Get Out of Debt!

If Frodo can Destroy the Ring of Power, You Can Get Out of Debt!

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How badly do you want to get out of debt?

The answer to this question will determine the lengths you’ll go to pay off your debt as soon as possible.

Last weekend I watched Lord of the Rings, The Fellowship of the Ring. I’m a HUGE fan of Lord of the Rings, but I never realized how awesome Frodo would be at paying off debt.

It’s weird to think of a hobbit up to his eyeballs (well maybe Gandalf’s eyeballs since hobbits are tiny) in debt with credit cards or student loans, but hang with me here. This is good stuff, I promise. 🙂

The next time you feel frustrated or trapped by your debt, remember Frodo, Sam, and the Ring. They give us all hope that we can overcome insurmountable obstacles.

Becoming Debt Free is a Long Journey: The Shire to Mordor

Frodo and Sam set out from the Shire with a modest goal to get the Ring to Rivendell. That was it. They didn’t understand the magnitude of their role and had no idea of the epic adventure they would go on.

While Frodo and Sam just happened to be at the wrong place at the wrong time,  many of us have ourselves to blame for the mess we created with debt. It doesn’t matter if your debt is from student loans, credit cards, medical bills, or loans to pay for your wedding or vacations. The road to debt freedom is long and takes incredible commitment and determination.

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Having debt is like finding the ring. It has power to control you unless you destroy it!

Credit: CC Image Courtesy of bandita on Flickr

Every great adventure starts with a decision to take action. If you’re looking at your debt feeling overwhelmed, but haven’t done anything, now is the time to start. Your debt won’t go away if you don’t do something about it.

There’s no way you can possibly predict what will happen on your journey, getting started is the most important step you can take. Without Frodo and Sam, the ring would’ve stayed in the Shire and middle earth never would’ve stood a chance.

The big question now is, are you ready to start your adventure? Let’s lean on Frodo for inspiration.

Frodo Always Had Help from Friends

Frodo definitely bore the majority of the weight of carrying the ring to Mordor. It’s presence took a major toll on him mentally, physically, and emotionally. Sadly, getting out of massive debt can have the same impact.

The good news is, you don’t have to do it alone.

It’s rare for anyone to accomplish a major feat or goal without some sort of help. The same is true for Frodo, and the same is true for YOU!

Frodo left the Shire with Sam, Merry, and Pippin. From there, Aragorn and Arwen were the true reasons that the hobbits actually made it to Rivendell. Let’s not forget Gandalf too. He discovered the true nature of the ring and put the pieces in motion.

Once at Rivendell, the Fellowship of the Ring was formed to lead Frodo and protect him from unknown and inevitable danger. Heck, even Gollum was a major asset in sneaking the ring into Mordor.

And of course there was Sam. Frodo never would’ve made it without Sam, he even said so himself.

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You don’t have to do it alone! Create your own Fellowship to get you through the tough times!

Credit: New Line Cinema via arstechnica

When you make the choice to pay off your debt, it’s important to assemble your own Fellowship. There are times when your debt will seem insurmountable, or your budget will feel super restricting, and I guarantee you’ll be tempted to break your own rules. That’s when your Fellowship can protect you and help you through.

When we made the crazy decision to pay off $90,000 of debt in 5 years, we told our friends and family about our goal. We also told them we would be changing a lot of things in our current lifestyle, like going out to eat, traveling, and overall spending money that wasn’t in the budget.

By telling our friends and family, we created an amazing network of people who loved us and wanted us to reach our goal. They helped keep us accountable and they loved and encouraged us every step of the way. With their love and support, it made it easier to push through the hard times.

Frodo Wanted to Give Up So Many Times….But Didn’t

If you’ve ever tried to reach an “impossible” goal, then you can probably relate to Frodo in this regard.

When you first start out, it’s easy to be excited and committed to your goal. When I turned 29, I made a goal to dunk a basketball before I turned 30. It was kind of silly and ridiculous, but I really wanted to do it.

At first, I was all about working out. I found great leg workouts I could do at home and dedicated myself to doing them 3 days a week and stretching daily. I felt super motivated. Then it got repetitive, and harder, and it started to feel like a chore. The joy had vanished and I eventually quit.

Sadly I never dunked a basketball. I had to settle for dunking a volleyball. 

Now maybe that’s a bad example since I quit, but it’s actually pretty common for people to give up on their goals. Just look at New Year’s Resolutions.

When you’re ready to give up, think about Frodo.

He was tempted to give into the ring so many times! The ring called out to him and tempted him to give up. But every time, he maintained control and persevered, sometimes at the last minute. And yes, a few times Sam literally had to tackle him to help him come to his senses (thank you accountability Fellowship!).

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Maybe it’s okay to live with debt…NONSENSE!!! THROW IT IN THE FIRE!!!

Credit: New Line Cinema via flavorwire

The point is, Frodo never gave up, and neither should you. Keep pushing through and remember, at least your debt doesn’t have an evil will of its own to tempt you to buy more things.

Challenges of Life Don’t Stop Just Because You’re Getting Out of Debt

Life happens. There’s nothing we can do to stop it, so it’s best to be prepared for things to not go our way.

