For most of our marriage, my husband and I have tried to keep each of our vehicles for at least 10 years. We’ve also paid our car notes off as quickly as possible. That approach has played a big part in our strategy to live debt free. And while we aren’t quite 100% there yet, the pursuit of this goal has benefited us tremendously along the way. It made for a smooth transition from military to civilian life 18+ years ago. It sustained us through two different periods of dual unemployment. It enabled us to pay off our mortgage in 15 years. And now, it means that we are not stressing over a missed paycheck because of the furlough.
We’ve been preparing for this moment our whole lives. And I gotta say, the peace of mind we have right now feels so much better than any luxury car, shopping spree or designer handbag ever could.
I am now working on year 14 of a van we bought brand new. I hate that I somehow missed the 200,000 mile rollover, but am going to celebrate no less. It represents so much. My van has successfully transported me and my family to thousands of stops with minimal problems for all of these years. (As a child, I was late to school and missed many activities because of car problems, so I do not take reliable transportation for granted.) Many of those miles included countless trips through at least 15 states, affording us memories that will last a lifetime. And, because I paid it off within a year of buying it, I’ve not had a car payment in over 12 years. That amounts to at least $50K savings which has was redirected towards multiple vacations per year to some pretty amazing places.
You don’t have to be a Dave Ramsey fan to know that debt is literal bondage. I’m not advocating a beans and rice lifestyle, but in this age of excessive consumption, we all have room to improve. You just have to start looking. Try this or this for starters.
We can’t control the unexpected; but I guarantee that if you endeavor to be free from debt, you’ll be in a much better position to handle life’s curve balls than if you hadn’t. Stepping off my soap box now. Thanks for reading.