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Confession: Why I Gave up in My Debt-Free Dream

July 30, 2020

living debt free of mortgage
After years of scrimping and saving, I’ve given up on living life in accordance with this doctrine. I’m no more debt-free, however I’m very happy.

And it saved my union

At 22I had been drowning in debt out of school expenditures, a brand new infant, and a home my husband and I weren’t ready to purchase. Our son spent the before all else week of his life in the hospital, and large hospital bills accrued. The mortgage loomed. Emergencies here and there, like our computer crashing or the car air conditioner breaking, were paid for on credit cards. We were staring down $140,000 in debt, and I felt completely hopeless.

One day, after ignoring another call from the hospital demanding payment, I took “The Total Money Makeover” by Dave Ramsey off my bookshelf in desperation. It was a neglected graduation gift from a frugal-minded relative, and it soon became the cornerstone of my life.

I was hooked, convinced that the debt payoff method was the answer to all our money woes: I began listening to the radio shows, reading the debt-free blogs, and using the envelope system. We eschewed dining out and went months medially purchasing single items of clothing. No expense in our budget was overlooked, and slowly but surely, I was beating back against our debt.

Five years into the process, we had three children, whose births were paid for in cash. We had no car payments, no credit card payments, and no loans of any kind except our mortgage, and we paid double on it each month.

We also had no life, but that didn’t matter for me personally. I had been laser concentrated. In five years, we’d own our home and live to nobody.

Not Living the American Dream

I started talking to my spouse regarding the chances we’d have before us after we had been freed in our mortgage – even the holidays, the investment opportunities, the supermarket – although the simple fact that we’d struck our halfway mark didn’t excite him. Instead, it pushed him to his breaking point.

He didn’t need to work logically to have a home in a rundown area filled with badly preserved rentals. He also didn’t want to wait another five years to take our before all else family vacation. He didn’t need to give up a few years of their lives so as to live my intense variant of the American dream. He wanted a home in a better neighborhood that has been really large enough for our loved ones. He wished to devote some of their cash he’d worked so difficult for. He had been done.

Reluctantly, I gave in to save our union. We bought a larger home that will help keep us in debt for a long time to come, though the idea made my stomach churn.

Now my objective to live without debt has been replaced with a gorgeous new residence. In one fell swoop, I dropped our initial debt into 280,000 – a few I knew I wouldn’t have the ability to combat. I ran amounts for hours and hours and kept coming to the equal conclusion: My debt-free fantasy was finished.

I eventually gave up trying to pay back the mortgage as though it had been a 15-year semester and opted to live just like a regular man at long last year. And I braced myself for bitterness to settle in my bones. Certainly there wasn’t any way I would be happy giving my obsessive target along with my debt-free individuality.

Living in Debt – and at Happiness

As time moved on, yet, I discovered I loved it. I was pleased to get some money available instead of trimming our purse strings. I liked the spacious new residence and dwelling in a nicer area. I relished going into the grocery shop rather than counting every last penny in a calculator as I moved through the aisles. I felt a joy in buying a TV for the very before all else time in my life, and reveled in the luxury of purchasing furniture which wasn’t secondhand.

It was strange happiness, though, tinged at the edges with guilt. I had adhered to the debt-free life ideals with the fervor of a devoted parishioner, and now I was turning my back on all the wisdom I had gained throughout those years. Even though I was now able to live more fully, the guilt of abandoning what amounted to a debt-free religion followed me.

A few months after the move, I deleted the Dave Ramsey podcast on my phone, closing that chapter of my life (partially for now). As I did so, I realized those years were not wasted. My frugality freed me from all of my debt except a home mortgage.

I can now live comfortably, still saving for the future, investing in my retirement, and even enjoying some money as well. Even though I may never reach the high echelon of Ramsey’s most successful devotees, I am glad for my half-finished journey. I am ready to live happily, with or without full freedom from debt.