How would your life change if you the ability to do all of the things you truly enjoy simply by cutting back on the things that aren’t important to YOU and sacrificing many of the little things people spend money on without even thinking?
Debt has become an epidemic. More than ever, people spend freely without regard to the long term cost, but live enslaved by debt.
Beyond extreme cases, you don’t have to scrimp and save on everything, go into extreme coupon mode, or even forego your most coveted guilty pleasures to save money and live debt-free.
What you DO have to do, is decide what things are most important to you, what you value over anything else, and then cut back on the rest.
According to the current standard, I live what some would consider a restrictive lifestyle because I don’t just buy whatever I want on a whim, and I value saving over spending.
Even most of my friends don’t understand why I wouldn’t buy a new car or a bigger house just because I can afford it, or (ghasp!!!) forego a cable subscription because… “who doesn’t have cable.”
The truth is…none of those things are important to me.
What I value, above all, is FREEDOM.
– Freedom to spend extravagantly on the things that mean the most to you without anxiety or restriction
– Freedom to choose what type of work to pursue without regard to income and to choose where your money goes each month
– Freedom from worry about what would happen in the event of a job loss or major expense
– Freedom to escape the Rat Race early while you are still able to enjoy it.
Debt Slavery vs. Debt Freedom
Freedom to Spend – Working for the Man vs. Working for yourself
Do you ever get tired of forking over your hard earned money each month to someone else or wonder when you’ll have something left over for yourself?
When you are in debt, or buy most major purchases on credit, you are constantly working for someone else. Each paycheck you are stuck sending your money to lenders, leaving very little to live off of day to day.
Being a slave to debt has caused many people to constantly look for ways to trade more hours for dollars until they’ve barely got any time left to enjoy life.
Paying off debt and keeping your monthly expenses low allows you to put your money to work for you in any way you want. You are able to save, pay yourself first, and spend your hard earned money how you see fit to build the life that you want.
Do you really want to pay a credit card company for years for purchases you’ve long since forgotten, or would you rather decide how to spend your time and money to bring the most happiness to you and your family?
Freedom to Choose – One Paycheck away from Disaster vs. Doing what you love
It’s estimated that one third of Americans are 1 paycheck away from homelessness. There are cases where low incomes are to blame for this, but low incomes are not the only cause. An injury or job loss could bring complete devastation to a family with high incomes but also high debt. It’s not only the “poor” who are barely scraping by.
Many people are stuck in jobs they hate but are unable to leave due to financial obligations. They are stuck with a bad boss or horrible working conditions because they feel like they could never afford to leave.
When you leverage your lifestyle and have to make a certain amount of money every month to make ends meet, you limit your options when looking for work.
Being debt free could allow you to leave a high pressure/high paying job to take on a career that brings more happiness & fulfillment. It’s difficult to even think of taking a pay cut (even when you are miserable) if you are barely getting by. Keeping your monthly expenses low leaves you more options to do something you truly enjoy.
Freedom from Worry – Constant Worry vs. PEACE OF MIND
I’ve read that most Americans have less than $1,000 saved and would have a hard time coming up with $2,000 for a major expense within a month’s time. This leaves many people in a constant state of worry about whether or not they will be able to pay all of their bills from month to month. One unexpected expense could mean late or missed payments, late fees, overdraft fees, not being able to put food on the table, or the risk of having assets repossessed.
Freedom from debt allows you to have the peace of mind that everything you’ve worked so hard for can never be taken away. When everything you own is paid off, you never have to worry about losing what you’ve worked so hard for.
Even if you’ve still got a mortgage on your home, when you have no other large bills to pay, it’s much easier to weather a job loss or other financial setback to make sure that your most important asset is secure.
Freedom to escape – Keeping up with the Kardashians vs. Early Retirement????
The Joneses may have moved out of the neighborhood, but the Kardashians have upped the ante.
Do you think you are not good with money because you are not good at math? Being good with money is not about math or spreadsheets & graphs. It’s hard to even consider saving for retirement when there are so many cool things to buy today, but most of it is just marketing.
Money is emotional, not rational. It’s not usually about what we need or what we really want. It’s about the feeling we think we will get, the life that we think we will have by buying what the advertisers tell us we need.
Getting stuck in the never-ending cycle of keeping up with the Kardashians, trying to impress friends, or trying to buy your happiness is a losing game.
Do you really need a new car to get you from point A to point B, or do you want the feeling of excitement, prestige, and exclusivity portrayed in the car commercial? Are you really looking for the big, expensive, smart TV because it’s what you need…or are you looking for the experiences of time spent with friends watching the game or the movie night on the couch with the kids?
The truth is, we can’t buy any of the things we are really looking for when make impulse purchases. How could you use that money to improve your quality of life instead of the quality of your “stuff”?
Beyond money, what we all really want is more time.
Time to spend with family & friends, time to spend on hobbies we enjoy, and time to relax and unwind. We can always make more money, but we can never make more time.
I don’t know about you, but I want to spend as little time working as possible.
Most retirement calculators estimate that you need to replace 80% of your income from investments to retire, but when you are able to save a larger portion of your income and live reasonably frugally, you don’t need nearly as much to retire as the financial gurus will tell you.
With my current savings, I’m buying my future time. Don’t get me wrong, I want to enjoy life now…and I do, but I am willing to forgo some small pleasures that most people take for granted now to buy my freedom, sooner rather than later.
The freedom and peace of mind that comes with saving and being debt free is far more valuable than anything money can buy!
That’s not to say that spending extravagantly is never justified. When your spending is in line with what you truly value and you are saving money elsewhere, spend away! I’m not immune to the occasional splurge, and with a little foresight, saving, and planning I will spend lavishly on something that is important to me.
Conscious spending is far from restrictive if done right. Saving money and living frugally doesn’t have to mean extreme sacrifice.
Strategic savings brings freedom.
What is important to you? What do you truly value and is your spending in line with those values? How would your life change if you didn’t have consumer debt? Leave your ideas in the comments below.
Have a question about how to start saving money or paying off debt, shoot me an email.