Today I have Natalya from Cottage Retreatist guest posting about debt and her journey. Thanks Natalya for the article!
First off thank you so much to Nicola for inviting me to write a guest post for Frugal Cottage. Nicola asked me if I wouldn’t mind writing something about debt as it is a topic I know far too well! But I didn’t want it to be a moaning post or something that spoke about only one aspect of the debt experience so instead I want to focus on something positive.
Debt isn’t a positive thing – in fact by its very nature it is negative! Negative equity to be exact – but being in debt and repaying debt offers a unique opportunity to reflect and consider what is most important in our lives.
For me repaying our debt by any means possible was key. Something we managed to achieve when we became debt free in May this year finally repaying the £26,000 we owed to various creditors. But I gained so much more than a zero figure to start again from.
A positive outlook
Debt taught me to find goodness in the smallest of gestures. And the importance of giving even when you have nothing – this is something as simple as getting something off the shelf for someone who can’t reach in a supermarket or donating some books to a charity shop or a few cans of food to a food bank. When you have less everything means so much more!
A shift from materialism
Debt offered me an opportunity to assess what is important in our lives. It’s not fancy cars, bottles of champagne or ensuring we are ‘keeping up with the Joneses’. For us the most important thing is our relationship as a family and the knowledge that we are a stronger unit together from our experiences. We now love nothing more than sitting and talking together on the sofa with the kitties curled on our laps. It’s not ‘exciting’ but it’s perfect for us.
Back to our roots
Debt forces you to be innovative and as a result we have discovered how a few simple staples in the cupboard or freezer can contribute to a myriad of different satisfying and nutritious dishes. We don’t need processed food (usually more expensive anyway) and eating cheaply means eating what is in season and available. Especially if it’s foraged and free!
I know Nicola is a fan of simple living and I am also a total convert! Debt is a burden and so are many other items in our modern lives. We are working to lessen the burden and free ourselves of these ties and are currently going through a major overhaul of all our belongings! Like paying off our debt we feel the freedom of removing excess electronics, clothes, plates etc from our lives!
Debt for me was a journey I shall never forget and has shaped my opinions and actions ever since. So while I know it can be painful and tiring – I also know I wouldn’t change what happened to us – because I would never have found out the positive benefits a debt fighting mentality can bring!
PS. Natalya is nominated for ‘best debt blog’ award – please vote for her here!