Day 15: Focus Breeds Excellence

Dave Ramsey is known for one saying more than any other:

Live like no one else so that later you can live – and give – like no one else.

This one small saying has helped inspire millions of people to get on a plan, get out of debt, and begin managing their money wisely. Many people have a daunting amount of debt, and they can’t fathom how they’re supposed to get out. After all, a lifestyle of paycheck to paycheck is what got them into this mess in the first place. Or they’re like me, burdened by student loans used to get a degree that may or may not be profitable in the marketplace. How is anyone supposed to get out of debt?

Today, Dave shared the key to getting out of debt in one neat little quote:

Focus breeds excellence.

Focus is the secret to getting out of debt. For that matter, focus is the secret to accomplishing anything worth doing.

When I was getting out of debt, it was basically all I thought about. How can I cut back my lifestyle a little bit more to make extra headway? How can I earn a little bit more to throw at the debt? If I pay off this debt rather than that one, how much will I save on interest? It was pretty annoying to the people around me, I’m sure. (Sorry, Olivia!)

I threw all of my weight into this task. Graduation money, birthday money, freelance money, superfluous savings, everything got thrown at my debt. I kept $1000 as an emergency fund and tried to have a little fun here and there, but ultimately I was focused on getting out of debt.

The end result? I paid off $15,000 in 13 months. Some months, I threw gobs of cash at the debt, taking out smaller loans in one shot. Other months, I had overestimated income or underestimated my spending and just barely hit the minimums. I cut back and sacrificed. I cooked a lot of chicken and rice. I continued to drive my 1996 Camry (which just hit 310,000 miles today), rather than upgrading. I Grouponed and DIYed a LOT of cheap dates (Sorry again, Olivia!).

And I did it. I paid off my last student loan back in April and breathed a sigh of relief, basking in my accomplishment.

And then I set about for the next thing I would focus on. Because focus breeds excellence, and excellence requires growth.

What are you focused on?

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