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Long Time

April 10th, 2009 at 07:33 am


Well, it's been a long time since I wrote on this blog. At work, I am still at 80% of the hours I was working last year. I am currently debt free except for the house and am still tracking and updating my goals.

For those of you struggling with debt trying to get out, remember the best things in life are never easy. We all lose hope and focus. It's what you do after you lose focus and get knocked down. Remember perseverance is the secret to success. As Yoda said “Do or do not... there is no try.”

I have been debt free now for 3 months. During this time, I have replenished my emergency fund and have continued to increase my retirement. For those following Dave Ramsey's baby steps, that puts me on step 4. I am also in the process of refinancing my mortgage to 4.5% from 5.5% and from 30 years to 15 years.

But how does it feel to be where I am? Out of debt with and emergency fund, saving for the future?

I think the biggest thing is my attitude is more positive and losing those negative emotions. When I was living paycheck to paycheck with CC debt, 2 car payments, medical debt, etc.; I was jealous of what people had and I didn't. I was angry I wasn't making more money. I doubted myself and it wore on my relationship with my wife.

The process of getting out of debt caused my wife and I to have truly honest communication and set goals. Sure, at the beginning, I was embarrassed trying to keep up the illusion of a successful life. We had to look beyond the material things and during the journey the jealousy, anger, and doubt melted away to be truly successful. The journey of getting out of debt really caused me to focus on what I do have and prioritize what was really important to me (sounds so cliché).

Now getting back to the biggest change I see in my life over the past year and a half. I have started noticing that differences in a lot of aspects of my life and there seems to be a snowball affect. The positive attitude has led to a better relationship with my family, it has allowed me to operate with more integrity at work (I don't fear losing my job), and able to take criticisms a lot better which causes me to continually think about what I need to do better.

So for those of you in the middle of the process and doubt is starting to creep in because Murphy came for a visit, just remember this is part of the process. Look back to where you were and look forward to where you are going. Persistence is the only way to achieve your goals and the struggles and fight WILL make you a better person.

9 Responses to “Long Time”

  1. Joan.of.the.Arch Says:

    Sure, at the beginning, I was embarrassed trying to keep up the illusion of a successful life.
    I've wondered if this is not a stumbling block for many people who are trying to drastically change their spending, but no one seems to mention it much. Perhaps it is just really hard to acknowledge.

    That reward of the greater positive attitude, better relationship with family, and greater integrity at work sounds remarkable. What a return!

  2. ceejay74 Says:

    Yay, merch, glad I prompted you to give us an update! So glad things are going well, and this is a great essay on the rewards still to come if those of us in debt keep working at it.

    Joan, I think so, big-time. One of the first (and best) steps I took was to be very upfront and open with my friends that we did not have any money to spend. After maybe some momentary discomfort (it's a weird topic, and MN is one of those less-direct places, communicationwise), our friends were sympathetic and completely willing to accommodate us with a cheaper social life. A few even confessed some of their own money concerns and, as we made more and more progress, admiration at our tenacity.

  3. monkeymama Says:

    It's great to hear from you. & a great post!

    With rates so low, have you considered a 30-year-loan and making pre-payments instead? I find that to be a better balance to retaining flexibility (in case of layoff, etc.). When times are good, pay as much as you want. When times are bad, less to pay. I think too many people get way too gung ho and then put themself in a situation to get back in debt. Just my 2 cents. (IT didn't help that the 15-year interest rate was only 0.25% cheaper or something when we just refied. WE always thought we would refi back to 15 years when my spouse returned to work - we had a 15-year loan before when we both worked. I no longer see the draw. Though we plan to pay back in about, 15 years. I now respect the flexibility of a 30-year mortgage, having one for 6 years now).

  4. Broken Arrow Says:

    Good to hear from you, and that things are well!

  5. Analise Says:

    I am happy to hear all is well. Congratulations on being debt-free. I know your story will inspire many others to keep at it.

  6. Lady T Says:

    Wow. Great post, Merch! I'm happy that you're doing so well, and thanks for the dose of optimism for those of us that aren't doing so great.

    Look back to where you were and look forward to where you are going. Persistence is the only way to achieve your goals and the struggles and fight WILL make you a better person.

    Thanks, I needed that reminder! Smile

  7. creditcardfree Says:

    Great post...as usual. Thanks for checking back in. I'm glad to hear things are going well!

  8. Petunia Says:

    Good to see you again.

  9. gamecock43 Says:

    "I think the biggest thing is my attitude is more positive and losing those negative emotions. When I was living paycheck to paycheck with CC debt, 2 car payments, medical debt, etc.; I was jealous of what people had and I didn't. I was angry I wasn't making more money. I doubted myself and it wore on my relationship with my wife."...I love this quote. So true how when you are happy you can just focus on yourself and whats important to you. But when you are unhappy and feel "trapped" by having no money, you just look at other people and wonder how they did/have it.

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