When callers call into the Dave Ramsey Show to do their debt free scream, he almost always asks them what the key to getting out of debt is. Some common answers are: the budget, communication with your spouse, persistence, and sacrifice. While those are all true, I want to make the case for these three keys:
A. You have to want it. So. Bad.
B. You have truly believe you can do it.
C. You have to say “no” to some things, so you can say “yes” to your goal.
Now while we’re talking about the keys to success, I’m going to use these same keys in terms of two other things areas of life too!
1. Paying off Debt
A. You have to actually want to get out of debt before you start doing it. If you are okay with maxed out credit cards, financing (or worse, leasing!) a car, borrowing money from your parents to make rent, or taking out a second mortgage for your kid’s college education, then you may be setting yourself up for a lifetime of debt. There’s a proverb that says that the borrower is slave to the lender. I don’t know about you, but I HATE paying my student loans every month! I wish I could just take a month off of work and travel the world… but I can’t! I wouldn’t be able to afford the trip in addition to those payments. So since I WANT to travel before having kids, and I WANT to actually go out to eat more than once a month, I decided to get out of debt.
B. Now wanting and achieving are two different things. If I think that debt freedom is just a fairy tale people just dream about, then I will never actually roll up my sleeves and attack my debt. If I believe what so many people tell me, “you’ll always be chasing some sort of debt, and if you have kids, you will absolutely never get out of debt,” then of course I will never try. But if I have that hope… if I learn about budgeting and stick to my monthly plan… if I get creative with date night and go on a picnic instead of dinner and a movie… if I use Netflix instead of buying movies and having cable… if the achievable goal of becoming debt free becomes more important than the temporary things in day to day living… THEN I can do it.
C. I have to say “no” to impulse buying at Walmart. I have to plan our family dinner ahead of town, or else my husband and I will come home from work and think “dang, we don’t know what’s for dinner! Let’s just go out to eat- JUST THIS ONCE.” But we all know that “just this once” means at least once a week. We say no to buying a fancy new car. We say no to a shopping spree “because I need more clothes for work.” We say no to buying something shiny “because I owe it to myself.” It’s so hard. It is so, so hard. But we know it’s worth it, because with every no we say to something else, we are saying yes to becoming debt free, so that later we can say yes!!
2. Following Jesus
~ If you don’t care about or are simply not interested in faith, please skip to number 3. I won’t be offended. But if you are the least bit intrigued, read on, my friend.
3. Losing Weight
Do you agree with these two keys? Did I miss one? Am I totally wrong? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!