Apparently Nobody Likes a Quitter: My Debt Free Experience

29 Jul Apparently Nobody Likes a Quitter: My Debt Free Experience


Quit Borrowing Money!How Quitting Debt Affected my Relationships

Nobody likes a quitter. Winners never quit and quitters never win. I heard these expressions a lot growing up and I certainly agree with them for the most part. But I didn’t realize how true they were in all areas of life until I gave up on debt.

About six years ago I decided that I didn’t want to owe anything to anyone anymore. It took my wife and me a while to get rid of our debt, but we finally did it. I couldn’t begin to describe how good it felt to have that burden lifted off our shoulders. At least, it felt really good to us. You’d think other people would be happy for us too. But they weren’t. Evidently to them we were a couple of quitters.

Getting rid of debt requires giving things up

When we started getting out of debt, we had to cut back on our spending. We had to sacrifice to reach our goals. That meant we weren’t going out as much with friends. That meant we weren’t going on vacation as much with family. That meant we weren’t spending tons of money on Christmas and birthday gifts. And at the bottom of it all, I guess that meant we weren’t spending as much money on others, except for the two main charities we support.

I think we offended a few people. Suddenly when we had important financial goals and weren’t willing to do the popular thing, people started avoiding us. People started making fun of us. We became known as the “budget nazis” and “budget freaks.” We were teased because we didn’t have credit cards anymore. We were ridiculed because we weren’t willing to get a car loan like everyone else. We were informed that we were stupid for paying off our house early because interest rates were so low. We even started to be excluded from social activities with friends and family.

Living debt free makes you weird

It was a really weird experience. I have to say I actually felt like an outsider who had some serious disease. I felt shunned like someone who quit something and let everyone else down. I felt like I had quit using debt, so I must not be a winner. I know that’s far from the truth, but the way we were treated sure seemed to indicate that we were losers.

But here comes the good part: we made it to our goal of complete debt freedom. At a very young age, we have no debt and we are poised to build some serious wealth by the time we retire. Enough wealth to change our family tree. To me, that’s worth the teasing we endured for a few years.

We’re still outsiders and weirdos to our old circles of friends, but we’ve made new friendships with people who share the same values. What a difference it makes to have the right support group in your corner.

Question for the reader: Has anyone ever made fun of you for your financial habits? Leave a comment and let me know.

10 Comments
  • Eric @ Debt Snowball Calculator
    Posted at 16:23h, 30 July

    Matt,
    I had this happen, of course! It’s really unfortunate, because you’re doing something that’s in your best interest. Yet they think you’ve gone nuts.

    Miraculously though, once you’re out of debt and you have money to spend… those people come trickling back to you. Except this time around they’re expecting you to catch the tab all the time because you’re “so well off.”

    Hypocritical. Catch 22. No matter what you call it, it’s unfortunate! At least we know we did the right thing!

    Eric
    Do you know when you’ll be debt free?

    • Matt Wegner
      Posted at 21:58h, 31 July

      Amazing, isn’t it Eric? Glad I’m not the only one!

  • Funny about Money
    Posted at 08:23h, 06 August

    LOL! This is a fun story, and ain’t it the truth?

    The trick is not to tell your friends you’re budgeting or trying to get out of debt. It’s like not telling them you love SETI or raising gourmet mushrooms in the hall closet…some things you just don’t want people to know. 😉

    Glad you found more sensible friends, though. Ants generally are happier hanging out with ants than with grasshoppers.

    • Matt Wegner
      Posted at 10:50h, 06 August

      Ha! I guess that’s why nobody talks about money. Next time maybe I should keep my financial opinions to myself, lol.

  • Julia Gray-Lion
    Posted at 20:20h, 07 August

    I got love for Quitters! Nice post Matt and good to know I’m not the only one being made fun of.

    Keepin it weird in Texas 🙂

    • Matt Wegner
      Posted at 21:04h, 07 August

      Right on, Julia! Weirdos like us need to stick together!

  • Totally Money Blog Carnival #31
    Posted at 05:14h, 08 August

    […] presents Apparently Nobody Likes a Quitter: My Debt Free Experience posted at Living In Financial Excellence. “About six years ago I decided that I didn’t want […]

  • Sunny Day
    Posted at 13:03h, 08 August

    That’s insane that people would treat you differently because you were trying to make a positive change in your life. I think looking at you becoming debt free forces others to see that it is possible but that they would have to change their ways. Getting out of debt is hard and ugly.
    Good for you for becoming debt free. You will be a role model for myself and many others who are still on the journey.

    • Matt Wegner
      Posted at 13:10h, 08 August

      Glad to be an inspiration, Sunny. I like to say normal is broke. I chose to be weird. When broke people make fun of us, I think that’s a sign we’re doing something right ;o)

  • Paul Craig
    Posted at 01:30h, 25 September

    Living debt free makes you weird for people are all in debts right now.hahahaha but i love being debt free..and thats what im always trying to figure out 😉