Making a Plan
Last October our debt load, emotional burden and body weight had all hit unhealthy levels of strain. Our 12 year marriage was on the brink of disaster, headed for divorce.
My husband and I sat down in November and diligently faced our debt. We made a budget and stuck to it (tough to do through Christmas).
We started giving allowances to our children (two boys - 11 and 6) teaching them about money and it's value and we practiced what we preached. They now both have bank accounts, save 75% and spend 25% (for their treats ). They both just purchased their first $100 Canada Savings bonds from their own bank accounts.
To make a long story short. We have a 3 year plan to reduce our debt of $30,000. We are well ahead of schedule. We also increased our mortgage payments and now put 25% of our net income on debt reduction, automatic withdrawal. We are diligently saving 10% of our net income and investing it and we have started a college fund for the boy's university education.
Our personal health has improved from daily walks (no fancy gym memberships for us) and quitting eating fast food. My weight has gone from 125 to 114 lbs. and my husband from 195 to 182 lbs (all since November 2000). We have not used any weight reduction programs.
We have noticed that the more financially fit we became our emotional burdens have lifted and our weight decreased. We're giving diligently to charities in both our time, and finances and we are rediscovering the wonderful things that drew us to each other years ago.
We take pride in our frugal lifestyle, cooking from scratch and getting the family involved, planning trips to eat our once every few months (we shaved 4000 dollars off our grocery/eating out bill).
In the last two months my husband got a new job that pays more, we put all the extra on our debt reduction. My business has improved dramatically. We have reduced clutter in our lives and more things have come in. We are 32 years old and we know that we have a great retirement future ahead of us and our children have parents committed to each other and them.
Has it been easy? No, it took an enormous shift in our personal attitude. We parked one vehicle. We shop differently. We do not eat out regularly. We have reduced our consumption. We live a moderate, not deprived lifestyle. We do things that cost little or no money for entertainment. We are both taking an evening bookkeeping course at community college together. We read more, as a family and we attend the library weekly. We have developed virtues such as humility and compassion, and shed our arrogance and ignorance. We are works in progress.
We lost what we thought were some of the friends in our lives. Birds of a feather flock together. Our consumer monster lifestyle was attracting fair-weather friends. Now, we have like minded genuine people in our lives that share their passion for thrift with us.
The strange thing is I feel like we do more now, than we ever did, our lives are rich and we have abundance. We are in the process of developing a written retirement plan so we have the opportunity to create a secure and healthy future. I used to read about people who made this shift and always wondered, could it be true? Now I am living proof.
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