Extreme Circumstances Call For Extreme Measures

Have you ever considered someone to be a little too extreme when it comes to their money? Maybe they were too extreme in saving for their emergency fund, paying off their debt, or just never seemed to do anything fun at all. How’s your financial situation? You might be having fun, but are you prepared for that rainy day that will come? Are you the grasshopper or the ant?

When we were paying off our debt we said no to almost everything. Nowadays we are a little more relaxed with how hardcore we are and how much we sacrifice on the rest of our journey, but that’s not to say we will never turn the heat up again.

We just see the value in giving ourselves a little breathing room after having sacrificed for almost 2 years so we could pay off our debt. Do I/we regret how things went down?

That’s like asking me if I miss debt, because I see the path we took as essential to truly gaining control of our money. We were a mess, although I have to admit we never went really hog wild on the credit cards or car payments, but we did have them both. We had $26,076.75 of debt and we had ZERO control over our financial situation.

  • We had NO savings to speak of.
  • We didn’t have a working budget.
  • We spent way more than we made each month.
  • We felt entitled to the stuff we “needed”.
  • We were on the fast track to retirement hell.
  • We were doing it WAY WRONG!!

The six bullet points listed above I consider to be extremely dangerous for any one person, let alone a family. If that sounds a lot like you, your situation is the way it is because you put yourself and your wants before the welfare of you and your family. What did you expect? When I look back, I beat myself up for having lacked the foresight to realize I was doing real damage to my family, possibly for generations to come.

When your kids see that you are maxed out on your credit cards, they think that’s just the way things are. When they see you making a car payment for life, they think they’ll always have a car payment. When they see you buying toys for yourselves, while struggling to pay your light bill, they think the little man just can’t get ahead. For many years we have been programming our children to think this way. For what? So we can enjoy the life we think we deserve? How selfish is that?

For so many people, the “I work hard so I deserve” mentality is like a cancer that spreads and destroys everything in its path. Unfortunately, what it destroys is future generations and their ability to build wealth, save, and give. It’s not something that is impossible to reverse, but it does take something as powerful as a paradigm shift for real change to occur.

So I guess my question is this. To all you out there that consider getting your financial life in order a waste of time, what is it exactly that you think someone in the situation above should do? Should they continue to borrow until their face turns blue? Should they keep driving depreciating assets that have a hefty payment? Should they sacrifice financial security because “they deserve” to have some fun?

Extreme Situations Call For Extreme Measures

Now I know a lot of people, especially the “I deserve” crowd believe that they are searching for balance, but for the life of me I can’t seem to make sense of that. It’s probably because it is a lie! Balance is having EVERYTHING in order all at once. It’s not waiting until you have an emergency to realize you need an emergency fund! It’s not spending more than you make each and every month either. It’s CERTAINLY NOT waiting until you reach retirement to have an epiphany!! What about your kids college? What about saving for a rainy day? What about being able to take care of yourself when you retire?

Balance IS NOT about just having fun, because “you only live once, you may as well enjoy it.” That crap has destroyed responsibility!!

Has society lost its mind??

What have we been doing for so long, and why is it that some people still don’t get it?

When you have no savings and are loaded with debt you have to sacrifice. Your main concern should be getting rid of it so you can have a life one day. What good is having a life when you are able to work, if when you retire you have no money? People justify going out and buying a BRAND NEW car because “they have to be able to get to work.” Don’t you have to be be able to take care of yourself when you retire? Why should anyone else, ESPECIALLY the tax payer, be obligated to feed and cloth you because you were too busy having fun when you were younger to worry about retirement?

The reason why we were so hardcore was because we eventually woke up! Isn’t eventually better than never though? Eventually for you is NOW because in all reality yesterday you had your fun. Now it’s time to bust it!! Now it’s time to take control of your life and your finances so someone else doesn’t have to. Now it’s time to be responsible! One thing I know is that I never want to be a burden to anyone when I am old and gray. I don’t want to cause someone else to have to support me because I was to foolish to get my act together. trust me when I say you can have fun and be responsible. Ask J Money when he comes back from Europe! He has his financial life in order, and he is experiencing balance without sending his family into crisis living should anything ever happen to him.

So the next time you see someone busting debt’s door down, don’t laugh at them. Don’t think for one second that they are neglecting fun because of their intensity. Think about it like this. They are “suffering” now so that later they don’t have to!! Maybe you should consider joining them.

Now that we are debt free I see our sacrifices as a blessing, and I can’t even begin to name all of the things we learned from that journey. Yeah sometimes it sucked to say no to our friends when they wanted us to go out. It sucked when we had to say “no we can’t afford to go on a vacation right now.” It even sucked when we were on our way home from a long hard day. You know…the day you decide that you deserve a break, so you pull into the closest drive-thru and spend your last $30 hoping that it won’t cause your account to bounce. It really is worth it to skip the drive-thru, go home and slap together something quick because you are on a budget.

