We’re weird. I’m okay with that. No, really, I mean it. I’m glad we’re weird. It is one of the big reasons you check us out every day. But why are we that way? Why do we choose to look at “normal” and go the other way? Why do we drive older cars, do most of our own construction projects, shop at yard sales and thrift stores and do other things “normal” people don’t do? Today, I’ll fill you in.
I want to start with three ways we got where we are – the HOW. I believe we have to start there for you to understand the why. First, we made the choice as a couple to live debt free. With very few exceptions, the people who are debt free got there because they made it a priority. We made paying off debt a big priority and avoiding it thereafter an even bigger priority.
I’m not going to lie – I want expensive stuff. I have a thing for nice pens and watches. I lust after a beautiful Mont Blanc when I see it and I would love to have a nice Breitling or Rolex. You probably didn’t know that, considering I write with whatever pen is handy and my fanciest way to figure out the time is with a Seiko I bought on a trip to Russia years ago. No matter how much I like really fancy things, I just can’t make myself buy them. They’re really nice and if you want to buy me one, I wouldn’t complain and would even write a nice thank-you note (insert subliminal hint here). But I’m not going to spend my cash on such things.
We made living debt-free a priority and these luxury items don’t fit (for now) in the scheme of our priorities.
Second, we educated ourselves. Why do I love Dave Ramsey so much? He is all about educating people and helping them LEARN about freedom from debt. He motivates people and gives them the information they need to succeed. When I grow up, I hope I can be just like him. Through Dave’s books and Financial Peace University, Stacy and I learned a lot about communicating with one another about money and setting accurate priorities. Even though we both have a good head on our shoulders about money, Dave (and others) gave us a lot of good information to be equipped to handle personal financial issues.
Third, we sought out mentors. Some of the best money you can spend is on buying the right person/people lunch. If there is someone who has done life in a way you believe, ask them to lunch. Tell them you are impressed by how they live their lives and you want to buy them lunch so you can learn from them. It is a valuable investment in yourself and it gives them a chance to be a mentor (more on that in a second). If you don’t have at least one mentor in your life, get one – TODAY.
So there’s some of the HOW we did it. Let’s talk about the WHY.
- I talk to people who are divorced because they couldn’t agree about money and their marriage fell apart.
- I talk to people who have to choose between buying groceries and paying their Visa bill and discover (no pun intended) they make more money than I do!
- I talk to people who “can’t save for retirement” because they have a $600/month car payment.
- I talk to people who can’t make ends meet but refuse to do a budget because it “is too restricting.”
- I talk to elderly folks who are getting collections calls daily because they can’t pay a credit card bill on their small fixed income and can’t work to earn extra money.
- I talk to people who can’t tell me how much income they need to pay their bills each month because it is too overwhelming to face the mess.
- I talk to families who bought an extravagant house in 2007, financing it 100%, and now owe $40,000 more than it is worth.
- I talk to moms and dads who want to save for their kids’ college but have too many bills to make it possible.
How many of those issues still exist when you live on a budget and live debt free? ZERO. That’s why we choose to live debt free.
Is it hard to get there? Yes. Is there sacrifice involved? Yes. Are there times when you’ll just want to buy something fun and blow a bunch of cash? Yes. But are there times when you can help a friend in need? Yes. Are there times when you can support a cause you believe in? Yes. Are there times when you can joyfully give an offering to God through His church and see His kingdom grow? Yes. Would I ever want to live with debt again? NEVER.
Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy; That they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate; Laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life. I Timothy 6:17-19
Want to learn more? Buy my eBook, From Debtor to Better: The Details of Debt and How to Get Out! and learn how you can gain freedom from the bondage of debt.