Yes, you read that right. We (me and hubs) are DEBT FREE! Wow, that feels awesome to type that out. Now we just need to find a mountain and scream it out as loud as we possibly can! That’s how amazing this feels.
You may be wondering what the heck this has to do with paleo or healthy living. Well, it has a lot to do with it.
The purpose of this blog is to share our journey towards simple living and ancestral living. Simple living, in my opinion, is directly related to ancestral wellness and overall good health. Complicated, busy lives lead to stress and stress can and will effect every single process in your body. Extended periods of stress (i.e. chronic) can throw your body’s operating system into a tail-spin. Your hormones will be out of whack and systemic inflammation will set in. If your hormones are out of whack, lots of really bad stuff can happen inside your body. I won’t bore you with the gory details, but I do recommend taking a gander at this article by Robb Wolf about the effects of stress on the body. Not good.
Since going paleo; I’ve began taking stock of every aspect of my life-not just the food. Eating simpler lead me to wanting to live an overall simpler lifestyle similar to our ancestors. In It Starts with Food: Discover the Whole30 and Change Your Life in Unexpected Ways; the authors discuss 9 factors to ones overall wellness. All 9 factors must be considered and acted upon to reach the healthiest version of you.
I believe that they placed nutrition at the top for a reason. Without proper nutrition-the other factors are hard to obtain. You also have to have a good balance among all of the factors. Once I stopped fretting about my cellulite, pant size, wearing a bathing suit in public and started thinking about my overall wellness…the paleo plan got a whole lot easier and life got simpler. For the purpose of this post; we’re focusing on stress management. A VERY important piece of the wellness puzzle.
So…how does this relate back to being debt free? For Dan and I, becoming debt free has been a goal of ours for quite some time. Dan was blessed enough to have graduated college sans student loan debt. Me? Not so much. I went to a pretty inexpensive school but did walk out with more than just a degree. I walked out with thousands of dollars worth of debt. Dan surely got more than he bargained for when he said his vows. My undying love…and a pile of debt. Bless his heart for jumping into that money mess. We also each had a car payment. It’s like renting a car. All the time. Never again. Dan and I were also in the middle of planning a wedding and fixing up our home. Being able to get married and do a bit of remodeling without going into debt was a big win for us. But the student loan debt and car payments were still looming. Stressing us out. They had taken a backseat during the wedding planning and house fixing. And minimum payments will get you nowhere fast. The wedding planning process was much more stressful because of the fact that we had debt. We were putting money towards our wedding (& house) when in reality we should have been putting it towards our debt payments. Maybe we should have eloped. :)
Remember what we said about stress and it’s havoc on health? This debt was a chronic stress for us. Every penny we had to spend was painful. We would have to decide between dinner out with friends or paying a few extra bucks on the debt payments. Going out on a date or putting that money towards the debt. Buy Christmas presents for each other or giving the money to Sallie Mae. Stress.
For those of you who aren’t picking up what I’m putting down, I apologize. Maybe you’re lucky enough to have zero experience with debt. You don’t know what it feels like to owe someone else money. That’s awesome! Or maybe you’re someone who has a lot of debt and just doesn’t see the problem. That’s cool too (not really). It wasn’t cool for us. It was stressing us out. But we kept after it and put as much as we could towards debt while still staying sane (sometimes you just need a date night). Being debt free was something we BOTH wanted to accomplish and we wen’t after it with gazelle intensity as Dave Ramsey would say.
So, on Valentine’s Day, in lieu of a fancy (and unhealthy) dinner out, that would cost about $200 – we threw that $200 at the very last of our debt. We officially became debt free on 2/14/13! I can honestly tell you that it was the BEST Valentine’s Day present ever. Freedom. Like the biggest weight was lifted off of our shoulders. It was like we were breathing through a straw all that time and now we were finally able to take a huge, deep breath! A literal sigh of relief!
I think it was also quite fitting that on Valentine’s Day we also wrapped up 45 days of squeaky clean paleo eating. As our diets simplified, our life simplified. We stayed home more and spent time reading and talking. We enjoyed wholesome, simple meals at home. We drank less alcohol because we weren’t going out with friends as much. All of those things that we were relating to our health, were also directly relating to our path towards financial freedom. Staying home and enjoying each other instead of going out and buying junk was a key to our success in both our financial and paleo goals. It led to a simpler lifestyle for us and I’m grateful for that.
I can honestly say that once the debt was gone, I felt physically and mentally better. I have been sleeping better and am fretting less about our future. My mind feels clearer and I feel less of a mental burden. I feel more relaxed and happier, not anxious. I can’t speak for my husband (he’s sleeping…soundly) but I know that he feels the same way. This is an awesome feeling.
I honestly believe that you can have the world’s healthiest diet, but if your life is full of chronic stressors, than you will never reach true health. Your body won’t let you get there.
It’s time to re-think the things in your life that you think are necessities. Get rid of the stressful things: processed foods, unhappy people, overtime, unnecessary activities, mind-numbing television, money/time sucking useless stuff. Less is more and that holds true for just about every element of your life.
I am SO proud of my husband and myself for finally paying off this debt. I am also proud of the fact that we’ve come to recognize that simple living leads to freedom. Freedom from debt and best of all freedom from stress!
Are there areas in your life that could be simplified? What can you cut out and still fulfill the nine factors mentioned above? We will be talking more about being debt free and how we got there, but I couldn’t wait to share the news any longer! WE’RE DEBT FREE!!! We love chatting with folks who are on their path to financial freedom so please comment! We’d love to help!
Have an awesome-less stressful day y’all!