Wanna BE Debt FREE?

We all come from different financial backgrounds. Some grow up learning healthy spending habits, and others, like me, learn that SAVING..... isn’t an option. I learned that you work hard to make money, and SPEND it ALL as fast as possible. My dad was a very hard worker, and taught me well when it came to work ethics, but as far as spending habits......well, that's another story, and I'm about to tell you about it.

As soon as I hit 18 and graduated high school, I was anxious to set out for a whole new life of independence, with little education on finances. I moved out to Arizona with my best friend, and wanted to experience it all. Started school, got the apartment, furniture, new car, new clothes. Oh yah, I was livin it up….
On CREDIT! Teenagers should NOT be allowed to have credit cards, DANGEROUS combination.
My new FAVORITE movie in the whole world is Confessions of a Shopaholic. This movie is all too familiar for me. I put together a little clip of my favorite parts in the movie that best describes how naive I was at this age, it's freaky how much I can relate.
Credit cards, better known as "magic cards"............. stores "awakening a lust for things you never even knew you needed".............. and justifying spending, by labeling it as,

Okay, so back to my story about how I was livin it up.
Well, it wasn’t long until the credit card debt caught up to me, and I was paying minimum payents on multiple credit cards. I felt the weight of debt on my shoulders daily, causing me WAY too much stress.
I was always working two jobs to get caught up. I had my car payment, insurance, rent, food, gas, ect. But at that point it was too late. After only a year living on my own, I was in way over my head with debt exceeding $20,000. I had no choice but to quit school and move back home.
Completely clueless that paying the minimum payment on credit cards was a BAD thing....

I was thinking about serving an LDS mission, but one of the requirements was to be debt free. So, I sold my car, worked 2 jobs, and started taking the BUS everywhere. It was a tough lesson to learn, but eventually I got the debt paid off, HUGE relief, and I was ready for my mission.
Missions are a lot of work, with long exhausting days, but I enjoyed a financially stress free life. No bills to worry about, just a monthy budget to cover food and what ever else we NEEDED. It was such a simple life now when I look back.
So when I got home I thought, NOW I am ready in every way to take on life. I thought there was no way I was going to screw up again. I tried to keep things in perspective and only buy what I NEEDED like I learned on my mission. Pretty soon I found myself falling back into the same trap, and my WANTS became needs. I was lucky enough to get a job right away when I got home, so I immediately bought a car, got a cell phone and a credit card. I’m not sure how it happened AGAIN, but only 5 months after being home, my credit card debt was up to $5,000. Wasn’t quite as bad as before, but the stress of it was back full force. You’d think I would have learned my lesson the first time, right! Sometimes it takes a few times of screwing up before we get it through our heads. Luckily I met my husband at that point and he saved me from MYSELF. So, in other words, MARRY RICH :) haha, thanks honey for paying my debt for me. Unfortunately, my $5,000 of debt was all I had to bring to the table :)
“When we go into debt, we give away some of our precious, priceless agency and place ourselves in self-imposed servitude. We obligate our time, energy, and means to repay what we have borrowed- resources that could have been used to help ourselves, our families, and others…”
-Robert D. Hales

My husband was brought up learning much better spending habits than I ever did. Which in fact caused us to butt heads a lot in the beginning. My husband wants to save EVERYTHING, and I want to SPEND IT ALL. It took us a few years, but we’ve come to a happy medium. I’m much better at budgeting and saving, because I have a monthly budget. I now use a debit card, not a credit card, bounced a few checks here and there.
I still wonder why the bank clerk is so confused when I try paying my overdraft fee with a check from the same checking account :) .............hmmmmm.
I'm learning.
And as for Sean, he’s learning to SPEND a little and enjoy more, like go on vacations even if it costs money:), only if we HAVE the funds of course. I always tell him that he can be in charge of the saving, and I’ll be happy to take on the VERY tough responsibility of spending.
I’ve actually really learned to enjoy saving money any way I can. Not so I can stash it away in a savings account, hah, yeah right, but so I can SPEND more. Like I said, I leave that up to Sean :)
“We need to understand the consequences of buying on credit and not living within a budget. “
“ Meals prepared and eaten at home generally cost less, are healthier, and contribute to stronger relationships.”
-Julie B. Beck

