The Unglamorous Side of the Personal Finance Journey

I love hearing about other people’s financial success. Whether someone just paid off all their debt, didn’t use a credit card for vacation, or started a new business adventure,  I’m always fascinated and excited to hear their story.

While the end result seems so glamorous, the most interesting part of the story is often the journey and how they overcome their money problems. Improving your financial situation and fixing your money problems from the ground up is hard work no matter which way you look at it. There’s a lot that goes into meeting the overarching goals that you set.

It sounds super nice to imagine how someone may no longer have a mortgage. Or maybe they don’t have to work 40 hours a week to bring in a stable income. But it’s important to realize that this person had their uphill battle to reach success as well. Every one of us has had days where we’ve probably want to give up.

What is My Debt Epiphany About?

I kind of started this blog on a whim almost 5 years ago now. I thought about waiting until I got my life more in order before purchasing a domain and writing my heart out to strangers. I initially thought, who’s going to listen to me or take me seriously? Maybe I should pay back my student loans and gain some authority before I start telling the world how to improve on managing their finances.

I was a single mom, paying off almost $30,000 in student loans on a single low-income. And, up until my website, I have much success or knowledge in personal finance.

Related: My Monthly Single Mom Budget Living and Paying Off Debt on $32,000/year

But I realized that there’s never a good time to start something great. Everyone’s story is unique. And I didn’t want to just pop up one day as the girl who had it all together. I started this blog when I did because I believe that sharing intimate details about my journey and my own money problems was just as important as sharing my future success story.

So while this blog is all about the journey, this particular post is about the unglamorous side. That includes the hard work and sacrifice. We all go through it. Why not talk about it? Here’s what my unglamorous truth has looked like when it comes to working my way out of debt, getting over my money problems, and becoming financially stable.

Working Every Single Day

Ever since I committed to building this blog, started side hustling, and getting serious about paying off my debt, I’ve been working in some form or another 7 days a week.

Sometimes the work I do is unpaid. Like when I invest in a blogging course or work on my blog. Last weekend I spent hours creating new freebies to give to those who sign up for my email list. I really wanted to take my time and create something that was valuable and helpful.

I also do other side hustles like focus groups and I do freelance writing a few days out of the week. Working every day is the norm for a lot of people who are aggressively paying down debt or working toward another financial goal.

Changing Your Lifestyle to Combat Money Problems

I haven’t made any drastic changes or sacrifices in my opinion in order to maintain and reach my goals.  But I did cut some expensive habits that were holding me back financially. When you set strict goals for yourself, it really puts things into perspective and allows you to prioritize better.

I easily changed my lifestyle by basically living below my means and refusing to buy things I knew I couldn’t afford. Instead, I found more affordable alternatives that still allowed me to meet my wants and needs.

There is nothing really glamorous about living frugal, standing in long lines to get into free events, staying home and watching movies on Netflix because AMC is too overpriced for your budget, spending extra hours prepping and preparing food when you can just go to a restaurant and so on.

When you live frugally there will definitely be times when you feel like everyone else around you is having fun and living their lives while you’re just stuck. It’s a similar feeling to sitting in an office building on a warm day and watching the cars pass by filled with people who are free to go where they want and enjoy the nice weather. You keep telling yourself, your time will come…..and it will.

Related: 50 Everyday Expenses You Need to Stop Spending Money On

Always Being the Odd Person Out

When you start making extra payments on your debt or your mortgage you will get pretty excited. Then you’ll want to share your success with others. But it seems like other people don’t get it.

Most people don’t budget (unfortunately), live paycheck to paycheck and don’t even consider paying off their debt early. So when they see someone else like you or me doing it, a light may go off in their head but other times, you may just be written off as a money-obsessed weirdo.

The people in my life are supportive of my financial goals, but I don’t think some of them truly get it. That’s why I’m so thankful for the personal finance blogging community. If you’re taking the time to read this post, you must be at least be interested in financial stability. And maybe you want to be living a life that allows you to control your money instead of having it control you.

Not Being Able to Make Ends Meet

Even though I work constantly, live frugally and budget accordingly, when I had my 9-5 job sometimes things still seemed to fall apart and I’d feel as if I’m just scraping by until payday. My friends who lived paycheck to paycheck and didn’t even plan for the future seemed to have more money to go around than I do.

Sometimes I’d feel like I worked so hard only to make just a little progress. I’m sure we’ve all had low points like these. Mine was when I looked into my account on payday after making savings contributions, paying all my bills, and debt payments only to find out I had $26 to get me through the next two weeks.

When you’re faced with what seems like an impossible task, you make it work anyway. You prove that you’re better than the worst thing that’s ever happened to you.

Is It Even Worth It?

When you hear about and experience all the not-so-glamorous aspects of the personal finance journey, you may stop to ask yourself: Is this even worth it? Shouldn’t I just live today and let my finances work itself out?

I can only speak for myself, but my answer is heck yes it’s worth it. It’s so worth it to no longer have money problems. For the record, your financial issues will never ‘work themselves out’ on their own. You need to take action and be disciplined to really see a change.

I like to embrace every angle of this journey for what it is. The good times and the bad, the exciting moments and the boring ones. Because I know that the fundamentals of life and success don’t always involve cupcakes and roses. At the end of the day, I’m grateful that I’m here and still standing. Things could be a lot better, but they could be a lot worse too.

At the end of the day, I’m thankful for this blog and the community that has transpired from it. My Debt Epiphany was created for those who:

  • Want get over money excuses/money problems and confront the real issues that are holding them back
  • Are ready to increase financial awareness and get clear on their values
  • Realize that debt doesn’t have to be their life story or reflect their lifestyle
  • Are ready to embrace the fact that they can earn as much money as they want #nolimits

What unglamorous elements of the personal finance journey have you encountered and how do you deal with it?

Stop Worrying About Money and Regain Control

Screen shot 2019 10 11 at 4.33.35 pm

Ready to regain control of your money? Take the first step with this free starter pack which includes:

  • 2 Monthly Bill Calendar templates
  • 1 ‘Start Paying Off Your Debt’ Checklist
  • 1 ‘Drastically Cut Your Expenses’ Checklist

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