I NEVER thought that it would be possible for us to be out of debt within a decade, let alone less than a year.
My first instinct was to avoid disappointment and just accept it.
Then I started to realize all the ways that our debt (more specifically the $400+ we had to pay back every month) was holding us back from almost every one of our dreams: having more children, building a house, travel.
None of them were possible when everything we had was going to basic expenses and debt! As long as we were only making the minimum payment, we couldn’t move toward any of those bigger, much more meaningful financial goals.
If that’s you too, keep reading. I want you to know that you can be debt free. You can make a big difference in your finances, and fast!
Why Be Debt Free in 2015?
Students loans, credit cards for all, car payments, mortgages, and more, there are so many opportunities to acquire debt in our culture, and so little chance, it seems, to make our way out of it.
Being in debt had become so common place we almost didn’t notice it anymore. It was a way of life.
We wholeheartedly bought into the philosophy that some debt is actually “good debt,” like those low-interest student loans and home mortgages with tax advantages subsidized by the government.
We don’t often hear the benefits of debt free living touted in our culture, so I guess that’s why we never stopped to question what the true cost of those loans were.
It wasn’t until I stumbled across a post about How to Be Debt Free in 2013 that my wheels started turning.
In fact, until the moment I read that post, I didn’t even know being “debt free” was a thing. Why would anyone do that? I wondered.
Well, the reasons are different for each of us, but, I think if we’re honest, the answer to why we’d want to be debt free is right there in our hearts.
When we free up our income from debt, we have a little left over for living life more abundantly and spending more time with the ones we love.
It might be the difference between affording to be a stay at home mom and going back to work full time. Those few hundred dollars that go to debt could go to “buying” financial security in the form of building an emergency fund or saving for retirement instead.
I’d much rather help fund good causes in my community and around the world than funding the coffers of American Express and Chase.
And hey, let’s not forget the fun stuff too.
In essence, debt is the weight that holds us back from having the life we imagined. The saddest part is that we may even feel our finances are so far gone that we’ve stopped dreaming.
That was exactly how I felt when we were facing down $22,047 in debt with only one small income to pay it back.
Our income was low; our budget was already too tight. Why even bother trying to swim upstream?
If I were to guess, you didn’t acquire your debt by buying gold plated iPhone covers, either. You were probably doing good things like getting an education and making sure your family had good health care when they needed it.
You might have clicked through to this post because Debt Free in 2015 is an inspiring idea, a great new years resolution, but not one that you ever actually considered to be possible for you.
Or maybe you started reading this because the idea of living debt free is somewhat of an idiosyncrasy, like those people who live in 78 square foot houses or do ultra marathons.
Well, now that you’re here, I hope I’ve convinced you that becoming debt free just might be worth it. Now, let me show you that it might actually be possible, too.
Debt Free in 2015. Is it possible?
I can tell you, the change in thinking didn’t come right away for us, believe me! It took months before I even decided that attempting to pay off our debt faster than the minimum required was worth it.
It seemed we had such a long way to go, and we just didn’t feel like there was any extra in our tight budget to accelerate our debt payback.
But by then our eyes had been opened. We HAD to do something, or we’d be stuck in the same financial mire year after year.
The obvious: nothing would ever change until we did something different.
Once we did get started, we made a plan to pay off our student loan debt in 25 months by taking some money-saving measures. Admittedly, some of these would take some sacrifice to our comfort, and our pride.
Some were simple ways to save money, and others were a little more extreme.
Then something happened. Three months went by, and we paid off that first little loan.
There’s something magical in the getting started; in making a goal, and then seeing real progress that you never dreamed was possible.
We found more ways to save. We got more opportunities to work hard and earn more.
And before we knew it we were out of debt…in just 9 months, all with one low income, 2 little ones, some health issues, and all the real-life struggles many of you face too. (You can read our whole debt free story here.)
Now my only regret is all those months that I wrote off being debt free as something other people do, but not possible for me.
I was so busy wallowing in my own regret of past financial mistakes and how hard we had it living on such a tight budget.
Instead, I could have been using that time and energy to actually make a change!
Your Debt Free Story Starts Today
I don’t know what your particular situation is. Your debt might be $2,000 or $200,000. You might have one low income, or two large ones. What I do know is this.
Every month you continue to make that minimum payment is another opportunity lost to change your financial future.
Will you be telling your own amazing debt free story next year? Or will this be just another year where you let go of the dreams you once had for your family.
Will 2015 be the year you start YOUR journey to be debt free?
Whether you’re just starting to learn about the possibility of being debt free like I was, or you’re already taking steps to reach your goal, be encouraged! Living debt free is possible, and it’s so worth it!
Where are you on your journey to debt free? Share your story in the comments!