What Will You Sacrifice for Freedom?

C-H-A-N-G-E.

People hate it!

People hate having to change anything, sometimes regardless of the benefits that lie ahead. Change is uncomfortable and sometimes a little scary. The fear of having to face something unfamiliar can often paralyze us into inaction.

Sometimes change is forced upon us and sometimes the choice is our own to make.

So whether we like it or not, change is a very big part of who we are.

We may as well embrace it.

In terms of personal finance, change is constant. And when it comes to debt change can save you from financial destruction. Nobody wants to be buried under debt but when we let our fear of change keep us from addressing a problem, the problems only get worse.

Before we know it, we’re facing overwhelming amounts of debt, crippling stress, and possibly even divorce.

Instead of going that route, why not be proactive and face your fears. Change your habits and behaviors now and on your terms.

Do it little by little. Go at your own pace. Take baby steps in the other direction.

The changes you make will be well worth the effort.

Now I have one question for you.

What Are You Willing to Sacrifice for Your Freedom?

Part of the reason we fear change when it comes to personal finance is because we are scared of what we won’t be able to have or do. We become accustomed to a lifestyle that affords us many luxuries, but this lifestyle is unsustainable. We know it but we often ignore it because facing the truth about our situation is painful.

Living in denial, however, does not absolve us of the future consequences of our decisions.

I’m a firm believer in taking baby steps to accomplish anything. I loved the movie What About Bob and I rocked the debt snowball using Dave Ramsey’s Total Money Makeover. How you get out of debt is up to you but regardless of which method you choose, you can still use baby steps to get you there.

Now let’s talk about sacrifice.

It’s something else we hate. Sacrifice is a big part of change which explains why it’s so difficult to embrace. Whenever change occurs something is sacrificed.

Everything my wife and I sacrificed back in 2008 when we were SUPER SERIOUS about getting out of debt, we have either bought again or realized we didn’t really need in the first place. I say this to remind you that what you sacrifice now will be more available to you once you’re out of debt.

What’s the point of having a 60″ flat screen television with a resale value of $2,000 when you’re thousands of dollars in debt?

Sell the television.

Sell your car payment(s).

Sell your junk.

Give up a vacation (or two).

Stop eating out.

Get out of debt and THEN enjoy some of those material luxuries with the peace of mind of knowing you aren’t making someone else wealthy in the process. Get out of debt and pay yourself that interest!

Nothing you can enjoy now is worth the financial slavery you sign up for by using debt to enjoy it.

Nothing!

I know some will disagree with that statement, mainly because many see a house and education as good debt. That’s okay, but I do not recognize “good debt” because I don’t believe there is such a thing. Owing someone money regardless of what it is for is a form of slavery in my humble opinion but that’s just me.

So I ask again. What are you willing to sacrifice today for your freedom tomorrow?

Reader Challenge

Make one sacrifice or change in your life that will help you pay off more debt. Give up something in the name of your freedom but keep this in mind.

  • It doesn’t have to be forever.
  • You’ll be able to enjoy it or have it again one day.
  • You may find you don’t “need” it after all.

My wife and I didn’t want to sell or change anything. Trust me on that. We didn’t want to but we did because we knew we were not managing our money right. We knew if we kept spending like we were and continued the same behaviors that got us into debt, our situation would have been much bigger than $26,000 of debt.

That realization alone gave us the strength we needed to just let go.

Of all the people I have attempted to help turn things around the biggest issue I have found is that they weren’t ready or willing to just let go.

In my experience letting go was extremely empowering and we realized a lot about ourselves during that time.

Get out of debt.

Take one baby step at a time.

Give up or sacrifice one thing. Just one.

What will it be?

Leave a comment and let’s talk about it.

Photo Credit: 1, 2, 3, 4.

About Brad Chaffee

10 Responses to “What Will You Sacrifice for Freedom?”

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  1. When I was getting out of debt, I really cut back on the amount of food I ate away from home. If I did go out to eat, I dined at inexpensive restaurants that didn’t require tipping such as Chipotle Mexican Grill. Unlike many professionals, I continued to live with a roommate. I took a 50 minute bus ride to work instead of driving up gas and paying for parking. There were a lot of things I gave up that I can’t even remember because they were so unimportant to begin with. You don’t sacrifice much when you stop wasting money. You just need to realize that you don’t need or even want a bunch of the crap you spend your money on.

