Get Rid of Debt!
The first step to achieving financial independence is to get rid of your debt. It doesn’t matter where you are now, RIGHT NOW it’s time to stop the bleeding, make a plan, and get rid of your debt.
A Personal Story:
I spent most of my 20s spending my money on beer, buying stuff I didn’t need, and chasing after girls. By the time I was 30 I had over $13,000 in credit card debt (plus student loans) and not much to show for it. Where did all that money really go? Why was I living beyond my means? Did I really NEED to buy any of that stuff? These were the questions I began to ask myself as I took an introspective look at my life and my finances.
A Side Note: We all stand on the shoulders of giants and my life has been shaped by many incredibly smart people. Most of what I believe now has been influenced by those who came before me and I would like to share a few the most influential resources with you now.
Mr. Money Mustache – His approach to finances was a wake-up call for me to do something about my own situation.
The Tropical MBA – Dan and Ian were my guiding light as I embarked down the lonely road of solo entrepreneurship. Their Podcast gave me the insight and motivation to keep going and build my business and ultimately my financial independence.
Back to the story:
When I became 30 I stopped the bleeding. I stopped using ALL credit cards and I formulated a plan to get rid of ALL the credit card debt. I realized that most of the stuff I was buying was unnecessary. I started finding the wisdom in my parents’ approach to finances and UNDERSTANDING WHY we went out to our car for lunch at the amusement park to eat turkey sandwiches instead of buying the $10 hamburgers inside the amusement park.
I used to go to the store and think about all the things I NEEDED. Oh I should get this to replace that and I need that to clean that and then I need a new this because my other one is too old. THIS IS CRAZY! I realized that I DON’T NEED ANYTHING. Instead of buying something new to replace a still working old thing, I just use the old thing until it breaks and then decide if I really need to replace it or not. In most cases, you don’t!
I cut my expenses, found a job to cover those expenses and spent the rest of the time building a business.
Now I don’t have any credit card debt and the thought of buying something on credit seems insane. The thought of buying anything – period – seems insane.
The best part is, you can still see the rest of the world caught up in the trap. They still buy stuff they don’t need, go into debt, then work a job they don’t like to pay it off. This job invariably brings them stress so what do they do?? Buy more stuff they don’t need to deal with it!
My current monthly spending is less than $1,000/month and I have never been happier.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I am not eating Ramen Noodles every meal and sleeping in a box. I actually live in a pretty nice apartment, eat well, travel and still drink beer. But I do this in a very cheap location and I don’t spend my money on STUFF. But I do spend it on EXPERIENCES if I think it’s worthwhile to do so.