Saturday, July 25, 2009

Debt Free Living

Several years ago, our family became debt-free. What a blessing that has been in these troubling times.

There are many people that will tell you their way to get out of debt. Usually they want to sell you the latest, greatest product. I'm not saying that their products are bad, but most of becoming debt free is common sense and for Christians it it Biblical.

  • All debts must be repaid Psalm 37:21 says: “The wicked borrow and do not repay, but the righteous give generously.” The conclusion from this verse is obvious: if you borrow money, you have no alternative but to repay all amounts borrowed. If you do not, by definition you are what the Bible calls “wicked.”
  • Rom. 13:8: "Owe no man any thing."
  • Proverbs 22:7 says: “The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender.”

Folks, there is no easy way! We attacked our debt much like you would eat an elephant, one bite at a time. Take a good look at wants and needs. What do you really need? Can you cut back in anyway?

I like Dave Ramsey. I like his "gazelle intesity" and "debt snowball" approach to paying off debt. Did you catch his Town Hall Meeting this past spring. Most of it was just plain common sense. I did not agree with him in several areas. For example, he thought that if you were unemployed, you should be spending your time volunteering. IMHO, that's not the best advice. Personally, I believe there are some things you should do before you volunteer your time. First off, get on your knees and ask God to open your eyes to where you can trim your budget. Then, listen. You might be surprised where He'll lead you!

Next, get online and find like-minded individuals or forums.

  • Waste Nothing Group - Just as the name says, they help you find uses for things that you can use again. This is good for the budget and environment.
  • Radical Debt Elimination Group - Click on the yahoo link to join from this page. This forum is a valuable tool to ask questions and encouragement on your road to becoming debt free. Sometimes other members challenge your thinking about what is a want vs. a need. For example there was a long thread on family wipes. In case you don't know what a family wipe is, a different idea of toilet paper. 'Nuff said. Google it if you want more info.
  • Dollar Stretcher - Has a treasure trove of information.

I'm sure there are many other sites. Educate yourself and your family. After this step...Then by all means volunteer, it's a great social networking tool. But, on the other hand, if you live in a rural area, and have to drive to volunteer. It doesn't make sense to me to drain your expenses even more by running the roads unnecessarily. Sorry if you disagree, but to me it's common sense. It takes money from the unemployment benefits budget (which is already smaller). It takes money for gas, wear and tear and upkeep on the vehicle, and insurance.

Perhaps you could sell that vehicle to apply toward your debt!

I'm not bashing Dave Ramsey, in fact, those were the only areas we disagree on.

I like Crown Financial Ministries, too. They have the envelope system. Basically, you create a budget and put cash in the envelopes. When the money is gone, you stop spending.

I like this approach, but don't do the envelopes system because I like the perks from using our debit card.

Radical Debt Elimination is the story of the Boynton's. It has encouraging stuff to read. This family with 9 - yes 9 children is debt-free.

Living on a Dime has a lot of ideas in their achives.

We used all these sites as tools. I don't want to be associated as a Dave Ramsey follower or a Crown Ministry follower, or whatever the latest fad is. I am a follower of Jesus and I believe that as Christians we are called upon to radically, live like no others in all areas of our lives - including financially.

Do you know of any other good debt-free or frugal websites or blogs. Or do you have any other good stuff to add about Christian finances? Please share.


Stacy said...

Thanks for sharing the info on your asthma issues. Perhaps I should try to eliminate dairy and just see what happens. I may be pleasantly surprised!

It would be hard to give up my milk though -- I eat cereal every morning!

Anonymous said...

I used "Credit Solution" to settle my debt and avoid bankruptcy.They managed to reduce my debt up to 58%.It's legitimate . I came across this company on NBC News Special Edition.Check it out here:

Christine said...

We are debt free except for the house, and we love it. Isn't it so freeing?