A Bunch of Things I Did to Get out of Debt

A path toward financial freedom

Words by Joshua Fields Millburn

Minimalism isn’t deprivation, but sometimes temporarily depriving yourself creates a path toward financial freedom. That was certainly true for me: I had six figures in debt—nearly half-a-million dollars if you include my mortgage—but today I’m debt-free. Of course, it took diligent budgeting to get there:

Cut cable TV, wrote more.
Drove less, walked more.
Cut credit cards, spent cash.
Stopped eating out, cooked meals at home.
Silenced satellite radio, meditated more.
Canceled gym membership, exercised at parks.
Lived without home Internet, used public Wi-Fi.
Sold large home, rented a smaller apartment.
Canceled magazine subscriptions, borrowed from library.
Ceased upgrading, found a détente with “outdated” tech.
Refrained from purchases, better utilized possessions.
Separated needs from wants, developed a comprehensive plan.

You see, I didn’t simply go without—I replaced expenses with alternatives, which made my momentary forfeiture feel less like a sacrifice. Interestingly, once I became debt-free, I was able to bring some of these indulgences back into my life, doing so deliberately, discovering which ones I could afford, which ones would add value to my life, and letting go of the rest.

P.S. When I was broke, I also delivered pizzas for extra income—financial freedom was worth the temporary discomfort.

Joshua Fields Millburn

Joshua Fields Millburn is a bestselling author, writing instructor, and international speaker. Best known as one half of The Minimalists, he is the author of four books, including a critically acclaimed memoir, Everything That Remains. He has been featured in Time, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Forbes, Boston Globe, San Francisco Chronicle, Chicago Tribune, Seattle Times, Toronto Star, Globe & Mail, Vancouver Sun, Village Voice, LA Weekly, and many other outlets. Born in Dayton, Ohio, in 1981, he currently lives in Los Angeles, California.

Website
joshuafieldsmillburn.com
Instagram
@joshuafieldsmillburn
Twitter
@JFM

Our Book, Inside Minimalism Vol.1

A collection of 50 short and relatable essays on simple living by a small team of writers from different backgrounds, but who all share a deep appreciation for minimalism as a way of life. This book covers many topics such as slow and quiet living, curation, consumerism, and family. It is not a strict guide book or a rule book. Rather, it is a book we hope will inspire, motivate, and encourage you to take a slow and simplified approach to life.

Read our book

Available in paperback and eBook formats