So, can I be really honest here? When, in reading Dave Ramsey’s books or listening to his podcasts, he says to get rid of stuff I think to myself “I have nothing to get rid of”. Truth is, as former military, we have already gotten rid of a lot of things. The other part is that we (or I) didn’t want to get rid of anything else. It is hard to let go of items. You spend money on it all only to turn around and sell it for less than half of what you paid for it. That doesn’t feel good. Although we didn’t want to get rid of anything else, we did and we decreased our debt dramatically because of it. Do you want to reduce debt quickly? Yeah, I understand completely!
So if you have read about my debt journey you know this story, but if not I will tell it to you. We were still living life as the two of us, prebaby, when we decided to make a big purchase. Mr. Hubster’s car was on its last leg for sure. It had almost 300,000 miles on it, barely could use the key in the ignition anymore, and the AC didn’t work (and we lived in Eastern North Carolina where it gets hot). It was pitiful. We were both driving paid for cars because it was the frugal thing to do and we liked being able to save money for things like trips or nice dinners.
One day, I had to drive this pitiful thing. Oh no! It was bad! I immediately told my husband that we needed to get him a new ride. We were about to make a cross country move and I just was not sure that it would hold up. This was a very real fear.
The bigger the better
Well, my husband had his heart set on a nice truck. He had been wanting one for years. When I gave him the go ahead, he took off looking for one. Quickly, Mr. Hubster realized that he wasn’t going to be able to get the one he really wanted used, so he looked into a new one. After much deliberation we decided to do it. Yes, Dave, I hear you yelling at us now.
“But I deserve a nice car”
We all tell ourselves some form of this from time to time, right? We were no different. Mr. Hubster loved that thing, the whole $33,000 of it! Yeah, you think I am joking. I wish that I was. I wanted him to be happy. He worked so hard for the military. He really did deserve something. Maybe not $33,000.
It was really nice having a truck though. We loaded and hauled stuff if we wanted. At the same time, it was not so nice having a truck. It took gas and just guzzled it! It was a big truck so that was to be expected I guess.
On second thought…
After we made our second cross country move, we decided that we needed some kind of budgeting help. Our home that we bought was costing us big for repairs and upgrades. Not to mention that our mortgage increased (taxes will be the death of me). I prayed about it a lot. I needed help trying to figure out how we were going to make it off one income while Mr. Hubster went to school. I guess I prayed hard enough because God moved Mr. Hubster’s heart about his beloved truck. He mentioned getting rid of it a couple times before, but I ignored it. When he mentioned it again, we talked about it.
Mr. Hubster knew the truck was expensive and was costing a lot in gas every month. The other thing was that, while we liked the convenience of having a truck whenever, the truth was that we rarely used the bed of it. We had hauled maybe twice since coming to our new home. It just didn’t add up. So we looked into getting rid of it.
Mr. Hubster’s father sells cars and really wanted his truck to sell used. Apparently Toyota Tacoma’s are popular. Pop-pop found us a used car that we could buy, got us a deal on the truck, and we took him up on the offer. No less than 2 weeks later we had a different car. I was so relieved as we walked out of that car dealership that day. We went from owing almost 15 grand on one vehicle still to having a paid for car.
What to do with the “extra” money?
Now, the trick with “freeing up” that much money monthly is that the money should be rolled over into your next debt. We really wanted to do that, but there are other priorities that come first. For us, we have to concentrate on getting our house ready to sell and on getting our envelopes stocked for our move and possible low income for a brief time. Life circumstances call for a different method of action than what a professional may suggest. But you know, that is okay!
As long as the money is not going to waste, I think it is okay. In our situation, we are spending about $500 each month to fix up our home before the move. This is not our preferred way to spend the money that we are saving on our vehicle, but it will help us in the long run. We are happy about our switch and still super relieved about having less debt. We vow to never have debt again after my car is paid off.
So, this lesson has taught us several things. Primarily, we need to not use debt to pay for items. We also need to think about the longevity of our financial decisions. Will it be something that we will need in two years time, or will it be useless to us? We also learned how to let go of something bigger than a car. It was hubster’s dream truck, remember? Letting go can be so liberating.
Do you need help with your budget? Read my personal budget series here.
How about you? Did you reduce debt quickly by selling off an item? How did it work out for you?