Coming off this last week, with medical bills and overspending, and still trying to recover physically and mentally from the ectopic pregancy and the fallout from the surgery, I thought for my own mental health it’s a good time to have a reminder that the path to being debt free is simple, but that doesn’t make it easy.

Considering how many financial independence/debt-free blogs there are out there, the basic advice can be distilled down to: Spend less than you earn, put the balance of what you don’t spend towards your debt, and anytime you get extra money, put it towards debt.  This is super easy advice to understand.  Putting it into practice is where it gets difficult.

If you have medical bills to pay, how do you get them paid and still either follow your plan or make good on your obligations?

If you have stress in your life, how do you effectively deal with it so that you can continue to live within your means rather than overspending?

When unexpected issues arise, such as car repairs, major trips, emergencies, or job loss, how do you ensure that you have enough to cover it?

The mantra of “spend less than you earn” covers all these things since you should be putting money towards debt and into savings.  We don’t have that down yet, however, and can sometimes get caught, we think, unawares.  Often it feels like every time we get one started, something comes along and wipes it out.  However, when we look back at our spending with the benefit of hindsight, it often appears that what seemed unexpected at the time was something that we could have anticipated if we didn’t live in such a short-term mentality.

I also have the tendency to use money as a crutch when I don’t feel up for “adult” tasks like cooking, or for providing entertainment, or comfort food.  I am working on trying not to spend myself into more debt, but at the same time with everything that’s going on, it’s hard sometimes to focus on the debt issue rather than all the personal stuff swirling around, and it’s easy to get caught up in a short-term mentality.

I wish I had a better solution, but the budget has come in really handy this month, as a constant reminder that we only have so much to spend.  We’ve still spent more than we should I think, but not as much as we might have if we didn’t have that reminder in front of us.  We’ve also spent a lot of time changing our habits over the last year, and I think that helped provide a bit of a buffer as well, so our excesses weren’t as excessive as they could have been.

We will be working on those questions as we move forward and try to build up savings to prepare for unanticipated expenses, and will try to anticipate more than a couple of weeks ahead.  But, it is of course not necessarily an easy process.

Scheduling Update

I’ve mentioned a few times before that I was attempting to schedule my day more clearly and be more effecient with my time, but that was really a last-ditch effort to get myself on track.  It didn’t work and is now abandoned with other well-intentioned ideas.  Both my spouse and a friend told me that I may be attempting to work myself out of my grief, and am still physically recovering, so I’m allowing myself to step back and rest a little more, and we’ll see how that goes.  Maybe next week I’ll get to the gym and the physical activity will help me feel better.