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We have been very blessed to be completely out of debt for the last 11 years! That is something that is completely foreign to many people and longed for by even more. However, its not something that will just drop into your lap; it must be worked for diligently. Here’s what we do to stay out of debt:
#1 Change Your Mindset!
Its super easy to fall into a debt mindset so we must be very careful that we don’t say to ourselves, “Well, we can just borrow for that.” Honestly, its been really tempting several times when we were in need of something (like a car, tractor or to build onto our home), but we resisted the urge. My biggest hang-up with it is that you never know when your income may drop or you may get unexpected expenses like doctor bills or car repairs. Yet, you’re still liable for your debts regardless what happens. I also don’t like being in bondage to debt. It weighs heavily on my mind (especially at night).
#2 Buy Used!
Yes, we buy used cars and I don’t mean 2-3 years old. We buy 8-10 year old vehicles with good bodies and decently low millage that have been well taken care of. Then we usually keep them for 10 years or longer. We pay cash so there’s no interest to pay and since they are older the insurance is cheaper (we also don’t have to pay for full coverage if we don’t want to!). We save a load doing this! A few years ago we needed a new lawn mower and had the budget for one. When we were about to buy one for $1500 we thought to call a dealership that also took used ones as trade ins. Since it came from the dealership and was only 2 years old with very little hours on it we thought it was a great bargain at only $750! Half the price of the new one and its been a wonderful mower 🙂
#3 Make Repairs Instead of Replacements!
If at all possible and if its cost effective we repair a broken item instead of replacing it. We repaired my washing machine for a few dollars 2 times before finally having to replace it with a new one. We were able to use our used washing machine for 9 years before it finally became too expensive to repair (we only paid $125 for it!). We’ve done this on multitudes of items such as patching pants, shirts, ect…vehicles, appliances (even small things like baby gates).
#4 Delay Purchases.
While I don’t have this down perfectly by any means, its a HUGE $$$ saver! While I may think on Monday that I can’t live without a certain item if I will just wait until Friday my interest has usually waned dramatically. I’m still working on this one, but I am getting better!
#5 Don’t Build or Buy Until You Have the $$$.
We built our home completely debt-free on an annual income of $30,000! I totally give the credit to the Lord here but we also had to make certain decisions. We thought this was an impossible task and everyone told us it was. But we felt strongly that this is what we supposed to do. In January 2009 after saving for several years we started our home and moved in in September 2009. It was small (900 square feet) but it was just the 2 of us. The next year we added a baby to the mix and I quit my job to stay at home full time. 2 years later, we were expecting #2 and needed to build on. Again the Lord provided for us and we built our addition which almost doubled our home size, again debt free in under a year!
I hope this encourages you that being debt-free is possible and staying that way is also! We didn’t start out our marriage that way and it took us 6 years to become completely debt-free so don’t give up if you’re just starting or if the way seems impossible!
So, what are you doing to become or stay debt-free? Drop me a comment and let me know!