The Blizzard of 2011 has taken its rightful place as the 3rd largest snowfall in Chicago’s recorded history. For the record, this is my first blizzard ever. We knew it was coming. Everyone busily made preparations. Interestingly, when the storm actually hit, I learned much more about personal finance then I could have imagined was possible.
I parked my car and opted for public transportation. News reports were predicting up to 30 inches of snow and white-out conditions. Driving was to be nearly impossible. Just ask these folks stuck on Lakeshore Drive for up to 15 hours.
(What to do when nature calls?)
Tuesday night at 7:30 p.m. I was fighting my way – 3 blocks – home from the subway when it hit me (no, not the snow), getting through this storm is exactly like getting out of debt.
- The storm, like debt, progressed slowly. Early Tuesday afternoon the snow was actually pleasant. Likewise, debt doesn’t always present a problem in the beginning.
(In front of my building.)
- Pushing through the storm was a struggle. Walking against 50 mph wind gusts can delay your forward progress. It can knock you off your feet. You might want to give up and turn around. Likewise, being in debt may seem insurmountable. Make up your mind to push through.
- The right tools make all the difference. I am so thankful for my scarf. That simple piece of material protected my checks from the stinging pelts of snow flakes at 50 mph. Trust me, 10 seconds of that wintery barrage was enough to make me cover up. A budget protects your finances from the whims of unrestrained spending. Like the proper outerwear in a blizzard, never leave home without a complete monthly budget.
- Adjustments are necessary. A few times I had to walk backwards to keep moving forward. Sometimes you have to sacrifice some lifestyle comforts to make progress. It’s just temporary and for the greater good of your debt free goal!
(A bus is coming. I’m saved!)
- Find and follow in other’s footsteps. On the snow-covered paths, it was easier to follow the footsteps of others. Are you in debt and struggling to get out? Let the debt free journeys of others, like Damus Smith or Joe Paretta, give you inspiration. Learn from their experience. No need to reinvent the wheel.
- The journey is worth the trouble. I could have stayed in the subway and avoided the storm, but I wanted to go home (and the subway smells funny). Each snow-field, wind-blasted step brought me closer to my comfortable, cozy condo in the sky. With debt, you have to take each step and realize while progress may be slow and the process can be painful, each step brings you closer to your goal. Like my condo in a thundersnow, debt free is a great place to be!
(A view from comfort!)
Today, the sun was shinning and the snow has stopped. Let the digging out begin!
(24 hours later)