1) The Bible speaks clearly multiple times on the subject of debt, and how we should avoid it. As my husband and I look to the Bible as God's word, we choose to follow what it says about debt. Romans 13:8 says: Owe no man any thing, but to love one another. (the entire Romans 13 expounds on this idea). And among the many proverbs that mention debt, Proverbs 22:7 says The rich ruleth over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender. Also see: Proverbs 6:1-5, 3:27-28, 22:26-27, and 11:15 to name a few others which speak about debt.
2) God provides us with our resources. As such, and as we trust in him to "give and take away" as is promised in Job 1:21, we are allowing God to use our finances to mold us. God often uses our financial situation to mold us and make us who he would have us be. That said, by binding ourselves to a promise of repaying a debt for the next 30 years, we are promising God's future provision, when he has already promised is his to give and take away.
3) As God is the providor of our resources, we believe he trusts in us to use what he gives us according to his will. This means being sure to spend every cent wisely. We believe in a God who cares about the details in our lives. This is a God who can close women's wombs, after all! (see Genesis 20:18, 1 Samuel 1:6, etc.). Therefore, we believe that God would not condone his resources and his provisions thrown away in interest payments. With a 30 year mortgage, you usually end up paying 2.5-3 times the cost of the home due to interest. Even if you try to pay it off as fast as you can, you will still lose money! My husband and I bought a car last year on a 5 year loan (before we made the decision to be debt-free!). We paid it off in 9 months (after we had made the decision to be debt-free), and STILL threw away over $1,000 in interest!
|After 9 months, we got our car paid off!|
I am here to encourage anyone who reads this that it is very possible to buy a home debt-free. My husband and I are working towards that right now, but it takes a lot of planning and foresight. Let me share thoughts on how to pursue a debt-free house. Feel free to comment with any other ideas you may have to add to this!
Step 1) Get out of debt. You cannot save for a new home if you are in debt. My husband and I had about $86,000 in debt when we got married. I know that many of you are struggling with more debt than that, but let me offer you some encouragement. In just 1 year, we have whittled our debt down to $56,000. Yes, it was painful. Yes, we had to make a lot of sacrifices, but we did it! At this rate, we will be debt free in less than 2 more years (God willing!).
Step 2) Save. The only way to stay debt-free is to have savings to pay for the big things that come around, and eventually pay for a house. This can be difficult, especially if you are putting a lot of resources towards getting out of debt. If you are out to debt, put as much as possible towards savings. We hope to live as simply as possible so we are able to put 1/3 of our income towards savings in the future (right now, that goes towards debt).
Step 3) Remember that renting a home is not a waste. Some people believe that it is, because at least with a mortgage the money is going toward owning the home. However, among the other great advantages of renting (including no repair costs, no taxes, etc), you will not end up losing money in interest by paying for rent. Renting also allows you to get out of your home should your financial position change. I know many people, as I am sure many of you do, who lost jobs during the recession and ended up losing their homes. Renting allows us to adjust as God gives and takes away.
Step 4) Buy your home in increments. Our goal is to save money to buy land, then build a home on it as resources become available. A plot of land will only cost us about $30,000 where we want to buy it (close to family). Seeing these small victories will encourage us. Another option is to buy a fixer-upper for a low cost and slowly make improvements as we can.
Step 5) Keep a long-range outlook. Even if it takes 20 years to get a home debt-free (my husband and I hope to achieve this before we are 40 in 15 years), it is still less time that it would take to pay off a mortgage. And you wouldn't be in debt in the meantime.
Step 6) Be ready for God to change your plans. He is a great God and all on Earth is his, so stay fluid and allow him to work in your life. Our goal for our home is the plan now, but God may have other plans.
Step 7) Pray for God to bless you as you walk this path in obedience. Ask for his provision and wisdom in pursuing a Biblical perspective on your finances. You wouldn't believe how much God has blessed us simply because we prayed for his provision.
I hope this encourages you to try to live a debt-free life. I am the first to express how happy I am to know our debt is growing smaller and smaller every day. God will provide, but according to his terms, and I am happy to accept that. All things are possible with Christ, even debt-free home-ownership!