Five Steps to financial freedom
First, pay tithing/donate.
Second, spend less than you earn.
Third, learn to save.
Fourth, teach children to follow your example.
-Joseph B. Wirthlin

Don't forget to enter my giveaway HERE. We're giving away a FREE acne clearing kit. To see my before and after pics, go HERE.
Enjoy Financial Freedom:


Megan said...

were we once the same person? I graduated high school and went to the UofA and got ALLLLLL sorts of pretty plastic cards (and the free gifts, JUST for signing up!) and then I got the debt consolidation plan when I couldnt make it work any more... and now that I am married, those debts have long since been paid off- but we arent debt free. Its something we are working on. Slowly. but working on it. *sigh* and I agree- teenagers should NEVER have credit cards!!!!

Whatever Dee-Dee wants said...

I love that quote by Robert D Hales!
Debt totally takes away some of our agency.

Carrie said...

I love this post, Crystal. We have followed the prophet's counsel to go into debt only for education for house and we have both in large amounts. Every day I worry and every day I hope it all works out in the end. It is an overwhelming thought and that alone can hold you hostage from good experiences. This is something that no one is exempt from. We all have it. Sometimes I look at people around me and think they are well off but then you find out they are in over their heads in debt. You never know other people's situations but it's a safe bet to know we all have debt, just a matter of how much.

scrapwordsmom said...

I had so much trouble with credit cards. Awww man!! I bought just silly stuff...thankfully my now husband paid them off. Such a kind man!:)

We now live without credit cards. If we don't have the cash we don't buy it.

We eat at home most days...healthier, too!!

My daughter would love that acne kit!! She is having a hard time turning 13 and is very self concious about her acne. Thanks. Crystal!!!!

Danielle said...

Love this post. I am the same way (I am still like this) with credit cards. I get in way over my head, find a way to get out of debt, and before you know it I am right in it again!


Rene W. said...

OMGosh - I love this movie! A girl after my own heart :) "It's an investment"... that was me in every way when I was a 20-something. Luckily we learned to live below our means after we were married & how not to waste our money on interest! It's such a terrible cycle - you're right - teenagers+credit=trouble!!

Amber said...

I can completely relate. We all need necessary things in life...it's just drawing the line as to where that is for each of us! Living up to other's standards and wants will only create havoc in your life. I started a business and was under the impression I needed to start with EVERYTHING before I had any customers! $24,000 later, I was in DEBT deep! It took me 2 years to clear it and now I can say I am happy to spend only what I NEED and save the rest. It is a blessing knowing that it will all pay off someday! Thanks for all the great quotes and tips, Crystal : )

MsBabyPlan said...

Hello girl, you look great in the new photo!

I love this post, I have not seen Confessions of a Shopaholic, now it is on the list of the movies to watch.

I don't have a personal credit card and I am always glad my mother taught me not to buy things if I don't have money to purchase it on the day. Never do carry-forward (that is how they call credit cards).

We use credit card to buy only things that are very important and we always pay before the end of the month. Have a lovely week.

Wonder Woman said...

I've never racked up *quite* that much debt, but I spent too much this last Christmas, and put on the the credit card. Superman was NOT happy when he found out. (He's the saver in our relationship, too.)

I just saw this article on Yahoo! and thought of this post: http://static.dispatch.com/www.dispatch.com/live/content/local_news/stories/2010/05/17/hog-wildnot-this-girl.html
(Sorry I don't know how to link in comments!)

Tez-Mi said...

I am very proud of you.. I think we can all relate!! I got my first credit card at 18 and wooo hooo.. drove straight over to nordstroms and victoria secret..

It was a lesson and a good one! I just love your post.. im going to email it out to my friends (not that their in debt, but because I really think we can all learn)

Paige said...

HA HA HA!! My life was recently taken over by debt...As you know. Now, trying to work my way out, I am learning what it is like to live on a budget. AND, I actually prefer it this way. Have you ever heard of Dave Ramsey? He is my inspiration right now!!! Check him out!

