I’m kind of obsessed with being out of debt. I would love to say that we are working hard to be out of debt just for the sake of being responsible, but I have some really crazy financial goals. I want things, and being out of debt means we’ll be able to achieve them. I don’t want my life to be spent making money to just pay bills. I want to travel and live in an amazing house we own outright.
Listening to broke people. We have those people in our life, like everybody does, that are broke. They aren’t broke because they don’t make enough money, they just don’t follow a budget and don’t use self-control to govern themselves. That’s fine for them, but we want better. Therefore, all the advice we get from those people we put through the filter of our own sense, and then through the “what would Dave Ramsey” say filter and see how it shapes out.
Going on vacations. My husband’s family lives a completely different lifestyle than one we are able to keep up with. They are Disney Vacation Club members who go to visit Disney World every other year and visit the Outer Banks on the years they aren’t visiting Disney. We went on one trip with them back in 2014 which was a blast. Now that we are both on board and serious about getting out of debt, we decided not to go on any extravagant trips at all. This summer they went to the beach and Ian couldn’t get the vacation time anyway, so we were saved from having to explain the
It was a hard decision for him because family considers these trips so important. My family is more practical, when I was growing up instead of going on expensive vacations every year they paid off debt and paid more down on their mortgage. At the end of the day, it’s all about focusing on the long-term gain instead of the short-term pleasure.
Eating out so much. We created a separate account for our eating out budget each month, because eating out is the one area where u like to surge, and also the one area where I am rely likely to go over budget if I don’t follow my normal routine and I get lazy.
Visiting expensive places. Outside of vacations, there are places that are not cheap to visit. We have some people we visit that have a habit of not feeding us very well so we always end up eating before we go and right after we leave because we always leave hungry. Sometimes that’s doable, but for the most part the extra snacks and food we end up picking up on top of gas money all add up really quickly. When we go visit my parents on the other hand, they usually help us with gas because they know how hard we are working to be responsible with our money. If it is anywhere near mealtime and they haven’t fed us before we go home they send us home with snack money or snacks for the ride home. Do we expect them to do that? Absolutely not. But when we know the trip will cost us next to nothing, we are a lot more willing to go be sure we don’t have to worry about blowing our budget.
Wasting my time. There are a lot of things that most people consider normal that I stopped thinking of as okay. Instead of spending time watching tv at night after the kids went to bed, I created a routine that left me very little ‘me time’ throughout the week. I learned that I didn’t really need that time, and it allowed me to really enjoy the time I did spend having down time with my family on the weekends. While some days it would have been nice to have the extra time to just do nothing, I kept thinking about this post of Dave Ramsey’s from a few years back that says 6% of wealthy watch reality TV vs. 78% of poor. I also applied that to social media unrelated to my business and it’s amazing how much more productive my days were, how much my income went up and how much happier I felt at the end of the day.
Un-savvy shopping. Getting out of debt isn’t just about the money, it’s about habits. It’s not about never spending money, which is why I think that no-spend months are a great thing for occasional challenge, but they aren’t a good lifestyle choice. Sometimes there are things you really need, and in order to make a wise investment of your time and money, you need to spend a little more.
We needed a new stock pot for a long time, so I waited until I found an enamel cast iron dutch oven that was big enough for out needs and got it. I waited for over a year to find one that was the right price and high quality and put off buying a new one for as long as I could. When I had a good month with my business, it was a the top of my list so I made the purchase without guilt or worrying about how it would affect our monthly budget.
Getting out of debt can be so incredibly frustrating. Sometimes the progress can seem so slow that it’s painful to walk this road, but I have to remind myself that even just not sliding backwards is progress toward the amazing things that await us when we don’t have to be a slave to payments.