Fact: You Are Not Completely Healthy and Fit When You're Financially Stressed
When I tell people about my weight-loss journey of losing 50 pounds, I never really get into the financial part of my journey. When in fact, that's probably the biggest struggle I overcame- carelessly spending money.
I believe that you are not completely healthy if you are stressed about money, so I think it's time I shed some light on the subject, at least from my perspective.
During the two years in college that it took me to gain 50 pounds, I went from a size 4 to a 14. Let me just tell you, a LOT of shopping took place during that time period.
Shopping was a huge emotional thing for me. I was unhappy with my body and hated the way clothes fit. I would see a friend wearing a cute outfit and thought, "maybe it will look that cute on me." So I would find it or something similar, buy it and still hate the way I looked in it.
I was constantly shopping for the "perfect" outfit to make my body look better.
I worked as a medical receptionist during that time, about 20-30 hours a week, but one Christimas season, I thought it would be fun to get a part-time seasonal job at one of my favorite clothing stores. That job came with a 50% apparel discount. They expected us to wear their clothes while working, so it was the "perfect" opportunity (in my mind) to open a credit card account with them and stock up.
Along with that credit card, I had a Mastercard, an American Express, Victoria's Secret and even one at JCPenney. In a few month's time, I racked up over $8,000 in credit card debt. I also went out to countless happy hours, drinking and snacking. It was not a great situation. At all.
Not to mention the booths set up on my college campus encouraging students to sign-up for a credit card in exchange for a free t-shirt. I felt overwhelmed by my debt and my weight.
Once I finally decided to take control of my life, things slowly started changing in my thought process. I realized that if I were to focus on MY BODY and MY HEALTH, every outfit would look good on me.
I started finding other activities on the weekends that involved healthy activities, rather than drinking alcohol and eating junk. I also avoided hanging out with a crowd that cared what brand of clothing I was wearing.
I knew there was way more to life than than mindless shopping and an excessive lifestyle.
At the end of the day, it left me feeling empty.
I started dating a guy (now my husband) who was physically and financially fit. He worked hard at work and in the gym. He saved money and was the most disciplined person I had ever met. He knew where he was going with his future and I decided I wanted to be part of that.
I made a promise to myself that I would pay off ALL of my credit card debt before we got married. (He told me after 2 months he wanted to marry me). After all, it wasn't his fault I put myself in that financial position. It took many disciplined months, but I paid off all of my credit card debt.
In other words, every bit of birthday, Christmas and college graduation money went towards that debt. It totally stunk but I made it work. That meant holding off on buying that new purse or pair of shoes just because "I wanted it." It was the biggest dose of delayed gratification of my life!
I heard about Dave Ramsey and his Total Money Makeover book, so I bought it and followed his steps. It worked! (And no, I am not paid by Dave or anyone to say this. It just really worked for me).
Do you know how I felt when I paid off that debt? FREE!!! I felt free.
Once we got married, we tackled my student loans the same way. It felt so great to be working with my husband to accomplish our financial goals.
A few years have passed since we paid off that debt. We paid off my truck three years ago as well. But just before Brinkley was born, my truck decided it was no longer reliable. We were not prepared to pay cash for a vehicle, so we took on another car note (I was never so disappointed about buying a car). Normally people think getting a new/used vehicle is fun and exciting.
Not this mama. I saw it as another note. I do NOT want to spend my life owing anyone.
So, to get ourselves on track, we mapped out a new plan to become COMPLETELY debt free.
That's the truck AND the mortgage. Within the next few years, we are making a mad push to be completely debt free by the time Kent turns 40 (that's in 6 years).
We had the opportunity to listen to Dave Ramsey speak in Houston last night. I have heard him once before, but it was nice to get a refresher course on his principles in person. He is so passionate about his calling and I just love that.
This world needs more people who are passionate about what they love. You can tell he just really loves helping people take control of their lives.
A few points I took away from last night's course:
-52% of Americans will not be financially prepared for retirement
-Adults devise a plan of action. Children "need it now."
-"The borrower is a slave to the lender." -Proverbs 22:7
-70% of people live paycheck to paycheck- that's 7 out of 10 people
-The average person that follows Dave's FPU plan pays off their house in 7 years
-Did you know:Take $100 a month and put it into an investment earning 12% for 40 years = $1,176,477
*By the way, we just cut off our cable TV that was costing us $100 a month because we never watched it. It was a waste of money.
To follow Dave's baby steps to financial freedom with Kent and I, check them out here. I printed them out for our fridge so we see them every day.
I don't know about you, but we work too dang hard to get to the end of our income earning years and have nothing to show for it. I hope this blog post helps some of you get going and make a difference in freeing yourself from financial burden.
Our Mission: Debt Free Living
Just think: what could YOU do if you had NO PAYMENTS? Anything you freaking want to do, that's what! I am so pumped about this and can't wait for that day when we owe no one. Period.
I hope you will hop on board with us as we pay off our truck next, then our mortgage! Let's do this! It will take discipline, but it will be SO WORTH IT! To me, this will make us completely fit and healthy, free of stress about money.
I would love to be your accountability partner!
Feel free to contact me anytime. ILIVEMYWAY@OUTLOOK.com