When I shared my news last month of finally slaying my debt dragon, one of the frequent comments I got was that I had sacrificed a lot to do so.
I understand what they were saying, but at no point did paying off my debt feel like a sacrifice. After all, it’s not really sacrifice to give up something lesser for something more important.
So what did I “sacrifice” these last 8 months to pay off my $10,678.28 in debt? The following is a estimation based on my previous spending habits. Let’s call this alternate story “Nicki’s story.”
While I paid $10,865.27 in payments, Nicki made $2,575.12 in payments. While this represents more than her minimum payments, today she still owes $8,252.59 after interest.
At this rate, Nicki will be debt-free in August 2017.
Nicki did not opt to work as much overtime or odd jobs, so she had 72 more hours of free time. As this time was spread out over several months, she used almost all of it to watch mindless TV and surf social media. This free time cost her $1,258 that she could not put towards her student loans.
Not only that, but Nicki splurged on more entertainment options (Netflix/Hulu, a few movies and events) to fill those hours, spending $228 more than Ronnica on entertainment.
Nicki prefers to eat out regularly (6 times/week), as preparing and cooking meals takes more time and energy than she wants to give them. For this convenience, she has paid an additional $1,456 than Ronnica did.
Nicki, thankful to have a job again, spent $1,808.15 more on stuff than Ronnica did. Among this cache of goods are a new laptop, extra gardening and hiking goodies plus some new clothes to refresh her wardrobe. This amount also includes money not redirected from over-budgeting items, as that money would have been spent on little things instead. In fact, Nicki regularly overspent her grocery budget by a few dollars.
Nicki is a generous person and gave $540 more in gifts and financial donations than Ronnica did.
I’m happy that Nicki’s story is not mine. I find more pleasure and joy in being debt-free than I would have in fast food, entertainment and stuff.
As for the giving, I do give less monetarily than I used to and spend less on gifts. But I’m working on using my creativity and talents to make my giving go farther. I’m trying not to buy into the idea that love is expressed by spending. And I’m going to work on upping my financial giving again, too.
As you can see, living a more minimalist lifestyle isn’t about sacrifice. As Amanda shared last week, we really aren’t “doing without“, but choosing what we value more. For me, that was being debt-free instead of spending more on my temporal pleasures.
Photo by Hans Splinter