That whole “debt free” living idea

Last Saturday, as I sat waiting at the car wash while my vehicle underwent the post-vacation “intervention-style” deep clean, I fired up the Dave Ramsey app on my phone. I sat searching out topics and looking through categories when I came across the “Fun Stuff” area where there was a category of “Debt Free” calls.

I scrolled through and then I saw this: Dave’s Team Member.

Awesome! Someone I know! I thought.

Clicked on it. It was this. It is us. It is our call, which was made almost 2 years ago.

I clicked play, put it to my ear and stared straight ahead as I listened. To say a flood of memories came rushing through in the course of the audio clip is an understatement. It all came back to me; nanosecond glimpses of the 3 year process with our voices and Dave’s as the soundtrack. I looked over at Brian, my eyes rimming with tears. “Did you know this was on here?!” Hearing the audio after so long was surreal.

This side of debt is a blast… We’ve been able to move forward on opportunities we otherwise couldn’t have been a part of. Fun vacations & trips, yes, but a missions trip and Christian school for our kids and extra giving … stuff that makes our hearts sing!

Sacrifices? Yes, we’ve made many ~ and continue to. But that’s life, debt or no debt.

Saying NO? Mmmm, yes, we’re familiar with the N word. We say it a lot. If pain builds character, so does saying “No”.

On facebook the other day I saw a friend update their status with this:

I’ve been questioning my commitment to be debt free. Not really sure its worth the sacrifices we’ve made.

I feel a lot of empathy for them because something somehow somewhere is hurting. I hope they discover that it’s worth it to them. I hope the uncertainty goes away and their commitment remains in tact.

I didn’t know what to think or say though really. For us, it WAS worth the sacrifice. But his statement definitely got me thinking about what that means. If everyone’s process and experience is unique, then our sacrifices are as individual as we are.

Is it worthwhile if it doesn’t cost us anything?

Do we appreciate something more when it has been easily acquired versus when we have to fight for it?

Brian and I were willing to let go of nearly everything, and did, and we could not be happier. As challenging as it was, we don’t regret it for one second. Because of the nature of the process though, we are now incapable of going back into debt. It seems that behavior change and heart change go hand in hand in many ways.

I would love to know your thoughts on this, and since I was at a loss, if you are living debt free, what kind of hope can you offer my friend? Or friends, because I know that I know that I know that they are not the only ones.


~ by hthr on August 4, 2010.

7 Responses to “That whole “debt free” living idea”

  1. hmmm – we’re debt free but now that you mention the idea, maybe life would be better if we had some car payments and some credit cards that we argued about all the time. Maybe the stress of feeling like we could never get ahead would be neat too.

  2. First of all, wow! That had to be a surreal experience!
    I don’t have that kind if advice yet because Anna and I are so very very close to being debt-free. Standing where I am it’s totally worth it and it’s going to be weird to not owe. Weird, but nice.
    All I can think of is what more can we do when we’re debt-free? I love it!

  3. Wow, that is really cool. You have your debt-free call at your fingertips forever (or for as long as your iPhone works). Sorry I don’t have any deep-meaning prophesis to add or disagreements we can debate – my wife and I are debt free too. Thanks for sharing your story out loud!

  4. Wow, what an awesome testament to debt-free living! I love your observation that the best parts of life with no payments much more about giving then vacations and stuff. When you don’t have any payments God will explode your potential to do great things, and this has been the most fun part for my family as well.

    Being debt free isn’t about the math of how much you’ll save in interest payments. It’s about fulfilling your potential without limits. Giving like no one else. Living like no one else.

    Thanks for sharing!

  5. a HUGE bravo to you and Brian, Heather. I work in a major law firm here in Phoenix, and I specialize in the bankruptcy field. I have worked on cases from the debtor’s perspective and from a creditors perspective. I have said MANY many times, I am so grateful to be in the field that I am in. Working in bankruptcy has truly opened my eyes to how easy it is to be consumed by seemingly massive debt, and to how easily we become trapped by everything we deem “necessities”. Many times I have sat down with people to review their monthly budgets, and have had to explain why $400 a monthly stipend for alcohol is not a “necessity” and neither is a budget of $300 a month for just eating out. Of course, those are extreme situations (and TRUE by the way), and there are genuinely people who get in over their heads for legitimate reasons such as massive medical debt. my point it, it is VERY refreshing to see that there are still people out there willing to TRULY cut back on their life style in order to live up to their financial obligations instead of looking for an easier alternative. While I myself am not 100% debt free, my husband and I are certainly on our way there, and will be in the next few short years.

    One last thought – by paying off your debt and living debt free, you and Brian are setting a WONDERFUL example for your girls and their future.

    You have much to be proud of :).

  6. I first want to applaud (claping loudly) you and Brian for your hard work! I know that it was tough for you…I don’t doubt it. I want to listen to your clip so I know your audio story, not just the online one I have read previously on your blog. I know you are reaping the benefits of it, in more ways than one, and that is exciting to see!

    My heart goes out to this person who is questinoing their committment. Maybe they just need some encouragement? Maybe they should listen to a Debt Free Friday on the Dave Ramsey show? Have an appointment to meet with someone that they know is debt free and be enpired by their story? Make a list of the pro’s & con’s of being debt free so they can evaluate what is important to them. Ultimately if they decide they want to serve me me me…now now now, they can’t be debt free. It takes time to feel the peace that comes from being debt free as it is a process, but the end results are worth it and I pray they will stay to the course and not loose heart and grow faint as the scriptures reveal.

    I am debt free (see post if you want the long version: and I love it!!! Each of us have our own story and though mine is mix of things I could not control along with things I could…I still have no regrets!!! It was VERY hard work that was exhausting, but the payoff is fabulous! Once you are debt free, it is amazing to me how your perspective changes over keeping up with everyone else…it no longer matters to you…it feels fake and you know what real life is like.

    Please tell this person there are many of us cheering them on and praying they will be debt free so they can experience what we all have experienced. I would be glad to send them an email, share my story or just listen to help them regain their committment. We need each other and it is thru shared experiences and God’s grace that we get HOPE!

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