Things I've Learned on our Debt Free Journey
In other news, the fact that this month is November means that we have been on our debt-free journey for nearly an entire year. As I have already observed, this year has flown by, and I can't believe that we have made the progress that we have!
Read our entire debt free journey with budget updates along the way!
Anyways, I wanted to share some things that I have learned about money and, more importantly, myself along the way. Changing your money habits is really a huge personality overhaul since you have to make major behavior changes in order to really make financial changes in your life.
How to fix things
I've never, ever in my life been a fix-it type person. Vacuum cleaner break? Toss it and buy a new one. Air conditioner went out on the car? Jack that baby up and drive a new one underneath! Lawnmower go out?
Wait, who are we kidding, I've never even pushed a lawnmower in my life. I hate yardwork. BUT my husband mows our yard and when our lawnmower went out, we tried really hard to have it fixed but it just wasn't having it. So we bought a beater lawn mower and it gets the job done but it sounds like it is constantly on the verge of giving up the ghost!
But since we have been on a really tight budget I have learned that fixing things is soooooo much cheaper than buying something new on a credit card and then paying for it for oh, ten years or so. It has also been an opportunity to teach Jett how to take really good care of his toys because Mommy and Daddy are not going to be replacing them if they break. We have made several car repairs, like the ball bearing in the wheel, the air compressor, and then replacing the entire transmission, performed minor operations on some other lawn equipment, had some work done on my computer, and had a friend help us install a button in our truck that makes the horn honk. I mean, we live in Houston so that is obviously a necessity, right?
Making minor repairs is now in my wheelhouse and I'm no longer afraid to Google or You-Tube how to replace the window buttons in an Altima (because oh, yeah - we fixed that too!)
How to cook even when I don't feel like it
I do love to cook, and I've gotten much better at it over the last year since we have eaten approximately 98% of our meals at home, but there are still nights when a $5 Little Caesar's Hot 'N Ready Pizza just feels SO MUCH EASIER. I've gotten past that by keeping our weekly menu really simple for most of the nights and easy to switch around if I need to make something easy when I'm just not feeling it!
I have also started implementing a Sunday afternoon cooking session to get most of the big prep for all the meals done for the week so that I just have to do some minor assembly during the week! It is a lot of work on a Sunday but on Wednesday night, when Chris is working late and Jett is running around like a crazy person, it is nice to just microwave dinner and throw it on the table!
How to have a Starbucks meeting without ordering coffee
I bet you didn't even know this was possible. But YES - you can sit in Starbucks and not order anything! And sometimes, if you get really lucky, they mess up a drink and will "On the House" it and set it out for anyone to grab.
I hear all the people out there saying "but you're using their free Wi-Fi without purchasing something?" and to you I just say "Yes, yes I am." The mark-up on coffee is astronomical so by my simple calculations, I've more than paid for a couple of hour's worth of Wi-Fi with all of my previous Starbucks purchases.
I've also brought in a bowl of pineapple before too - I know. Heresy. But when you're out of entertainment money for the month, you do what you have to do sometimes!
These are really small, and kind of petty things, and trust me when I say I know that they aren't huge breakthroughs. But that is the last thing I've learned.
Every little behavior change COUNTS, even the tiniest ones!
In Weight Watchers, you celebrate little "non-scale victories" like making a healthy choice over a non-healthy one or noticing that your pants fit a tad bit looser. When you've put your debt on a major diet, you've got to celebrate those little "non-scale victories" too! Making any kind of lifestyle change depends on the decisions you make on a daily basis WAY more than the big decision you made to start it. You get a chance each day to make tons of decisions that will either benefit your financial health or put a damper on it so learning how and why to make the right decisions is 80% off the battle.
Let's hear it from the audience (that would be you) - what tiny decision can you make today to benefit your financial health in the future? Leave a comment below and share a "non-scale victory" with me!