I recently had a conversation with a friend looking for some advice on paying off debt versus putting money in a savings account. After she laid out the entire situation, I asked her what her husband wanted to do. Then I asked her if she knew what my answer would be since she knows me so well.
She answered that I would tell her to pay off the debt. My example and the priority I put on being debt free is obvious and contagious.
Since we were on skype chat, she couldn’t see the smile that went across my face. “No,” I typed. “Do whatever your husband feels comfortable with. He has to know that you trust him to be in charge of the household finances.”
“That was a trick question! How was I supposed to know if I was talking to Respect Leah or Debt-Free Leah?” she replied.
“There would be no Debt-Free Leah if there wasn’t a Respect Leah. Those two cannot be separated. I wouldn’t know that value of being debt-free if I hadn’t been willing to follow my husband’d leadership in our finances.”
And that’s really what it’s about sometimes. Recognizing that we would still rather have control, that our way is better, or that we don’t want to be told what to do.
I will admit – getting to that point is hard. The day-in and day-out of debt-free decision making can be tough. You feel like the only people in the world doing what you’re doing. Here’s a list of ways to help make it easier to get through the process.
- Don’t be ashamed of what you are cutting out to become debt-free. And learn that you don’t have to apologize. Yes, it STINKS if your girlfriends are doing a girls’ weekend and you can’t go because it’s simply not in the budget. So tell them that. And then plan ahead for next year and ask for the gift cards to make it happen for Christmas. I got so much encouragement by sitting in a Bible study where women could say “we can’t afford to do/get that” and not be ashamed.
- Make friends who are also striving to be debt-free and those who are a little ahead of you. You can encourage each other. Go over budget cutting ideas. Find fun things to do home together to not spend money. Share deals with each other. This was VITAL to our success.
- Celebrate your successes. Got your first baby step done? Increase your eating out budget to allow for a “splurge”. Paid off all your debt? Celebrate as a couple and as a family. Everyone is working so hard and sometimes the rewards take time to get to so enjoy. For our debt payoff celebration, my husband wants to have a hang out party. And we want to have a fun day with the kids. The fun day with the kids will cost less than $30 and the party will be potluck. Celebration and sensibility.
- Get help. Budgeting is not easy. Take the class Financial Peace University if you need to. Follow blogs on budgeting. Join a couponing group in your area.
- Try to find positives about the hard part. The same friend from the conversation above thinks they should have a sitcom where everyone is at different points in their debt pay off. Then she would know how conversations go. So imagine you’re on a show. Or a game show. Or whatever makes it fun for you. I like to play games at the grocery store to help me stay in budget.
- Read through the book of Proverbs, one day at a time. Every time there is a verse on debt or money, underline it. Talk with your husband about what God is teaching you about money during this time.
What other ways can you think of to support you as you are on your debt free journey?
Next week, I’m going to talk about the WHY of debt free living. Will you join me?
**links to Amazon are affiliate links**
Check out the rest of the series here.