Well here I am, just turned 24, and today I have made the biggest financial accomplishment of my life.
God has been so faithful to provide for me. I have paid off my entire loan while working in ministry and making barely above minimum wage. I even make less than 75% than what I did working for Coffee Bean. But paying off debt has been such an enjoyable and worshipful experience. I get excited every month when I can take another portion of my financial burden away. And what really gets me . . . is that even though I am living so simply and without so many things . . . I really don't feel like I have ever been suffering or missing out on anything during this process. I have been very content the entire time. I made some significant changes to my life while paying my loans in order to help make it happen though. I dyed my hair brown so that I didn't spend money on highlights anymore, I got rid of my cell phone and switched to pre-paid and google voice and I took 2009 as a year of not buying any new clothes. Oh, and I have no car. Needless to say . . . I've definitely developed some healthy spending (or not spending) habits.
And God has continually provided for all of my needs-and more. I love that I've still been able to tithe and give to the people and the causes that I care about this entire time. I'd like to think that I have been a good steward of my finances . . . but I also can't help but realize that the true test of my stewardship with what God has given me, is really going to begin once I have the freedom to spend my money how and where I please. With no deadline and no loan balance, will I still be found faithful? I think to some extent, I can loosen up a little bit and spend more here and there, but in the end I want to be spending my money and time on things that have an eternal impact. After all, it's all God's resources anyway, and he has entrusted them to me to use in a way that brings Him glory.
Years ago I vowed that I would always be a generous giver. So I am especially excited to now have more resources to support the things and the people I care about. I have several friends working/will be working overseas doing missions work, and I am just beside myself to be able to begin supporting them monthly. What better way to use my finances, than to support Kingdom work?
Anyways, sorry this is long. But for me, this is a big deal and I am so excited to have a financial fresh start.
Here's 2 pictures for you. This is the first loan payment I made . . .