Let me tell you, I will never forget the feeling of walking into the bank, sitting down in the bank managers office to pay off our mortgage. It was so freakin exciting-mostly because we had been strategically planning this moment for YEARSSS. He went on about how it’s not every day he sees someone in their early 30’s be debt free and that he oversees how a lot of people manage their money and that made him really impressed. He told us it’s refreshing and then asked us how we did it so fast. So, in his office I gave him the nutshell version…..but on the way home, I thought about it even more in depth…and I started to compare it to my weight loss journey and how they were so incredibly similar….which ultimately inspired this blog post! What it realllllly boils down to is that I woke up one day and decided to take back CONTROL of my life-my body and my finances.
If you follow me on instagram, chances are you already seen this photo!
If you’ve been reading my blog for any length of time, you may have come across my weight loss posts. I realize I have been a HUGE slacker this past year when it comes to blogging about it, but the truth is, I was at a plateau for so long and I felt like I didn’t have anything new to share. I am still chipping away at those pounds and I’ve run into a few health issues that have delayed me just a bit….but dammit, I’m so determined to reach my goal. And one thing I can promise you, anything I have ever set out to do, I’ve done well-it’s one of the things I pride myself on….so it’s not a matter of *IF*, it’s a matter of *WHEN* it’s going to happen. I’m down 80 pounds (give or take) and I still have 35-40 more to go! During the process of getting healthy and trying to drop some pounds-while simultaneously trying to get out of debt, I have come to realize that the two goals have over lapped in so many ways!
If you’re interested in my weight loss posts, I’ve included them below….
Big Macs, Whoppers and Diet Coke
Bye Bye 50 Pounds
What No One Tells You
Silver Sneakers, Halloween Shopping and the “Secret Code” | Weight Loss Journey
I will lose 100 pounds!
You Are The Sum of Every Choice You Make
It Was Bound To Happen
Seat belts, Swimmies and Oreos
Everyone thought I was crazy. I would say things like, “I really want to buy XYZ, but only after our house is paid off.” They would look at me like I was insane! We were focused, self disciplined and learned to delay gratification for things we could have bought right then and there. We were both on the same page and would often sit and talk about how great it was going to feel to walk into the bank with our last payment and walking out 100% debt free. No credit cards. No student loans. No car loans. No house payment…..it was going to be all about saving for retirement and Mallory’s college fund and giving (and who am I kidding, maybe a vacation here or there). YEP, they thought we were crazy. As Dave Ramsey would say…..we were weird!
It wasn’t easy…..and it was what I thought about CONSTANTLY, it was always on my mind and I focused on it ALL THE TIME.
We did this with ZERO help from anyone else. Our parents didn’t give us a downpayment (or any money for that matter), we didn’t inherit the house/contents and we certainly didn’t win the lottery or a game show and no one gave us ANYTHING! BUT….. with a
little LOT of hard work and determination, lots of elbow grease, good budgeting and determination, we finally did it! –WE PAID OFF OUR HOUSE!!! I feel like we lost so much emotional weight…and it feels fan-freakin-tastic!
10 Ways Getting Out Of Deb & Losing Weight Are The Same.
1. It has to be a priority. Ask Greg, he’ll tell you, I thought about it before I went to bed, during the day and first thing in the morning. I was focused. And I’ve learned that what you choose to focus on will eventually find a way. I even wrote it down…I feel like until you right down your goals, they are just wishes.
2. The end goal was about the FEELING of security. If you know me well, you know that I didn’t exactly grow up with the a silver spoon. I had teenage parents who were struggling my entire elementary and middle school life to make ends meet. Although they never made it “MY” problem, I remember feeling the stress, the worry and the anxiousness they had when it came time to pay the bills or put food in the fridge. They tried to hide it, but I picked up on it every single time-kids are smart y’all. So when I say my end goal was about the FEELING….it was about the security. Let’s face it, I’m self employed. I have no guaranteed paycheck. My business could fail tomorrow and I wanted to know that if my business started to struggle and that we fell on hard times, I could find the security in knowing that my house was paid for and no one could ever take it away….well you know, unless we stopped paying our taxes. Damn You Uncle Sam!! When I set out to lose the weight, for me, I was chasing after a feeling of security for my health. I wanted to know that I was taking the right steps to making myself healthier so that I could be around long enough to meet my future grandchild(re). And let’s be honest…I wanted to FEEL great in my own skin. I’m still not at my goal when it comes to my weight loss, but I can tell you one thing, I FEEL so much better than I did 80 pounds ago!