Frodo faced all kinds of extra challenges along the way, and enemies trying to destroy him. Whether it was the Ring Wraiths, orcs, goblins, Saruman, or men trying to steal the ring. His road was long, difficult, and full of unexpected obstacles. 

Expect your debt free journey to have obstacles too.

Your water heater or furnace might break, a pipe might burst and leak water everywhere, or you could total your car. Life is unpredictable, so it’s best to make a plan.

The best financial weapon you can use for the unexpected is an emergency fund. Set money aside that can fight for you and keep you on track for your goals. Of course you might get delayed for a little bit while you sort out the damage, but it won’t derail you completely.

Frodo had weapons like swords and armor and was ready to fight for his cause. You need to fight for yours too. Luckily you don’t have to fight orcs.

Sam Always Had Hope for the Future

Sam is one of my favorite characters in LOTR. As I mentioned, there were so many times that he saved the day and helped Frodo keep moving forward.

But the best quality he possessed was hope. Sam knew that their adventure with the ring was temporary, and one day it would all be over. One of the most hopeful moments in the entire series is a brief conversation between Frodo and Sam.

It went something like this.

Sam was in charge of rationing out food for him and Frodo, and one time Frodo questioned him about how much was left. Sam’s reply was amazing. He said he was saving some for the journey back home.

Get out of debt!

Lembas bread probably gets old after a while, but Sam made sure to save enough for the journey home!

Credit: New Line Cinema via giphy

They weren’t anywhere near Mordor, yet Sam was already planning for life after the ring. He kept hope that they would succeed and be able to return to their normal lives one day. What a great motivation to keep going and never give up!

What gives you hope? Can you look beyond your circumstances and imagine a life without debt? How will your life be changed?

Dreaming of the future and imagining your life after you accomplish your goals is incredibly encouraging. It gave us so much hope to dream together. We smiled, dreaming of starting a family and holding precious little babies. Our longing to be called Mom and Dad pushed us through really hard and challenging times.

Your hopes and dreams will be a light in the darkness and guide you through.

You’ll Be Forever Changed by Your Journey

Frodo felt the weight of the ring more intensely than anyone in the Fellowship, and he carried that burden long after the ring was destroyed. His life was never the same again.

It’s amazing how different my life is now than when I graduated college with so much debt. I have a job I love, am married to the love of my life, and we’re super close to welcoming a tiny human into the world. Still crossing our fingers for a red head!

After working so hard to pay off so much debt, my eyes have been opened to the personal finance world of budgets, investing, retirement, and living below our means.

Personal finance has become so ingrained in our lives, yet we know a lot of people our age who are still in the dark to these same life changing concepts.

Learning to live on a strict budget and aggressively pursue intense goals has left a mark that has transformed my life. I learned that money doesn’t get to dictate my life or limit my happiness. I’ve learned to be thankful and content with what we have instead of worrying about what we don’t.

We let God be in control of our finances and said yes to Him. 

Are You Ready for Change?

Your debt doesn’t have to rule your life. Have hope for your life after debt, and keep moving toward those visions of your future. It starts with a budget and takes consistent effort, but you can do it.

Take heart that at least you don’t have any giant monsters trying to attack you. Take a peak over your shoulder. Nothing is chasing you. 🙂

Let Me Know in the Comments

How badly do you want to get out of debt? What are you doing to make it a reality?

Our budget and goals changed our lives. I hope it can change yours too. Click the giant picture of my face to get your budget spreadsheet and debt log today.

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Lessons from Frodo on How to Get Out of Debt!
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6 Comments

  1. This is awesome, Jamie 😀 Combining LOTR with getting out of debt is absolutely the formula to get me to be super into an article. I especially love “Frodo Always had Help from Friends,” because: 1. Sam is totally the most underrated character in LOTR and 2. Getting friends and family involved with debt payoff can lead to so much support and accountability.

    • I’m so glad you enjoyed it! It’s really two of my favorite things! I’m just sad I didn’t find a way to include “PO-TAY-TOES” haha.

      But seriously, Sam was the true hero and having support and accountability can make or break your debt free effort. And part of that, which I left out, is having your spouse or partner on board too!

      Thanks for reading! 😁

  2. Any FI post that can incorporate LOTR is worth the read – good stuff! I recently wrote about the value of sharing financial goals with people in your life – its definitely a journey best not made alone. But I wish I’d thought of referencing Samwise Gamgee! And congrats on the little one coming – we have a 19 month old daughter and I’ve got to say… raising a ‘tiny human’ is a pretty amazing experience! Is this your first?

    • Thanks! Yes it is our first and we’re pretty dang excited! I love hearing encouragement from parents who truly love being parents. I hear it’s life changing and I’m stoked to learn first hand what that means. 😁👶 🍼

      • Oh man, so often we get the message that having kids just ruins our freedom in life and its so hard, blah blah blah. And yes, it is hard at times and it does require a level of selflessness that does not come naturally. But its so worth it! I’m excited for yall to experience the joy of parenthood. We saw some friends this morning who have a newborn and its a reminder of how fast they grow – be sure to enjoy each stage!

        • It’ll be a great chance for us to grow and learn a whole new kind of love. We’ll cherish every minute, even a tantrum or two, haha!

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