Paying Off Debts Takes Effort

There is a story in Fath al-Bari which speaks about Umar’s (ra) work ethic.

To study with the prophet (صلى عليه و سلم), Umar (ra) made a deal with his neighbor. They would alternate days working in the fields and studying, meaning Umar (ra) would study one day and his neighbor would work and vise versa. They would review notes with each other at night time.

The thing that gets me about this story is whoever was working, had to double their efforts and do the work of TWO people.

How does this story relate to money?

I get a lot of suggestions that we should have a fund to help people pay off their debts. While this idea may sound good, paying off your debts doesn’t happen overnight and nor should it. It takes effort. It requires you to adjust your lifestyle, live on less than you make, learn to tell yourself NO and get out of debt.

Here are three ways that effort is manifested in paying off your debts:

1. Extra work. If you’re looking at your budget sheet and you have NO wiggle room at the end of the month to start paying down your debts, then you may have to get a second job. It won’t be easy, but if that’s what’s required of you to start paying off your debts, then that’s what you need to be doing.

2. Patience. If you look at your plan and see that it’ll take 2 years to pay off your debt, having patience is THE key in getting this done. There will be situations where you can’t afford to go to lunch with your friends, so you’ll only order water. You have to learn to tell yourself NO because you can’t afford it. This requires you to believe in your plan and see it through the end.

3. Celebrate wins. Wins are important. They keep you motivated and show yourself that you’re getting the job done. Even if you’ve only paid off a credit card that had a balance of $200, that’s still a win. You should celebrate it.

Adam Taufique

Adam Taufique is a founding member of Qur'an Weekly and Debt Free Muslims. He is a regular khateeb in his community and has served in Masjids from being a weekend school teacher to youth coordinator. You can follow him on Google+ or on Twitter @adamtaufique.

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