When I started writing this post, I really wanted to dig down and find the main reason why I live debt free. What drives me, what keeps me going, and what keeps me at the keyboard day after day to bring these financial life strategies to you…
A quick disclaimer before I get into the body of this post. I will tell you that I still have a home mortgage. A home mortgage that I regret because if I could do it all over again, I would have saved up and paid cash for it. With that being said, I’m on track to have my house paid off in 2 years or less, and I will be 37 years old. Older than I wanted to be with a paid off house, but hopefully you can learn from my mistakes!
In my daily life, I have no outstanding debts. No car payment, no student loans, no boat payment, nothing. I only have my monthly living expenses and my mortgage. I know where every dollar I make goes, and I still have plenty of money to spend on entertainment. I live a frugal lifestyle without a bunch of extras, but I’m used to it. I don’t miss out on things I used to pay for which include: cable, a car payment, monthly video game subscriptions, spending more than $1,000 a month eating at restaurants, and buying things on a credit card. That was my old lifestyle and I really don’t miss any of it (except maybe the video game time).
I Hated That Time Of The Month!
No, not that time, (well yes that one also) – but I’m talking about the end of the month! At the end of every month, I hated paying bills. I hated getting the bills in the mail and barely getting by. Watching my account drop to zero as I paid that last bill was not a fun experience – yet I did it every single month. I spent what I made and nothing was ever left over. To be honest, I didn’t stress about money during the month – I didn’t think about it either. I put my head in the sand until the end of the month when everything would be due. I was going nowhere fast. I wasn’t going in debt, but I certainly wasn’t thriving.
Fast forward a couple of years and I live a completely different lifestyle. I actually enjoy the bills at the end of the month. The end of the month is actually something I look forward to because that is when I get to see how much more money is being put towards my mortgage principle. In the last year, we have paid off more money on our house than I ever thought possible. When my wife and I decided a year ago that it was time to get rid of our mortgage, we started to put everything toward the house.
The hardest part for me was working an extra job every week and making a minimal amount from it. Because I had a substantial mortgage, my small side hustle check really didn’t look like anything. With each and every extra check I would get, no matter how small – even $50.00, we would put it away in a stash for extra principal payments toward the mortgage at the end of the month. Handing over the $50.00 was the hardest part for me. I had to get past the block in my head that said, “I could totally go out to eat or do something fun with that $50.00. $50.00 towards a big mortgage won’t even be noticeable!” The even harder part was I was right. When we put an extra $50.00 towards the mortgage, I couldn’t even tell the principal went down.
The problem was I was looking at my debt payoff through a pinhole. I was looking at a small point in time. When I zoom out and look at the past year, the large amount I paid off is nothing but miraculous! Those $50.00 checks and deposits added up – fast! Had I kept portions of that money over the past year, I would not have seen such a dramatic decrease in my mortgage. It all adds up and before I know it, my mortgage will be history and I will post the most exciting article I have ever written! I totally went off on a tangent – sorry about that. Let’s get back to the heart of the matter. The reason I choose to live debt free.
The Main Reason I Live Debt Free
The main reason I live debt free is a selfish one. There are other reasons I live debt free that include: making sure my kids are able to go to college debt free and for my wife and me to enjoy retirement without money worries – but these are not the main reasons. The main reason I live debt free is because I have no more financial stress. My job and life, in general, is stressful enough. When I was living paycheck to paycheck, I was stressed – ignorance was not bliss. Now, I don’t stress about money because of the way I choose to live my life. The other month my wife’s car had an issue that required us to take it to the dealer. They called back and said it was going to cost $2,100 to fix it. Gulp, that hurt. I hate spending money, so the fact that I was going to spend $2,100 to fix a 12-year-old vehicle hurt.
Before you call me stupid for putting that much money into an older car, check out my related article, 5 Reasons Car Loans Are A Bad Idea. In essence, $2,100 was a lot cheaper than a $20K new car. Anyhow, I paid for the repair in cash and I haven’t thought about it since. We have a car fund that we put money into on a monthly basis for car repairs and eventually newer vehicles. The repair did not totally deplete the fund and it’s now back higher than it was. Can you imagine living like this? 7 or so years ago I couldn’t.
The freedom that comes with knowing I can handle just about anything that life throws at me financially, is amazing. Now, I know God could quickly change everything like he did in the book of Job, but I know I am managing my money intentionally and responsibly. If God chooses to take it all away from me, I will remember his promises and lift my head up, and get back on the horse. I just don’t want to risk losing everything because of stupid financial choices.
Find Your Reason And Live For It!
I wrote an earlier article about finding your reason to be fiscally responsible (Your reason for living…). What it really comes down to is making the choice to live for something greater than yourself. Living in the moment is fun – but when the credit card bill rolls around every month, that satisfaction you had when you bought that item or took that trip, quickly fades away. Delayed gratification is often the best, and saving up to pay for things cash will leave you with a great sense of pride and satisfaction – without the punch in the face from the creditors at the end of the month.
I truly pray you can find financial peace in your life. It is possible no matter what your income level is. It’s all about building a budget and living below your means. I know you can do it my friends and I will be here to encourage you on your journey! It may be time to reevaluate some of your life decisions and get back on the right track. Make sure you subscribe by email below so you don’t miss any of my encouragement 🙂 You work too hard to be this broke!