I know what you're thinking. Aren't homesteaders that crazy bunch of people who do everything themselves and can rig up just about any invention from scrap PVC and recycled aluminum cans? Don't y'all get everything you need by patiently waiting it out on freecycle? Ummm, maybe there are some homesteaders out there who do just that, but I've yet to see solar panels listed on our local freecycle and I'm not nearly enough of a genius to rig them up myself from... anything. Shhh! Don't tell The Husband.
So while I've been pondering and fretting over all the steps we have yet to take to become more self-sufficient and more evironmentally friendly, I've been ignoring the number one step in becoming more self-sufficient: getting out of debt completely. No mortgage, no credit cards, no nothin'. That's right. I'm using double negatives. I mean business, people!
Once upon a time, before we had kids, The Husband and I were completely debt-free. We even discussed purchasing a house with cash. Then I got pregnant with twins and The Husband lost his job and I had to quit my job when I went into premature labor so that I could do three months of
We do have one thing under control. We have no car payment. I paid cash for the car that The Husband drives to work each day. It's a 1990 Carolla, and we bought it from a little old lady who used it once a year. The other vehicle, which we use only for the rare family outing, was an even trade for our pre-baby car. Other than that, we're pretty average in our debt.
Now the question is, how do we get out of it? There are a million financial gurus out there, each with their own plan for becoming debt-free. Most that I've seen are pretty much the same. There are small differences here and there, but the basic premise is the same: control your spending, pay off your highest rate debts first, pay more than the minimum, and build an emergency fund quickly that makes up 3-6 months worth of living expenses.
One of the currently popular plans for relieving yourself of debt is Dave Ramsey's 7 Baby Steps. It's a good place to start, but there are things I disagree with. Nevertheless, I'm going to use a slightly tweaked version of it to get the ball rolling here. I recommend that you tailor any plan you choose to follow to your individual needs and personality. This is going to be my primary focus for quite some time. Getting out of debt and living life oweing to no one else can be a very long process, but it really is, in my mind, the most important step in self-sufficiency.