5 Inspirational Posts For Living Debt-Free

Whether you’re trying to get out, or stay out, of debt, these five posts are a good way to get inspired to stick with your goals:

(Photo: .A.A)

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  1. ontheheel says:

    My wife and I have been on a crusade to pay off her student loans as quickly as possible. We got married on January 5th of this year, and in that time have managed to pay off just over $28,000 in debt, and are working to make it $31,500 by our first anniversary.

    I am a part-time seminary student looking to go back full time, and have been working in financial aid this year, but was unemployed during January and June, due to moves. My wife was a full time social work grad student/intern until she graduated in May and has been working as a social worker at a nursing home in Dallas (and was unemployed in January as well).

    Our secret? We just try not to spend money whenever possible. We also made a couple of major decisions that helped us out a lot. Our first home was a resident adviser apartment at an independent youth housing project for troubled teens until the end of May. She got a job in Dallas after graduating, and we lived with my parents for three months until we snagged an on-campus apartment at my school (which is pretty cheap, considering it’s practically downtown Dallas on the 8th floor for $600/month).

    We also only have one car, which is paid for (part of that number above went to pay off the car), and I take the commuter bus 50 miles north to Denton every day for free with my UNT staff ID card.

    The best advice, if you’re really serious, is to cut out the big things, swallow your pride, and don’t let the little things get out of control.

  2. Fist-o™ says:

    I would like to say that we have been debt free as of September, and it’s wonderful. I feel kind of guilty because it really wasn’t that hard for us. The thing that made it easy for me, was to realize that we really can’t afford most of the things that most people seem to have around us: Lexuses, (Lexi?), huge TVs with Dishnet; Tons of fancy furniture… J-Crew clothing… I just don’t give a crap about that stuff. I don’t need nice stuff. I make do with what we have. For instance, our “Dining set” is a used, worn-out table with four threadbare chairs, only one of which actually has the arms left. $40. To me, it’s more important to have that 6-month fully funded emergency fund in place.

    Also, I must confess that I do have a snobbish attitude– AGAINST those who drive expensive vehicles. I assume that they’ve all financed them, and I assume that they all pay exorbitant monthly payments… while WE save up CASH for our next vehicle, which will be a used vehicle, still in good shape, and fully researched and test-driven and mechanic-inspected. It’s about the long haul! You have to keep that future goal in sight. The more you save now, the more you can BLOW when you get older! ‘Cause, guess what: YOU ARE going to get older.

    Yes, I know, some people ARE well off; and do buy brand new beamers, and pay cash for them. I know one person who has done this. However, she is in her late 40′s, and has practiced a life of frugality, and her net worth is approaching the million mark (If not already exceeded it, I don’t know). It’s the “Millionare Next Door” mentality.

    I also became a vehement, outspoken (via consumerist comments) hater & denouncer of credit cards. …Yes, yes, I know; you clever lads & lasses “Always pay them off by the end of the month”, and “Earn cash back on everything you buy” and “build your credit score”. Know what? I don’t care. I choose NOT to play with those snakes. because they ARE snakes. Binding Arbitration. Irresponsible Lending. It’s a moral choice. Keep your 2% cash bribe; I’m not going to support your lending business that runs hand-in-hand with the current sub-prime lending debacle.

    I even shed the albatross of Sallie Mae. Granted; the bulk of the debt was paid off from an inheritance; I thank my father was taken from this life too early, but had the foresight to at least have a fairly decent life insurance policy. However, the student loan debt was well on its way to be destroyed in 12-16 months, as we attacked it with every extra dollar available. I just had it with them. 30 years of indebtedness to foolish spending during college.

    Whew. I’m spent.

  3. Echomatrix says:

    Hey i resemble those remarks! I own my (future)Bimmer cash out. Also, I only use credit when buying big purchases. Safety net

    • Fist-o™ says:

      @Echomatrix: The “Big-Item Purchase” is the one tempting area where CC’s still tempt me. “Hmm. If I get 3% cash back, and this thing costs $2,000, I’ll get $60! Hmm!” Tempting.

      …But then I worry about the risk of another open account… ID theft scares the crap out of me… and I reason, “I could sell my such-and-such thingy that I never use for $60.”

  4. Mobius says:

    While I think people should use discretion when spending their money, I also think living in a rat hole while pinching every penny to save up for some mysterious day when you’re then too old to appreciate the things you could buy is also folly. The middle path is the way to enlightenment.

    • freelunch says:

      @Mobius: definitely agree to an extent. saving up piles of money is pointless if you don’t know what you are even going to do with it.

      plans to save and invest for retirement, house, kid’s college fund, etc… is the way to go.

