comes to your finances?
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Amanda Blankenship is the Director of Social Media for District Media. In addition to her duties handling everything social media, she frequently writes for a handful of blogs and loves to share her own personal finance story with others. When she isn’t typing away at her desk, she enjoys spending time with her daughter, husband, and dog. During her free time, you’re likely to find her with her nose in a book, hiking, or playing RPG video games.