Becoming Debt Free in 2009

December 11, 2008

I want out of debt but….

Filed under: Debt,Goals,Journey to Debt Freedom — ambercouric @ 11:11 am
Tags: , ,

I really want to get out of debt.  I think that we can be out of debt by December 31, 2009.  I want to have to pay only living expenses and mortgage. 

The problem is …. Do I want it enough?  Some days I can say without a doubt that getting out of debt is the most important thing.  On these days I’m willing to do anything to get this debt paid off.  I’m willing to eat cheaper, skip the movies, turn the heat down, rake my own yard, and a million other things.

Then there are the days that I like my life – all of it except for the debt.  I like stopping by the bakery and picking up a pie for my boys just because I know they will appreciate it.  I like going to see a play at the local theatre.  I love the way my yard looks after the yard crew has been here.  I like watching Top Chef on cable.  You get the picture there are at least a million things that I could live without but I like them.

I need to find the balance.  I’m not sure I want a rice and beans diet (Dave Ramsey – gazelle intensity) and I know I don’t want to pay the minimums on my debt so it would take years to pay off.

So the battle is internal. Am I willing to live 1 YEAR – beans and rice – work work work with very little extras to be debt free?  Or do I want to let it ride the course and pay extra but not bare bones for 3 YEARS?

Does anyone else have these internal struggles?  How do you balance the desire to be debt free and the desire to live a “normal” life?



  1. Yes….all the time. But like you said it’s all about balance. Yes I could become extremely frugal and put all my money toward debt reduction, but if that’s not enjoyable, it’s no way to live. I still choose to travel (but I do it cheap). That’s my trade off. I don’t spend much on anything else, so travel is the one thing I spend money on.

    Work out your values and priorities, and decide what you can cut back on, rather than eliminate altogether. Make the play at the local theatre a treat rather than a regular thing etc etc.

    Comment by livingmyrichlife — December 11, 2008 @ 12:11 pm

  2. It’s like you can see inside my mind. I struggle with this constantly. I like convenience, and I like nice things sometimes for my kidlets and myself. I don’t like paying interest.

    If it’s only one year, can you grin and bear it? This time next year if you want to stop at the bakery or get some theatre tickets on the spur of the moment – the thought of debt won’t even enter your head – wouldn’t that be nice? Think of the possibilities you will have with the debt payment money when the debt is gone…

    Comment by Money Minder — December 11, 2008 @ 12:50 pm

  3. I’m looking at a long process (5-6 years) for my own debt. I haven’t read Ramsey, but I look at the journey as something that I’ll have to maintain for a long time. If you don’t think of it is sustainable, then how will you handle it for 1 let alone 3 years? I also think it’s good to do some things to start, and as you get comfortable with them and know you can handle it, add more sacrifices on as you know you can handle the addition. If you can’t, then you know you shouldn’t and you can revise your debt-free date.

    I think it’s also something that once you *are* debt free, you should be able to keep some of the same sacrifices in place to start saving up for good things like vacations, school, a house, retirement.

    I know I couldn’t eat rice and beans for a full year. Bleh.

    Comment by debtmaven — December 11, 2008 @ 12:51 pm

  4. Hey there. My goal is also to be out of debt by the end of next year as well (or sooner). I have those internal battles as well, but I do try and stash some money away for small rewards. I mean, very small rewards. Like in Feb. I plan another trip to see my mom and I will drive, so I’ll set aside $20 a week or something like that for mad money. Overall, I try hard to not think about it and focus more on the fact that in one year, I won’t have a stich of debt! I just keep picturing my headline on my blog-I’m DEBT FREE!!!!

    Comment by Budget Mama — December 11, 2008 @ 12:52 pm

  5. Its like making exercise an everyday activity. You have to find something you actually enjoy doing in order to keep it up every day.

    You have to find the balance between living frugal and still living happy. Its not a race, but a marathon. Go at the pace you are comfortable with.

