Ready or Not #220: Independence Day

As citizens of this great nation, we just celebrated our Independence Day.  It was wonderful – parades, bands playing, military men and women dressed in their dress uniforms, flags flying everywhere.  Not to mention all of the barbeques and fireworks.  It was a wonderful time; it is a wonderful nation.

It wasn’t always like that.  Men and women had to fight for our independence years ago and the military is still fighting to keep us free from harm and to help others to gain their freedom.  There was a lot of sacrifice that everyone had to endure to get to the comfortable place that we are in today.

Are you willing to sacrifice to keep your freedom?

I’m talking about your family’s independence and freedom from debt and the lack of preparedness.

It is amazing how having a readily assessable monetary stash at home for emergencies can ease the mind.  Having extra food and water stored that you actually enjoy eating can make a lot of potential bad times bearable.  And the Pièce de résistance – being completely debt free!

Food and water need to constantly be rotated, and having extra money for unforeseen emergencies will always be in rotation (at least at my house). But being debt free has to be the most exciting concept  to contemplate.

I’m not there yet.  I keep working towards it, but I still have a ways to go.

I have heard a lot of educated people give their theories on how to become debt free.  There are some businesses that even claim that they can even get you out of debt by you paying them one lump sum each month and they divvy it out to your creditors.  That sounds good in theory, but it doesn’t work.  You need to understand how and why you spend your money before you will really get out of debt – financially or mentally.

In order to get yourself out of debt, you need to have less money go out than what comes in.  Simple enough.  But not really.  When you are surrounded with the constant bombardment of advertisements insisting that you “need” their product, or that you “deserve” something else, it gets hard to resist spoiling yourself.  Even if it is just a little.

One of the biggest money suckers is eating out; a couple dollars here, five dollars there, and suddenly you are spending two or three hundred a month (that isn’t a guess – one of my co-workers brought lunch from home for a month and had an extra $250.00 in his bank account that he hadn’t spent on fast food).

If you want your own personal Independence Day and become debt free.  You will need to sacrifice your time setting up and following a budget.  You will need to sacrifice your passions and your expensive “nickel and dime-ing” tastes and re-evaluate what you truly “need” and “deserve.”  You need to fight for your freedom.

I think I deserve to have peace of mind and so I am really trying hard to become debt free.  Everyone will have their own style of getting their debts paid, but paying the smallest debt first and then applying that money to the second lowest debt, and then the money from both of those to the third debt is most effective way for me.  I don’t pay attention to the interest rate when I am paying my debts off; I do that when I first think about using that option.

Like most of you, my goal is to have my house paid off, no credit debt of any kind, vehicles that run well, a year’s worth of utilities saved up, a complete food storage program and my water stored.  It calms me down just to think about it.

So if someday you see me in my backyard having a barbecue and setting fireworks off in the middle of winter or some early spring, you will know that I have achieved my own little Independence Day.  After I have sacrificed.

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