If you are like I was in the past, you make a great big decision like, “I will put $500 a month on my debt and not touch it until it’s paid off” and then have that little voice in the back of your head saying, “Yeah sure you are, just like the 20 thousand times you said you would before and didn’t do it”.
Do you do this? Or am I the only one who has suffered from this affliction? After having read the average debt for 2016 per household being around 16 thousand in credit card and around 90 thousand in general debt, methinks I might not have been the only one here with a problem.
We had about 50 thousand in revolving debt, not including mortgage. At the end of this week, we will have a little more than 10 thousand left to pay on that. We have been chipping at it since May of 2015.
It’s been a long road, and we might have wandered into debt many years ago, but we sure as heck have been fighting our way out of it since as I am sure many have.
My goals were with good intent, but my resolve was weak. After a month, maybe two, I would start eating the progress we had made and take the credit back out. Any new purchase or trip would simply put us further in.
How did we strengthen our resolve? Here is what was different this time.
Instead of trying to change one thing, I decided to change everything. And I started with stuff I usually don’t hear people doing unless they are desperate.
Everyone seems to spend and make money in a certain way. They don’t change anything very much but try to do the same stuff while trying to incorporate paying off debt.
Example: You have the same expenses and the same salary and you try to pay off your debt by sacrificing how you spend, but the expenses you look at are the ones that provide you relief.
Like shopping for clothes, and stuff, or eating out.
What if I told you that we barely had to sacrifice anything to get where we were, but just altered what we were doing.
Take away all the fun and watch yourself fail over and over again.
Or try to rearrange things so that you can still have fun (maybe a little differently) and pay a crap load of bills without feeling the intense pinch.
By changing the fixed expenses, like cable (got rid of it and replaced it with an alternative that cost next to nothing), and got rid of an obsolete landline (and simply got a better cell plan), we save $1500 a year that was put on debt, and that is without changing anything else including our spending on anything.
That was just rearranging and transferring the money from bills we really didn’t need and paying off a debt with it instead. Take from one and give to the other. Zero sacrifice.
After we realized that seeing or doing an alternative to certain things we might save tens of thousands of dollars per year, we suddenly got very motivated to do so. The more money we got back to pay off debt, the more we wanted to pay off debt and our resolve grew stronger.
So in essence, our resolve grew because we started out tricking it to believe that it was unnecessary to be resolved at all because things just shifted from one place to another. The only sacrifice was slightly adjusting to a new way of doing things.
Got us thinking of how much we can save as opposed to how much we can spend. You start looking for the deal in everything you do, like shopping at 80% off sales and only buying a few things instead of 30, or shopping at the goodwill, getting brand names at pennies of the cost.
You start buying cheap sales bin bananas for your banana bread and getting the best deal for everything, because you are starting to see a real change happening.
And when you do go out on a real expensive night out, you really enjoy it with everything you have because you worked hard and saved hard for this kind of thing. This is why you are becoming someone who is careful with your money. So you can enjoy the stuff you love in life guilt free.
On the cusp of being debt-free I look back at the 2 years that started with a simple phone call from my cell provider telling me their rates had lowered and would be saving me $25 a month on my bill and think just how much fun I’ve had finding ways to make our hard earned money go so much further and in turn paying off debt and how much fun it will be to finally see a savings account grow by leaps and bounds in the coming years and how much lighter my head and shoulders seem to feel these days.
We are finally living below our means by working to find the savings and that will seriously affect our future by lowering the amount of time we need to spend working.
Have you gone through a debt free journey? If so please share it with me below.
If you are curious of all the savings we have made over the years, you can visit our YouTube Channel at A Decade to Freedom for more. Don’t forget to subscribe and click on the notifying bell so we can let you know when a great opportunity to save video comes up. It’s free to watch and fun to save.