Delurking with my success story (long m)
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|Sun, 04-20-2003 - 6:52am|
I have to say - it does feel good to not have debt to worry about - but trust me, there is always something weighing us down. We buy a lot of used things that break on us for instance.
I think the biggest secret to my getting out of debt was reading books about real-life people who lived far below their means (albeit some were extreme - Tightwad Gazette) I had spent my 18-25 years feeling like my worth was based on the label on my jeans or the designer purse I carried. I never said no to dinners out, trips, lattes, etc. The only way I would not have to worry about debt was to gain some self-confidence that those things were not important and I looked just as good in garage sale clothes.
For two years I never shopped except for essentials. My entire wardrobe came from garage sales, gifts also (it's amazing what you find with tags on). I cooked with black beans, rice, and always made sandwhiches for lunch. I earned very little but once I started saving $50 a month it made me realize how important it is to take charge of your finances. My wedding was done cheaply and people felt comfortable being at a wedding that was strictly for fun - not for show. DH and I still have fond memories of the times with our tv on a folding chair, spending Sat night window shopping, going to matinees at cheap theatres. Our friends all had elaborate furnishings and cars, but we enjoyed our used belongings and had fun fixing things up.
So basically the secret for me was to feel confident and comfortable with what you have and seeing even little bits of money accumulate in savings. I also think it's important to pass this on to my children and we all plan to live way below our means for a long time. I have friends with Pottery Barn this, and SUV that and I appreciate those things, but don't need them. I try not to be smug to friends about how we live, I just accepted my change in lifestyle a long time ago and it's a change for good. Now if I could change my eating habits for good :)
Good luck to everyone - it can be done and you can enjoy life while doing it!!