17May

Budget Series: Why Debt-Free?

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What does the Bible say about debt? Interesting thoughts about how the Bible supports a debt free lifestyle.

Update: You can read our entire debt-free story here.

Last week, I started this series with a post about the discouragement of debt, and a prelude to our debt-free plan.  I’ve had many people wondering why we would want to work so hard at getting out of debt, when most of our society is working hard to get into it. It’s pretty much accepted these days that consumer debt is a necessary part of life, but that is a fallacy. The truth is, it doesn’t have to be that way.

The Bible tells us to work hard and earn what we have. But our society tells us the opposite. That we “deserve” everything we want, and that we are entitled to get it right now before the hard work. But that’s not what the Bible tells us.

God advises us against debt.

As Christians, I believe our first place to look for advice or direction should be God’s word.  God speaks a lot to us about debt.  Proverbs  22:26 says very clearly, “Do not be one who shakes hands in pledge or puts up security for debts;”  It goes on to say in verse 27 that if you can’t pay, then your very bed will be snatched from under you.

Debt is bondage.

The Bible tells us in 1 Corinthians 7:23, “You were bought at a price, therefore do not become slaves of men.”  We’re told in Proverbs 22:7 that a borrower is servant or slave to the lender.  Yes, that verse was speaking of a different time, but the idea behind it is still true today–by having debt, we are willingly allowing ourselves to be in a type of bondage.  You can read a couple of well-written articles that sum up this connection as I see it,  here and here.  If we are in debt, then the things God wants to bless us with aren’t ours anymore.  We are willingly giving it up.  We get ahead of God’s blessing and take what He hasn’t yet given us. And we pay for it big time in the long run.

 

Debt is usually motivated by covetousness.

We get in debt to buy something that we cannot afford.  Because we want more stuff, better stuff, more convenient stuff, prettier stuff.  Christ tells us in Luke 12:15 to “Take heed and beware of covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses.”  Read a more in depth article about this here.

Let me say right here that I know there are legitimate reasons for debt.  Medical bills can be unavoidable, and unforeseen circumstances can happen.  But, when we get in debt, I believe (with more and more certainty) that the best thing we can do is to get out of it as quickly as possible, even if it means letting go of things for a little while.

Debt is a waste of money!

Do you have any idea how much interest you have paid over the last few years?  If you have debt at all, you’d probably be surprised.  Over the course of the first 5 years of our home loan, we’ve paid approximately $23,000 in house payments.  Our principal amount has lessened by about $6,700.  That is over $16,000 in interest paid!  If we are successful in our debt-free plan to get out of debt in 6 years, we will save over $40,000 in interest.  That is a lot of God’s money that we can use for His good and glory.

We need to honor God with our Finances.

We believe that God has promised to meet our worldly needs.  He may not always meet our wants, but he calls us to “be content with such things as you have,” in Hebrews 13:5.  Going into debt (or even staying in debt) in order to eat at fancy restaurants instead of cooking in, to get nicer clothes,  a bigger house, newer cars…that is not following God’s desire for us to be content with what we have.  That is coveting other things and going out to get them, even against God’s will and advice as set forth in His word.

I’m really excited about getting into the meat of this series.

Read all the posts in my Get out of Debt on a Low Income series.

(Disclaimer: I am NOT a financial advisor. I am just a mom with a family living on a single income and I want to encourage others that it is possible to live on a tight budget and still have your needs met and be content…and get out of debt! I really hope that our personal budget information will help someone.)

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Comments

  1. This post is exactly what I needed. Amazing tips and ideas. I love your blog!

  2. I completely agree! My husband and I have actually been talking a lot about this subject lately. We will be credit card debt free very soon. We have been carrying that around since the beginning of our marriage five years ago because we went through some serious unemployment for a year. God provided for us though, and kept us from too much debt. I look back and can see it. Only five years later, all the debt we went into because of unemployment will be gone. I feel so humbled because of it. Now we only have student loans to fight with, and I really am not sure how to tackle those. The amount feels, insurmountable!

    • Crystal says:

      Lindsey, so glad that you and your husband have been able to get out of that credit card debt. And, so great that you turned things back around as soon as you were able, I think that’s the important thing.

      And, I am so excited to share the rest of our plan! We used to feel the same way about our debt–it seemed insurmountable…but I want to encourage you that it’s not. The debt we have is almost $20,000 of student loan debts, and almost $59,000 remaining on our mortgage. I can’t even imagine life without rent or a mortgage payment. It is truly so exciting how small changes, even $50 a month, can make such a huge difference in the amount of time (and interest!) on a loan.

  3. i am so thankful that you are willing to tackle such a difficult topic and that you are breaking it into a series so that we can get to the nitty gritty. it’s a tough subject but such an important one! thank you!!

    • Crystal says:

      Thank you, Kerri, for the encouragement! I agree, it’s very important and something that can rob our joy if we let it. It is so tempting to just give up and give in to the trends of society, but it’s so awesome to realize that we don’t have to…that we can take back control of our finances if we really want to!

  4. Yay for the process of getting out of debt! It’s so addicting and freeing!! I just “liked” you on FB! Thanks for the heads up on your post!

