Guest post from Jessi of The Budget Mama
I used to feel rich, as if I had “made it” when I whipped out one of my shiny credit cards.
I loved the rush I’d get purchasing a brand new Coach bag. I loved spoiling my loved ones with expensive gifts that were well above my pay grade.
I loved going on well-deserved vacations and spontaneous weekend getaways. I felt like a reality TV star. I always looked like a million bucks and felt that I looked good too.
But then, in the dark of night, it would seek me out.
I was broke.
Sure, I had nice things and I had amazing credit, but I was broke. I was scrapping by living paycheck to, “Please God, let this paycheck last me until next payday”.
I thought I was happy living the good life with all my stuff. I thought I was doing what I was supposed to be doing. I mean, aren’t we supposed to enjoy life? Enjoy the fruits of our labor by spending our money how we see fit?
Yes. We are supposed to enjoy our lives and spend our money in a wise way; but too often we forget that cash is real money. Debt just means you borrowed the funds to pay for it.
I used to love my credit cards. I couldn’t live without them. I always had them with me. I felt empowered when I used them, but then I’d spend the night stressing about how I was going to pay back the money plus pay rent and buy groceries.
One day, while working a huge sale as a manager of a jewelry store, I came face to face with the person I wanted to be.
She walked in and put purchased an expensive watch for her husband’s birthday and paid in cash. When I tried to convince her that our store credit card was the best option to pay, she looked me in the eye and said, “We’re debt-free. No thank you”.
Now, many years later I get to give this same response. I no longer have credit cards, student loans, car loans, and am working hard towards paying off the mortgage. We’ve been able to dump just over $55,000 in two years!
It’s an amazing feeling when you can walk into a store and pay cash for something that once you could only “afford” to pay for with credit.
It’s freeing no longer lay awake at night realizing that you’re living in a self-made nightmare.
If you’re where I was, I want to encourage you that paying off debt and living without it is a real possibility. Also, YOU CAN DO IT!!!
Carry only cash and make swiping those cards a thing of the past so one day you too can respond, “We’re debt-free. No thank you”.
Jessi Fearon is the founder of the popular personal finance blog The Budget Mama, where she shares her family’s real life on a budget in all its gory details. She believes that money is a tool that should be used to help us live our best lives possible and she is an advocate of achieving financial freedom by helping her readers learn how to manage their money.