Several years ago, my wife and I decided to get out of debt. That decision changed our lives. We focused our time, effort, and energy – and paid off all of our consumer debt. We paid off our cars and our credit cards – we were free.
Some time later, we made a down-payment on a new home and I changed jobs. We were able to take both of these “life steps” because we were free from the burden of consumer debt. Without automobile payments and credit card debt, we were able to save up for a down-payment. Without monthly payments to creditors, I was able to go after a new job opportunity – a new ministry – and not worry about a change in salary.
Getting out of debt starts out, for most folks, as a “math problem”. Interest rates are compared, monthly payments are accounted for, and loan terms are considered. At some point, the “math” has to give way to the “focus”. We had to get focused and move past merely talking about getting out of debt or dreaming about getting out of debt – and we actually had to take the steps to get out of debt.
The hard work and determination – they were worth it. Sure, we missed out on some fun and convenience, but only for a short time. Now, we are able to focus on saving money and planning for our retirement. Our financial focus is on the future and not on the past.
Interest rates matter (which is why I love the idea of transferring high-interest debt via balance transfer to a zero-interest credit card) – but to move forward, we had to deal with principal. We had to see those balances for what they were: dead weight. We didn’t simply create a plan, we used the plan. Getting out of debt became our hyper-focus, because getting out of debt became our fixed goal. Determined to succeed, we handled both victories and setbacks, but we did not allow either to alter our steady, day-after-day progress.
We didn’t succeed because we came up with some super-secret formula – or because we gave up every convenience and moved into a cave. In fact, much of our life remained the same. We simply took the time to become better managers of our money, more conscious about our spending habits, and more determined to do “smart things” with our cash. It’s cliche, but true – If we could do it, anyone can do it.
This post was written for those encouraged and/or and frustrated by the debt reduction process. Remember why you started out in the first place – for the freedom that’s at the end of the fight. It. Is. Worth. It. Keep going – and if you fallen behind, today is that new day. Get focused. Get free. Be blessed.