As I read the definition of slavery, the words RESTRICTED FREEDOM stuck out to me. How many of us are living in a form of modern slavery? We have accepted being broke and in debt as part of a social norm that forces us to have to work 40 plus hour work weeks, in order to pay for a lifestyle, that we cannot afford. Once we realize that lifestyle doesn’t make us feel happy and fulfilled, it is too late, and we find ourselves drowning in credit card bills and other debts we owe. By then, hundreds of dollars are going towards interest rates each month and it feels like it is impossible to get ahead. But, it is not impossible.
I have been following the success stories of many people who have climbed their way out of the hole of debt. The first step, is to really want to become debt free. You have to give up all excuses, as to why you spend extra money. Whether it is going to the store for one thing and leaving with bags of items you didn’t plan on buying or buying something you cannot pay cash for. If you cannot buy it in cash, then you cannot afford it. After deciding that you do not want to be in debt anymore, the second step is to create a little emergency fund. I chose to save up a thousand dollars. That way, if anything comes up, such as needing new tires, that charge won’t need to be put on the card. After the emergency found is established, then it is time to attack the debt full force. I created a budget for myself that still allowed money for saving, fun, food, gas and general spending. I have to be realistic and not totally deprive myself, otherwise, I won’t last in the marathon. I don’t look at my budget as a prison cell to spending, rather a map of where my hard earned dollars will go. I think the anxiety of having to change my lifestyle was worst than actuality applying in. Now that I have been living off this budget for the past couple of month, using cash envelopes rather than spending on my debit card, I am finding I have extra money in each envelope when pay day comes around. It isn’t as hard as I thought it would be. I have 3 debts that I am working to pay off in the next four years that total $90,000. A line of credit I have had since 2004! I added up all the interest I have paid on the $9,000 maxed out limit and it has been over $10,000 dollars! Time to pay that baby off! Then I want to pay off my Jeep and student loans. Once those are paid off, then I can focus on creating a safety net of at least 6 months worth of cost of living. After that it will be paying off the house. At that point, I will be completely free of debt and can do whatever I chose with my money and time. The purpose of all of this, is to be able to use my TIME as I please. I no longer want to have restricted freedom in my own life and I am the only person that can do something about that.
I hope others will find the motivation and encouragement to create a lifestyle for themselves that will bring the most happiness. If this is the only chance I have at this thing called life, I want to experience it to the fullest and not be stuck working 40 plus hour work weeks, especially for somebody else!