Shifting to a Frugal Mindset: Paying Off Debt NOW!

24
May
2016

Shifting to a Frugal Mindset: Paying Off Debt NOW!

Debt robs us of freedom. It robs us of possibilities. It robs us of joy.

I have had many years of my life where I overspent and did not mange money well. In fact, it sadly managed me – my moods, my choices, my future. I had to use a debt consolidation company to help me escape patterns of bad choices and bad habits.

When I re-married I was so blessed to have a husband who was very frugally minded – and we started our marriage off having a budget. This was a FIRST for me, and to be honest, we followed it loosely until we began to wonder, where was our money really going?

We couldn’t really say.

About five years ago we got down to the nitty gritty and set up a budget using Mint.com – which we found to be simple as well as a completely secure way to help us track our spending. We had not done any financial training, but with age and past mistakes, we knew we needed to be focused on knowing exactly where we spent our money.

It was during that transition I wrote down a lot of my frugally minded ideas in my book, Becoming a Frugalista – Money Saving Secrets for the Family Manager. It was fabulous to place them all in one spot to share with my readers, and I still use many of those tips today.

Fast-forward a few years and my husband and I are tackling our debt even further. We are determined to be free from debt that ultimately makes us feel trapped. Our situation is a bit different. We have worked hard to not carry debt, however we have a car payment that will be paid off in just a few months and then our mortgage.  

The thought of our mortgage being our only debt is exhilarating. I am thankful for my work at home businesses, both my blog and my Young Living sharing bringing in additional income, which is a bonus in helping with our family budget and paying down debt – plus blessing many organizations we would not otherwise have had the opportunity to give to.

Do you wonder what it would be like to have no debt? 

Are you finding your debt suffocating and stealing your joy?  

Today, I will share some ways to shift your thinking, which will hopefully begin to change your perspective on how you are spending your money. Next week I will cover exact examples on how you can find FAT in your budget and put that towards your bills. I recently watched, War on Debt by Dani Johnson. It hit me between the eyes. So much of what I do in my home shows a spirit of indulging and excessive behavior. OUCH! There is a better way. Let’s start changing our thinking.

Asking, “Do I Really Need That?”

You’ve heard this one before I am sure. We often get into habits of just buying because we can. Because we have the money (or at least we think we have the money) to buy more of something, when in reality we may not even truly need it. It is a habit. It’s time to ask that before you purchase everything – from the grocery store, to Amazon, to Old Navy. Do I really need that? If you can truly answer YES to that question, then go ahead – as long as you have funds in your budget. Otherwise, don’t do it.

But, We Think Differently

Do you and your husband think about money in the same way? For many in marriage, the answer is no. Is there a way you can meet in the middle and be somewhere near the same page with spending? This can be a common issue, however even if you can’t agree, I don’t think you should use it as an excuse. Be responsible for the choices you are making on spending money. You cannot control anyone else, but you can make better choices yourself. I can tell you what you do matters and it will be seen, even when you don’t think it is.

Monthly Check-Ins

Schedule, on your calendar – yes, just like any other appointment – to have a family business meeting. You can spend time going through your bills, what was spent, areas you maybe overspent, and where you underspent. This gives both people a chance to see exactly where money is being spent. There is no, “Oh, I didn’t know” phrases that can say ignorance. Be smart, empowered, and have no excuses.

Look to Trim Your Fat

I’ll share more on this next week, but finding ways to trim excessive spending is what you can be looking at now. Do you eat out often? Do you go to the coffee drive thru on a regular basis? Do you find yourself charging basic necessities? When you owe money to others, you need to truly be evaluating where you are spending your money and determine if you are sowing into your finances in order to reap benefits or if you are spending carelessly and reaping what you are sowing.

Do not throw your money away, allow it to work for you. You work hard to get it, right?

This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy here.



Help Susan Help These Children!
  • Susan, this series hit at just the right time. After working a temp job for a year, I am back home. I am confident God will provide, but I have to admit I am nervous about the loss of income. Thank you for the advice and the pep talk!

  • I will add you to my prayer list – He will provide, but I know our flesh makes it hard to see that. 🙂

  • Susan, you are so right about this! I know, because my husband and I have had no debt, other than our mortgage, for more than 20 years.

    When we married, I had a bit of credit card debt, which he paid off for me. Since then, we have made sure to pay our credit card bills in full every month. We do charge basic necessities, but we are not paying interest or fees for the privilege (in fact,we earn some points) because we always pay that bill in full and on time. It is so important not to give into the temptation to just pay the minimum!

    At some point we realized that borrowing money for a car just made the car too expensive. With interest, you will pay 25-30% more than the actual price of the car. If we can pay $300 a month to the bank, we can pay $300 a month to ourselves instead. Our policy is to save for a car and buy a new one, for cash, only when we truly need it. (I drove my last car for 17 years, and I expect to drive the current one for about that long as well.)

    By not having a pile of debt, we have been able to save some money. When a huge, expensive emergency came along recently, we were able to survive it because we could dip into those savings. Yes, it was painful to spend the money, but we didn’t have to go into debt to deal with the situation.

    We aren’t rich, but we are free from the trap of debt, and that makes a huge difference in the way we are able to live and the way we feel about the future.

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