Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Five Down, Three to Go

We've paid off a couple more debts in the last month; the first installment of our $5000 sign-on bonus came in mighty handy for them! Both were credit cards; one was Ben's truck school tuition, and the other was full of miscellaneous living expenses from when we were jobless for 3 months last summer before getting hired on with CRST. Our total debt paid off to date is roughly $20,000.

We have three credit card debts left, with the goal of the first being paid off by the end of September, the second by the middle of November, and the last by Christmas. Come January 2011, we're going to begin tackling the last of our debt: the dreaded student loans. That should take us right at a year to accomplish.

I must say, it sucks that we have as much debt as we do, but working the "debt snowball", as Dave Ramsey has termed it, is so motivating and encouraging. We are losing a huge amount of debt-weight every time we make a payment and eventually bring our balances down to zero. Debt-free is the way to live!

Dave Ramsey mentions at least once a week the Biblical principles for not being in debt: the borrower is a slave to the lender. A few weeks ago, I was listening to daily Mass when the Gospel reading was the story of the servant who had an extreme amount of debt to his master. The master threatened to sell the servant, his wife and all his possessions, but the servant pleaded with the master for mercy on the debt. The master did in fact have mercy, and forgave him the debt, only to later find that the servant would not have mercy on a fellow servant who owed him a much smaller amount. The master took matters into his own hands then, casting the unforgiving servant into prison until all his debt was paid.

The obvious moral of the story is to forgive; Jesus told this parable to Peter after he asked, "Lord, how many times should I forgive? Seven times?" Jesus replied, "Seventy times seven", then told the parable. With my own view of debt changed, I see a much deeper moral to be learned from this story beyond merciful forgiveness. Having debt is perilous; your life can be taken from you, your spouse can be taken from you, your possessions can be taken from you if you are unable to pay your debts. This is how people lose their cars, homes, furniture, etc., because of debt they couldn't pay. How do you get around this? Just don't go into debt!

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