Getting out of debt sucks- if you’re doing it right, that is.
Depending on how much debt you have, it should be a painful process.
This is a picture of my living room in our first home. At the time, we had two dogs and the carpet became so unbearable we ripped it out. But since we were also getting out of debt, we didn’t have the extra money to replace it. Or to even get a rug.
We lived like this for a whole year.
It was hard. Literally.
Cutting back, going without, and selling everything that isn’t nailed down takes some getting used to but being debt-free is worth every cold, dingy minute of it.
30 Things I’ve Had to Give Up or Go Without
The following is a list of other scenarios I have had to face while getting out of debt.
I tried to order them from the most petty to the most distressing:
- Canceling cable TV
- Rarely going out to eat
- Having the same dresser my entire life
- Not being able to decorate my home
- Getting a hair cut only twice a year
- Not being able to watch college football (the hubs told me to add this)
- Not being able to afford professional family photos
- Driving cars that are worth less than $2000
- Not being able to experience simple pleasures (ex. grilling out because you don’t own a grill)
- Not being able to afford gas to go to the beach
- Having very old pillows and not being able to afford new ones
- Not being able to buy food in bulk
- Not going on vacations
- Not having the capital to start a business
- Not being able to prep for disasters or emergencies
- Having a very strict food budget
- Having just enough food for 2 week’s worth of meals
- Not being able to give to charities or those in need
- Not being able to afford a bed big enough for both me and the hubs*
- Going to the doctor only when it’s absolutely necessary
- Not be able to buy gifts for family or friends
- Not being able to start self-sufficiency projects (ex. backyard chickens, vegetable gardens etc.)
- Feeling foolish about my debt
- Feeling guilty about my debt
- Being stressed about money
- Fighting about money
- Having to decide between quality or quantity when it comes to food
- Watching my husband work hard without enjoying the fruits of his labor
- Disappointing my dad*
- Being outside of God’s will
*Back story on #19 is this: Our bed, a futon, is too small for the both me and the husband to sleep comfortably. He sleeps on the couch and I sleep on the futon with the little one. It’s been like this the past 3 and half years.
*Back story on #29: When I was born my dad took part in the Florida PrePaid College Program so save for my college education. He paid a fixed price that guaranteed me a four year degree at any state university in Florida. I haven’t received my Bachelor’s yet and I still managed to rack up $36,000 in student loans. Since my classes and tuition were already paid for, I used the loans for books, rent, food, and car payments.
He’s never said anything about it but I imagine he’s a little disappointed.
As crappy as it sounds, I’m not sure I would trade these last four years for anything. I’ve learned so much especially around issues like communication, long-term thinking, and delayed gratification.
My Message to You
Have you ever seen those nature shows of animals hunting other animals? Imagine that picture in your head and think of your debt. Your debt is a hungry lion. You are the gazelle running for your life. I believe that debt can slowly eat you alive unless you pay it off with “gazelle intensity.” Do it.
Believe in yourself and quit avoiding the situation. The lion may be strong but you are quick and agile. Yeah, the process of getting out of debt sucks but your future depends on it. If I can do it, you can do it too. You can never go wrong being debt-free.
This post was featured at Nerd Wallet’s Carnival of Personal Finance- check it out here!