But let's face it. Most of us have it. You probably do. And you, over in the corner, and you sir, walking out of the room. Almost every one of us has debt - be it a mortgage, or student loans or a car loan. And we live in a culture and a country that's up to their eyeballs in debt. There has to be a better way.
Reeve and I have debt of our own - student loans and his car, along with a few other little things. (Thankfully we don't have any credit card debt!) We have always talked about getting out of debt, but we never really put solid efforts toward it. Last year we decided that beginning in January we were going to buckle down and face our debt. Fortunately for us, CenterPointe started a new series this month called "The ABC's of Financial Freedom" based on the book by Barry Cameron. The whole church is following this series and I'm so excited. If you've never read it, pick one up. I promise you'll thank me later.
In his book Barry tells the story of overcoming his own debt and instills in us the oh-so-simple but hardly easy methods of getting out of debt and living in a way that God wants us to in regard to our money. I've been so sucked in that in two days I've devoured four out of seven chapters. I can't wait to finish and read it again and again and again. Here are a few (but certainly not all) of the points he makes in the first three chapters:
- He insists that our attitude toward money needs to change, and it needs to change now. That your financial situation isn't your greatest hurdle, you are. Like Joyce Meyer says, "Your problem is not your problem. Your attitude about your problem is your problem."
- He insists on giving God the tithe that belongs to him. No discussion. We've found that in our personal life that when we are faithful to tithe that God is faithful to us.
- He insists on cutting out all but the necessities in order to get yourself out of debt. That means no new clothes, no new shoes, no eating out, no buying furniture. (You don't need new clothes. I don't care what you say, you don't need them.)
- Interest is money you spend that goes to line someone else's pocket. Every time you see the word Interest you should immediately think "Someone Else." Let me give you an example. If you buy a car for $14,000 with a 9.75% interest rate, in the end you will pay $21,000 for that car. Ouch.
So as I'm reading this I'm wondering how much money I'm actually spending on fast food and "recreation." So I punched some numbers (Since I work at a bank I'm really good at this.)
- If I get a medium coke at McDonalds once a week in a year I will have spent $81.64
- If I get an ice cream cone every day at McDonalds at the end of the year I will have spent $137.80
- If we go out to eat once a week and don't spend a penny more than $25 then at the end of the year we will have spent $1300.
- If we go see a movie once a week at the end of the year we will have spent $832
If you total all those expenses you've already spent $2,351.44 on things you don't need - that's money that could be spent on getting out of debt. A bit of a wake-up-call? It was for me.
So this year we are cutting out all the non-necessary elements of our life in order to pay off our debt. We want to pay off the car by the end of the year and finish our school loans in two years. We want to have the financial freedom to give generously and to be able to pack up and move when the Lord says to go to Romania without any ties of debt weighing us down.
Who's with us? Let's get out of this ugly debt together. I can't wait to see what the Lord has in store and to be able to blog about the things the Lord has done in our lives now that we are committing to getting out of debt.