One of the most frustrating things about personal finance is that things often move pretty slowly. Maybe you’ve analyzed your spending, made some cuts or changes, and you’re now at a point where you are actually spending less than you earn. It took some work, but now instead of having a negative cash flow and increasing your debt load, you’re bringing in more than you spend and paying that debt off. Depending on how much debt you had, though, maybe you only have an extra $100 a month to pay on that debt (beyond the minimum payments).
Frustration Over Slow Progress
Over a couple months, you track your debt total and see that it is going down, but pretty slowly. This is where it gets frustrating and a lot of people give up and go back to their old ways. If they don’t see significant progress right away, it doesn’t seem worth it to some people.
Slow Progress Is Still Progress
Whatever you do, don’t give up! You’re going to experience slow periods and even an occasional setback along the way. This is to be expected. What you have to do is stay on the path to financial stability. Keep at it, even after the setbacks, because even if you’re only able to pay $20 beyond the minimum payments, that is still progress. The Grand Canyon took thousands, millions, of years to form. Sooner or later you’re going to get to the point where you pay off a debt in full. Then you’ll be able to apply the money you had been paying on that to one of your other debts. By treating your job as an investment, sooner or later you’re going to get a raise or promotion at work. Then you’ll have a little more income to put towards those debts. These things take time, but they’re worth it in the end.
Another piece of advice: Realize that you aren’t on this journey alone. There are many others in similar situations, trying to achieve the same thing.