Happy To Be Debt-free :)I just finished my 10th grade when my dad quit his high-paying job to start a restaurant. I remember how my parents never compromised on the lifestyle they provided me and my younger brother though we were in deep hardship. Dad was a great restaurant manager all his career and took for granted that his own restaurant would do great too. We were shocked that the business didn't even reach a break-even point. sadly, we realized this after dad exhausted all his savings, gratuity and provident funds (equivalent of 401k).
I made my first compromise by enrolling in a below-par institution for my pre-university studies. By the time I enrolled in College, dad had shut down the restaurant and joined a different stream of work... still lower income that made it difficult to meet my education expenses.
I made my second compromise by enrolling in another below-par university for the cheapest course available. Luckily, I made friends for life in that college and not once regret that decision.
I started working right after my Bachelor's degree though I've always aspired to study further. My only aim was to repay the home loan that my dad had availed. I've treated every paycheck as the last one. Right from paying bills, insurance and EMIs to investing in mutual funds and bullion, I've done whatever I can to help my dad prepay the mortgage. I saved up Rs.1,00,000 consistently for 3years and finally paid off the home loan 4 years ahead of schedule. Thank God! I saved a fortune on the interest I was paying. Never mind the small pre-payment charge I had to make to the bank for paying off ahead of time :)
Ever since then, there's no looking back... Right from buying new furniture for my whole house to buying all the latest gadgets for my bro, a new car and a new bike all for my bro, I've never taken another loan. I've proudly paid for it CASH DOWN. Touch wood!
What's the secret? I swore never to touch a credit card. Neither will I allow my family members to use one :)