and ramblings on everything in between
When I made my last debt payment in January, I knew my journey had just begun. It’s one thing to become debt free and another thing to stay that way for life. I’m only six months into my debt-free life, but I’ve already learned so much about the freedom it provides.
1) I can do what I love at a lower salary. I recently found out that I make below the national average for new graduates in 2013. CNN Money reported that humanities graduates will earn an average of $36,000. I don’t make close to that much and I’m almost 10 years older than these kids. While this hurt my feelings at first, I am so blessed to work at a job that I love that the money doesn’t even matter. I get paid to write every single day and nothing is better than that in my world. Not having debt means I can make less money doing what I love instead of doing what I hate to pay the bills. My first job was one such job. If I had chosen to stay there, I’m sure I’d be making almost double what I make now, but it would have been at the expense of my happiness and creativity and you can’t put a price tag on that.
2) A crisis ain’t got nothing on me. Crisis, schmisis. Before becoming debt free, any little blow to my budget would have been financially altering. No matter how careful you are in life, there are always things that pop up unexpectedly. I’ve recently been going through some medical issues that required tests and doctor’s visits and more tests. When the hospital told me one procedure alone (and more were to follow) would cost me $435 out of pocket, I think my eyes popped out of my head. While I really didn’t want to see that $400+ leave my savings account, I knew it wasn’t going to be detrimental to my financial health.
3) God honoring = the way to be. If you read my blog, you know I love God. And God loves it when we are committed to living according to His word. Dave Ramsey believes that “God tends to pour blessings on people going in a direction He wants them to go.” I know this doesn’t mean He’ll pour thousands of dollars on me just for the heck of it, but I trust that if He’s calling me to live debt free then He won’t let me fail at it. There will be hard times, there will be days when I feel trapped between a rock and a hard place, but through it all I will believe that He has a plan to keep me in the black.
4) The habits I’ve picked up are for life. Once I decided I wanted to pay off my debt for good, it took me a little under two years to do it. In those two years, I learned how to say no, how to accept my friends’ hand-me-downs, and how to put money away no matter what temptation was looking me in the eye. These habits didn’t end in January and they won’t end in five years. They have shaped who I am, how I view money, and how I perceive possessions. And the best habit of all is leaning into God and trusting in His will instead of my own. I couldn’t have done it without Him, and I won’t be able to do it without Him in the future either. I’ve seen time and time again throughout this journey that He is faithful and trustworthy.
5) No wimpy kids allowed. Committing to a debt-free life isn’t for the faint of heart, the weak, the quitters. It weeds out the men from the boys, as they like to say. I like that I’m a part of an elite club that doesn’t allow any ol’ person off the street to join. If it were easy, then everyone would be debt free. It takes focus and diligence and dedication. I like being able to say I possess those qualities.
And a bonus thing I love is that my bank sent me this little video on my birthday and it brought a tear to my eye and a smile to my face because I get it. I’m one of the people who get it.
Are you thinking about joining the club? Resources are endless to help you get started. Here are just a few: