Why We Stopped Feeling Entitled and Got Rid Of Our $30,000 Debt

Yesterday, I was reorganizing our office and came across some old bank statements from a few years ago. As I read through some of the statements, I was shocked to see how much money we wasted back then!

I decided to grab one of the six calculators I found buried in our desk drawers and do a quick analysis. I wanted to see just how far we have come at reining in our expenses. Below is a spreadsheet that compares our spending from 2014 to what it is now.

Monthly Expenses February2014  February2017 Notes
Mortgage, HOA, Property Tax $1,343.82 $1,664.18 We refinanced a 30 year fixed rate mortgage to a 15 year fixed rate mortgage. We moved from a 7.86% APR to a 3.27% APR and saved about $192,000 worth of interest!
Cable, Phone, Internet $186.00 $202.36 We are using the same service provider, so this is the cost of inflation.
Car Payments $964.33 $0.00 We are down to one car, our beloved Toyota Camry which is fully paid for.
Car Insurance $241.96 $49.59 We comparison shopped and found cheaper insurance rates, plus we are only insuring one car.
Natural Gas $122.85 $52.00 Gas was higher, plus we replaced our furnace with a high-efficiency model just recently. Maybe the next blog post, perhaps?
Electricity $77.72 $83.00 Not much of a change here.
Water $43.00 $32.00 We replaced our shower head with a low flow model and keep an eye on the usage.
Cell Phones $176.84 $61.15 We switched from a Verizon Wireless contract to a no-contract, Straight Talk plan. Then just last month, we moved to Total Wireless dropping down the cost even more.
Medical / Dental $1,700.00 $495.25 The $1700 was from a root canal. We have since invested in Sonicare Toothbrushes to help keep up our oral maintenance. The $495.25 was a left over medical bill from when Mr. FE needed treatment for the tumors on his liver.
Household Supplies $1,132.54 $26.96 The $1132.54 were all needless purchases. Home furnishings, decor, etc. The $26.96 represents batteries for our smoke alarms purchased from Costco.
Food $1,436.71 $356.22 The $1436.71 was from eating out. As you can see, there has been a big reduction in our food spending!
Gas $288.23 $56.94 One car + less go,go entertainment means less gas.
Gym $200.00 $0.00 We ditcheded our gym memberships and enjoy the great outdoors.
Miscellaneous $944.53 $29.86 More wasteful spending! This was from fancy lattes and a weekend get-a-way.
Total Expenses $8,858.53 $3,109.51 We saved $5749.02! Shocking, I tell you!

By changing our spending habits, we were able to pay off over $30,000 in revolving credit card debt in less than six months. But even though I was absolutely thrilled to see our financial outlook improve, I couldn’t help but think about what led us to spend mindlessly to begin with.

Exactly why where we so careless with our hard-earned money? Or so willing to completely submit ourselves to a life of consumerism? Then it came to me as I was looking at some of the variable spending categories like food, household supplies, and miscellaneous.

We felt entitled.

We thought we deserved to have the finer things in life. Big ticket items like luxury cars, fancy meals, and expensive get-a-ways somehow became justifiable because we had earned them by working hard. It didn’t matter that we couldn’t really afford to have these things.

We built a lifestyle around our own personal greed, and by doing so, we disregarded what our true need really was – financial freedom.

Looking at this now, I feel as though we were robbed blind. We literally allowed our attachment to “things” control our financial destiny. And we were wrongly duped into believing that we needed to keep up with the status quo. It became crystal clear, and I finally understood what this old bank statement truly represented.

Worse, our wasteful spending wasn’t because we weren’t capable of managing our money, or even that we didn’t care. In fact, we were bothered by our financial picture for some time before we finally changed our ways. So what was the straw that broke the camels back?

We got scared

We woke up and decided that we didn’t want to live out the rest of our lives stuck in a rat race. We also came to the conclusion that it is unrealistic to believe that we will be able to work until the full retirement age of 67 1/2, or beyond. The reality is that many of us will be forced to leave the workforce early thanks to involuntary job loss, automation, age discrimination, illness, the need to take care of a loved one, and other reasons.

Now we no longer feel entitled.

 

 

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14 thoughts on “Why We Stopped Feeling Entitled and Got Rid Of Our $30,000 Debt

  1. Good on ya guys for spotting that huge financial elephant in your lives and actually doing something positive about it. So many just go “home hum, that’s life” and borrow some more money to fund the current lifestyle.

    Plans to get out of the rat-race asap are the key to this and is what drove me to do the same a few years ago. Hopefully, we’ll all meet up at our slice of paradise as far away as possible from that rat-race.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. As a teacher, I can attest to the sense of entitlement. Sadly, we’ve passed it on to our children. They hardly learn, because they expect good grades to be handed to them without work, and they expect lessons to all be entertaining… all because they feel they are entitled to such things. It is refreshing to see that not everyone is like that! Thanks for the encouragement!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. We appreciate what you do. Teaching is one of the most important jobs on the planet, so thank you!

      It is sad to see so many go through life with a sense of entitlement. Let’s hope this changes as they get a bit older, and maybe a little wiser. Thanks for the comment! 🙂

      Like

  3. I know a lot of people who reward or treat themselves with big cars/houses and expensive clothes/jewellery/cars/electronics because they’re stressed or frustrated in their careers, but feel trapped because they think they need the money to sustain the “lifestyle” they aspire to have and it becomes a vicious cycle. It might be a bit simplistic, but there’s some truth to the expression that you can’t buy happiness.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Way to go on slashing your expenses. We were scared too and felt paralyzed over our debt. I like how you worded it ” it was like we were robbed blind”. What an accurate way to view it.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I love your post! What a huge difference in those few years! Especially on food. Our budget is being obliterated by food. It’s the biggest thing that we need to get control of.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. This post is inspiring! I have just begun the journey to pay off my massive debt (!) and stumbled upon your blog while looking for inspiration. This shows just how much of a difference many small financial changes can make. What a great blog – have followed. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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