    Comment by cheryl — December 11, 2008 @ 1:25 pm

  6. Balance, that word is key. In my case I found a lot of things I was willing to cut out along with a few I wasn’t. I wasn’t going to live on top ramen to get out of debt, but I could stop eating out. I wasn’t going to give up makeup, but I switched to drugstore lipstick and mascara. I think you should make some sacrifices, they serve as a reminder for why getting in debt is bad. Then once you have paid off the debt, the memory of the sacrifices you made will help keep you on course.

    Comment by Miss M — December 11, 2008 @ 2:18 pm

  7. We can liken our desire for new things and debt to an addiction. Just like most addictions can not be stopped “cold turkey”. The mind and body must be methodically changed to the attitude you desire. Even when we are “Debt Free”, we must continue to hold ourselves accountable, because addictions can come back. We are talking a lifestyle change that is oppposite to our culture. Going against society will be an additional pressure. So, like Cheryl said, this is not a sprint, it is a marathon. Continue making the next right financial decision and your goal can be achieved. Good luck and God Bless!!

    Comment by BDO — December 11, 2008 @ 2:20 pm

  8. Hi there-BDO makes a very good observation in that once we are debt free, we must still be accountable for our spending. If we can learn these lessons now, it will be second nature in months and years to come. I think it is hard to go ‘bare bones’-it takes real dedication and perseverance. I don’t know if I can send all my ‘spare’ money to debt repayment, in fact, I don’t want to. I think I will wait to be debt free and have the balance. Good luck with making the right decision for you and your family my dear.

    Comment by sharon rose — December 11, 2008 @ 3:20 pm

  9. I struggle with this all the time. I think that paying off $2,000.00 of debt so far is awesome. I believe in moderation as well…I could never do beans and rice… It reminds me of losing weight as well. If I starve myself, I won’t continue. Same with $$. You need money for fun too. It sounds like you have a good balance.

    Comment by Sharon — December 11, 2008 @ 6:05 pm

  10. I struggle too! YOu honestly have to do what feels right to you… what is right for your family.

    Thank you so much for the book & little extras in the box… dd has already had me reading them to her… very thoughtful. You truly brightened up a really bad day. It means a lot to know that there are still a lot of good people out there… and you truly are ‘good people’ 😉

    Comment by jpkittie — December 11, 2008 @ 9:17 pm

  11. I struggle with it all of the time. Sometimes I can be gazelle intense, rice and beans, beans and rice and do really well… and then other times I don;t even want to think about it. I will be honest, I was glad to read that I am not the only person who struggles with it. Sometimes when we were blogs or other PF sites, we can really come away feeling that there must be something wrong with us. They make it seem so easy, and if it isn’t that way for us, well, I must be doing something wrong. At lease I know I feel this way!

    I put us on a 5 year plan. We have roughly 25,000 in debt (student loans and a car, mostly.) I plan to pay off $5,000 a year for 5 years. That is all I expect of us, and anything else is icing on the cake. Of course, we will most likely pay more than $5,000 a year, but this way I feel like I can work to pay off my debt and still have a life.


    Comment by Krista — December 11, 2008 @ 10:18 pm

  12. Hi, thanks for visiting my blog and yes we should keep each other accountable next year.
    I’m willing to do anything, well most things :), to get debt free next year.

    Comment by Laura @ no more spending — December 12, 2008 @ 4:24 am

  13. I’ve got about $35k in debt that I’m planning to pay off over the next three years. I COULD do it faster, but like you, I want to maintain some standard of living. What works for me is to put limits on everything…in other words, I budget. If something isn’t in the budget, I figure out where that money will come from. Am I willing to eat out less or forgo my clothing budget or is it worth putting off the day I’ll be debt free? If there’s nothing I’m willing to give up to have that thing, I go without. Obviously, in that case, I’ve got better things to do with my money. 🙂

    Comment by Slinky — December 15, 2008 @ 4:13 pm

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