A Broke Illusionist. That Was Me.

When I became debt free, life changed, and I felt free for the first time since I was teenager.

That was, of course, when I started making money and subsequently spending it like crazy.  Although I was raised to spend less than I made, I was undisciplined and did the exact opposite.

The older I got, the more money I made, and the more money I spent.  When I was 18, it was clothing and going out.

By the time I was in my mid-twenties, it was a BMW.

Like most people, I kept growing into my salary.  And the only thing that separated me from someone living in poverty was one pay check.

You see, with one pay check you can pay your bills and put just enough on credit to delay payment of other stuff by a few weeks.  You can have a nice apartment, a luxury automobile and nice clothing as long as that pay check keeps coming.

You can create the illusion of success and prosperity, living check to check.

But savings?  Can’t do it.  Investing for retirement?  Nope.  Building an emergency fund?  Not a chance.

And as soon as a crisis hits or that check stops coming, your position in life immediately changes.  The risk you’ve lived with every day catches up with you.

When the padding separating you from risk is as thick as a tissue, it doesn’t take long for it to be in your face and into your wallet.

This was me, and I was only getting worse.  Because I kept making more money, my mistakes simply got bigger and more grand. I was on the verge of experiencing some serious financial pain.

Thankfully, I avoided it because God intervened and gave me my wife.  Today, we are debt free and we’re teaching others how to get out of debt, stay out of debt and build wealth.

I pray to God I never go back to way I used to be.  Broke.  Stressed out.  Living on the edge.  An illusion maker.

Sitting in our apartment complex garage right now is that BMW.  Every time I see it, I’m reminded of what once was.

Question:  Do you have a get-out-of-debt story? Share it here.

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9 thoughts on “A Broke Illusionist. That Was Me.

  1. I’ve never shared my out-of-debt story on a finance blog before, because I didn’t learn about money management and then put sound principles into practice to get where I am. I honestly got out of debt, not because of what I did, but because of who I met. My husband paid off my debt and then taught me how to be a good steward of my finances. While I’m a bit embarrassed about how my finances were changed, I shouldn’t be. It’s a picture of what Christ does for is, isn’t it? He’s our Redeemer who paid off our debt and left us with nothing to brag about.

  2. The more stuff I own, the more stuff breaks. The more stuff I own, the more stuff I lose. The more stuff I own, the busier I feel. The more stuff I own, the less I enjoy each individual item.

    All that alone is enough to keep me from spending money, probably to the point of ridiculousness at times.

    Besides, debt makes me twitchy.

  3. We always pay ourselves first (i.e. put money toward retirement–usually 25% of each paycheck). We try to never pay full price for anything–we use coupons for groceries, sales and secondhand for everything else. We only eat out once a month. And the funny thing is–I never feel like we’re lacking in anything. If I mention that I want something, I always get it. I am just careful about really considering whether or not I need something in the house.

  4. My wife and I were both fortunate enough to have parents that drilled into our brains the negative effects of debt. Neither of us have ever been in credit card debt.
    But I can tell you that we still had a lot to learn about budgeting and being good stewards of our money. It seemed that our lifestyle increased as we made more money, and it’s left us not really in a bad position – but just in a position where we wished we would have saved more and lived off less in the years when both of us had a job. She’s a stay-at-home mother now, and we’ve been blessed to always have more than enough. But I just feel like we could be better, you know?

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