These days, my man and I can easily go on a 4-5 day stretch without spending a dime. There’s not even a passing thought that enters our mind to trigger our splurge button. After nearly 7 months on spending lockdown, I’m starting to recognize that I’m remarkably comfortable with it.
In the beginning months of our so called “spending fast”, the seconds, minutes, hours seemed to drag on in my no-spend obsessed mind. I remember patting myself on the back in July, when I would go a whole morning and afternoon without even considering spending money. Back then, my thoughts were crowded with notions of “How was I going to survive a year without buying clothes?”, “Would we make it through the Christmas season unscathed?”, “Are our bodies capable of not stepping foot into our nearby coffee shops?” and most importantly “SUSHI!!! I mean, c’mon, this is a physical necessity, right?!?”
Ahhhh, how times have changed, so much so, we’re beginning to wonder if these thoughts will ever creep back after our official spending lockdown end date of July 1, 2012. Only time will tell. Although, I’d like to think of this as our new norm.
I mention our financial “advisor” Dave Ramsey quite a bit on here, but he has become kind of a sensation in the debt freedom world. So many Americans, just like us, have been spurred on by his enthusiastic talk into getting a handle on their personal finances in pursuit of permanently living debt free. Hubby and I listen to his nationally syndicated radio show every single weekday, and it plays a huge role in keeping us motivated.
Dave’s show is relatable with regular folks sharing not only their financial worries but their successes. His debt-free Friday broadcast is especially encouraging because newly debt free listeners call in to describe where they started in debt and how much they paid off - on the low end $5,000 and on the high end $500,000 or more. My fellow Californians, you’ll even hear stories from the Golden State in spite of the ridiculously high mortgages. At the end of their segment, they literally shout “We’re DEBT FREE!!!” He reaches a broad audience even though he has some Christian undertones, but it’s by no means a Christian broadcast, Dave is open minded. You’ll hear stories ranging from a construction worker making 25K/year to a medical professional earning six figures.
The common goal that all callers and listeners share is obtaining financial freedom - not letting the banks and lenders own you - taking control of your own life, and not waiting on the government to fix your financial problems. I especially love Dave’s brash downright “tell it like it is” style. I wouldn’t recommend him to the sensitive type, but if you would like a little push, then I suggest listening for yourself. We subscribe freely to the daily podcast on ITunes. A recent show I recommend, is the September 23, 2011 air date. Simply go to the archives on his website and choose that date. It’s free insightful financial advice!
Over the past couple of days, we’ve been reeling from our August savings debacle. Having an “off” month with such a goal oriented endeavor could so easily throw us off course. With this realization, last night, we decided to refocus our attention on all the good that we’ve accomplished thus far in only 2 months.
For starters, we’ve completely stopped using the credit card, which keeps our debt totals on a descent, even if gradual. A few months ago, If we found ourselves with a low checking account balance in between paychecks on this upcoming holiday weekend, our old selves would’ve reached for the credit card. Now, the thought of using our credit card makes us sick to our stomach, and we would much rather enjoy a low key weekend. That’s a huge behavioral modification for us.
Another uplifting thought is that we’ve reduced our overall debt by over $2000.00 in just 2 months. If we were only able to average this amount every couple of months, we would still manage to pay off our debt in 6 1/2 years. This may sound like a long time, but compare 6 1/2 years to the 15 and 20 year student loan repayment plans that we are currently on. If we stuck to Sallie Mae’s schedule, we would be paying our loans into our 50’s - that’s insane!
Lastly, and probably the most important to me, is the open communication exchange my husband and I now have over money. As we sat down last night to write out our budget for September, we found ourselves completely on the same page. We didn’t have a single disagreement about where our money should be spent. There were no petty arguments or snide remarks masking resentment. We’re on this debt free journey together and that’s comforting.