How We Broke the Bondage of Debt

So we became debt free. But how did we do it?  How did we really go from $43,000 consumer debt to $0 in 18 months?

This was by no means an easy process. Changing behaviors and adapting to a new way of living requires time. And you must be patient with yourself on your own journey.

In this post, I share four practical steps we took on our journey to breaking the bondage of debt. Why bother reading about our journey? You don’t have to. Seriously.

But if you can relate with debt, then our journey might connect with yours.

Courtesy of  Images_of_Money | Flickr

Courtesy of Images_of_Money | Flickr

We consolidated out debt

After our first baby step of believing we could be debt free, our next practical step was consolidate our multiple ‘single-life’ debt into one account.

In retrospect, it was the right thing for us. For us, marriage is an institution of one, including cash and debt accounts. Debt consolidation gave us single perspective on what we were dealing with.

If only that was the end…

We quit borrowing more money

Second thing we did, as part of our debt consolidation decision, was resolve NEVER to borrow more money for consumer spending. Not a penny more!

We performed ‘plastic surgery’ on our credit cards (cut them up). It was a statement of intent, one we have been graciously helped by divine providence to keep till this day.

We now have one credit card account and purchases are directly settled via our current account in full… by default. This way we only get to spend money we know we actually have, on things we can afford.

We got on a budget and stayed on it

Money management is about attitude and discipline. God is interested in our attitude and approach to managing resources. Money is a spiritual phenomenon for Christians; we are stewards.

Temi and I spent several days drafting a budget template (and content). We started by grouping our gross income and listed every monthly expenditure item. It didn’t take us long to realize the basic rule of money management: If you spend more than you earn, you will be in debt! 

Easy, right?

Instead of settling for this rule, we took a different approach. If we were going to become debt free in the timeframe we desired and have the freedom to live the life we want, we had to do more than live within our means.

Here’s what we did:

We chose to live below our means.

That’s right. We cut down dramatically on our expenses and decided no family emergencies would make us break the bank ever again. This way of living has become our ‘new’ normal.

You can’t live the way that got you into debt and expect same way to lead you out of it. – Share this.

We saved money 

By getting on a budget, cutting out all excesses and living below our means, we were able to start saving money each month. No premium shirts (didn’t buy one in two years), no weekend Indian curries and no eat outs at our favorite restaurant. We ‘gave every euro a name’.

Temi likes to tease me sometimes with: “Hmm, we make a business case for every cause”… but it worked. It was exactly what we needed.

The saving process taught us so many lessons, one of which was focusing on what was absolutely necessary to change our family tree. It wasn’t easy but worth it.

Take a look at this awesome video by Dave Ramsey. You will love it! Breaking the Bondage of Debt

Question: From your experience, which of the four steps have you found the most challenging when it comes to managing your money? Share in the comments.

About Joseph Iregbu

I'm a writer, purpose guy, speaker and business consultant. My passion is to help people live with purpose and not waste their lives. I live in the UK with my wife, Temi and our gorgeous Isabel Juda. Let's connect on Twitter and Facebook.

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