Chelsea Green Publishing

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Self-Discipline and the Mortgage-Free Home

The following article has been adapted for the web from Mortgage Free! Second Edition: Innovative Strategies for Debt-free Home Ownership by Rob Roy.

I knew a couple that used going into debt as a means of saving money. Really. They did not have the self-discipline required to save money to buy a car, for example. Yet they could make car payments, because they knew that if they didn’t, the car would be repossessed. The discipline was imposed on them, always an easier kind than that which one imposes upon oneself. Going into debt to have something is actually the common method today, the American way. People buy “on time,” using plastic as their magic card to ownership. But things cost a lot more this way, you’re a slave to the payments, and the thing you’ve bought has worn out before it is fully paid for.

Similarly, it’s easy to show up at work every morning at 8 a.m. If (without good reason) you don’t, you lose your job. It’s much harder to show up at your own word processor every morning to write. I can assure you of this. But being mortgage-free is going to require self-discipline. If you haven’t got it, get it. Besides land, it’s the one absolute requirement. I’ll try to help.

One of the most valuable keys to unlocking self-discipline is to be methodical. Break the desired goal down into chewable bites. A common thread in chapter 7 of Mortgage Free! is that the heroes and heroines tell of making plans, lists, goals, priorities, and then going through them, one by one. What satisfaction comes from crossing something off a list! Once in a while, my wife Jaki and I devote ourselves to a “day in town.” There is shopping to do, lots of places to go, business items to look into, a million things it seems. We make a list, ordering the places to go, with lists within lists telling what we must get or do at each stop. The hard work is done before leaving home. If we didn’t make a list, the day in town would take twice as long and we’d forget half the stuff. We’ve done it that way, too.

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