Do you believe in life after debt?

Imprisoned by Debt:

We lived just like most Americans for years and years. Paid our debts first, then our bills, and we spent (more than) the rest every week. We kept going further and further into debt. No saving, and very little giving.

Climbing Out of the Pit:

Just last month, we sold tons of our furniture, including a baby grand and other instruments, and we are looking to sell two of our cars. We dejunked a lot, and now we are trying to live more simply as well. The biggest differences to our budget though, were discontinuing use of our credit cards, and reducing our grocery budget. (I all but stopped buying prepackaged foods, including breakfast cereals.) We are slowly but surely coming out of debt. I figure in about four years (Lord willing), we will have our mortgage and student loans paid off and be completely debt-free. Three years, if we are able to sell both cars. After that, then what? We haven’t completely decided. We know we want to continue living frugally. But beyond that…

Life After Debt:

How much should we give away, how much should we save? Should all of our money go into banks, or property, or what? In this economy, is it a gamble to invest? I sort of want to buy some property and learn how to be self-sufficient, but another part of me wants to travel first. Should I feel guilty about traveling though? I don’t want to blow money when I could be helping others. My husband is up in the air with me.

A Call for Help:

Should we work less because we need less, or accumulate the extra? What do you think about investing? Do you have any ideas?

10 responses to “Do you believe in life after debt?

  1. Again, I’m not really much help here. My husband and I are newlyweds, have a car that’s paid off, and only two credit cards. If financial aid and scholarships can’t cover college costs (community college two years, University of Houston the last two to reduce the price), well, we aren’t going. Neither of us feel college is worth starting our young lives out in debt, and we might regret that later, but for now I think we’re on the right track, as neither of our majors (photography and english) would really give us much job stability.

    That being said, I think getting your debt out of the way would be great. Travel sounds fun, but I’m not sure if that’s a bad thing or if I’m just being self-indulgent?

    • You guys are being so smart! I wish we had been that way when we got married. We didn’t blow a lot of money until I went to college, but we have gone through several cars, and we almost always financed them. We had some credit cards, but we generally kept them paid off. When I went to school full time a few years ago, things really got out of hand. I bought way too many convenience foods, and gas and textbooks were murder on the wallet, not to mention the student loans! I just kept thinking that we would pay it off when I got done. Which we are, but we’re still working on it, and it’s been a couple of years. My degree isn’t really worth anything as it stands. I would have to have another year to teach music in public school or two years to teach in university. I don’t even really want to do either of those things though. I’m happy with my homeschool choir, and what I really want to do now is write. No more financing college though. I’m done with that.

  2. I would say never feel guilty about what you want to do. Part of becoming debt free is so that you can do something fun and have your life the way you want it. If you feel guilty because of not helping others, you could start 2 funds: whatever you put into going to travel, match it with something you could donate (either time or money or goods) –it will probably take a bit longer with this method. As for investing, I’m up in the air. Part of me wants to and the other part is asking about if I’m sure because have you seen the markets? (Yes I talk with myself 😉 )

    • Thanks for the fund matching idea; it’s a really good one! I don’t mind if it takes a bit longer, as long as I can live guilt-free.

      And don’t worry about talking to yourself; you’re definitely not the only one. I argue with myself a LOT. Sometimes out loud!


  3. You could travel and help. I’ve come across travel blogs who work in the places they visit, either paid or volunteer work. We are planning to travel as a family in 5 years (after debt and with more savings) and I’m really hoping that that will happen. But I know what you mean about the hows, whens, whats…here are some long-term blogs that might be of interest to you:

    I can’t wait for LIFE after our debt! It will be awesome. There is no greater playground for our kid (and us) than the world.

    • We’ve actually been considering traveling and working in the countries that we visit. I think that would make the whole experience better because you would get to meet the “real” people in their real environments. I’m thinking that we won’t be able to make as much money though. We’d probably have to get entry-level positions somewhere, so while we would hopefully make enough to get by, we wouldn’t have much extra to save or give away. Still trying to think things through… And I will definitely have to be able to homeschool wherever we go. As Ian gets older, it’s getting easier and more fun, and while I’ve always known that homeschooling is the way to go, I’m beginning to fall in love with it!

      Thank you so much for the links! I can’t wait to check them out!!

  4. This is something I struggle with as well, especially being fresh out of college. My loans are looming overhead, and I’ll be paying those back soon. In the mean time, I’m trying to rid myself of the bit of credit card debt I have, so I can take a bill away before adding another to the mix. My boyfriend and I are also looking into buying a house as well, AND a new car. Bills, bills, bills! I want to take a vacation, but I feel guilty. I feel guilty when I buy a new pair of shoes because I know it could be used for something more important.

    These things are so difficult to decide. But, once you climb your way out of the rest of your debt, I’d say take some time to travel. Don’t feel guilty. I agree with Orangelime’s idea: kill two birds with one stone, and help while you travel! There’s all kinds of fulfilling-ness wrapped up in that. 🙂

    • Wow! You have so many things up in the air. You sound like me and my husband a few years ago. Just take heart that it’s not impossible, and you really can overcome your debt if you work at it. Unless you can pay them off every month, credit cards have the potential to ruin your long-term goals. We finally put ours away for good, and that’s when we started noticing an improvement.
      I guess you experience guilt a lot – that’s me too. I am completely driven by it sometimes! I know this sounds bad, but I’m glad I’m not the only one!

  5. I say first buy some land as soon as you can that you can escape to and learn to be self-sufficient on. That’s what Terry and I plan on doing. He has been really working hard on paying off what debts we have so we can buy land. We feel that things are just going to get really bad in this country and we want to be prepared to defend and live off the land if it happens before we are raptured out which I really hope comes sooner rather than later.

    • Funny, that’s actually something we’ve talked about. I think we should sell the house we’re in and use the money to purchase a small place where we can have goats, chickens, and a garden. I don’t know how to do any of that stuff yet though, so I’m planning to learn to garden next summer. I’ll have to learn about caring for animals later though because we can’t have any where we are (you know how that is). Anyway, I’d like to get a super-efficient place set up, and then travel. Who knows, maybe I can learn some farming while we’re out and about! We’re wanting to stay in several different countries for 6 – 12 months each, and work and learn while we’re there. It may just be a big dream that’s never going to happen, but it’s fun thinking about!

      Jesse and Ian are also going to need to learn to hunt and fish. Just in case!

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