I’m fond of saying that Hubby and I should have received a financial stupidity award in our early marriage. Armed with credit cards and few brains, we shopped foolishly and extravagantly. Even buying a dog on credit!
If prizes existed for financial stupidity we deserved first place! Yes that’s right, we bought a dog. On credit! A living being, which could get die, run away, or get hit by a car. Or even as happened get stolen, leaving us to pay for something we no longer had. An Old English Sheepdog, Sheba was beautiful but not worth that!
That should have served as a wake up call, but really didn’t. We did start trying to cut back, but to no avail. We had a credit addiction and were over our heads in debt.
Submerged by debt
It soon became obvious that we couldn’t keep up… And the bank must have thought so too, for they repossessed our car and mobile home.
We even had to borrow my parent’s car to get to the hospital for our son’s birth. And that was when we started to realize that we had a problem. (Better late than never!)
So in 1981 we took scissors to the credit cards, dog debt included. And made a pact to not buy on credit. Then worked at getting out of debt little by little, feeling lighter and freer as each was paid!
Debt-cutting simple life
And that marked the beginning of a new era for us. One that I like to call our journey to a simple life.
We had learned the wisdom of living within our means and buying with cash only. Of learning to get by, make do, or even do without it. Which taught us that real needs are relatively few. And also increased our appreciation of what we already have.
Debt-free living is something to really celebrate!!
We celebrated our 15th anniversary by making the last debt payment. WE had nothing left for dinner out or gifts. But we’d gone from Financial Stupidity Champions to Debt-Free Living, and that was far better than all the gifts or flowers in the world!
The snowball debt method
Only years later did we learn our method had a name: the Debt-Snowball method. And here we thought ourselves the proud genius inventors, darn! An apt name, because debt can become like a growing snowball.
But paying debts off also works in the same way. Once you get that ball rolling, applying all extra funds to paying them off, your debt-free status keeps growing and growing!
And what’s important is it worked! It wasn’t easy and took determination and discipline. But knowing that it was good for us helped us keep our eyes OFF of things we didn’t really need, and ON the benefits of being debt-free.
Fast forward many years and we have now also entering mortgage-free living!
The Lord enabled us to finally buy our own home at age 50, and a few years ago we made our last house payment!! And the Lord even blessed us with being able to pay it off 3 months early! Which means we don’t owe money to anyone for anything. The only payments we are have are standard bills like utilities and car insurance.
Living without debts has been a huge blessing to us. Partially because as missionaries our income is unstable. But mostly because it gives us so much more freedom and peace of mind!
4 Benefits of debt-free living
Debt-free living comes with many benefits, but these are my favorites!
1. More time to relax.
You might be able to work less and discover that you have more time for relaxation.
2. It’s easier to save for rainy days.
With fewer payments going out, it’s easier to save for rainy days or for making future purchases like replacing our ancient car with a newer one. Or enjoying a few more special meals out.
3. It’s easier to help others.
We are freer to reach out to others with a helping hand.
4. Fewer worries over income loss.
We never know what the future may hold. Life has a way of throwing us unexpected curve balls. Or icy cold snowballs splat in our face. The current pandemic of corona virus we’re now experiencing is a prime example.
Having no payments except monthly expenses to cover helps make any income loss (like we are now experiencing) so much easier to deal with. Knowing our monthly bills are payments are limited brings greater peace of mind. While debt becomes a big thing to worry about.
But perhaps getting out of debt seems like Mission Impossible to you. If so, take heart from our story.
Trust me, if two financial idiots like us could do it, so can you!
If debt-free living seems impossible to you, take heart from our story. If two financial idiots like us could do it, so you can you!Tweet
Disclaimer: This information is provided for informational purposes only, and not intended to replace financial or legal advice! Don’t hesitate to seek professional counsel or representation.