Strange Christian Debt Reduction Strategy
Once I got behind on paying all the credit card payments, the collections companies started calling.
I grew to hate the phone. They made threats. They broke laws. They even found my father’s number one time and called him telling him if I didn’t pay them within days they’d have me thrown in jails.
It was a painful experience I wouldn’t wish on anyone.
Yet, people experience every day…including good, honest Christians who simply get behind for whatever reason.
For me, a lot of those debts came from failed business opportunities. Others came from living expenses when I was out of work. And a portion came from the big mistake we made of buying a brand new vehicle (interesting enough, the vehicle loan company was the most understanding in the whole process and never sent us to a collection agency).
It was during this period that I started praying for wisdom instead of money. Our income increased as I discovered the internet.
And I also followed a rather unusual method for paying back the debts.
If you go to any financial counselor they’re likely to lay out a very logical plan. You pay extra on the highest interest debt. It’s costing you the most to hold that debt so you pay it first.
But that’s not the plan that worked for me.
Instead we collected and analyzed all the debts we had. And we paid extra on the smallest debt without considering the interest rate. This was one credit card we had used very little and only had a couple of hundred on it. It was paid off first.
Then we celebrated. A no expense celebration, but it was still a celebration to eliminate one of the bills. Then we took care of the next smallest debt.
We went down the line paying off each of the debts in order of their size.
This isn’t logical. It’s logical to pay off the most expensive, highest interest debt first. It would save you money.
But the problem is we are not “just logical” creatures. We have emotions. Once you eliminate one of the debts, one of the responsibilities, you can feel it lift from you. It’s like your first step into freedom.
You can feel that freedom…even if it’s only one piece in a much bigger puzzle.
Then you eliminate the second smallest debt, and you can feel it again. It’s like you can take a breath after being underwater for years.
If you only focused on the biggest debt or the highest interest rate, it could take you much longer to reach those first experiences. And you’d wear out. It would be tough to keep going.
This way success builds on itself. You get more excited as each debt disappears.
That’s why I’d suggest you to do the same. Remember you’re not just a logical creature that makes all your decisions based on clear mathematical numbers. You’re a person with emotions. And that feeling of freedom you build can continue to grow.
These early experiences produced a hatred for debt in me. We paid off all those debts over a couple of years. It took some sacrifice and the elimination of a lot of expenses during the time, but it was worth it.
A few year later when we purchased our first house, I felt that “pressure” of being in debt again. So even though we had more money we actually went into debt elimination mode again where we didn’t make almost any additional purchases (although not as strict as the original credit card escape plan). And we paid off that house in close to a year.
I do have credit cards today as it’s tough to do business online without one, but they’re paid off almost every week. I still have that hatred of debt. Too many people feel “OK” about debt in my opinion. When we look in the Bible, we see God often has quite a bit to say about debts as well. It definitely doesn’t sound like something we should feel comfortable about continually using…
“The rich rules over the poor, And the borrower is servant to the lender.”
Prov 22:7, NKJV
“Render therefore to all their due: taxes to whom taxes are due, customs to whom customs, fear to whom fear, honor to whom honor. Owe no one anything except to love one another, for he who loves another has fulfilled the law.”
Rom 13:7-8, NKJV
“For the LORD your God will bless you just as He promised you; you shall lend to many nations, but you shall not borrow; you shall reign over many nations, but they shall not reign over you.”
Deut 15:6, NKJV
I’ll likely do another post coming up soon about debt and what these scriptures say about debt. What we can see from these is debt is not something you should take likely. God wants to bless us so we can lend to others…and He wants us to pay what we owe.