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Allison Baggerly of Inspired Budget has joined Popcorn Finance to discuss separating facts and feelings on your journey to financial independence.
Allison and her husband paid off a total of $111,108 on two teachers’ salaries in four and a half years. Now she has built an online empire, helping others to do the same.
One thing that Allison is adamant about is that you will hit emergencies, mess-ups, set-backs, and general life chaos on a debt free journey.
Allison and I have both experienced making plans and having those plans completely fall through before our eyes.
The journey to pay off debt is long and oftentimes it definitely doesn’t go as planned. Being honest about those two things is key to keeping things as realistic as possible when you have decided to take the path of financial independence.
“We had a very long journey, several years of paying off debt. We were supposed to be debt free in March, and I’ll never forget, it was January and my husband’s transmission went out. We had $4,000 in savings at the time and it was going to cost $3,500 to fix this car. We were faced with this choice because ultimately we could fix a transmission and hope that his car would last us, or we could go into debt and buy a used car. Even our family and friends kept saying, ‘You have enough money, just go into debt. You can afford a car payment. Just do it. It’s fine.’”
Chris went on to say, “Family is always the greatest at spending your money.” With laughs, of course, but the sentiment is true in our collective experience.
We are only human – others in our lives often mean well, but they aren’t on your same path. Family and friends can be just as big of a roadblock as a dead transmission. Loved ones have a way of planting themselves in your head and letting the seeds of doubt grow.
In the end, Allison and her husband decided to pull $3,500 from their emergency fund to fix his car.
It’s still going strong today – four years later.
Allison’s story is a testament to staying the course on this debt free lifestyle.
The journey is not easy.
There WILL be doubts.
There will be people pushing you to abandon your financial principles.
It will be exhausting and stressful.
But it will also be completely worth it.
“The truth is that it’s math. So, no matter where you are on your debt free journey, remember that there is an end in sight.” she says.
It may feel like it’s taking forever, and both Allison and empathize with that ‘feet in the mud’ feeling.
Remember though, that those feelings are NOT rooted in fact. They are feelings and emotions. The FACTS are that there is an end in sight. If you work the plan, the plan works.
It’s easy to get into your own emotions during the debt payoff process.
Many times, people want to separate money from their feelings. Like they’re two separate things.
Money is a concrete thing and sometimes we don’t make the connection that when you have this type of debt – that feels like it’s taking forever to go away, It elicits an emotional reaction.
Why am I even doing this?
Why shouldn’t I just stop paying it off and say “I’m going to have this forever, because it’s just taking too long.”
Those are two of the most common thoughts that invade your life while paying off debt.
Our advice is to acknowledge those feelings and enforce that this is how I feel and this doesn’t mean that debt freedom is impossible.
It’s important to surround yourself with examples of people who have done it, and who have made it through these situations. That’s why Allison’s social media presence has flourished like it has.
Alison also suggests leaning in to your partner.
“Thankfully, I’m married to someone who does not have the roller coaster of emotions that I might have, and who can have it all mapped out mathematically. When I listened to that version of it, it took a lot of the fear, stress, anxiety, and sadness that debt can bring. It allowed me to take that off of my heart and out of my mind.”
Having someone who takes a more logical, calculated approach to debt payoff always helps a more emotional response.
It also helps with the execution of a plan, even when things go awry (because they will).
Maybe you’re not putting enough money towards your debt.
Maybe your income isn’t enough.
Maybe you’re spending too much.
Maybe you haven’t fully realized what you need to DO to pay off your debt.
That’s where you can reach out to a person that has done what you’re trying to do OR you can lean on the more logistical partner to propel you to where you need to be.
Allison leaned on her partner and looked for support in the debt free community on Instagram – so when she decided to deliver food to make extra income, she knew it would pay off in the end.
Sometimes you have to sit down and you look at the numbers – really honestly look at the numbers and say, ‘How much do I need to pay this off? And if I’m not bringing in enough money now, what do I need to do to fix this situation.”
Look at the FACTS, not the FEELINGS surrounding your situation.
We deal with money every single day. Every facet of our lives involves money. It is intrinsically intertwined with everything we do.
Even when you fall into the trap of comparing your life to someone else’s, it usually has to do with money.
That’s why it is so important to be mindful of your emotions. When you recognize that you’re falling into that trap, you can understand that they are feelings – not facts.
This allows you to separate the two and change your perspective on the situation.
If you’re unable to pull yourself away and look at something without emotion, find someone who can coach you to do that.
You need someone that you can talk to – you can’t sit in a vacuum by yourself and wallow in pity.
It’s easy to get in your own head and create false narratives that are going to keep dragging you down.
Allison and I suggest finding someone you can talk to and someone you trust, who will encourage you.
Always step back and ask yourself what is fact and what is feeling?
Your feelings can lie to you, so look for the facts in your situation:
The fact is that this journey is possible.
You will not be in debt forever.
It may be several years, but you are capable of getting out of it.
Do you have any false narratives that you struggle with? Who is your ‘go-to’ person for encouragement and inspiration?
You can also find Allison Baggerly at @inspiredbudget on, or inspiredbudget.com. In 2020 she is opening the doors to her Inspired Budget Inner Circle. She guides you weekly, gives you lessons, and is basically your accountability person to help you reach your goals, pay off debt, save money, and learn
how to actually stick to the budget that you’re writing.