I came across this article from Get Rich Slowly written by Lisa Aberle. I was inspired to write a response as this is a question I continue to struggle with on a daily basis. It wasn’t until I read this post that I seriously thought about the answer to this question.
First, you should read Lisa’s article (link above). I enjoyed reading it because Lisa shared her personal experience with trying to find a balance and the sacrifices she (and her family) made to work towards financial independence. I especially liked reading about her successes from making these sacrifices. Props to you Lisa!
How much are you willing to sacrifice to reach your financial goals?
This is a tricky question and the answer is different for everyone. I think, for a huge part, it depends on what stage of life you’re in. For me, I have time working on my side (for now) because I’m young and I don’t have too many financial responsibilities yet. I’m 23 years old and I recently graduated from university. I am now working full-time on establishing my career and experiences as a Registered Nurse. I have a huge amount of student loan debt on my shoulders and very little assets.
My M.O. as of this writing, is to become debt-free in 3 years!
Related post: I Will Pay Off my Student Loans in Less than 3 Years
I have had to give up a lot of things to get to where I am today. These were:
- 4 years’ time I spent while in university that I could’ve spent working full-time or travelling
- Work experience – trying out different odd jobs that would’ve provided me with various skills (I always wanted to work as a bank teller or a real estate assistant at one point.)
- Taking on student loan debt for post-secondary education and living expenses.
- Skipped out on social events or trips to other places with my friends and family because it wasn’t in my budget.
- Cutting down my spending to a strict monthly budget while paying off debts and building up savings.
- Have had to skip on luxuries such as new clothes, new phone, designer bags or shoes.
- I work shift work at my full-time job which translates to less flexibility with my schedule.
Related Post: What I Wish I Knew about Student Loans Before Borrowing
Because I gave these up however, I was able to achieve the following financial goals:
- Completed my Bachelor in Nursing degree.
- Earned a permanent full-time position with a local hospital.
- Paid off all my credit card debts. And have been free of credit card debt since! 🙂
- Saved a down payment for my first house.
- Started saving in my RRSP.
- Saved up 3 months’ worth of emergency fund.
- Built up my credit score and credit history.
- Learned the basics of personal finances.
I like to plan ahead and consider whether what I’m doing now will benefit me in the future. What has helped me the most is doing my best to create a flexible plan and course-correcting along the way, when needed. I know that plans don’t always work out and life throws curveballs so allowing flexibility has kept me sane on multiple occasions.
What am I willing to sacrifice to achieve my next financial goals?
When I set a goal that is important to me, I do everything in my power to make it a reality. I’ve become comfortable passing up on immediate pleasures now for the sake of my long-term goals. I don’t deprive myself completely but I do find ways to make time and money for a trip to the mountains or somewhere tropical or buy myself a reward.
My driving force has been setting small goals and hustling towards those goals.
Then when I’ve accomplished them, I create my next set of goals based on my ultimate goal being financial freedom.
My next “small step” goal is to become debt-free in 3 years by paying off my remaining student loans. I’m doing what I can now to make this a reality (and sooner than I planned) by using a combination of financial strategies – making more money and paying extra towards this debt.
Unfortunately, the trade-offs (or sacrifices) does include putting off purchasing a house, putting off investing in stocks and skipping luxuries for the time being (no new phone, not too many travels planned…) however I’m confident it will be worth it in the end 🙂
How about you? What are you willing to sacrifice to reach your financial goals?