Since I shared some of the tools that I used to accelerate my debt pay off with you, it seems like I have had one financial setback after another. Why can’t I put a filter on my finances to make them look better than they are? Is there an app for that? *asking for a friend*. I’m doing almost everything right. I budget, I think twice even three times before spending money and it’s still not enough!
The reality is things happen… that’s life so here are some steps that I took to get through a particularly rough financial patch.
1. Admit temporary defeat
One of the top six reasons you’re not sticking to your budget is “you’re not being realistic,” wrote Kristin Sutton in a blog post, 7 Mistakes You’re Making When Paying Your Debt Down.
At the beginning of June, I had to make a smaller payment than I usually do towards my biggest and most pressing debt. I had been on such a roll that it really hurt to not be able to make the full payment that one time, but it would have made the rest of the month unbearable if I had not acknowledged I couldn’t do it. I’m putting emphasis on temporary because I will not let this minor setback overshadow the progress I’ve made so far. Keep it 100 with yourself. Denying you’re in financial trouble will only make it worse.
2. Work harder (not smarter)
Yes, you read that right. Sometimes I have to put the motivational tweets aside – I’m quite the preacher on Twitter – and DO something. This can look different for you depending on your situation. Maybe you could work overtime, you could seek an extra client that month as a freelancer or maybe even sell a few things you don’t need. For me it simply means the short-term grind is putting in extra hours at my part-time job.
3. Small sacrifices
Spending smarter comes in handy. I made a go-to struggle grocery list, disabled my Uber account and I skipped a few concerts too. Did I die????? No! On a serious note, these small luxuries are just some examples of things that I do usually budget for but are not fixed costs. During this rough time, I had to scrap all of these things and focus on the things I absolutely needed. These slight adjustments will provide some financial relief.
4. Mind over matter
I have been practicing being grateful for what I CAN do versus what I can’t do. When I focus on all the things I can’t afford I feel overwhelmed and that’s when I fail at step 1 to 3. I wrote in my journal at the beginning of the month, “I paid my bills this month on time and in full.” That’s something not everyone can do and certainly something I used to struggle to do not so long ago. I started to see things switch up for the good when I exercised some gratitude.
5. A closed mouth doesn’t get fed
It’s okay to reach out and ask for help. Clearly frustrated one night, I asked my tweeps if they knew of any side hustles that were fairly easy to get in my area. I got three fruitful replies and at least one of those replies has directly led to more income! Your favourite money therapist offered me a paid opportunity I could not turn down. I am now on the Debt Free Black Girl team and lovin’ it. Let the church say AMEN!
What are some of the things you do to help you get back on financial track?
Written by Zandile Chiwanza
Zandile is a hard working, resourceful, fine & frugal Zimbabwean living in Toronto, Canada. Proofreader by day, Zandile like to write about music, lifestyle and now personal finance when she is not busy being the grammar police!