I haven't been debt-free since I was 18.
I got my first credit card in university so that I could get a cell phone. It was the mid-nineties so it wasn't quite Zack Morris but it was bigger than the cordless land line phones I have in 2017. You couldn't open an account without one, apparently. So I got one, with still-fresh memories of the credit card companies wooing us all at frosh week. I guessed it was something you just do as a newly-minted adult. I got the phone, but it didn't take long for me to fall in love with the dazzling (read: false) freedom this little blue plastic card (not to be confused with my Blockbuster Video membership) afforded me.
Fast forward 22 years and here I am with a mortage, which I'd been taught was "good debt" and multiple consumer lending products, let's call them.
A few years ago, the finances we had been managing in a two-steps-forward-three-steps-back fashion begged my attention, as my relationship with Jesus deepened. I began hungering to make a greater contribution to our new church community, but knew there was little wiggle room in our budget without Ben having to actually show me the numbers. After months of discussion and crunching, we decided to go down from two cars to one. My commute, now via public transit, ballooned to two hours each way, and coordinating activities, errands and our social life was a challenge we were unfamiliar with. But we figured it out and we breathed easier because of it.
And like a shallow, temporary fix would, I assumed that sacrificing our SUV (okay how silly does that sound) appeased the God who had nudged me to address my debt, and went on my merry way, never actually wanting to eliminate the whole thing.
Until last Christmas.
Next: finding minimalism