Do you remember the story of the tortoise and the hare? Both tortoise and the hare had the same goal…to get to the finish line; although, the strategy for getting there was vastly different. The hare was quick, took a few shortcuts and thrived in moments of instant gratification. He prided himself in how quickly the finish line came into sight, so much so, that he gave himself a moment to stop, even briefly, when he was on the brink of success. But enough about him for now. Let’s chat about the tortoise.
Even though his pace is much slower than the hare, he is consistent . Step by step, no matter how big or small that step is, he kept moving toward his goal. This folks, is where the lesson “slow and steady wins the race” originates. While the hare was sleeping, the tortoise slowly passed him by and reached the finish line first.
In my personal financial journey I have been both the tortoise and the hare. Years ago, I took half of my emergency fund and applied it to my credit card balance because I was impatient and wanted the instance gratification of a zero balance. In that moment, like the hare, that finish line was in sight...literally I had about $600.00 balance that I owed. Instead of paying at the pace that was working for me, I stopped, departed from my financial plan, deviated from Dave Ramsey’s Baby Steps and I cashed out. A week later an actual emergency happened and I couldn’t take care of it in cash. So that very credit card balance that I risked it all to get to a zero balance instantly increased because I had to pay for the emergency on credit. There are times when we know what the best course of action is and we take the “easy” way out. I risked my financial stability and I lost money and time. One thing I did gain, though, was the hard lesson… “slow and steady wins the race”.
Since then, I have taken a tortoise stride to becoming debt free. I set my pace to put money toward my money goal EVERY week using the She Makes Cents 52 Week BINGO Money Challenge. In January of 2017 my balance on my student loans was $19,000K+ and by December 31st the balance was $12,500.00. This part year I saw the largest decrease in the loan balance in the 10 years I have been . This partly because I figured out exactly how my interest accrues. Once I understood that, I was able to break my larger goal down into micro goals.
January Recap: 52 Week BINGO Money Challenge
This year I set an “paid in full” date of October 2019. To reach that I have set a new goal to get my balance down to $10,000.00 by May 1st. With the help of the Mr. we are knocking out debt together. Every week I select a number on the bingo money card and I send that amount to my student loan providers. The pace may seem slow to some people, but it is a pace that ensures that I continue to maintain the habit on constant saving. I started at the year off with a $12,505.00 balance (that extra $5 is because of interest) and I am closing out January at $11,945.62. Based on all of the awesome progress that member of the SMC Money Tribe are sharing in our group, they are also cultivating great habit with an encouraging community of like minded-women.