I’ve been looking back over my last year and reflecting recently. I’m thinking about my debt payoff journey and introduction into pf blogging, thinking about myself and who I am now. I am realizing that I am super good at commitment. When I really, truly want something with all my heart I fucking commit to getting it. I will do absolutely anything in order to get it.
This is not a new realization, not really. It’s just been something about myself that I’ve been showing to more and more people. It’s a personality trait that has taken center stage over the last year. But this isn’t the first time I have thrown myself entirely into achieving something.
Here’s a fun fact about me. When I was a junior in high school I decided that I was going to Wesleyan University for college. I was a pretty good student but not the top of my class by any means. I had a B average. Wesleyan is a very selective private university with high admission standards. B’s weren’t going to cut it.
I was an athlete in high school. I played lacrosse and I was good. I wanted to continue playing in college. So the coach at Wesleyan and my club lacrosse coach suggested to me that I take a post-graduate year of high school and then apply to Wes.
Most of you are probably like ‘um, what’s a post-graduate year of high school?” Great question! It’s when you graduate from high school and then go back and do another year! That’s right folks. I graduated from my local public high school in my hometown and went and did a 5th year of high school at a prep school.
PG years, as those in the know call them, are only offered by private schools, usually only on the east coast and are most often utilized by athletes and foreign students. Athletes get another year to get bigger, stronger and possibly pull up their grades and foreign students can acclimate to a new country and language before taking on a serious college workload.
I wanted to go to Wesleyan so badly that I went back to high school for another year. Another year of tests, homework, practice and every single joy of high school life. (Not: not really joyful). I have two high school diplomas. And I got what I wanted.
When I decided to get out of debt last fall I committed in the same way. I went hard. I eliminated any unnecessary spending in my life. I made extra money. I built my life around debt pay off. It was the only thing that really mattered to me. It was my ultimate focus. And I got what I wanted.
Want to get out of debt? Want to save money? Want to start a side hustle?
Fucking commit and stay committed.
How do you commit?
Stop eating out. Stop buying meat at the grocery store. Become a vegetarian and buy things like lentils and rice and beans in bulk. They’re healthy, cheap and filling.
Stop driving. Take the bus, ride your bike, form a carpool, or walk. Avoid driving at least three days a week, every week.
Stop paying for entertainment. Eliminate going out to movies, paying for cable, Netflix or any tv service. The internet will meet your needs for way less. You public library has movies for rent. There are free screenings, events, lectures, dinners and more every night. Google ‘free stuff (your city here)’ and go find them.
Sell clothes you don’t wear and don’t buy anymore. You don’t need them.
Stop spending cash. It’s too easy to spend mindlessly. Use credit cards only to rake up rewards. Use those points to buy holiday or birthday gifts.
Track your spending. Examine areas that are too high and slash until you are at bare bottom.
Open a savings account and funnel all your savings into that. Don’t touch it until you have reached your goal amount.
Learn to change your oil. Fix clothes by yourself. Bring your lunch to work. Have one night a week of ‘no electricity.’ Unplug anything not currently in use. Insulate your home. Do everything in your power to generate money until your debt is gone.
Both of the decisions I made were really commitments to myself. I wanted to go to Wesleyan and then later to get out of debt for myself. Achieving both these things would make my life better- and they absolutely have.
I would not be the person I am today or in the position I am today without having gone to Wesleyan. I would not be on the path to early retirement and blogging if not for paying off my debt. I have a great life and it’s because I went after it with everything I have.
Fucking commit to whatever it is you want in life. Focus your entire being on your goal and make it your reality. It takes work and it takes time but when you are giving something 100% I promise you that you will see results. You can trust me- I have two high school diplomas.