The More Things Change, The More They Change

A little back-story for those new to No Credit Needed -

Back in April of 2005, my wife and I decided to get serious and do something about our debt reduction.  As part of our plan, I created this website to track our progess.  After ten months of planning, working hard, sacrificing, dealing with setbacks, and learning from our mistakes, we were able to celebrate – we were debt free!  Less than a year later, we managed to fully-fund our emergency fund and for the past two years, we have managed to fund our retirement accounts and education savings accounts for our three kids.  Presently, we continue to fund our retirement accounts while saving for a future home purchase and building cash reserves.

I share the above so that you’ll understand where I am coming from when I make the statement – The more things change, the more they change.  I know, I know.  The actual quote is – The more things change, the more they stay the same.  The truth is, I just don’t believe that.  Nope.  I believe, like I said before – The more things change, the more they change.

Frustrated with being broke, even though I had a good job and a decent salary, I decided to make some changes.  Those changes, once they had born their fruit, led to other changes.  Subsequently, those changes, after bearing their fruit, led to even more changes.  And, so on.

My point?  We must not relegate ourselves to unmitigated stasis.  Instead, we must force ourselves to change – to break free from the foolish habits of the past and replace them with positive routines in the future. As our circumstances evolve, our attitudes evolve, our emotions evolve and our responses evolve.  This evolution – amazingly – begins to push itself forward.  The process, almost literally, takes on a life of its own.

Here’s an example.  After getting out of debt and building our emergency fund – our entire outlook on life was altered.  We were no longer bound by the day-to-day drudgery of paycheck-to-paycheck living.  Free, even a little-bit free, we began to think long-term.  Think about that.  I had worked for almost fifteen years, and I had never really considered that I might, someday, be a guy who “had money”.  I honestly thought that worrying about debt and feeling nervous about the future were simply parts of life.

Imagine how liberated we were when we realized – Hey, we’re actually saving money, living below our means, and planning for a pretty awesome future.  Things had changed!  And, they continue to change.  Each step in the process leads to another step, and then another, and then another.  With each step, we have more opportunities, more freedoms, and more choices.

The more things change, the more they change.  Instead of worrying about this month’s credit card payment, I’m thinking about investment opportunities.  Instead of fretting because I don’t own the latest and greatest, I’m satisfied with my current automobiles and saving up to pay cash for their replacements.  Instead of facing a future clouded with doubt and worry, I’m making plans and preparing for my life thirty years from now.

Before you finish this post, please keep the following in mind.  I am, quite literally, just a normal dude.  I like football, french fries, and hanging out with my friends.  I don’t have an advanced degree in finance and I haven’t figured out some way to line my pockets with gold.  Frankly, I’m just a a guy who got fed up with being broke and decided to do something about it.  When is the best time to start planning for your future and embracing some change?  How about today?

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8 Responses to The More Things Change, The More They Change

  1. MoneyEnergy says:

    Congrats! I’m in a similar place, finally tired and fed up of credit card “yo-yo” diets/binges and committing to keep them at zero (or pay off in full before end of month). It took finally realizing “do I really want to still be making credit card payments like this in another year, two years?” So I’ve made a lot of short-term sacrifices to pay that money back and am determined to do it differently going forward. You have to be able to say “I’ll do whatever it takes.” and just commit. Reorganize your budget to live on less for a while as you eliminate the debt. And have a solid plan for not getting into that debt in the same way again going forward.

    I agree with the snowball effect, too. One positive change somewhere will lead to other positive changes elsewhere.

  2. Evan says:

    NCN,

    Whenever someone wants inspiration I send them to your Blog, and the reason is captured within this post. You worked your butt off and allowed everyone on the internet to see your progress/mistakes.

    GREAT WORK! You were one of the inspirations for me when I started my blog.

    P.S. You aren’t just a football fan – you are a Falcon Fan (even better).

  3. NCN says:

    Evan,
    Thanks so much for the kind words. You rock!
    -NCN

  4. Imani says:

    Do you ever wonder how many “fake/generic” comments you get?

  5. Gina says:

    Now that you are debt free, any advice to those who are just starting? Or a specific area to start reading about your ‘start’ in your blog?

    In Jan 2008 we were $48k in debt (cars & ccards). I began listening to Dave Ramsey at that time too. Slowly I began to ‘get mad’ about being on the debt merry-go-round and began changing my behavior. I grew up in a heavy debt household so I don’t know what it is like to “be” debt free or “feel” free from payments. I can say that we have made progress ($35k) but I am getting frustrated b/c I cannot wait for 2 wks to pass before my next paycheck so I can pay down more debt. UGH!

    Hopefully this feeling of frustration is just part of the process.

  6. Jb says:

    Well said. I’ve been struggling with my debt for a number of years now, and have managed to cut down my spending as much as I will “allow” myself, but like MoneyEnergy I think I might have to get serious and make some serious sacrifices. I’m tired of the debt hanging over me, and want to save more and enjoy life more. I hope I’ll be able to be strong enough to actually do it!

  7. I am always happy to read about people who have made it out of the black hole of debt! I am working to pay off some debt myself, and posts like yours keep me motivated. It is true that changing the way you think about money can change the way you spend it. I recently read an advance copy of Loral Langemeier’s soon-to-be-released book, “Put More Cash in Your Pocket.” One of the key points is that people don’t have a fixed potential in life, so why should they accept a fixed income? It’s all about finding ways to use your skills to make more money, instead of scrimping and scraping to get by on what you have. Realizing that I could have more money than just the salary that my boss was willing to pay me really helped me think about taking control of my money in new ways. Think about it…if you save some money AND make more money, pretty soon, you’ll have a lot extra!

  8. I know exactly how you feel. I can remember when I was in college and I used 2 credit cards to live beyond my means. Breaking out of that cycle and now using my cards in a disciplined way (that actually makes me money with cash back rewards!) is a great feeling!