Photo by Brettro
My husband and I do not have debt. We avoid getting debt like we avoid stepping off cliffs, walking on broken glass and driving into oncoming traffic.
We are older – in our late 30s and early 40s – so it’s not that big of a deal to announce being debt-free at this age. But with so many younger people struggling to break out of the debt-cycle, I wanted to give my two-cents on the subject.
Here it is:
If you want to escape the debt-trap, you’re going to have get some grit.
What is grit?
That’s hard to define, but I know it when I see it. And, frankly, I don’t see it in people that often anymore.
My parents had it.
They were California hippies starting out their married lives in a VW bus, and when they had enough money they moved to a “shack” (as my mom puts it). And when they could afford it, they moved up to a trailer (yes, that’s right, the trailer was a step-up from the shack). And they continued to live below their means until they had started a successful home-building business. They always bought used cars – with cash. And one summer, in between spec houses my dad was building, we camped out on the deck of an unfinished house (with all of our furniture and belongings on the deck) in order to save money on a hotel or rental. They didn’t believe in debt, and they were willing to do the things no one else would do to get ahead.
My husband has it.
Just read these random facts about how he made it through two degrees with zero debt and money in the bank. He had just paid off his first house when I met him. This guy is oozing with grit. (Actually, he could stand to be little less gritty.)
I learned to have some, too.
When I was in college, I racked up some credit card debt buying stupid things (like clothes and eating out). When I finally realized how idiotic I was being, I took a second job at night preparing taxes for Jackson Hewitt on the bad side of town. (That’s a whole other blog post, let me tell ya.) I worked freakin’ hard and paid every dime off, all the time feeling like the biggest schmuck for falling prey to the scam-artist credit card companies.
Now, I’m on fully onboard the Grit Train and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Grit means doing the things others won’t do in order to dig yourself out of a hole or get ahead in this life. People might think you’re a freak, but then those who do are probably living in denial about their own mountain of debt.
Bring gritty means:
- Never buying a lunch out. Like, NEVER.
- Canceling your cable.
- Going to the library to rent your movies.
- Forgoing the steak and buying beans instead.
- Shopping at Goodwill or garage sales for your clothes.
- Thinking of the many ways to forgo buying something… instead of thinking of all the things you can buy.
- Being open to the unconventional: like camping out for a summer to save a buck, or living in an RV, or taking on roommates (like my husband did when he was single, renting every room out of his house including the dining room) or raising some chickens in your yard.
- Eating those leftovers for umpteenth time even though you’re dying to just go grab a burger.
- Working at night when you’d much rather zone out in front of the television.
And there are more – many more – examples I could add to this list. But I would like to know what you think.
Tell me some of the “gritty” things you have done – or do – to save a buck. In the meantime, I’ll go reheat some black beans and rice for lunch.