Living Like No One Else, So Later We Can Live Like No One Else

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The following post is by MPFJ staff writer, Melissa Batai. Melissa is a freelance writer who covers topics ranging from personal finance to business to organics to food.  She blogs at Mom’s Plans, where she shares her family’s journey to healthier living and paying down debt.

My husband and I have approximately $47,000 in debt between his student loans, my student loans, and one credit card. We don’t yet own a house. Did I mention we have 3 kids?
Our money is very tight.

Rebounding from Very Limited Income

Last year, our income tax return showed that in 2011, we made a little more than half the U.S. Census Bureau’s calculation of the average American’s income of $52,762.

Part of the reason our income was so low was because I launched a new freelance writing career, and my husband was finishing his Ph.D. 

Money was VERY tight for both 2010 and 2011, which is part of the reason we now have debt.  Honestly, though, another part of the reason we have so much debt is because we weren’t as careful financially as we should have been. 

We weren’t as careful as we are being now.

The Future Looks Bright

A few years in, my career is growing, and my business has doubled each year for the past two years.
My husband is in a post-doc research position which gives him both a decent salary and training to land a tenure track position.  When he finds that tenure track job in a few years, his salary will double. 
There will be a time, not too far in the future, when we will have a very comfortable income. 

That time just isn’t here yet. 

However, we are getting some breathing room; our tax returns this year will show that we are finally at the median income level.

Living Like No One Else

Listeners of Dave Ramsey will know the phrase, “Live like no one else so later you can live like no one else.”  Basically, he is saying, sacrifice now and live your life like no one else does, and later you will have wealth and can live your life more financially secure than others can.

We’ve learned from our past mistakes, and we’re now not spending money we don’t have.  Even though our income has grown, we still have to pay the piper, so to speak.

Since we were so broke before, we put off things.  We have an 8.5 year old car with 113,000 miles on it.  We put off any non-necessary car repairs for over a year, and now we can’t put them off any longer.  We need to find $2,000 to replace the bald tires, change the spark plugs and brakes, and add brake fluid, to name just a few of the repairs.

Our television, that we have had for 12 years, just died.  We don’t have the luxury of replacing it right now.
The engine in our hand mixer also just burned out this week.

Our blender is a garage sale find that I bought 14 years ago for $3.  It is on its last legs, as is our microwave.
Our car’s automatic door no longer opens.  We can’t replace it right now.

Our couch is 9 years old and is definitely no longer as comfortable as it used to be.

Our dining room table, which we bought 13 years ago for $25 at a consignment shop, only seats 4.  We have 4 mismatched chairs, and my husband pulls up a folding chair that is missing the back.  It fell off a few months ago.

I have recently lost a lot of weight, and I don’t have the luxury of going on a big shopping spree for clothes.  Instead, we shopped at Goodwill and spent $50 on clothes that fit my new size.

Finding Power in Living Like No One Else

Sometimes, it literally feels like everything is breaking at once, and we have no money to replace or fix items.  Of course, we could replace things by charging them, but that would only compound our problem.  We won’t do that again.

It’d be easy to be depressed, but instead, we’re encouraged.

Because we’re being smart and conservative with our money now, we know better times are ahead.  We’ll happily scrimp now and work on paying down debt.  Then, when we’re earning a good salary 3 years from now, we’ll be very comfortable.  We’ll probably look back on this time and laugh. 

I’m happy to live like no one else right now so later we can live like no one else.
How about you all? How far have you gone to live like no one else while paying down debt?

Share your experiences by commenting below!

    ***Photo courtesy of


    1. I love this, probably because I can relate. Our debt is less, but we live very tight, and are just now trying to get things under control. I love that statement from Dave Ramsey so much. I know all about having thing fall apart, buying clothes at Goodwill to get by in the new size. I love that you are encouraged, we are as well. Great attitude!

    2. Thanks, Jules. Living like no one else is hard, but we have to keep our eyes on the end result.
      My recent post Baby Mantra Shampoo & Body Wash Giveaway

    3. such an inspiring story, i love that you see the hard times but don't let them define you. by planning for a positive future, you're setting yourselves up for success. i know the feeling of everything bad happening at one, my parents oven, microwave and blender all broke in various ways in the span of 6 months a decade ago (although they have yet to replace the dead oven!!). just stay strong and focus on the good, you'll keep on going on and suddenly everything will be coming up roses.

    4. Thanks, Jesse. I can't wait for the day when everything comes up roses and all of our hard work and discipline pays off.
      My recent post Changing the “We’re Broke” Mentality to “We’re Delgating Our Money”

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