Living Debt Free

When I share my plans for my upcoming trips to South America (Feb 2012) and RTW in 2013, I am constantly being asked “How can you do it” or being told “I wish I could travel like that.”  The fact is….you CAN.

 

How Do I do It?

– I don’t own a home

– I drive a vehicle that is nearly 15 years old and paid off.

– I scrutionize EVERY purchase.

– I don’t own a credit card.

– When I am working…I’m greedy; picking up extra hours as much as possible.

– I worked very hard to become DEBT FREE

– I choose half-price or discount tickets when attending an event/theater.

– I purchase clothing based on wether or not it will match at least 3 things already in my closet.

– I choose to eat out for lunch instead of dinner.

 

Do you wish you could travel like I do?

You CAN.  It’s all about what is important to you.  Only you can decide if traveling is right for you.  Only you can determine the things important in your life.  Only you can make the changes necessary.  It’s up to you.

I tell people all the time that there are penty of sacrifices that I make to live the life I have choosen.  I had to decide if these sacrifices were worth it.  To me, they are.  Maybe to you they aren’t and that’s ok.

– No pension when I am old.

– Retirement planning is up to me.

– There is no pay when I’m not working, no paid vacation.  I have to plan.

– I am constantly away from family and friends.

– I miss birthdays, special events and the day to day lives of those I love.

On the flip-side of the sacrifices are the benefits.  These are the things that make it worth the sacrifices worth it for me.

– Experiencing new places, food, culture and people

– Learning to not take advantage of life in America

– Facing my fears

– Being able to share my love of travel with those I love

– Avoiding the feeling of being ‘stagnant’

– Knowing that I am doing not just dreaming

– Replacing my retirement fund with a memory fund.

 

How did I manage to be DEBT FREE?

First, I STOPPED SPENDING.  Then, I made a budget and was able to see how my spending today effects my life next month or next year. This was very important for me.  It was encouraging to see my savings grow as I paid off debts.  Think of the carrot at the end of a stick.  My savings budget was my carrot; and still is.

  • Starbucks latte now  vs Water Puppets in Vietnam
  • Coach purse vs Train tickets in Italy
  • New Car (with payment) vs Airfare someplace exotic
  • Gourmet dinner/drinks  vs A week worth of meals in South America

You get the idea.  I think of every purchase now in terms of what it could/would buy me in experience someplace else.

There are a lot of web-sites, self-help books, seminars, etc. out there that will teach you how to be debt free.  I purused message boards, forums, and blogs for inspiration and advice, all of which were free as well as informative.

Do you live Debt Free?  What is your inspiration?