There are numerous tips that I share with people when they ask "how did you pay off that $50,000 of debt in two years!" As I am sharing the tips I will get to one tip and the person either goes into silent mode or the conversation soon ends. During this time of the year the conversation just ends and I expect it. In America this tip seems outrageous, but for me to make a dent in my debt and eventually pay it off I had to act differently than others in America. I am sure you are wondering what the tip is that is so hard for people to do.
The tip is not buying anyone a gift during the 100 hundred holidays and events that is celebrated in the states every year. Yes you heard it right! The two years that we were paying off debt no one received a gift! Wedding anniversary? Nope. Birthday? Nope. Mother's Day? Nope. Father's Day? Nope. Valentine's Day? Nope. Christmas? NOPE! During that time NO ONE no matter who they were, received a gift! During that time it taught me a valuable lesson.
No adult needs a Christmas gift. Unfortunately it took tens of thousands of dollars of debt to help me figure that out, but I am glad that I did. These days I do get my mother a gift and my husband gets his mom a gift, but we don't feel pressure to get some out of this world present. We also don't get any other adults a gift. Being in the hole like we were will help you see the important things in life and I promise you buying stuff for other adults is not important.
I am sure by now you can see why those conversations ended. It is hard for people to grasp that you don't have to buy everyone a gift. Especially adults. If you have kids then feel free to buy for Christmas and birthdays, but there is no need to go overboard because by February those toys will be in a corner. During the two years we were paying off debt we didn't buy my son at one year's old and 2 a gift. His gifts came from other people.
I know this tip is hard for many, but not having money to do what you want to do in life I think is harder. In fact it sucks! So think about this. What if you said no for a short period of time so that you could say yes for the rest of your life? Would it be worth it then? I thought it was worth it and so I thought of our household first over others. No gifts were bought, but guess what. When we paid off all the debt that next Christmas we surprised both of our mothers with a seven day all expenses paid trip to Costa Rica. I am in a position to give now, but more importantly I give because I want to and not because society says I have to.
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