    • Crystal says:

      Thanks, Sonja! You’re right, it is addicting :) AFter about 4 years of trying to get my husband to be “excited” about our budget, that’s the thing that finally did it for him, when I crunched the numbers and realized that we could potentially get out of debt (mortgage included!) in about 6 years! (you know…give or take a bit for incidentals!)

  5. This is one of my goals this year and one I am struggling with! Not because I love to shop. I hate it! Unexpected expenses and I need to learn to look for bargains! Thanks for this!

  6. I liked the “…when others are working so hard to get in debt.” It certainly seems like it is true. I’m enjoying (and gaining wisdom) from your posts and look forward to more.

  7. Hi- I am also trying to get out of debt – but this one is because my husband got us into, for not obeying the Lord. He came clean, confessed and repented, but the debt is still here – and he can’t find any work -seems like a test from God. We don’t have money to go until next paycheck and we have a kid – which makes things so harder, because I don’t want her to suffer this. I am trusting God that will open doors and that my husband can start a job. But is very hard. Please pray for us if you can, that God may give us strenght to hold on until HE comes through for us.

    • Crystal says:

      I will absolutely pray for you and your family, especially for your little one. You’re right, that does make things a lot harder, but our God is faithful and I believe that He will provide for you as you trust in Him.

  8. Great post! My husband and I are very convicted to get out of debt for good. This post was very encouraging. Thanks so much!

  9. Wow. I’m so blessed to have found your blog! I love your blog! =D

    I also believe in being debt free. My husband and I are very clear in not having debts. God is not pleased with it. Even when we use our credit card, we make sure we have the money to pay for it and not suffer from HIGH interest rates…

    Btw, I was blog hopping and found you through Warrior Wives. I thought you got a wonderful blog title and clicked on the link =)

    • Crystal says:

      Thanks, Viviene! I’m so glad that you dropped by and that you liked the name. I’m terrible at thinking of “names” so it took a long time for me to come up with something! lol. And, thanks for the encouragement about being debt free. We only have “good” debt (student loans and mortgage), but we still want it gone.

  10. Whilst I think it is very wise to not have credit cards and we all should save up for things rather than placing the items on credit – this isn’t always possible when buying a house or new car. There was no way we could have save up all the money to buy our house, therefore we bought a house we could afford to repay, rather than something much bigger that would make life a struggle. It comes down to making wise decisions when it comes to debt – can you repay it and how fast can you do that? And are you living beyond your means – which many people are. We have a mortgage which isn’t huge and I have no problems with having that debt as we can comfortably repay it.

    • Crystal says:

      Joluise, thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts! Many people have actually purchased homes debt-free, so I would disagree with you that it is impossible to do so. We are in debt for our house, and I’m still on the fence about the pros and cons of that particular debt. However, for a car (and my grad school), I would definitely recommend not getting that debt. And, our goal is to pay off our mortgage and student loans as quickly as is reasonably possible for our family.

  11. This is just what I need. We are struggling on one income to get out of debt. I feel as if I need accountability in this area. Any suggestions?

  12. Thank you for linking up with me! Your among the top 3 most visited blog linkups.

    You’ve been featured…here’s the link (with a button as well)
    http://passionateandcreativehomemaking.blogspot.com/2012/05/cure-for-diaper-taker-offer-and-bt.html

  13. Such a wonderful series, thanks so much for sharing it at Thrifty Thursday.

    I couldn’t agree more on the root cause of most debt. We had to take out a small loan for my husband to be able to finish school, but we lived in a tiny place, ate in and shared a car (until purchasing a van for $2000 when we couldn’t fit in the 2-door Civic anymore.) Sometimes the days seemed really long, but it was so worth pinching pennies to be able to pay off our debt within a year of graduation.

    Though it’s easy to covet for those that have much nicer homes, cars, etc. learning to be content just where we are has made us so much happier…and now debt free.

    • Crystal says:

      Anna, Congratulations on being debt-free! I completely agree that learning to be content where we are has made us so much happier. Even with our low income and limited budget, we stress about money so much less than most people we know and I fully believe it’s because we live an intentionally simpler life, within our means, and we are content with that. Blessings to you and your family!

  14. The quote “Debt is usually motivated by covetness” really caught my attention. It is SO true and so often overlooked. And, it may not be debt, it could easily be applied to those times the budget is not met too. Totally, puts a God-spin on it, doesn’t it. Phew! I’d love to have you link this up to Titus 2 Tuesday next week on Cornerstone Confessions.

    Hopping over from Women Living Well.

    Kathy

    • Crystal says:

      Kathy, thanks! You are so right that it can be applied to other budget matters and not just debt. Thanks for your comment, and I would be honored to link up with you on Tuesday :)

  15. Crystal…I’m going to love this series! Debt is a waste of money! I look forward to each post and am grateful you are sharing this at WJIM.

  16. I stumbled across your site..and I am so thankful I did.STRESS from debt is consuming me and my family. Through prayer and your teaching I pray we to can be debt free!

    • Crystal says:

      Cynthia, I too pray that you can become debt free, and in the mean time that you’ll be able to take steps that might lessen the stress in the mean time. Blessings to you and I am praying for you and your family right now!

  17. Jaime Richards-Grigsby says:

    So glad I saw this post on Facebook and decided to read it! We are in debt too and working on getting out!! Thank you!

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