Tough Questions and Easy Answers

Well, Saturday’s post was a little intense, eh? The feedback I got from it was really mixed: a couple of people emailed me immediately saying they had been going through similar situations, some of you left incredibly supportive comments, and others told me I came across as weak. The weak comment hurt at first but, truthfully, I was in a really weak moment when I wrote that post. And while I always appreciate hearing that blog posts or my story in general has inspired someone, the debt repayment journey is not easy – especially after 20 months of living on a budget and writing about it as publicly as I do.

There is a reason Gail Vaz-Oxlade encourages people to pay off all of their debt within 3 years – anything longer than that can cause debt fatigue, which could result in going back to old (and very bad) spending habits. Even though I trust that I will never go back to being the frivolous spender I once was, I have definitely gone through a few spats of debt fatigue. I could blame my Friday night sob fest on that but that’s really only part of why I was feeling down last week; the rest comes from what I wrote, as well as the fact that I’m a little lonely here in Toronto. Monday-Friday, I’m out of the house for 12 hours/day with work and my commute, and then I spend a good chunk of my weekend’s writing. That leaves me with very little time to go out and socialize, not that my budget gives me much allowance for that anyway.

So, in response to how I felt on Friday night, I decided to ask myself some tough questions:

What can I cut out of my schedule to give myself more free time?

Blogging and freelancing are the only two things that take up my spare time. As it stands, I’m spending an average of 12-15 hours/week doing both; that may not sound like much but it feels like a lot right now. Since I don’t plan on giving up blogging, freelancing and guest posting are two things I’m going to put on hold for the next couple of months. The extra money is nice but my time is more valuable to me right now.

What do I enjoy doing the most?

I love blogging but lately it has started to feel like a chore. I don’t know if that’s because I “feel” as though I should write a certain way, or about particular topics, but most of the posts I’ve published lately have been tough to finish. The only two posts that I’ve enjoyed writing recently were also the scariest to publish! The first was about my move, the second was obviously Friday’s, and neither of them were about money. Hmm.

What are my priorities?

Paying off the last of my debt is still my #1 priority, and my debt repayment journey will always be something I identify with. But now that I can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel, I can’t help but think about what’s next. A new city, new activities, new friends, new opportunities… and yes, even a new budget. I want to explore and challenge myself and try new things. I don’t want to post weekly spending reports.

So, where does this leave me? First, you should know that answering these questions and making some decisions has taken a huge weight off my shoulders. The only person who controls how you feel is you and, if you’re ever feeling overwhelmed, I would suggest laying everything on the table and reevaluating your priorities. Much like the day I first laid all of my finances out on the table, I now know what I need to do.

Going forward, the only posts I’m going to publish on this blog will be about topics I feel passionate about. I will still write a monthly budget, as well as a recap of how I did, but the weekly spending reports are as good as dead. I’m done feeling guilty about drinking Starbucks twice/week or eating out once/week. I’m happy to share my budgets but how I spend every individual dollar is my business and mine alone.

I will continue to answers questions in the Blonde Money Questions vlog series, reply to comments, emails and tweets as soon as I can, and share the ups and downs of being on a budget – all of those things, I do enjoy. I have always wanted this blog to be a space that inspires people to take control of their finances… but if I don’t feel inspired, how can any of you? Well then, let’s get back to it. : )

Have you ever felt like you had too much on your plate? What did you do about it?

Image: Molly Jacques Illustration