It’s time for another Debt Free Friday edition of Debt Free News From A Debt Free Reader. I will be stepping up my efforts to get more of these so that I can give you real debt free results from real debt free readers at least twice a month. YOU can help me! Are you done paying off your debt? Let me know by contacting me here if you’re interested in inspiring others with your story.
Today I bring to the podium of celebration, a self-proclaimed geek, who started the blog Fiscal Geek. Paul has recently become debt free so I asked him if he would like to share his story with you. Paul and his wife became debt free after attending Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University and decided to take control of their money. Congratulations to you and your wife Paul from Enemy of Debt! I sincerely adore when anyone has taken responsibility for their financial future by becoming debt free. There is nothing like it!
One of my favorite posts over at Fiscal Geek is one titled, Personal Finance Doesn’t Absolve Personal Responsibility. Anyone that believes in personal responsibility is a friend of mine. I believe that it is the key to personal growth and development in any area of life. After checking out his article on the issue, you might want to check out, QBQ! The Question Behind the Question: Practicing Personal Accountability at Work and in Life by John G. Miller. It is THE book to read if you want to ask better questions!
Enjoy Paul’s story and let it inspire you to reach for debt freedom yourself! It’s a great testimony!
The Enemy of Debt Questionnaire – Paul of Fiscal Geek
How does becoming debt free actually feel? Does it feel better than you imagined it would?
It’s terribly exciting. I’m excited for the next paycheck to come in because what we would have sent off as debt payments is going to our savings account. I just have an overwhelming sense of hope and despite the fact that I’m in my late 30’s I feel like I have all manner of opportunity ahead for me and my family. I just want to tell everyone.
What were some of the struggles that you had to deal with along the way? Was there ever a time where you almost gave up?
Definitely the budget was the hardest to deal with at first. I’ll tell you the first 2-3 months was rough trying to get a workable budget going. If you haven’t been operating on one it takes awhile to figure out how much you really can live on in your various categories. It also takes some negotiation as to what stays and what goes. I got pretty frustrated early on being the geek and wanting to account for every penny. This is where the envelope budgeting was so helpful because Angela could manage her stuff without feeling like I was watching her every move. There needs to be some give and take if you are going through this with a significant other. Like weight loss or working out you need to stick with it and get through the first month or two of difficulties. It will really pay off in the end.
There was never a point where we almost gave up. We really worked hard at it and both my wife and I are not the kind of people to give up on something easily. It sure helped to be making strong progress quickly.
What would you consider to be the most important key to becoming debt free? What helped you the most?
Contentment. I like stuff. I love gadgets, tools, cars, motorcycles. Over the years I’ve acquired a lot of stuff, most of it on credit. So I was incredibly surprised to find out that I really didn’t need that stuff. Along this process I found something I never knew I was looking for: contentment. I am very blessed and this process helped me to realize that fact. I got rid of many things I didn’t really need and feel much better about it. I promise I have sworn off new cars entirely. Truthfully I feel like the scales are lifted from my eyes and I look forward to the future where we can invest and give freely without the burdens of debt around our necks.
It seems a lot of people have bought into the idea that debt is essential in order to prosper, what do you have to say to those people?
That is bogus. Debt is sold as a necessary tool but the only tools you really need are hard work and time. Did you just get a decent job right out of school? Stay away from the car dealerships with their “recent grad” discounts. What they are selling is a lifetime of bondage. I wish I could personally go punch those Citibank credit card reps in the face that were on our college campus. That’s where it began for me, and was the first thing I paid off and closed. What allows you to prosper is the capability to operate without being obligated to anyone. If you want to change jobs, do it! If you want to move to a new country do it! Don’t shackle yourself it’s a trap.
What was the biggest sacrifice you would say you made in order to become debt free? What about you changed the most?
I honestly don’t feel like I sacrificed all that much. I became reasonable is what really happened. We used to eat out an incredible amount. Changing that to twice a month really helped us reign in costs. I just gave up some of my many toys and really focused on directing every extra penny towards that debt. My wife probably worked harder than me in this regard. She spent more time meal planning and strategizing her grocery trips.
Did your friends and family give you a hard time about your new mission to eliminate the debt from your life? If so how did you deal with it? Did you have skeptical friends? Do you think you inspired others by your journey?
Honestly no they didn’t. We started our journey in the midst of some questionable economic times and no one could argue with the fact that paying off your debt was a good goal. I became a huge advocate and that’s what started FiscalGeek. Many of my coworkers and friends got on the bandwagon and it’s been fun talking to them as they move along their own journeys. Many of them you can find commenting on my “We’re Debt Free!” post, that was a ton of fun.
What is next for you? What financial goals do you plan to accomplish?
Now we are on to the emergency fund and hope to fill that up to 6 months expenses by September using the same budget we’ve been operating under. Then we’ll kick in the full contribution for our kids Coverdell Education Savings Accounts, fire up the 401k to the max and then we are attacking the house.
Debt Free News From A Debt Free Reader Series
Debt Free News: The Kick Off – Yours Truly @enemyofdebt
Debt Free News From A Debt Free Reader #1 – Kelsalynn @KelsaLynnFitLog
Debt Free News From A Debt Free Reader #2 – Nick @Nickfro
Debt Free News From A Debt Free Reader #3 – Paul @fiscalgeek
More to come…