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Getting out of debt can be quite a challenge. There can be discouragement, difficulties or straight up problems when we work to become debt free.
I have always found that listening to, or reading other people’s stories and learning how they did it can be incredibly inspirational and motivating.
That is why I wanted to feature some stories from others who have become debt free and let them tell their story.
This question and answer comes from Francesca, at FromPenniestoPounds.com.
One of my favorite things about her story, as you will soon read, is the advice she gives to those that want to be debt free, check it out!
What made you decide to be debt free?
In all honesty, when I got into debt I knew full well what I was doing. I knew that I couldn’t afford the stuff I bought, and I knew that I needed to pay it off ASAP, but I didn’t have the funds to do so.
I had been struggling financially for so long and knew that this wasn’t the life that I wanted for my young daughter and I. I needed to take action to work towards a better future for us, and that had to start with paying off my debt.
What was the journey like? How much debt did you pay off and how long did it take?
It’s bad I know…but I never actually added up the total amount. It was too overwhelming with me to start so I just started attacking the smallest balance first, and added it up later on.
It took me about 2 years to pay off my debt. The journey was difficult, as I was already struggling and living with extreme frugality. I wasn’t buying anything at all, and all extra money went towards my debt.
I do want to say though, that I began to feel incredibly positive about it all. I was taking action, and I could feel the momentum taking me forward. I knew that it wouldn’t be long until I had paid it off, and could start to spend my money on the things that I truly wanted.
I also needed to try a lot of new things in order to earn extra money to pay my debt – like my blog, and for that, I am forever grateful.
What was the most difficult part of it all?
The most difficult part was probably staying patient. I was SO ready for my new life, and didn’t want to have to wait for so long in order to get there.
I definitely had to practice patience, and I was full of gratitude when I eventually managed to pay off my debt.
What was surprisingly easy during everything?
I think staying focused came quite easily to me. Because I had cut back so much on all of my expenses, I knew with such strong clarity what was important to me, and what I wanted to focus on once I had achieved my first goal of paying off debt.
I kept to a really strict budget, and I started up a bunch of different side hustles. I also managed to find an extra job (my daughter had started school by then which helped!).
As I had a really good plan and budget, I could clearly see how much the extra income was having a positive effect on my journey, and it fired me up to keep going and pushing forward.
What would you go back and tell yourself when you first started your debt free journey?
I would definitely tell myself to start some of the side hustles that I did earlier because I could have made so much more money if I had done that!
When you are thinking about starting something new, there is always a lot of resistance there because our brain loves a comfort zone. It just wants us to repeat everything that we have done in the past, even if it is bad because it kept us alive.
This is all very well and good, but not very helpful when it comes to non-threatening things like starting up a new side hustle!
With every new thing that I started, I kicked myself that I hadn’t started sooner. I knew that I would have to try new things in order to get myself out of debt, but had to find the things that would best for me and around my daughter.
If someone needed some inspiration to get started and become debt free, what advice would you give them?
I would advise them to find people that they could look to for inspiration and a sense of community, which I have found to be really good over on Instagram. You can follow me over there if you like!
I would also say that it’s a good idea to look at the big picture for your life. Do you want to be in debt forever?
If your debt payments disappeared each month, how much of a big difference would that make to your life? A lot of the time, we don’t realize how much of a heavy weight having debt is on us, even if we think that it is at a “manageable” amount.
I would say to just go for it! The sooner you start, the less interest you will have to pay over time, and the sooner you will be to the life that you have been dreaming of.
Thank you, Francesca!
A special thank you to Francesca and her willingness to share her story! I am so glad that we have the opportunity to hear other’s stories and be encouraged by them.
I hope this has inspired you to continue on your journey. And as Francesca did, stick to your budget, find a great side hustle, an awesome community of others and ALWAYS remember your “why”!
It is a powerful thing to learn from others and I hope you have enjoyed this debt free inspiration as much as I have!