It’s been a little while since I’ve sat down and posted something real and raw straight from my heart. Don’t get me wrong, I loved coming up with the gift ideas for her (see here) but sometimes I like being real.
Tonight’s post comes from a conversation I had with someone at a coffeeshop in between shifts a while back, whose name will be omitted for privacy. I was talking with this girl for a while because we shared a common problem: debt. While I only had my student loan and car loan at a reasonable amount, she was drowning in credit card debt and six-figure student loans.
You might also like: How To Hit The Ground Running With Student Loans
There were two things she said that struck me in that conversation.
The first was when she deeply sighed into her cup of coffee and said, “Man, I wish I was out of debt.”
But when I asked her what she had planned in terms of very tangible goals to make that happen, she said, “Nah, I just wish I was out of debt.”
A switch turned in my brain, and I knew I had to help. I gave her a very brief description of things I had done so far, I showed her my numbers, I told her where I struggled with my coping mechanisms with buying fast food and alcohol. But above all, I told her how I initially forced myself to make very tangible goals in order to make my wishes into something real that could actually happen. The goals started small, and they just kept getting bigger.
I saw the expression change on her face from hopeless to somewhat curious. She gave me an insight on her life after college and where she felt like she was struggling. So in the short time I had left, I helped this girl go from simply wishing she was out of debt to having a pretty real timeline of when she could have everything paid off based on goals she makes now. The first, she said, was to quit buying coffee shop drinks and make her own coffee at home. By her calculations, that would free up about $50/month to go towards her smallest debt. The other goals were more personal, but you get the idea. I patted her on the shoulder, gave her my IG handle, told her “good luck,” and went on to my next shift. I left feeling pretty good.
See, here’s the thing. Wishes and goals are two VERY different things. I can wish I was out of debt all damn day, but it won’t do any good. Setting goals and implementing strategies are what will get you where you need to go.
“I wish my debt was gone.”
“By 2020, I will have *insert amount* of student loans left. My minimum is *insert amount*. If I barely pay over the minimum, they will be paid off by this date. BUT. If I find ways to shave the budget so I can toss $100 extra every month, I’ll have it paid of x number of months/years early. I would like to cut back on my fast food so that I’m only eating out once a week at a limit of $10. Then I’ll go on Pinterest to look up cheap meals I can make quickly on Sunday nights that keep for days so I’m not constantly cooking and buying groceries. If I drink more water, that will cut out my soda spending and that will free up another $20!”
You get the idea. I talk about the competitive nature of setting bigger goals in the student loan post linked above.
It all comes down to having a real ass talk with yourself. Being open and honest. What are you truly willing to do in order to get where you need/want to be? Like I said, the goals can start small. If you’re not ready to give up your fast food or coffee spending, then just try to make it one less visit! Or eat from the dollar menu (if there is one).
The only way I’ve gotten where I am is by setting goals and having strategies in place. I’m right here if you need someone to talk to and get jump-started on your journey!