Debt breaks your spirit. Debt lays a heavy burden on your back so that no matter how much money goes through your hands, you feel poor. The best way to get rid of the fear and stress is to pay off your debt. And the best way to pay off your debt is to work at it one week at a time. Its the little by little discipline that will get the job done and move you to the other side of the debt-free homestead. I wanted to share a few of the things that I did when we were $30,000 in debt, living on less than $25,000 a year and we paid off our debt in less than a year. No lie. In less than a year and living below the poverty line, we paid off our entire debt. If we can do it as a one income family, homeschooling 3 children, you can do it, too. We’re debt-free since 1996. There is way less stress and way more freedom farming on a mortgage-free homestead and it leads to homestead abundance.
Here’s 3 really easy tips that you can take action on today. If you take these actions today, you will see results in the long term. Really you will.
1. Cancel the magazine subscriptions
Magazines, especially woman’s magazines are full of advertising. While you can get some great deals with magazine subscriptions, especially around Christmas time when the magazines are trying to build their subscriber lists, you don’t need the ads coming into the intimacy of your home. Read the articles on line, where you’ve trained your mind to ignore the ads. Don’t let them come into your home. Once you’ve got the magazine in your most intimate space, the ads can work on your subconscious mind, planting subversive thoughts, and seeds of discontentment. Before you know it you feel unhappy and its an insidious unhappiness that can only be fixed if you throw money at it. Don’t buy it (pun intended). Get rid of the magazines. And the feelings of discontentment will lose their power. Bonus, with fewer magazines there is less clutter in your home to deal with. For those magazines that you can’t live without — try an online subscription, where the ads will have less power over your subconscious mind.
2. Get the catalogues out of the house
Did you notice that when you got the magazine subscriptions, catalogues started coming in the mail box, too. There’s a reason. The same subliminal advertising that works in magazines also works in catalogues. When an advertisement enters your home, your most intimate space, it has already won the fight against your defences. You will spend less money, guaranteed, if you don’t have catalogues in your home.
What about seed catalogues? You will buy more seed and larger packages if the seed catalogues come to your house. When you are working at getting out of debt, you will spend less if you order your seeds online or buy them at the garden centre, rather than browsing through the glossy pages of the seed catalogues.
3. Pay off your bills before the due date.
This should be a no brainer. If you pay your bills a week late, you will have a penalty to pay along with the bill. Pay the bill a week early and you will pay the amount on the bill. But in spite of this very easy way to save money, there is a mental block about writing that monthly check to the utility company or the credit card company and so you put it off. The delay is costly. Pay yourself that money instead and pay your bills before the due date.
4. Celebrate your victories by going out to dinner and pay cash
Yes you heard me right. When you pay off a bill or put down a huge chunk against your mortgage, you need to take time to celebrate with your whole family. Too often we stop celebrating when we are striving to get out of debt and you can get into a poverty mindset, refusing to spend money on frivolities. That mindset gives a strong message to your whole family that money is more important than they are. It tells them that you are poor. It tells them that there is nothing to be happy about or to celebrate because you are poor. Once that mindset has taken root its really hard to get rid of it. It can damage you and your kids for life. Celebrate your victories by going out for dinner and you remind yourself that the fight against debt is a temporary fight. You remind yourself and your kids that life is good and that there is lots of food and lots of money. You remind yourself that the blessings of God are endless and infinite in your life. God is a good God. You remind yourself that money is a tool, to celebrate and honour your family and others with, as well as to pay for daily necessities — which includes the necessity of getting out of debt.
When our boys were 7 and 10 years old they played floor hockey on a team. After the weekly practices the other parents took their kids out to MacDonalds, but we took our boys home to eat. My youngest asked, “Why don’t we go out to MacDonalds? Is it because we’re poor.” That’s the kind of question that cuts a parent’s heart. Celebrate with your kids once in a while and make the celebration purposeful and deliberate. This will prevent them from adopting a poverty mindset and will increase your special family culture. You don’t need to go out after every practice, but you do need to celebrate with them. And always pay cash, not plastic, when you celebrate. Pay yourself first.
These tips may not make a huge difference to you at first. But over the long haul, you’ll see a difference in your finances just by getting the magazines, and catalogues out of your home and by paying your bills on time. Give it a try and leave a comment and tell me how it worked for you.
Blessings on your homestead journey.