There is no magic formula for getting out of debt, and many times there are tough choices to be made. In the end, it is all worth it, since the sacrifices can lead to greater good down the road. But still, when you are in the middle of the hard choices, and the last thing that you want to do is make them, life can be full of anxiety.
We have one such choice we are facing right now. My daughter is a competitive figure skater. This is a sport that requires a bit of money to maintain. Although she is still at a lower level, as she progresses, the costs get higher. She needs more ice time, more coaching, more costumes and more travel and overnight stays for competitions, among the costs. Basically, the better she gets, the more time and money that is needed to progress.
So far we have been getting by as frugally as possible. While other girls at her level have $300-$500 custom molded skates with professional blades, she has $70 off-the-rack skates. Instead of a $500 custom competition dress, she has a $20 used dress. Instead of two or three coaches and 10 sessions of skating per week, she has one coach and three sessions of skating per week. Up to this point, her talent and determination have kept her competitive, but it won’t be long before the disadvantages will start to show.
Our options are pretty limited. We could go greatly into debt, and allow her to pursue her dream. Or we could make the tough choice to be practical and take her out of the competitive circuit. Even though we know that continuing to allow her to skate competitively would most likely endanger the financial stability of the family and eventually send us into bankruptcy, it is still hard to contemplate saying no to a sport she loves and is good at doing, a sport that teaches her determination, focus, hard work, team work, respect, and the importance of a healthy body. (We have been really lucky to find a great rink where coaches and parents alike focus on support and sportsmanship first and foremost. )
As much as we want to do so, closing our eyes to the reality of the situation will only lead to trouble. We know this. Why then is it so hard to make the correct choice?