Sacrifice? Maybe. Was it worth it? Absolutely!!

The bottom line is that when people are in over their head, it is in their best interest to sacrifice as much as they possibly can. It doesn’t mean they are missing out on life, it means they are embracing the responsibility that comes with life. The more you sacrifice now the less you have to sacrifice later. Extreme circumstances call for extreme measures! There’s nothing at all wrong with being EXTREME!!

About Brad Chaffee

26 Responses to “Extreme Circumstances Call For Extreme Measures”

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  1. Panda Mike says:

    I think that being extreme is sometimes the way to make sure things happen the way you want it. If you are overspending months after month, you are in a situation of “extreme” over consumption.

    To “kill” debts, you have no choice but to change radically your way of thinking and you ways of managing your money. Getting rid of 10K + in debts is quite a challenge and you won’t achieve your goals without sacrifice.

    Unfortunately, the present society is seeking for quick-and-easy method for everything. If you are tired of being fat, there are no special diet: just start working-out 4 times a week and cut on chips and desert! You won’t lose 10 pounds without effort! this is the same thing with debts. In order to work, it must be hurting somehow ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Great post!

    • Brad Chaffee says:

      You are absolutely right Panda Mike. If you are in debt it takes radical change and some over the top sacrifice to change direction. Anyone that has taken the debt free plunge knows that gradual change sometimes doesn’t cut it. You just can’t make enough headway to stick with it. Sacrifice is key. The way I see it the people who sacrifice financial security in order to have some fun are numb to the realization that the consequences won’t show until it is already too late. When you sacrifice some fun to have financial security it is more painful, but also more rewarding in the end.

      All I know is that I DO NOT want to be a burden to anyone when I retire, and furthermore, I would like to enjoy the end of my life without being stressed out about stuff I could have prepared for. Thanks for stopping by and leaving a great comment!! ๐Ÿ˜€

      • Panda Mike says:

        Thinking about retirement is very smart of you. Most people just spend their money thinking that some magic entity (call the Govnerment) will pay for them once they are old and poor. I guess they have been watching Alice in Wonderland too much these days ๐Ÿ˜‰

        • Brad Chaffee says:

          LOL, I can’t think of anyone worse to rely on for retirement, or ANYTHING for that matter, than the Government. Before long we will be rioting the Government here just like in Greece because we are headed in the same direction as them. Debt, entitlements, and a very serious lack of personal responsibility! It’s really sad when you think about it. I personally think that people should raise their own expectations instead of raising expectations about what the Government should provide for us. This expectation that Government should provide for us is getting ridiculous.

          You know how each generation gets labeled? I am fearful that today’s generation will be considered the “wet diaper” generation, and rightfully so.

  2. Young Mogul says:

    DAMN, this was a powerful and IN YOUR FACE message! I am printing this article, as I feel it is the most REAL and to-the-point, debunk-every-excuse message about debt I have ever read!

    Tomorrow, I’m linking to this post on my blog. Whew…I’m glad I’m financially responsible or I would be afraid you were coming for me, LOL.

    • Brad Chaffee says:

      LOL! Yeah I used to write these kind a little more often which is where the “behavior meets reality” tag line came from. I am a big believer in telling it like it is, and if it hurts some people’s feelings then they were the ones that probably needed to hear it.

      Not as many comments though. Hmmm. LOL Glad you liked it! ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. Stephan says:

    love it, its all about thinking about the future. of course eliminating debt isnt fun, but if you do it now, you can enjoy your later years while the rest are stuck paying bills and working till they drop.

    • Brad Chaffee says:

      That’s right Stephan! You would think that would be easy for people to understand, but unfortunately too many people rely and even expect to be taken care of when they reach their retirement years to even care about it now.

  4. Wow….This is a great post. I feel like lots of times this is the message that we get every day. You’re always going to have some bills to pay, you’re always going to owe someone money for something you “need”, justifying it just like a new vehicle. You need a car to get to work, but you need to work to pay for the car…At what point does the cycle stop? If you didnt have such an expensive car (tv, boat, house) you wouldnt need to work so long to pay for them.

    I was definately feeling the “we grew up with this mentality” because I KNOW I did. It took me 7 years, but I realized that it doesnt have to be this way forever that you can change your lifestyle, sacrifice now and enjoy later. (I’m currently in the sacrifice mode, I’ve turned down more trips in the last 3 months than I care to count) But it’s ok, because soon i’ll be able to pay for those trips with greenbacks and not plastic.

    Could the problem possibly be that we dont realize we are in a debt tunnel/see the light (of being debt free) at the end of the tunnel because everyone is in just as deep as we are, with no one to guide/look to follow to get to the end of the tunnel?