    • Brad Chaffee says:

      Well said Shawanda! We realized so much of our lifestyle was not only non-essential, but flat out wasteful. We live with so much less now and we’re much happier than we were before we changed how we managed our money. Now we have some of what we enjoyed and left everything else in the dust. We let go and it sounds like you did too! It’s amazing what we’re willing to do without when we have other priorities and goals we’re striving to reach.

  2. Tricia Kolsto says:

    I will give up buying scrapbooking stuff. This will be hard but I will learn to use what I have!

    Hugs,
    Trish

    • Kathy says:

      @Tricia….if you have a friend or two who scrapbook….try swapping papers, embellishments, etc with them. That way it will seem like you’ve ‘bought’ new things, however, you won’t have to pay for anything.

      Over the past several years, I’ve given up things to save money. Such as borrowing books from the library or swapping them online for free or buying them at a book store used. This is the main reason I haven’t bought a Nook; I cannot buy a book for full price.

      • Brad Chaffee says:

        Kathy I used to be really bad with my book purchases. It used to be a weekly thing. I also used to waste so much money on movies. Now I have Netflix for the movies and haven’t bought a DVD in I don’t know how long. I have a Kindle and love paying less for my books. Most of the time I wait to find the book I want on sale which is usually under $10.

        I can’t believe I used to spend so much money (probably $100-$150 a month on movies) to build a DVD library that would serve no purpose after seeing the movie twice.

    • Brad Chaffee says:

      I agree with Kathy. Her suggestion sounds like a good alternative to quitting something you probably enjoy.

  3. JMK says:

    Long ago we cut out virtually everything most folks think of as normal. We assessed what we were spending and then questioned whether we were really getting any enjoyment out of it, or more importantly was there something else we’d enjoy more for that money. We were never wild spenders. We paid our bills, put 10-15% away for retiement and assumed we were doing everything “right”. After assessing everything, we realized that material things held little interest for us, dining out wasn’t a priority (and is frankly the most inconvenient dinner option when you live 20 minutes out of town). We pay cash for 3yr old vehicles and drive them for 10 years. What we did want was to travel regularly now and still retire early. Putting away 15% for retirement is great. If you want to retire at 65. Turns out we don’t want to wait that long, so we had to change our spending priorities to allow for savings closer to 40%. We have only our mortgage to deal with and plan to retire in December 2020 if all goes according to the plan. Yes if we travelled less we could move up that date by nearly 3 years, but it’s a trade off we conciously choose to make.

    We haven’t had cable in 25 years (3 channels on rabbit ears is plenty of distraction), we all pack lunches, we eat out maybe 5 times a year and only when invited to family occassions someone else planned at a restaurant. We don’t budget for clothing or entertainment because we spend so little on this sort of thing. Instead we steal $5 from the planned grocery money to buy something at the thrift store, or a DVD from the sale pile. If there is some non-essential we covet, we put it on our Christmas/BD suggestions lists. Rather than receiving a lot of stuff we don’t actually need or want, we excercise a bit of patience wait for what we do want.
    At this point the only things left to cut out would be the travel budget, or reducing the amount we put toward retirement savings and/or paying off the mortgage faster. Since those are the things we’ve sacrificed everything else for, that isn’t likely to happen. I feel like we’ve reached the threshold of cutting out all the nonsense and now cutting more would just make everyone miserable for very little additional gain. Yes I could perhaps shave another $5-10 off the weekly grocery budget. But would giving up our occasional desserts, or buying the cereal that was on sale but nobody really liked be worth it for an extra $250-500 per year? At this point we’re wacking away a large portion of our income and taking great trips with the kids and cutting from anything else would just seem mean.

    • Brad Chaffee says:

      JMK – Awesome comment and thanks for sharing!! It sounds like you made a lot of good choices over the years. We have also refused to spend money on cable. We enjoy paying $8 a month and being able to choose from a variety of movies when it’s convenient for us to watch. Spending $50-$100 per month for crappy cable is now a thing of the past in our home.

  4. We’re struggling with this right now – figuring out what to give up. I know there are areas we can cut. Personally, I’m not buying any books until I finish reading all the ones I have! But we need to make more cuts than that. We have cut almost all entertainment spending at this point as well.

  5. RichUncle EL says:

    I spoken with the misses to cut the cable which is 123 per month, but as of right now it is bundled with internet and phone and if you divide all three it is about 40 dollars a month for each. I need internet for my blog, and I need the phone because that is the only way to buzz people into my building. IF I cut the cable I wont get such a good deal on the bundle.

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