Debt. Arguably, a millennial’s biggest pain in the ass. o add insult to injury, it seems the general belief is in or to become debt-free you must sacrifice living a good life.
I call bullshit!
If you’ve felt like you can’t truly enjoy life until you are completely debt-free, then this article is for you.
I’m here to tell you this:
You can tackle your debt and still live your life! You don’t have to let it control you.
First, Paint Yourself a Picture of a Debt-Free Life
Envision your life free from the chains of debt.
Can you see it? What does it look like?
So many people want to be debt-free, but they haven’t even thought about what being debt-free would mean for their lifestyle design. There’s a reason why visualization and vision boarding is so popular nowadays. You have to be specific with the universe in order to manifest your dreams.
Obviously, dreams and goals without properly aligning your actions will result in a whole lotta nothing, but this first step is all about getting real specific about what life would look and feel like if you were debt-free.
The secret sauce is specificity.
An Example of My Perfect Day
In 2016, I did an exercise where I answered my own question: “If money were no object what would my perfect day look like?”
My ideal day looks different now, but this was what I wrote at the time:
“My idea of a perfect day is as follows:
5:00 a.m.-Wake up
First, will spend 30 minutes on my knees, with my eyes closed, praying and giving thanks to God as well as envisioning what the day ahead will look like in its perfect state.
5:30 a.m. Get up
I leave my gorgeous husband sleeping in bed while I brush my teeth, wash my face, and recite my morning mirror positive affirmations. For instance, affirmations like self-love quotes, productivity notes, and scriptures from the Bible. This morning routine was inspired by Hal Elrod’s book The Miracle Morning.
6:00 a.m. Prepare a delicious homemade breakfast
I will go to the kitchen to make a beautiful breakfast for me and my husband. This breakfast will consist of eggs, cheesy grits (my favorite), sautéed shrimp, pancakes, and mixed fruit and veggies. This breakfast will not be complete without mimosas for two garnished with a fresh strawberry. Can you picture it? I will set the table on our balcony that overlooks a beautiful city or beach (I haven’t decided yet).
6:45 a.m. Time to wake up my hubby
I will go back to wake my husband up with some good morning …(well y’all don’t need to know all of that) and then I will blindfold him and lead him to the wonderful breakfast I prepared on the balcony.
7:00 a.m. Breakfast time with the hubby
We will relax, eat, talk about our plans for the day, future trips, friends, family, dreams, business ideas, etc. Anything we feel like talking about. I will make us a hot cup of green tea to top off a beautiful breakfast.
8:00 a.m. Shower time!
After breakfast we will make our way to the shower where we will make mad passionate love to each other (might as well kill two birds with one stone right?) I firmly believe it can set the tone for the rest of the day. Don’t you agree?
8:45 a.m. Get dressed and ready to slay the day!
Getting dressed is easy because we have adopted a semi-minimalist lifestyle. We have a wardrobe full of items we love to wear and we set out our outfits the night before in order to make our morning process as smooth and stress free as possible.
9:00 a.m. And we’re off
My hubby will go off to do his thing and I will do my thing for the next four hours. I will head to my favorite coffee shop where I will check emails, make phone calls, update blog articles and social media accounts, brainstorm and/or work on existing projects. After handling business, I will head to my hot yoga class, then head to the spa for a manicure/pedicure/facial treatment. Sounds delightful doesn’t it?
1:00 p.m. Lunchtime
I will meet back up with my husband for a wonderful lunch at our favorite restaurant and have the menu del dia and a glass of white wine to toast to our lives together. After lunch we will take a short walk, and go our separate ways for the next two hours.
2:30 p.m. Time for class
I will go to a class or meet with a personal tutor/trainer who will teach me a language or some type of skill I am working on at that time. (My husband will do what he’s interested in during this time as well)
3:30 p.m. Let the grocery shopping commence
I will go to the local market for fresh ingredients for dinner. Ideally, there’d be a local farmer’s market nearby.
4:00 p.m. Let the wifely duties commence
I will head home, shower, change into something sexy, put on some music, and begin cooking a delicious dinner for two. When he gets home, I will have a hot bath waiting for him. After he’s done, we will eat a lovely home-cooked meal, play a game, talk about our day, share what we are grateful for, and just relax.
8:00 p.m. Dessert & cuddle time
I will set up dessert on the floor (a platter of fresh fruits and whipped cream) and we will seal our evening with a movie, wine, laughter, eating, and cuddling (and a back rub if I’m lucky).”
It’s been almost four years since I wrote that, so my ideal of a perfect day has changed a little bit, but I’m sure you get the idea.
Here’s the take-away
Your dream day may look completely different from mine and that’s okay.
The point of this exercise is to think about what your debt-free, financial independent life would look like in its most perfect form.
What did you notice about my perfect day?
Notice that it was filled with love!
In fact, many of the things I included in my “perfect day” don’t even require me to be debt-free.
In other words, when you begin to think deeply about your ideal life, you will notice that most of what you truly want can be done right now.
What would my dream day look like if I lived a debt-free life with the person/people I love the most and can I realistically start doing any of these things now while I’m paying off debt?
Your Turn: Write it Down & Make a Game Plan
You’ve got it in your head, right?
Now it’s time to write it down. You may want to do things like:
- Create a vision board with your spouse or family
- Write a bucket list
- Use a journal to document your progress towards your vision
Consequently, developing a solid plan of action is what will motivate you to crush that debt faster. The more specific you are, the more intentional your actions can be.
The moment you identify aspects of your ideal day/life that do not require money or financial freedom, start doing them immediately.
Final Word on the HOW
It is important to do a complete audit of your daily, weekly, and monthly financial habits. For example, you need to know exactly what’s coming in, what’s going out, what’s necessary, where you can afford to cut costs and most importantly which activities bring you joy and which ones don’t.
For instance, shopping for clothes and shoes doesn’t bring me as much joy as trying new cuisine and wines.
So, what did I do?
I cut out the amount of times I go shopping. Sounds simple, but it’s effective.
I enjoy reading far more than I enjoy watching TV so, I don’t have cable and if I want to watch a movie I simply use Netflix or Amazon Prime.
Again, the more detailed the better.
And so now that you have an idea of what a debt-free life would look like and how you can begin tackling your debt and living your best life simultaneously, you can determine the micro actions that could lead to the manifestation of those goals.
The whole point of doing all this is to show you that you have more control than you think over designing your ideal life. Being debt-free would make everything a lot easier, but it doesn’t mean you can’t begin pursuing the things that make you happy.