Whenever I tell someone about our debt free journey, I get mixed reactions and a LOT of unsolicited advice. I hear things like:
“Debt is a tool.”
“You’re always going to have SOME kind of debt.”
“Debt is good for your credit score.”
“Debt is fine as long as it is an investment.”
“Well it’s totally fine and normal to have a car payment.”
But that’s the thing about PERSONAL FINANCE – it’s personal!
What works for me, may not work for you. We don’t have to think alike to reach our own goals.
I saw a quote on instagram the other day that I really loved: “I’m not anti-credit card. I’m pro know yourself and your discipline level with credit cards and act accordingly.” The same thing can be said about debt.
Craig and I have proved that we spend way more foolishly when we are spending other people’s money whether that be for a car, on a credit card, on a home remodel, etc.
When I hand over a credit card to pay for something or say I get a loan, it feels easy and light. I don’t feel the same gravity or weight of what it feels like to pay cash for something.
In 2020, we had spent our very first year paying off debt and to “treat ourselves,” for our hard work and discipline, we launched a bathroom remodel with the intention of cash flowing it all. We thought it’d be around $6,000, no biggie. By the time the actual bills started rolling in, it was around $15,000 and we found it all too easy to reach back into debt for a credit card to keep things moving. It was pretty easy to spend someone else’s money on thousands of dollars in mountain bikes. We didn’t feel the weight of it.
Even after our rock bottom, after our year of crawling our way out of financial ruin, we still found it SO easy to lean on debt. We learned a hard lesson, one I’m reminded of every day when I see our unfinished bathroom remodel: We can’t be trusted with debt.
WE cannot be trusted with debt. That is OUR personal choice. That choice is not made to offend you. That statement is not said for you to convince us otherwise. That’s how WE are committed to living our lives.
Does everyone have a little bit of debt? Most people do. We don’t want to be like most people.
Can debt be used as a tool? Most people can use debt responsibly. We cannot.
Do most Americans have a car payment and that’s okay and normal? That’s fine, but not for us.
When I share about our debt free journey, a lot of people are interested but then the excuses start.
“Well a car payment is good for our credit score.”
“My income is inconsistent so budgeting would never work for us.”
That’s okay for some people, but that’s not okay for us. When we hit our rock bottom, it scarred us. It was painful. It hurt. When people do their debt free screams on the Dave Ramsey show, he asks them what their “moment” was. Our moment was so incredibly painful and traumatizing that we have felt the heavy weight and burden of debt ever since, it’s something we could not ignore.
You can read about that here: We Couldn’t Afford Cafeteria Food.
So if you’re able to get through without a budget, that’s okay. If you think having an inconsistent income is enough reason to not have to budget, that’s okay. If your “why” isn’t stronger than your excuses, that’s okay. If you haven’t hit your “moment”, that’s okay. If you can continue to justify debt in your life and THAT’S OKAY!
We just can’t. It hurts too much. And that’s our PERSONAL finance decision.
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