Gazelle Intensity, Not For Me Thanks
Timothy 4:4-5- Since everything God created is good, we should not reject any of it but receive it with thanks. For we know it is made acceptable by the word of God and prayer.
If you have ever listened to Dave Ramsey or read his book Total Money Makeover you’ve heard him say many times to be Gazelle Intense. What Dave means by this is that when you are attacking your debt, you need to be as intense as a gazelle trying to avoid being eaten. If you haven’t listened to Dave, I highly recommend you do. You can listen to one of his local radio broadcast or listen to his podcast.
I’m not gazelle intense, and I’m ok with that.
Being gazelle intense is a great thing, don’t get me wrong. The more focused you are, the more quickly you’ll get out of debt. We are sometimes gazelle intense, but not always. When you are gazelle intense you are taking any and all money not needed for life basics and putting it towards paying on your debt. Doing this means no eating out, no vacations, no trips to the amusement park, no movie nights, no visiting the fair, no nothing. Gazelle intense means being completely and 100% focused on paying debt. When you are gazelle intense you can pay off your debt quickly, generally within a couple of years, maybe more, maybe less.
I have 6 kids and have found they are growing fast, way too fast. Being 100% gazelle intense means we have to give up some things that I am just not comfortable giving up for my kids sake. A really good example of this is our recent trip to the fair. That was a great night. Sure it was a little expensive, but worth every penny. Had we been gazelle intense, we wouldn’t have gone. We also enjoyed a number of trips to our local amusement park this summer and a few camping trips. Again, had we been 100% gazelle intense we wouldn’t have done these.
Another example that comes to mind is our trip to Guatemala to bring our daughter home. We decided to bring our 2 oldest son’s with us, not only to be part of the adoption experience, but to let them experience Guatemala. It was expensive, but I have no regrets. They gained more out of that trip than you could ever put a price on. I think the strong bond they have with our daughter is a direct result of them being part of bringing her home.
Does this mean we aren’t focused? No. Does this mean we’re not getting out of debt? No. Does it mean I’ll be in debt longer? Yes. It also means that we are working to find a balance. We’re cutting back and reducing expenses, but not going completely crazy about it. Don’t misread, we are finding other more frugal ways to entertain ourselves, and we fully recognize that every family moment doesn’t have to involve money.
My kids are growing up fast, every minute with them counts. There are things I want them to remember, experiences I want them to have. Sure 2 years in the scheme of things isn’t a large amount of time, but 2 years of my children’s lives are.
Compared to how we were doing this time last year, we’ve come a long way. We pay more than 45% of our income towards our debt (this includes mortgage, cars, credit cards, and 401k loans). This time last year, we were paying less than 20% and that was due to the required minimums. Not only did we pay minimums, we continued to incur debt. No more, we cut up our cards. Could we be doing better? Yes, absolutely. At some point though you have to consider that it wasn’t our children’s fault we’re in debt. It’s ours. How much should they have to pay for our mistakes?
Are you gazelle intense? Whether you are or aren’t, what are your thoughts? How do you balance between saving and paying off debt and enjoying life a little?