Nausea swept over me. I needed to sit down.
With just a few months left in college, I still had my head stuck in the sand about the student loan debt that I had acquired that would be due upon my graduation.
But, when the letter came in the mail with its warning of the impending doom of debt that was awaiting me at the end of the college marathon, my head was yanked from the sand, and my eyes just about popped out of my head.
This was all before the marriage of the Cash Cow Couple, but Jacob was there in the living room with me when I discovered how much debt I had acquired.
You would think with our upcoming union that he would be utterly annoyed that he was marrying into debt, but he wasn’t.
He wasn’t upset, or worried, or stressed.
Unlike me, he simply went into problem solving mode.
While I was pacing the room running through all the terrible scenarios, he simply came to the conclusion that we needed to sell my car to pay off the debt.
“Then we would only have one car. And I worked hard to pay off that car. I am not ready to give it up yet,” I objected.
Well, too bad.
And that was that. He sold my car (for the same amount I bought it no less! What a salesman he is.) And we used the money to pay off most of the school debt I had racked up.
While at the time I was not happy about it, what I learned from him that day was an invaluable lesson.
That lesson was the importance of sacrifice.
Sacrifice….ugh. That was a lesson I had no interest in learning. And sadly, most people never do learn.
There is a reason that the majority of people don’t like to talk about money matters and why we have an epidemic of financial problems and debt.
The reason is that there is a strong component of sacrifice involved in all things money related, whether that is spending, saving, investing, reaching financial freedom, etc. Financial success requires temporary sacrifice, and that is why most people never fulfill their goals and are left without ever realizing their dream lifestyle.
I can’t count the number of times per week that I hear someone mention that they’d rather not have to go to work, or they wish they could afford that vacation, or they wish they won the lottery because life would be so much better.
But then you mention just a small way for that person to get an inch closer to making that dream a reality, and you realize that their desire to complain is much stronger than their desire to make any sacrifices in their wasteful spending habits. And you also realize that it will always be that way. Most people will never make the sacrifices necessary to get to where they think they want to go.
The part that is even more interesting is that it doesn’t have to be done in one night.
Small sacrifices over time become larger sums of money than you realize.
Is your goal financial freedom? Then you’re going to have to sacrifice a few conveniences. You’re going to have to sacrifice a few luxuries. You’re going to have to sacrifice the comfort of doing things the way you’ve always done them.
Is your goal to pay off your car or your house? Well, you’re not going to get there by buying a new one every 4 years. You can’t always have the latest and greatest.
When I was confronted by the uncomfortable world of debt, I was resistant to the necessity of sacrifice in my financial life. I wanted my nice car and I wanted to be debt free. Unfortunately, the two couldn’t coincide at the time.
Don’t be resistant to sacrifice like me. Embrace it and understand that the temporary pain is far less than the long term gain.
What about you? Do you think sacrifice is important? When did you learn to start sacrificing?
We wrote this post as part of the financial literacy awareness movement put together by Shannon at The Heavy Purse.