A few weeks ago, the wonderful Onwardandupward tagged me to talk about the things I’ve turned down for financial freedom. Initially, I planned to respond in an Instagram post…but the more I thought about it, the more I thought it might be a good fit for the blog.
After all, the pursuit of financial freedom is the reason why we’re working so hard right now to pay off the $55K of debt we have to our name. We have made a lot of progress toward this goal – in fact, I recently realized if we can stay the course, we will be all-but-student-loan-debt-free by November 2018!
What that means is that we will have paid off two credit cards, our car and the entire balance of our credit line. We’re talking more than $10,000 paid to debt in a year. I am so super proud of all the hard work we have put into getting debt free.
Because reality is it has been hard work. And we have certainly had to make some sacrifices to get where we are today.
Why financial freedom matters to us
Being in debt sucks. I don’t really know how else to put it.
We didn’t rack up debt being reckless. Honestly, most of our debt is the result of something I would suggest was necessary in today’s economy: post-secondary education. Of the $55K-ish remaining, about $48K of that debt is in the form of student loans. It is the debt that will without a doubt take us the longest to pay off.
That said, we are committed to seeing it through as soon as we possibly can – because getting rid of the chains of debt is one of the keys to financial freedom.
Love him or hate him, Dave Ramsey totally nails it with his definition of financial freedom:
Financial freedom means that you get to make life decisions without being overly stressed about the financial impact because you are prepared. You control your finances instead of being controlled by them.
That is what we want. That is why financial freedom matters to us.
What I have given up for financial freedom
So what am I doing to actually reach financial freedom? It may be more appropriate to consider what I’m not doing.
- Instant gratification
Letting go of the need for instant gratification is easily the hardest thing I have had to give up on this journey. It has also been the thing that has made the biggest difference.
- Being on trend
This relates in some ways to the first one. A big part of this journey for me has been about learning to be content with what I have instead of buying into every trend. That’s the nice thing about having to save before you buy – it gives you time to assess whether said purchase is worth it.
- Comparing myself to others
As I wrote about earlier this week, I have struggled a great deal in this recent season with comparison. The longer I am on this debt free journey, the more I understand how detrimental that mindset is – and the more I work toward shedding it.
- Caring what others think
In a culture where debt is increasingly the rule, pursuing the exception can seem strange – but that’s OK. Our life might look a little different now, but I truly do believe the ends will justify the means.
Financial freedom doesn’t happen by accident. It comes about as a result of consistent, intentional choices – and it requires some sacrifice. It’s not easy – but it is worth it.
What have you given up for financial freedom?