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Debt-free living leads to more Homestead Abundance
Get out of debt. Living debt-free is the first principle of the Homestead Life. Living with debt sucks the abundance out of your mind. Debt is like a cloud that overshadows all the good that comes into your life. It makes you overlook your blessings. It makes you focus on your lack of money, instead of on the good things in your life that money can’t buy. Decide today to get out of debt. Stay out of debt.
1. Take a hard, analytical look at your debt.
If you need to, get help from your Pastor, Rabbi, or a financial advisor, or debt counselor. Analyze which part of the debt is student loans, which part is consumer debt, and which part is necessary to purchase your home, or allow you to go to work. Begin eliminating consumer debt, by stopping the outflow.
My friends put their credit cards in a can of water in the freezer, so that they still had them if they needed them, but they would have to hunt for them and thaw them out to use them. This helped them avoid impulse shopping.
2. Create a budget – make it a livable budget.
Don’t go for austerity measures to pay off your debt, but forego a few luxuries so that you can put the cash saved toward your debt. Austerity measures are like going on a fast. When you fast, its hard to think of anything else but food, and you feel deprived, if your family doesn’t fast with you.
Austerity measures are like that, too. They remind you of what you can’t have instead of giving you a positive goal – being debt free – to work toward. You need to change your thinking to win the debt-free game.
3. Pay off one of your loans first, by putting the extra savings into that one loan.
Some experts suggest paying off the highest interest loan first. Some experts suggest paying off the smallest loan first so that you have quick success in your efforts. If you pay off your highest interest loan first, you will be paying less in interest and more toward principle. This is what we did.
If you pay off your smallest loan first, you have immediate success, and are more motivated to stay with the budget. Either way, once one loan is paid off, take the money that you were paying toward that loan and apply it to the next loan in your program, along with the regular payment due. You won’t miss the money and it will help you pay down the loan faster.
4. When you pay off one loan, celebrate your success
Take the family out to dinner or have a feast meal at home, or purchase something on your need list, that you’ve been waiting for – paying cash. This celebration reinforces your success and removes any feelings of poverty or lack from your mind. Celebrating the small victories is a very important part of living the debt free, homestead abundance lifestyle.
5. Your food pantry can help you pay down your debt.
Your pantry staples like rice, beans, and other staples are usually bought in bulk, and so cost less than expensive processed foods. By using your staples while you are trying to pay down your debt, you save money on your groceries. You eat simpler, healthier meals. And you retrain your mind to use what you have, instead of running to the store for what you don’t have. Remember to replenish what you use periodically, by buying in bulk or in case lots.
6. Consider eliminating the second outside income.
This seems counter-intuitive. Obviously, if you are in debt you need more money, right? But for most folks, with children at home that require babysitters, paid work for the primary caregiver isn’t profitable. When you consider the cost of the second car, the work wardrobe, babysitting costs, and restaurant or convenience meals, the second job can be very costly.
Often the Mom is working for only a couple bucks an hour after the expenses of working are removed. Consider whether it may be better, in your circumstances, for Mom to work at home for her family. This eliminates expenses from the budget with her labor, rather than wasting her energy working outside the home.
As a SAHM, homeschooling my 3 children, I made a game out of saving money by producing the things at home that I used to buy – laundry detergent, hand soap, window cleaner, bathroom cleaner, bread, yogourt and cheese, sausages and meat, even knitting yarn and clothing. While every effort doesn’t save you money – it does give you more control and more satisfaction – more Homestead abundance.
7. Consider downsizing your home.
If you are living in a large home and have a big mortgage, consider selling your home and buying a smaller home that you can pay off completely or perhaps changing your neighborhood, so you can live debt-free.
8. Grow some of your own food
Grow a garden, starts some sprouts in a jar on the counter, put some lettuce in a pot in a sunny window or apartment balcony. Don’t wait till you move to a quarter-section before you start to learn to grow things. Start today – even in winter. Every season that you can garden, you will learn more.
Gardening books are only the beginning in learning to grow your own food – experience will teach you more in a season than the books can teach you. And every meal that you can grow yourself is something that you don’t have to buy from the store.
This is just the beginning of making the choice to live debt-free. The debt-free lifestyle is full of Homestead abundance. When you take action to become debt-free you flip the switch in your mind and you begin to see abundance in your life. Instead of the lack of funds that debt focuses on, you start to see new lavish blessings every day. What’s your #homestead_abundance today?