This guest post from Paid Twice was originally published on March 31, 2008. I think it’s so good, I’m sharing it with you again!
It took me a long time to start seriously getting out of debt. There was always something else that seemed like it took priority. If we can just get past this, or just wait until after that, we can really start getting serious about debt reduction and finally pay off those credit cards, right? There was the baby, and the next baby, and my son’s surgery at a year old, and the house, and countless other smaller things that we were just waiting to get by to become serious about eliminating our credit card debt.
And the funny thing was, there was always something else. There was always something in our way, that we just needed to get through before we could really buckle down. Even though many of those things seemed short term and it seemed (to us) wise to wait until they passed to be able to really focus on the task at hand, there was just always another obstacle.
The fact of the matter is, it is never the perfect time. There will always be something else stealing your attention, and there will always be something else that seems like it should be higher priority. It’s easy to put off debt reduction, because as long as you keep up with the monthly payments, it seems manageable. Even if you’re not making any progress, even if to keep up with the monthly payments you are slowly creating more debt, even if in fact you’re really sinking slowly into quicksand that it will eventually be too late to break free from.
It may never be the perfect time, but it is always the right time. If you’re in debt and need a way out, the best thing you can do is start today. Even if you have to start small, every penny you pay above your minimums will make a difference. I talk a lot about pennies and dollars mattering, and I speak from experience. If you are barely paying above your minimums, the progress is in fact slow, but progress can be made. When we started at least committing to reducing our credit card debt, I literally paid $1 over the minimum payment. The minimum was $199 and I paid $200 per month. But as long as I kept paying $200 a month, that margin grew slowly, but grew. It was $2 over minimum, then $3, then $5, and by the time we decided to focus all of our energy and money on debt reduction, that $200 we paid a month was actually about $60 over the minimum payment in three years’ time. Yes, that’s not speedy progress, but it is progress. And once we started focusing every last nickel on debt reduction, we paid off the rest of that credit card in about 7 months, even with some unexpected delays.
It is always the right time to improve your financial future and take control of your financial destiny. If you are in debt and struggling to get by, make today the right time to commit to eliminating your debt. The first step is always the hardest.