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What Budgeting Success Feels Like

Sometimes there is a big flashy debt-free headline, and sometimes there is not. Budgeting success is so much more than that.

We met Carrie Hart, a 45-year-old mother of two, from Traverse City, MI, a year and a half ago and I liked her right away. She was honest, hilarious, and eager to learn.

(Here’s a little bit about her backstory and how she fared in her first few months of budgeting. Progress was slow at first, but she loved “knowing she was in the driver’s seat,” and at some point, things really began to click. As a result, the way she thought about money and her future began to change, and she resolved to be debt-free by December 1, 2016.)

Being as it is December 19, 2016, I checked in with Carrie to see how she was doing:

The bad news is she didn't quite meet her goal—yet. But that isn't the end of the story. The good news far outweighs the bad. Carrie feels one hundred percent in control of her finances and—like never before—her future. She continues to gain momentum toward increasingly bigger goals, and with newfound clarity, confidence, and awareness other areas of her life are coming into sharper focus.

Paying Down Debt Feels Great—Period

“We didn’t meet our goal, but it doesn't at all feel like failure. We have paid off thousands and thousands of dollars of debt. And it feels amazing. We know how to do this now, and we will just keep doing it.”

The Power Of Positive Thinking

“Because of YNAB, we have completely adopted a new, positive, empowering perspective on finances. Budgeting is a way of life."

Being In Control Is Addicting

“The feeling of slaying debt has caused a fire up under me! That feeling of momentum has pushed me to quit my part-time job and now I’m working full-time, and still continuing my studies.”

Priorities Are Priorities Are Priorities

“You may find this surprising, but YNAB’s methods and principles have proven helpful in other areas of my life, too. In really thinking hard about my priorities, and the finite-nature of our resources, I began to see that I was out of balance. I was excessively investing in others and volunteering, at the expense of my own family and my family life. This realization allowed me to reorder, live with more intentionality and accept a greater sense of self-value in all the right areas. I feel like I have permission to invest in my own value.”

So, What Does Budgeting Success Feel Like?

It feels strong and in control. Carrie still has debt she is paying off, but it is no longer crippling or stressful or overwhelming or debilitating because she has sorted out her priorities, she knows what her money is doing, she is making good, purposeful decisions, and she is working toward the things that make her happy.

I kind of love that this is a success story even though there isn't a big, flashy, debt-free headline (yet!). This is real-life. When Carrie's debt-free day comes, we will celebrate! Until then, she is happier, healthier, less stressed, and more in tune with what really matters to her. I'd call that a huge success.

Budgeting is not about money, so much as happiness, and creating the life you want. Carrie has tasted that, and there is no going back.

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What Budgeting Success Feels Like