What to do When Your Income Dips

If you’re on the adventure of paying off debt, if can feel really discouraging when your income dips, or you lose your job. You may have been making great strides, but suddenly the momentum gets derailed. What do you do?

Michael and I have been working through paying off our house for the past three and a half years now. Because it’s been years, we’ve had a lot of highs and lows happen. We had three months of car issues that cost us over $400 each time. We’ve had unexpected vet and medical bills. We’ve had infertility test expenses. I’ve lost my job and had income decreases due to the status of the company. The list goes on and on.

With everything hitting us, it’s been hard to stay motivated at paying off our house. But our why is bigger than our circumstances. As I shared last week, it is important to have a reason you’re working towards something. It’s even more important to have accountability as you’re doing it as well. If Michael or I were doing it alone, we would have given up or greatly slowed down towards our goal. Yet, because we were cheering each other on, we kept going.

Having a financial downturn causes you to re-evaluate your budget and effort. For us, we decreased our extra payments for the mortgage for a bit, but we did everything we could to keep putting something down on it. We reworked the budget and decided to cut back in other areas so that we could still work at meeting our goal.

Depending on how intense you are and how badly you want to be free of debt, will determine how much of a sacrifice you’re willing to make on other areas of your financial life. The more hits Michael and I took financially, the more sacrifices we made. For example:

  • We only use store vehicles when they’re available since our vehicle died. I either walk, bike, or take the bus to work now, instead of us investing in another vehicle
  • We don’t have a restaurant fund anymore. We had saved up our travel fund, so we’re slowly taking from that when we want to do fun things.
  • We have a decreased allowance. But we can use that for things we want as well.
  • I learned how to cut Michael’s hair. Spending $50 on a hair trimmer has saved us hundreds of dollars over the years.

Our families have greatly helped out as well. They’ve allowed us to borrow their cars when needed. They’ve had us over for meals. They’ve given us gifts on holidays of items that we’ve needed. We’re very grateful that people have helped us out so that we can see our dream of freedom come true.

The point I’m making is to not give up or get sidetracked. If you have a dip in income, figure out ways to keep going towards your goal of being debt free. The sooner you’re out of debt, the quicker you are to enjoying all the things you’ve sacrificed. We’ll eventually be able to eat out more again. We’ll take the trips we want to. We’ll bless others the way we so greatly desire to. We’ll have the peace of mind and wallet that we are free. We don’t owe anyone anything.

By not owing anyone anything, it’ll save against the stress and fear of losing a job. It’ll protect against not being able to afford things in a crisis. We’ll be able to put food on our table, keep our lights on, and help others in their time of need. We’ll also be able to enjoy more of life because all of our money will be ours, not the lenders. It’s crazy, when you sit down and add it up, how much of your income really does go to other people/companies/lenders.

Send me a message if you’re stuck in a rut, having financial difficulty, and not sure how to get out of it. I’d be happy to walk through things with you and get you back on track to working towards freedom. It can happen, no matter what kind of income you have.

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