TLC: Do you have a tip on how to begin living debt-free?
Michelle: It would be to buy used and save the difference. I think that is a huge key in being able to live a debt-free life. It took us seven years to get debt free when we really purposed and set out to do that. And I think just having that mindset that I'm not going to go out and buy everything brand new, but I really can shop around whether it be through the newspapers, Craigalist, or going to thrift shops or pawnshops or whatever. I know we honestly would not be able to live debt-free if we were going and buying everything new.
And so I've been able to buy everything from our clothes to my baby items, the big items that you need for babies. When our things get broken after so many years of use and I need a new bouncy seat, I know I can find it at a consignment shop for a fraction of the cost, and I can buy three of them if I wanted to for the price that I'd pay for one new. It's a whole different mindset if you're not accustomed to doing that and instead you just run to the store to get that $20.00 item. In reality you can probably get the same thing for five bucks somewhere else.
And so I've told my children as they get their birthday money and they want to go and get a certain item. I'll say to them, "You really would do better if you would shop around a little bit, and I think you really would be able to find that item for probably half the price that you're looking at right here. And just think, the rest of that money, you could spend it on something else or save up for another big item that you really want."
And I think our boys did that when they were looking for a unicycle because they could've bought it brand new, but it was going to cost a fortune. Instead, they shopped around and they found one that they really liked and it was considerably less. And so those are the kind of things that I think you have to begin the process with. Start them thinking that way early because it's a learning thing.