    Again, great post, and I’ll be linking back to you thursday!

    Jeff

    • Brad Chaffee says:

      You said it Jeff. It doesn’t have to be that way. I am currently 35 years old and I lived most of my adult life in crisis-mode. It was no fun and it cost me a lot more than people know. I am pretty transparent here on EOD but some things hurt too much to reveal. The “I deserve” mentality destroys families and causes all kinds of horrible consequences down the road. For the life of me I can’t seem to figure out why people would rather ignore this truth as opposed to living life on the financial edge their entire existence. Mind boggling to say the least!

      Thanks for the link back and I am so glad you liked this post! ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. Chris @ FeFi says:

    Wow, Brad. Just…wow.
    This is what I’m talking about!

  6. Donna says:

    Well, Brad, don’t hold anything back! LOL You wrote an excellent article that I am printing off for one of my sons. He is definitely not following his parent’s example of getting out of debt. Maybe this will shake him up a bit. I sure hope so!

    • Brad Chaffee says:

      LOL Donna! Yeah this post was long overdue. I hope your son can truly see the seriousness of how he handles his financial life from here on out. Not sure if this article will switch on the light but it would be great if it did. ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. Elise says:

    I really enjoy your blog! It is so nice to know there are others out there that feel the same way about money. My husband and I thought we were being financially responsible but were surprised each time something unexpected came up and we were back in debt. We rode that rollercoaster for many years. We would get out of debt only to get right back in it. Last August we got serious. We decided we would do whatever it takes to get out of debt and start planning and saving for the expected and unexpected. We are out of debt and saving much more than I ever thought possible. We are a one income family with four children (our oldest son has cerebral palsy with lots of medical expenses). We have to save every penny. I am so at peace about our finances now. I spend a little time every day working with our budget and planning. Your blog has served as such encouragement to us! Thanks so much for sharing!

    • Brad Chaffee says:

      I know EXACTLY how you felt too Elise. It was like a roller coaster that kept going in an upside down loop like a hamster wheel. No matter what you are still trapped in the loop until you figure out that only your behavior can get you out. It’s a really liberating feeling when you realize you are in more control than you thought you were. We just cannot imagine what our life would still be like had we continued the same ol stuff. I truly appreciate the compliments and am so very glad that my little piece of blog real estate has helped make a difference in your lives. Every time I hear a story like yours it inspires me to continue on. ๐Ÿ™‚

  8. Hey Brad! We’re gonna be comic pals! I am so freaking jazzed about it!

    As Danielle LaPorte says from WhiteHotTruth.com, I don’t think there is such thing as balance. Plus, I think that it would make a person really stressed to be totally in balance.

    And nobody can disprove you that it may take extreme measures to get out of debt, because you are awesome proof being debt free and all. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    • Brad Chaffee says:

      I know, isn’t that awesome? I can’t wait for the strip to release, and since I am a complete newbie to the comic strip writing style I hope I have written something that is fun to read. Fred is a terrific guy and I enjoyed working with him on it.

      I tend to agree with you on the balance thing. It is a great goal to have but to have everything in balance 100% of the time would mean we were perfect which is fare from the truth. haha! There will always be something that throws our life out of balance, it’s how we handle those things that really matter. ๐Ÿ™‚

      Yeah it would be very hard to tell me that my way didn’t work huh? LOL People say Dave Ramsey is wrong all the time but the people he helps continue to become debt free each and every week! It is truly awesome!

  9. Len Penzo says:

    Great article, Brad! The sacrificing doesn’t stop once all the debt is paid off; it is a constant endeavor. I find I’m always giving something up to ensure I maintain a steady course on the road to financial freedom!

    All the best,

    Len
    Len Penzo dot Com

    • Brad Chaffee says:

      Thanks Len! Yeah you’re right but at least you can breath a little easier once the hard part is over. I agree that too much breathing can at least kill your progress though. We have had a slow last few months on throwing money into savings. Better tighten up if I want to reach my goals. ๐Ÿ™‚

  10. My hubby had started sliding a little this month and I kind of went off like this. Impressive. Thanks to our belt-tightening and the sacrifice of most of our emergency fund, we’ll be paying off the remainder of our $8600 car loan this month, woot!

  11. Oregon Gal says:

    I completely agree with this article. You have to make some major changes, and stop the loose spending. We have a substantial emergency fund, and I wouldn’t call myself rich by any means. We have zero credit card debt and are working to pay off the mortgage early. We woke up and stopped buying too many things we didn’t need. Our daily drivers are bicycles and we share one vehicle between two people. Living close to work and stores allows us to live a more euro lifestyle. I know not everyone can/wants to do this. It does help finances though.
    Also, I know where that pic was taken. It is up on Mt. Shasta, Calif. Climbing that mtn was as rewarding as getting out of credit card debt. ๐Ÿ™‚

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