When I set out to make 2016 the year I get my family out of debt, I didn’t realize it was also a leap year. I didn’t plan ahead, but when Leap Day came around on February 29th, I wanted to do something special with my extra day. So I made a $2 payment towards my credit card debt.
Yep, you read that right. $2.
Two one dollar bills. Eight quarters. 20 dimes. 40 nickels. 200 pennies. However you look at it, it’s a small amount of money. You might be asking yourself – Why?
Why I Made a $2 Debt Payment
Have you ever heard the old saying – “How do you eat an elephant?”
The answer is “one bite at a time.”
My $2 Leap Day payment was one bite.
I don’t know what will happen in the future. None of us are truly in control of our lives. I don’t know if my husband and I will lose our sources of income. I don’t know if we will have an emergency big or small that will absorb any extra dollars in our budget. What I did know for sure on February 29th was that I had an extra $2* in my hands, so I sent it off to my debt.
(*if you’re curious, the $2 came from an app)
If I hadn’t used the $2 for paying down debt, it easily could have left my hands in a hundred other ways. A bottle of water or gas station coffee while out running errands, two toys at the dollar store to treat my boys, replacing one of my many ruined chapsticks, and so on. If something happens tomorrow and I’m unable to make any more debt payments, I will know I have at least made that $2 attempt at lowering my balance.
From Elephant Bites to Grains of Sand
I heard the elephant quote mentioned twice on various episodes of the Dave Ramsey show in the days that followed. I had already taken my little bite, so I took the mentions as affirmations that I did the right thing.
I haven’t always loved the elephant metaphor. I’m a vegetarian and it grosses me out a little. 😉 Happily, I stumbled across something even better. Before I sat down to write this post, I was listening to an episode of the His and Her Money Show while at the gym. It was the episode where Kara of From Frugal to Free shared how she paid off $25,000 of debt on a $15,000 income. It was a really inspiring story (here’s a link so you can listen) but one thing she said really stuck with me. Kara said that even if you put sand in a bucket one grain at a time, you will still eventually fill the bucket. I loved that!
Keep Going, No Matter How Slow
One grain at a time, I will fill my bucket, and you can too.
Unless you significantly increase your income and receive some major financial windfalls, debt pay off is a long, slow process. But it is not hopeless and you need to keep going. I’m looking around for my next bite, my next grain of sand, and I hope you are too.