Domesticated Gal said...

I managed to resist the lure of the free-but-for-your-credit Tshirts in college...only to fall prey to the phenomenon of the bouncing checks. A $12 pizza? Ended up costing me $96.

Now? I just let the Big Man pay for the pizza.

alexis said...

money management is one area where i really lack skills. i am terrible with money, and it drives my husband nuts. he is SO good at saving and reducing costs and looking for bargains, and i'm like, "can i buy this and this and this and this?" awful. i'm working on it, though. thanks so much for the post, it's always good to be reminded of what's really important.

mormonhermitmom said...

Know how you felt. My hubby is the big spender. We're slowly working our credit card debt down. He finally got it last year that the credit card debt was killing other opportunities. He still spends but at least not on credit now. Someday...

Amy (Super Healthy Kids) said...

Elder Wirthlin makes it so simple! Thanks for the quotes. Very inspiring.

Brodie said...

Thanks for stopping by my blog yesterday for my SITS day! I am happy to say we are DEBT free- thanks to Dave Ramsey's advice- he has a great book/program.

Joby, Julie, and Cru said...

You paid off 20,000 before your mission!! That impressive.
Buy now pay later....one of my greatest temptations! I too was brought up in a family where great work ethics were instilled...but I learned absolutely nothing about money. If you wanted something and didn't have the funds, don't save up just take out a loan. My parents would even co-sign on everything! I too went through years of indentured servitude to credit companies and finally learned I don't want someone to own me. After a difficult road we are completely debt free. With the exception of our home we own everything and owe nothing. It feels great. I still get enticed by immediate wants...but its lots easier now to say no. Additionally I am now educating myself on finances so I can teach my kids the correct way to use money and how to build a sturdy financial house. Thanks for the awesome post!!!

Lindsay said...

What a great post! I love that quote!

Deborah Ann said...

Oohh, I find myself in that same trap from time to time. Like you, I only use debit cards now. It's so easy to say "I learned my lesson, it won't happen again." Like you said, somehow 'wants' turn into 'needs.'

Heather @ Gerber Days said...

Living BELOW your means is definitely key. It takes a lot of discipline, but the benefits are absolutely well worth it. Thanks for this post! We can all use the reminder of the importance of staying debt free and striving to be so!

Olivia~ said...

Oh my i love your cc confession. we are trying to not use ours and pay it off!!!!!!!!!!!!!
enter me in your giveaway please and thank you for stopping in to say hi!

Holly said...

I never got too caught up in debt...just a couple of thousand dollars in college and my first year living on my own.

Then I met hubby...he saves and saves...he has tried to reform my shopping habits and mostly it has worked. I prefer to be debt free. There are so many things we could buy and do. I see others I know and family members that just continue to take out loans because they want...and they are unconcerned with the outcome.

Really great post.

~dawn said...

Hey there! Thanks for checking out my post on Heros... it's been a really rough week, but writing that post really helped.

Lessons learned the hard way are the ones that stick... paying cash/debit card is the best policy. You can't spend it if you don't have it AND wants are not needs, although sometimes getting something you want is needed... think about it :)

Jewelz has an acne problem she has tried EVERYTHING for.. ( ManBoy's girlfriend of 3 years) I'll have her check out your post!

Jules said...

I love this....I wish I was given a few lessons on spending back when I was young. Now my husband and I live a totally different "spending" life. We are always teaching our grown children the lessons we learned so hopefully they don't make the same mistakes we did.

yonca said...

That's why we decided not to use credit card. Only debit and cash!
Great post!

Trish said...

Hello beautiful! Found you via my sweet friend Heather @ Gerber Days and am happy to be following you now! This is a great post and full of awesome advice. My husband and I are pretty good about living within our means, but this is a great reminder. Love your blog!! xoxox

A Lil Story said...

awww, so, so true!! ugh, my husband and I are in debt right now(not as bad as it could be) but still more than I like... we are finally working on our credit cards and savings... It is a great feeling to pay more than the minimum payments, and actually see the debt getting smaller and smaller!

Great post!!

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