Have you ever been so obsessed with paying down debt that you’ve checked your debt account(s) multiple times every day to see your new amount due when a payment posts? The wait from the time you send payment until the time that the lower balance shows up on your screen seems excruciatingly long, doesn’t it? Why can’t payment be instant?!! Arrrgh!
Do you read (or at least subscribe to) dozens of personal finance related blogs and sites? If you own any books or e-books, are they mostly money related? Can you remember the last time you read a fiction book for fun? Can’t stop looking for one more way to squeeze a penny?
If so, I can relate. I’ve been spending a lot of time thinking about my finances, too much time. And that needs to change. I need to do some rebalancing in my life. I need to ‘slow down’ for a while – not forever – just for a while. I need to pace myself.
When I say ‘slow down’ I don’t mean relaxing my drive to get out of debt or lowering my debt payments or loosening my budget (by much). Instead, I’m referring to stopping acceleration, taking my foot off the gas and going on ‘cruise control’.
What does financial cruise control mean?
For me, it means pausing plans for a second job and side hustles. It means reducing (not eliminating) the amount of time that I spend reading about and obsessing over debt and debt payoff. It means adjusting my debt-life balance. It could mean something different for you.
Why go on financial cruise control when it comes to debt?
If you have a long debt repayment plan, it may be necessary at some point(s) along the way to automate your finances so that you can divert your attention elsewhere for a limited period of time. Reasons for this generally fall into one of two camps, both of which are closely related.
- Circumstances change – Responsibilities increase either at work and/or in your personal life causing your free time to be reduced.
My job has always been stressful and that is likely to increase. The vacancy created by my manager leaving has not been filled and may not be in the foreseeable future. So I’m having to take on some of that extra work and responsibility. It’s nerve wracking to be expected to perform at the same level as my former manager who everyone loved and who had 8 years of experience in that role. I have 11 months of experience and I’ve been doing a shaky / mediocre job at best so far. I bring work home in the evenings and work over the weekends half the time as it is.
- Your priorities and life goals have shifted – We change as we get older, thanks to the people we meet and the experiences we have. Perhaps a goal that you thought was a must-do, is not as important anymore. Perhaps you are reducing your overall number of goals in an effort to gain simplicity in your life – to enjoy being present, rather than racing from goal-related activity to goal-related activity to check it off your list. Perhaps a new goal has become the most important thing in your life. This is why setting and re-setting priorities is so important. Sometimes circumstances out of our control force a re-setting of priorities.
Not many things are as important as getting out of debt for us, but they do exist. For me, my ongoing health concerns are at a point where medical intervention will likely be needed. Chances are high that I may need to have surgery at some point within the next year. I need to prepare for the costs associated with that, but regardless it is imperative that I get in shape and improve my diet (reduce sugar mostly).
I’m trying to exercise on my own, but the willpower isn’t there. In the past I’ve done much better with the structure of a class. I have found a gym not too far away from where I live now – a nice long walk by foot. They offered a free class and I took it. The workout had me sore for a week. THAT is what I need. I haven’t gone back because I’m debating whether or not to shell out for the monthly membership, but what is the cost of health? Now if I could just find a cheap personal chef, I’d be in business.
Woohoo! My latest payment FINALLY hit my credit card. I love seeing that balance go down!
Am I hopeless? 🙂 (Sigh.)
“Debtor’s prison is real, and opportunity cost is a bitch.” (DDSW)