  5. carpediemcls says:

    Seperating purchases into two categories–”needs” vs. “wants” is huge. Find things in your life you don’t “need” such as–cable tv, wireless internet, magazine subscriptions, new clothes all the time, GYM memberships etc…etc. My husband and I find things to do outdoors instead of going out to dinner/movies/things that cost money. We’ll go running, biking, or throw the frisbee. Its all free, and keeps us in shape! And NEVER EVER spend money you don’t have…meaning only use credit cards if you can pay off the entire amount on the spot.

  6. MrFrankenstein says:

    ’5 Inspriational Posts For Living Debt-Free’

    Er, excuse me – what?
    I’d take this article more seriously if a spell-checker had been run on the article heading :P

    ‘Inspriational’ ? Sorry, but that isn’t a word – and its certainly not spelled like the writer presumably pronounces it.

  7. docrice says:

    I think it’s interesting that no one ever mentions getting a PT job to help knock down debt…sure, it’s not easy to find work right now, but retail always seems to be hiring, and if you can give up a few nights a week and a weekend day or two, you can rake an extra couple hundred bucks a paycheck – especially now with big box stores hiring holiday help. Is it strange to go from your plush $40k/yr job to stocking shelves for $8/hr? Yep, but if it helps you drop the debt it’s worth it, plus there’s an added bonus – it keeps you busy. Boredom is always a gateway to debt because what do most people do when they’re bored? SPEND MONEY – go to the movies, go buy a CD, etc. I hardly spent a dime in college because I was a full-time full-load student with a 35 hr/wk. job. No time to be bored or spend money – hardly time to sleep. Didn’t need cable because I was rarely at home and awake. Ideal? No. Good in the short run to pull some quick coin? Absoloutely.

    • battra92 says:

      @docrice: I’ve thought about that as a way of keeping me busy, meeting new people etc. but then I realize that with my current tax bracket plus SS plus Mediscare plus State Tax and all is said and done $8 an hour extra is more like … $4 an hour.

      Honestly at that point I’d rather just sell crap on eBay or have a tag sale (in the summer of course) and just reap the benefits that way.

    • booboolee says:

      @docrice: I work nights and weekends for $10/hr at a luxury goods store doing seasonal work. 25% discount means everyone is getting wine and cheese for christmas! This is also allowing me to avoid dipping into my savings while I am working on an independent project during the day. I will be making $1000 a month, so I will be ok even if I am not picked up for more work from my last job. I have no debt, but had to start savings from scratch when I graduated college.

  8. NYGal81 says:

    I’m always happy to read about people who manage to overcome debt, but sometimes I wish it was doled out with a little more “here’s how I did it” and a little less “if you like worldly possessions, you’re a shallow asshole.”

    I’m not coming at this with some smarmy attitude of “I don’t have debt, and you’re a loser if you do.” I have credit cards that I pay off every month. I have a car that I owe a little bit of money on (thankfully, to my mother and not a corporation). My husband and I have a combined $275K in student loans (Thanks Psy.D. and Med School!), and we just bought a house. That’s a LOT of debt. Even all that debt doesn’t mean we’re irresponsible with our money or about our finances. We do finance things (a couch and a loveseat, a tv, some stuff from IKEA), but only if we can get no interest, no payments for a year or more–and we’re uber-responsible when paying them off, so we’re not going to get dinged with all the interest at the end. I clip coupons and try hard only to buy things (all things: groceries, clothes, health & beauty, etc.) when they’re on sale. Having “things” and doing “things” doesn’t mean we’re living a life of frivolity or willful ignorance of our financial situation.

    What’s the point? My values are my values, and I’m not asking anyone else to do things the way I do them. It works for me, and that’s about it. So why do I wind up feeling like I’m being preached to when I read posts that tout the virtues of having milk crates for furniture? If that works for you, great, but it doesn’t work for me, and I’m not sure there’s anything wrong with that.

    And now maybe I’ve gotten overzealous in my defense, and have crossed the line to “preachy” myself. Apologies.

  9. Elijah86 says:

    I read it as :5 inspirational posters…”

  10. jenster says:

    A lot of debt is unavoidable, but other debt results from keeping up with the Jones’. I could care less about the Jones’ so I drive an older vehicle (paid off) that doesn’t look very exciting but runs great, own a smaller house instead of a McMansion and have a few good solid pieces of clothing instead of a closet crammed full of things I never wear. Yet, I still manage to have a lot of fun. Not owing money on “stuff” is very liberating.