We’re Not Lucky.

luck quote

{via}

Hi friends! I’ve noticed an interesting pattern ever since becoming debt free. When we speak of our accomplishments, the response “you’re so lucky” gets thrown out as if our success was completely random. Believe it or not, luck had nothing to do with it. It took blood, sweat and a lot of tears to get where we are today {ok, no blood, but that list sounds weird without it…but there were definitely tears}.

To clear up the confusion and put credibility back into our hard work, here are some of the things we did to earn our freedom:

1. We made a budget. And remade it. And remade it. And remade it. It takes time, intentionality, and vulnerability to be in control of your finances and promise yourself {and your spouse, if you have one} that you will stick to the budget. And, if something comes up, redo the budget and see if this new thing fits. We’ve done this every month for the past 4 years. Do we always want to do this? No. What happens when we don’t? Our money “disappears.”

2. We said “No” A LOT.
You know what sucks and isn’t always fun to say? –> No.
How to disappoint people in just one word. –> No.
How to tell a want that it’s not a need. –> No.

Now that we are debt free, we don’t say this word as much. But back when we were hustling towards freedom, it was on repeat. No vacations, no shopping sprees, no to most lunch/dinner with friends, no romantic dates, no concerts, and absolutely no credit cards to finance fun.

But, we found that saying no to most things meant we could say yes to the really important things. We also learned how to turn an expensive dinner date invitation into a $10 coffee date. “No” helped us discover that quality is greater than quantity. :)

3. We paid cash for everything. Those shiny credit card offers always landed in our mailbox at the perfect time. “Oh come on, what’s one card? It’s only 20% APR. No big deal. You deserve a $7,000 loan.”

YUCK. We trashed them before they took a second breath in our home. How “easy” it would have been to sign up and take a vacation on Visa. And once the cash ran out, so did the spending. We had to learn that not-so-fun thing called “discipline.” It was hard work, but totally fruitful and worth it. And for that, we are thankful.

4. Before we were married, I moved home and sold most of my belongings. Jerod moved home while he worked and attended college. AND he traded down his nice truck for a fuel-efficient car so he could put that gas savings onto his loan. Do you know how hard it is (for everyone involved) to move back home and get rid of your stuff? Imagine it. Go on. I’ll give you a minute…

Hindsight, I wouldn’t trade those two years living with my mom for anything. It was tough to learn boundaries, but the time we spent together is priceless. And, guess what? I eventually got more stuff. :)

5. We tithed first. Giving was a great area of temptation. Man, what we could have done with that “extra” money! We could have paid off debt faster, gone shopping, gone on mini vacations…all for the cost of not being generous while hustling. The temptation was there during every budget meeting. But we remained grounded and viewed that cost as a mandatory expense. We fully believed that generosity is one of the reasons we were successful. It’s hard to explain, but give God back 10% and see what He does with the other 90%. It will change your life.

6. We’ve stayed in our small 725-square-foot apartment. Oh, cabin fever. It likes to creep into our modest 1-bed/1-bathroom home. Many times we find ourselves wishing we had something with a little more space. Other times we want a ton more space and a yard for multiple dogs and a shed and a big patio and and and…. And you know what doesn’t help? Social media. The comparison trap. Seeing friends post photos of their houses and back yards and patios. And Pinterest with it’s beautiful images {that’s real life, right?}. The struggle, y’all.

However. We’re building our emergency fund. Then we’ll start saving to pay cash for our first house. We’re intentionally doing things in a particular order instead of hoping the money thing just “works itself out.” The patience we’re buying by renting will be worth it in the long run when we don’t have a mortgage payment. Some times it’s hard to see the end result, but we’d rather be in a small apartment with savings than in a house with no safety net.
Feel free to remind me of this at the first of each month. ;)

To be clear, this isn’t a pity party so you can feel bad for our discipline. It’s a list of choices we made to get where we are today. They’re proof that success isn’t a result of luck. It’s a result of choosing to do the difficult stuff. The hard stuff. The road less traveled. And the good news is you can choose too! Look at your situation. Evaluate what tough choices need to be made today for a better tomorrow. Then once you’ve met your goal, send me your list! :)

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4 thoughts on “We’re Not Lucky.

  1. May, it was really great to read your post yesterday and know that you’re really doing it, going the right way with money when it’s so easy to stray even a little. You and your husband have some tough mental grit, and you definitely are an inspiration for so many people it’s not even funny! All the best to you and yours!

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