Over the past few years, I have come to desire a simpler way of life (hence the name of this blog). One of the biggest ways to live more simply is to have financial freedom. I think financial freedom is something almost everyone wants, but not many people want to take the necessary steps to get there. It's taken me awhile to get past the American way of instant gratification, and I'm sure it will always be a little bit of a struggle, but I am ready to take the plunge.
Our pastor said a phrase during one of the sermon series that has stuck with me, and I really think it's true: you can live life/do finances two ways -- Easy Hard, or Hard Easy. In other words, you can have all the things that you want now -- a nice house, a boat, a fancy car, etc -- and pay for it later by way of lessened retirement funds, paying more than twice what you would if you hadn't charged up your credit card, etc. OR, you can save and pay for the things you can afford -- a more modest home, saving up to buy your dream car, building up your savings account before you take your dream vacation -- and reap the rewards of not paying high amounts of interest, having a savings account, and not being a slave to your lending institutions.
Matt and I have worked hard and have come a long way from where we were 6 years ago. Over time, we have completely paid off our credit cards and have no student loans. We have $1000 in an emergency savings account and are two payments away from paying off Matt's car. Once we do that, we will start applying that monthly payment amount to my car loan. By August this year, we should have both of our vehicles fully paid for. After that, the cumulative amount of both car payments will be going into a savings account so that we will be able to pay cash for our next cars and never have a car payment again.
We are putting our home on the market next week. Our next home will be a modest single family home and our goal is to be able to get a 15 year mortgage and still pay less per month than what we are currently paying for our townhome. Based on what I've seen, it is possible. The difference between what we currently pay and what we will pay will be put into a savings account. We will apply this money toward principal on our home after we have saved 3-6 months worth of income to keep in a savings account.
Attaining financial freedom takes a lot of sacrifice, but it is well worth the payoff. If we meet our goals, we can be completely debt free in 13 years. By the time I am 40, we will completely own our house, our cars, and everything else we have. We will not be enslaved by any debt. How amazing!
Living this way gives us the freedom to spend the money we do have and wish to spend without guilt or worry, give generously, save for college for our children and for our own retirement. It is also a great model to set for our kids.
I know there will be bumps in the road, and things may not happen as I've laid them out here. But this is our goal, and we are going to work hard to meet it!
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