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Repeat after me: It’s ok to live a life others don’t understand.
Let me tell you a little about myself. I drive a 2001 Ford Focus wagon and a 2007 Altima. In fact, I’ve never had a new car or a car note. I still wear a few clothes that I bought back in high school. My husband and I rarely celebrate Valentines Day. I only eat at restaurants when I have a coupon. I only go to the movies once a year. I bought second-hand shoes for my son. I do most of my shopping online via rebate sites like Mypoints and Ebates. I hardly watch tv anymore. And despite all those things, my family and I are happy and thriving. But I bet people from the outside looking in will tell me I’m doing it all wrong. They’d wonder why I drive such an old car when I can afford a new one. They’d say I can’t possibly be happy and I’m living a deprived life. Well, I’ve got news for you. You only think that way because society told you too.
Society told you it’s normal to be in debt. They told you to take out a mortgage for as much the bank allowed you too. And they told you that you need an HD TV to watch the game on. But it doesn’t have to be that way.
Being financially sound and ridding yourself of debt, means dancing to your own drum. It means turning right when everyone else goes left. It means being a complete weirdo. You don’t need to throw a lavish first birthday party for your child. And you don’t need to drive the most upscale car around. You don’t even need to upgrade your cellphone to the newest model when the contract ends if your current one still works.
What you need to do is determine how much you want it. How badly do you want to buy that item? Do you want it so badly that you are willing to stay in debt a day, a week or years longer than you have to? Is that want for the item so bad that it justifies forgoing putting that extra $30 towards debt pay off and buying that new speaker instead? Is spending any more money on something you don’t need or doesn’t enrich your life worth the collection of notices from debtors in the mail? Is living off 90 percent of your salary rather than the 60 percent of your salary the best idea? (This is something millionaires do all the time and is actually discussed in this book. It’s a great read!)You need to decide if all that is worth it just so others can give you a nod of approval and you can fit the mold of society.
Now how badly do you want to be debt free? If you are ok with making a few sacrifices here it means you will be free of the burden of debt later on. If the answer is not that much, continue shopping without coupons, paying for lavish vacations that you haven’t saved for, and heading to a fast food joint because you’re bored. You know, all the things society told you were normal and were made even more popular on Instagram. Because we all know how much the approval from outsiders pays.[bctt tweet=”Are you willing to be a weirdo or an outcast to be #debtfree ? ” username=””]
I’d love to say that ignoring the calls from society to partake in consumerism is easy but it’s not. Every time you turn the tv on, use an app, read a magazine, or visit Pinterest there’s an ad for something shiny and new. And they’re all telling you its something you need right now. It doesn’t make it any easier when all your friends and those in your inner circle have said item. And they’re all telling you how much these items have changed their lives. Of course, you want to keep up with the joneses. It’s only natural for you to want to keep appearances and keep up with social norms. However, following social norms is what got you into debt in the first place. That’s what got you elbow deep in student loan debt. That’s what has you maxed out with credit cards and still struggling to pay off your mortgage.
Now I’ll admit there are some areas where society has got me brainwashed. I’m totally convinced that I need to stalk Zulilly and Groupon for the best deals ever. I know Wednesday night just didn’t happen if I didn’t catch an episode of Modern Family and Blackish. And self love Saturday isn’t legit without something bubbly in my glass. Plus, society has taught me that sheet masks are nothing short of amazing and I must try every single one I find. However, I realized that sometimes these simple pleasures of societal norms can also land me stagnant in debt payoff if I allow it.
It won’t be easy. People will say you are weird. They’ll question all your decisions. But for me, it will all be worth it once I get that final letter that states, “Paid in full.”
Are you willing to ignore society and become a weirdo to reach your financial goals?
TERRIfic Words: First they’ll ask you why you’re doing it. Than they’ll ask you how you did it.