The Rewards for Working Hard and Clearing Your Debt
The reward for working hard at your job is:
- Getting a paycheque
- Getting a bonus
- Getting a promotion
- Getting more money (if you work overtime)
The reward for clearing your debt is:
- Being utterly, 100% debt-free
- Having all the money you earn to be your own again, not someone else’s
- Sleeping better at night
There is no other reward that is deserved by anyone for working hard and/or clearing your debt.
You don’t deserve a fancy vacation, a new car, a new house (more debt you may not be able to handle?), or a brand new wardrobe.
You don’t deserve to be able to eat out in a nice restaurant once a week, or do any of those things as a result of “working hard” and clearing your debt.
DON’T GET ME WRONG, YOU CAN’T LIVE ON A TIGHT BUDGET EITHER
If you make an unrealistic budget and don’t give yourself any leeway with the little luxuries of life like:
- Eating Out — I considering eating out to be a treat, not a necessary part of my budget
- Coffees — Again, a nice treat once in a while but not necessary
- Internet — You can get free wifi almost anywhere now, outside of work (library, cafes, etc)
..then you will surely fail.
Only allowing for Shelter, Food, and the bare basics is possible for 6 months, perhaps even up to 2 years for the most die-hard of budgeters.
However after 2 years, you WILL experience burnout if you don’t have any other motivation other than not spending money.
As it always is with unwanted thoughts, the more you tell yourself: Don’t Spend, the more you will WANT to Spend.
You can’t help but think of the situation, the more you try to ignore it.
FIND INTRINSIC MOTIVATIONS TO “REWARD” YOURSELF
What works, is finding other ways to reward yourself.
People who live on tight budgets (comfortably) and even grow to enjoy such budgets, are not motivated by extrinsic rewards of vacations, clothes, or buying more things.
They’re motivated by intrinsic motivations and personal rewards.
Instead of thinking:
I worked hard this year, I deserve a splashy vacation.
I worked hard this year, I was able to meet my goals of saving X amount of money, and I am one step closer to having my home 100% paid off.
Or perhaps you have other goals:
- Saving $1,000,000 by the time you’re 40
- Having most of your living expenses paid by truly passive income
Truly passive income is when you don’t do anything to earn it.
It comes from dividends from stocks you own, or interest payments for your money sitting there and growing, or even owning a rental property (not very passive but it falls under the same category).
Passive income does not include blogging for money. Blogging takes a lot of time, and it is the total opposite of passive.
I felt like that when I was nearing the end of my $60,000 of debt
I saw my debt falling, my net worth growing, and I was motivated to not spend a single penny on anything. I was happy and in the zone.
All I could see was my debt disappearing, and I pinched pennies until they squealed.
Once I was out of debt and well into the black, I relaxed.
I stopped stressing over buying anything, and I let myself have a little liberty with my money once I felt mentally “safe” with how much I had accumulated.
Now, my motivations have to be something other than getting out of debt, and that’s a lot harder than you can imagine.
I agree with your analysis.