3. Self Discipline. Ohhhhh self discipline how you suck! haha! It was definitely something that didn’t come easy. Indulgence is something we’re taught we “deserve” every once in a while. Like devouring an entire cheese cake on your own during Easter because we’re allowed one “cheat day”….but in your mind knowing that you just made a huge mistake that is going to set you back. Personal finance is no different. I can’t tell you how many times I had to pass up getting the “newest and greatest” product because I had a goal in mind and I knew that if I splurged that it would set me back. We created a budget and stuck to it.
4. Changing the Cycle. A lot of the habits we have were created from childhood. We ate the foods our parents bought, we valued exercise based on whether our parents valued exercise and being fit. Personal finance is the same way. If it wasn’t a priority growing up, it probably isn’t going to be a priority now. I wanted to change that. I wanted to change the cycle. I didn’t start learning about what personal finance was until I was in my sophomore year of college. I had a little bit of money in the bank and the teller asked me if I wanted to put it on a CD. I must have looked at her like she had 2 heads because she asked me if I knew what a CD was. As I stood there feeling stupid, I vowed that I would learn more about these things. I cracked open books, scoured the internet and started asking questions. I got serious and taught myself the tools…just like I had to with my eating habits. I had to learn a whole new way to cook…..but I’m determined to change the cycle for Mallory.
5. You’ll hit a plateau. Ohhh this part sucks! Like your car will break down, or your furnace will go out…. or in our case you need to buy thousands in new camera gear. The money that you intended to go into the savings pot will have to be allocated into the emergency pot which will put you at a stand still! This can be soon incredibly frustrating, but keep working at it and I promise you that you will see results. Trust the process. <—if I had a penny for every time someone told me that during my weightloss journey, I’d have may house paid off so much sooner! haha!
6. You need support from friends and family that know what your goal is. They won’t give you the guilt trip when you decide to not go on the vacation because you want to see your savings grow. Just like you’d need support from friends and family to not guilt you into eating their cakes/cookies because they were fresh out of the oven and you’d offend them if you didn’t <—yep, been there!
7. You’ll get excited when you see the number changing! Just like stepping on the scale and getting excited about the number changing in the right direction……we started to find joy in saving rather thank spending. We’d log onto to our accounts and get excited when we saw even the smallest growth-it was the small victories because we knew we were closer to our goal.
8. Not putting all your eggs in one basket….being healthy is a combination of proper food choices and exercise. Eating one bad meal won’t make you fat, just like doing one great exercise won’t make you skinny….well it’s the same in the personal finance world. We didn’t want to put all of our eggs in one basket and not simultaneously save for retirement…..so we did both. Each year, we’d contribute to our future retirement AND our “getting out of debt fund” and doing both of those together got us here.
9. You might need to cut back. Yes that’s right…I said it! Cutting out those additional calories/junk food is almost a sure way to drop a few pounds…..and so is cutting out extra expenses. I have a confession to make….I have never dyed my hair professionally..EVER. Mostly because I knew that I would have to keep paying to keep up with it and I wanted to allocate that money towards debt. Guess which Mama is getting her HUR done now?!? haha! Look into reducing your variable expenses and you’d be so surprised at how fast you see that number change.
10. There is no PILL/SHAKE to get you there and KEEP you there long term. You have to create good habits. Someone handing you a bunch of money to get you out of a financial bind will not help you long term. There are actually tons of proof that most of the people who win a windfall from the lottery often times end up broke within several years. Millionaires one day and then because of their bad habits and money behaviors end up broke and in some cases worse of f than before they had all the money to begin with. I know the cool thing right now is the use pills and/or shakes to get you to your goal faster, but if you sit back and REALLY think about your habits and your behaviors…unless you get them in control, you’re not going to be sipping on that same shake or taking that same pill 30-40 years from now. In most cases, it’s a temporary fix. Create good habits and I believe you can be financially fit forever.
My goal has always been to change the cycle. I want to teach Mallory how to live a healthy physical and financial life…and I can only do that by setting the example. Growing up in poverty and then having opportunities to change my financial future has taught me so many things. It has taught me that poverty has very little to do with money and everything to do with your mindset. If you believe you’re worth it….you’ll do what it takes.
Weightloss and financial security begin with habits. Have a good “come to jesus” with yourself of your daily habits….change one thing at a time and you’ll be closer to your goal than you were yesterday! <3
As Dave Ramsey says, “If you will live like no one else NOW, later you can live like no one else.”