I keep my expenses low and pay off debt.
Does that make me better than them? No. Lately I have been trying to not judge others too harshly on their personal decisions because they are just that, their personal decisions. I can try and explain to my friends and peers the benefits of my financial lifestyle, but at the end of the day, I need to be okay with them choosing their own way. And I also need to be okay with them judging me for my ways as well.
I get aggravated when I watch friends who I know are in student loan and credit card debt go on shopping sprees, finance cars that are way beyond what they can afford, drink all that Starbucks has to offer, eat out every night, and vacation like it’s their job. All of these friends are in their 20s. The decisions they are making now will follow them into the remainder of their adult lives. It is not my place to say my method is better than theirs, but I get aggravated when they casually ask for financial advice, I provide them with such, and they eventually veer off until they are in the complete opposite direction of what we discussed.
Many think a hyper-focused method of paying off debt is nothing more than an unhealthy Dave Ramsey obsession; brainwashing if you will. However, I disagree. There are many other financial gurus besides Dave Ramsey that practice the same techniques: Warren Buffett, Suze Orman, and Mr. Money Mustache to name a few. They might have differences in their approaches, and I personally relate to Dave Ramsey’s the best, but all 3 teach on the same goal: being debt free. Is it different? Weird? Extreme? You bet. Does that make it brainwashing? No. And unfortunately being debt-free seems all three of those aforementioned things because so many Americans have turned their back on their own finances. I haven’t heard mention of anyone abandoning any beliefs or going through torture of any kind on my debt-freedom journey thus far. Paying off debt is merely a personal discipline in order to better your future. Hard work? You bet. Maybe that might feel like torture for some :)
In all seriousness, debt pay-off takes WORK, FOCUS, DEDICATION and SACRIFICE, and since those are not normal actions for most people, they wrap the idea of it up as a package labeled CrAzY in their minds. But ask any millionaire how they got where they are, and I bet the answer will have nothing to do with them staying in debt.
For those of us in debt: we were all handed the same frickin’ lemons. As life tells us to do, we make lemonade out of them. Some of us are paying 25 cents to drink it from paper cups and some of us are paying $1 to drink it out of crystal glasses. The ones momentarily sacrificing the finer things in life by drinking from the 25 cent paper cups will be able to afford their pitcher faster and move on to a non-lemon beverage. Those drinking from the $1 crystal will be stuck in their lemon situation for longer than they need to be before they can move on to something better. Either way, it is the same lemonade that we are all drinking, but ultimately, it’s the decision of how we handle it while it is in our hands that counts. Ditch the crystal, drink from paper for a while. You’ll thank yourself later.