For about 8 months now I have been aggressively, and excitedly, been attacking my student loan debt so I can be one step closer to financial independence. My original goal was to have all of them paid off by within one year. With 4 months left before that deadline, I reluctantly have to report that I will most likely fail at achieving this difficult challenge I had put before myself.
Why I’m Okay Failing (This Time)
I hate failing, as I’m sure most people do. In fact, I don’t recall ever meeting someone who enjoys failing so it is a bit of an unnecessary phrase but none the less I wanted to point it out anyway. Usually, if I can’t reach my goals I get frustrated and angry at myself for not trying harder. However, this time it doesn’t feel as bad because of something I have been doing for the last few years. I have been documenting my financial progress. This time I know exactly why I failed.
Over the last year I have been refocusing my efforts to be smarter about my financial choices. I have been saving before making purchases, and have established an emergency fund that puts me a little more at ease. Unfortunately, I have had to use that fund several times during the last 8 months. Both cars had to have some work done, and while not major repairs it added up. $500 for one and $800 for the second, shortly after the first, made it so there were a few months that I was not able to pay as much as I would have liked on my loans. That wouldn’t have been so bad if those where the only hiccups that we faced in 2012. I ended up needing a root canal and a crown. That ended up costing close to $2,000. On top of all that, my girlfriend had to have surgery adding a few more thousand dollars.
Adjusting to Challenges
With everything that has happened in the last year I have had to make some adjustments to my goal. I’m okay with that because sometimes things happen that we can’t control. When those things occur it is best to focus on the positive, make the needed adjustments, and keep moving forward one day at a time.
Now sitting at home and deciding that you need to order a pizza because your hungry is not one of the things I’m referring too. Many things can be planned for ahead of time but there will always be something that comes up along the way. By learning to accept that fact you will be able to better adjust when they arrive.
Putting Everything Extra Towards a Goal
By reminding myself of my goal I have been able to put extra money I receive towards reaching paying down my student loans. Using extra paychecks, gifts, extra pay, and any money I receive from selling old items I no longer use. All of these have helped me lower my debt. It all comes down to thinking about how great it will be when I finally make that last payment.
Overall, I may not be reaching my original goal but I have reevaluated my progress and am on track to pay them off by the end of the year.