We’re nearly a year into our “getting out of debt” journey here at The Frugal Farmer Family. I finally feel like we’ve got some experience under our belts, so to speak, and can share a bit about what it takes to get out of debt. For most in serious debt, there is no easy road. Most people with debt aren’t going to be able to buckle down for six months and be debt free. For the majority of those who want to get out of debt, it’s going to be a road that takes a few years to finish.
But those years are likely going to pass anyway, whether or not you choose to use them to get out of debt. So the question remains: What do you want your financial life to be like 5 years from now?
Do you want it to be the same that it is today, or are you ready for a better life where money is concerned. Are you tired of the stress and the worry and the pile of bills arriving in the mail each month, or is that all okay with you?
Are you okay serving fries when you’re 80, or do images of heading south for the winter appeal more to you?
Do You REALLY Want to Get Out of Debt?
Are you ready to make the plan that is going to get you from where you are to where you want to be, or are you going to give up before you’ve even started? And what does it take to get from heavy in debt to financial freedom? Well, it takes a lot of things, at least for most people.
Deciding to pursue your goal of financial freedom means you might have to:
Sell things that aren’t truly gratifying or in line with your “real” dreams
Yes, you might like that Corvette or boat sitting in the driveway, but is it worth you having to work an extra 5 years?
Make sacrifices in areas that have become “normal” expenditures
Deciding to choose financial freedom might mean having the heat down lower than you’d like in the winter and hang drying your clothes instead of using the dryer. Things might be come inconvenient for awhile. When it comes to pursuing financial freedom, every penny really does count. Whether spending it or saving it, every penny does make a difference in whether or not you’ll achieve financial freedom, and whether or not you’ll achieve it sooner rather than later. And the funny thing about these types of sacrifices? They’re not so bad when you get used to them. I love hanging my clothes on the line now, and being able to bask in the sunshine for a few minutes each day. I love making our food from scratch and mixing it by hand instead of with an electric mixer. There’s something very gratifying about getting back to basics.
Say “no” to yourself, and to others
Are you prepared to turn down Friday night happy hour for awhile, or at least cut back? Are you prepared to find free or cheap ways of entertaining yourself and slashing that entertainment budget? Are you ready to give up some, even most, of the luxuries that have in the past caused financial freedom to be a distant dream for you? Are you prepared to make short term sacrifices for the long-term good? If you’re not, don’t bother.
Commit to staying the course for a long journey
For most, the road to financial freedom means some long-term sacrifice. This doesn’t mean you’re not allowed to have fun, it just means that “fun” will have to consist of game nights and movie nights, and that dinners out and baseball games will need to be reduced. You decide what the sacrifices will be, but know that every sacrifice you make puts you closer to your dream of financial freedom, and that every month in which you keep to your plan means one less month before you reach the finish line.
If you truly want to get out of debt, know that no matter what your current circumstances are, financial freedom is possible. It might not seem like it from where you stand now, but remember always that the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. Remember that one removes a mountain by first carrying away the small stones. And then, get to work.
Then, keep working. Keep working until you reach your first milestone, and then your second. Journal your triumphs and your disappointments, and then tell the world when you reach your goal of debt free. Whether a year from now or 5, 10, or 15 years from now – you’ll be glad you did. 🙂