Monday, December 30, 2013

Start the New Year right: Downsize and throw off the shackles of debt


Mortgage-free and living well in a tiny house:



I like this couple's priorities.

I've been debt-free and mortgage-free for three years now. They aren't kidding when they talk about the freedom that comes from dropping out of the rat race. This blog probably wouldn't exist if it wasn't for the decade my wife and I spent budgeting, saving, investing and expense-cutting.

It's an amazing feeling to not owe anything. If it takes building a tiny house to do that, it's a great trade.

I could've been debt-free a lot sooner if I hadn't gotten caught in the heady excitement of the real estate boom. Fortunately I got out before it went bust.

If you are in debt and struggling, I really feel for you. These are tough times and it's hard to make money. I know from personal experience. I've had years where I fell well below the "poverty level."

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My advice, for what it's worth:

1. Quit buying stuff.

2. Ditch everything that has payments attached.

3. Save every penny and live like you're utterly broke.

4. Grow your own food.

5. Save by stuffing extra cash into something hard to spend, like silver.

6. Work more and save the extra.

7. Sell stuff you don't need, want, or just because it's expensive. Cash is better than stuff.

8. Forget the Joneses. Like Dave Ramseysays - the Joneses are BROKE!

9. Don't let people pile obligations on you. If you can't afford a trip somewhere, tell everyone you're sorry and can't make it.

10. Always keep an emergency fund with at least $1000 in it.

11. Ditch your credit cards. Cut them up. Now.

12. Quit eating out.

13. Quit paying for Direct TV/Cable/Netflix/etc.

14. Learn to enjoy "making do." I recently made a new hammer handle and saved $6.00. It's pretty awesome to reclaim stuff that would otherwise hit the trash.

15. Always remember why you're doing this. FREEDOM!

Can you imagine not having to pay a payment ever again?

I can spend money on trees and plants that would normally have gone to some fat cat banker. And I can afford decent cigars and tree forts. We're still nowhere near wealthy, but at least we're not tied to monthly payments.

The decade of pain was worth it. You can be debt-free faster than I did with some planning. Especially if you ditch your house or apartment and get a tiny home (though I wouldn't pay what they did for it).

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Good luck!

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2 Comments:

At December 31, 2013 at 2:35 AM , Blogger Herrick Kimball said...

David,

Great post. I too have been experiencing the FREEDOM of a totally debt-free life after a lot of years of hard work and cheap-living. I agree with all your points, though I do have a credit card (but I pay the balance in full every month).

 
At December 31, 2013 at 9:18 AM , Blogger Survival Gardener, AKA David the Good said...

(slow clapping)

 

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