First off, I want to express my gratitude to everyone who comes to this little blog and reads my humble(usually ranting)remarks and the ever-so-dry financial calculations and scratchings I make.
And an extra dose of gratefulness to those who read and comment!
Though I may be quite lax in replying at times(most times!), I do read every single word of comments left on the posts and they are most welcomed.
They leave me with a sense of "I'm not just shouting into a big black void" and the comments either validate me/what I do OR they let me know when I am in serious need of getting my head out of my own ass and returning to something resembling reality.
Hopefully, it's the previous and not the latter situation that prompts your comments left. ;-)
I see my blog, firstly as a LIFE BLOG. I talk about almost anything I have a mind to, from finances, to my family, to genealogy and my other interests in life.
A big part of my blog is frugality.....it's not the only thing that goes on here, but it's a big one.
Most frugal blogs also encompass debt and debt repayment.
If you haven't realized it yet, you won't find that component here at DON'T READ THIS; IT'S BORING.
Hubs and I escaped the whole Debt thing for good in March of 2006, when we paid off the mortgage.
We only put as much in purchases on the credit card that we can pay off each month and we don't finance cars. We are onto cash flowing college for the kids and building up our retirement savings. We just don't do debt anymore.
You won't be able to come here to cheer us on when we kill a debt. I know.....I just take all the fun out of life sometimes, don't I?
I do, however, love to leave comments for others who are still struggling with debt, when they vanquish a foe. It makes me smile when all of you I visit take another big step toward living the dream of Debt Freedom.
What you WILL be able to come here to see is how much better life can be once you get to be debt-free.
You can see that once you aren't dissipating your income to this debt or that one AND giving the bulk of your income to a mortgage company, how quickly that money you use to give to debts can pile up and stay in YOUR bank account instead and then fund other goals, like college for the kids, house remodels, vacations, house repairs and retirement.
You'll also see how we struggle to avoid lifestyle inflation, what I feel is the greatest threat to living below your means.
It's so easy when you get a raise in income or a windfall of some unexpected money to use it to upgrade your life. Instead of keeping what was before, a perfectly reasonable lifestyle, suddenly that extra cash needs to buy you more things or higher quality/quantity of food/drink/car/home, or more nights out being entertained. So the extra cash gets spent on frivolity(wants) instead of being held for emergencies both big and small that will come around.
Shit happens. You may not want to face that fact, but it does. So don't spend all your money. Keep some. Invest some. You never know when you'll need some extra for.....Needs!
People often ask me how we did it....how we got to this place.
It's complicated and what worked for us might not work for anyone else.
We saw 2 paths to debt freedom.
There is the "intense/short" path or the "little pain felt/long" path.
We could get very serious about being in debt. Debt could become the focus of our lives and every penny spent, every decision made would be ruled by the debt. We could make debt so vile in our minds that the most important thing in our lives would be to extract from it's talons, even if some decisions made our lives uncomfortable for the short term.
We could be more casual about rooting out the debt. Debt would be paid off slowly, without it disrupting our lifestyle much. We wouldn't feel the pain of making do without this or that, and the debt would be hanging around longer.
Since we didn't have piles of debt(credit cards, medical, car, etc.)other than a mortgage, it was easy to pick the short, intense path to freedom. We could knuckle down for a couple of years and delay gratification in so many other things to get the debt gone.
I know some may feel that getting intense for 2 years is extreme. Heck I know people who can't delay wants for 2 MONTHS.
We thought 2 years of full frontal deprivation was pushing it, but the benefits of getting the debt over with outweighed the sacrifices we had to make.
But you know......where you are with your finances now is because of a long long line of choices you have made with your money through the years.
No single decision brought you to where your money stands today.
There have been literally thousands of decisions you have made over the course of your life and each one put you either on a better path or a worse path, and every subsequent decision you made, either made that path better again or even worse.
All those choices, either good or bad, you have made through your life is why you are where you are today.
But with that being said, it is NEVER too late to take control of your finances and your life.
If you've just been drifting along for 10 months or 10 years, don't worry about what's past.
Make today the day you take the reins of your money and live intentionally!
You can't change the past, but you can certainly change your future.
It is your life and your money.
No one has THE correct way to get out of debt and no one has THE correct way to save and spend your money.
This is something you have to figure out for yourself.
Yes, you can follow the path someone else took to freedom and it might or might not work for you as well.
But more importantly, you need to take the lessons from how they approached their finances.
Learn why they did X, Y or Z.
Learn a new attitude about and toward your money.
Money is a great tool. IT is not the end all and be all and the point of your life is NOT to end it with the biggest pile of cash. It's a means to an end...... being able to live your life without stress from money worries, surrounded by the people you value and who value you.
Take the time and effort to learn how best to use the tool to craft the life you want to live.