For the past 18 months, I’ve been aggressively paying off debt. Most months I am putting over 50% of my income towards my student loans. Some months that has put me in a difficult situation, but it has been my choice to pay extra.
It was my choice to deplete my $10k emergency fund and throw the majority of it to debt. Now that I have $1.5k in an EF, I’m feeling a little vulnerable. I miss my safety blanket. I miss the cushion. I miss logging into my account and seeing that I DO have some money to my name.
All of this has got me thinking — can you be addicted to paying off debt?
I know what you are thinking — that how can this addiction be bad? Debt is evil and paying it off would be a win-win situation.
But think about it this way — my feverish intensity with wanting my debt gone has made me push everything to the wayside in the effort to pay off debt. I’ve put paying off debt above everything, including my relationship, my health, and my sanity. I’m not proud of it either. I’m an all-or-nothing gal, so finding a balance seems hard.
I think one can be addicted to paying off debt, at the expense of other priorities. Many debt bloggers are neglecting their retirement funds (myself included), relationships, and emergency funds all because of the thrill of making another payment.
The RUSH of seeing the number go down. The POWER of knowing your interest is lowering. It’s all so exhilarating. Like a junkie, I’m always thinking about when I can make my next payment. How much will it be this time? Am I closer to my goal?
Even though it can be so addicting and exciting, it is also exhausting too. I look at my original goal of being debt free in 4 years. That would require me to make payments of roughly $1,300 for the next 30 months. That is seriously depressing and I don’t know if I can do it.
I don’t want to give up and I don’t want to let you down. But I may have other priorities come my way. I might want to increase my emergency fund. Pay more to retirement. It doesn’t mean I’m any less serious about getting out of debt. Just offering myself some breathing room.
What is amazing is this: when I started this blog I was making $12/hr as a seasonal employee and there was no way in heck I could payoff my debt in 4 years. I just made up a number that sounded nice, with no real financial backing. Why? Because I felt like it could happen. Then I got a better paying job, and have been side hustling my butt off. I could technically keep up the pace and actually make my once unfathomable dream come true.
And isn’t that the way — as soon as something is in reach, things change. Your desire changes, life changes. Things happen that give you a new perspective.
All of this to say, I am still committed to getting out of debt. I will do my best at reaching my deadline. But I won’t beat myself up if I don’t make it. But hopefully I will continue to increase my income and I’ll be able to fund all of my priorities. I caution people in the debt payoff process of putting too much to debt at the expense of your mental health and financial safety. It’s probably not worth it.
So I’ll keep moving along. One payment at a time. Every single day. Working towards my life goals, not only my debt goal.
Besides, what will I write about once I’m debt free? 🙂 Only time will tell.