Wow! There is no topic that I love talking more about than debt, except for budgets.
Our family is debt free, with the exception of our house, and it feels so good. We are currently looking at refinancing our home and hope to have it paid for in 12 years or less. That will be the best feeling of all!
HOW MUCH DEBT WE WERE ABLE TO ACCRUE
It only took my husband and I two years after being married to accrue $53,000 in debt.
In 2003, I had gotten my first full-time job after finishing college and we were bringing home around $50,000 a year. Something triggered in our mind when we started making all that money.
It’s almost like we told ourselves that we felt entitled to purchasing a brand-new $26K car, a new bedroom suite, a fancy mattress to go with the new bedroom suite, new furniture, credit card debt, and student loans.
We felt owed all of these nice things after having been broke for a couple of years.
So, for us it did not take long at all for us to accrue all of this debt. That part was easy! The hard part was climbing our way back out of the ditch that we had dug.
Out of the $53,000 that we owed, we paid back every dime except for $5,000. I was able to sign up for a loan forgiveness program and they excused $5,000 off my $10,000 student loan since I taught in a Title I school for five years.
Otherwise, we did all the work with just the three of us (God, Greg, and myself).
We were so sick of living paycheck to paycheck and never knowing where our money was going! I can honestly say that in my first two years of full-time teaching, I cannot tell you where any of that money went.
Then my brother-in-law asked us if we wanted to see a guy named Dave Ramsey in February 2008. We were pumped and excited after listening to Dave.
We came back to our town and asked our pastor if we could teach Financial Peace University. This was something that we had never gone through, but we knew that if it was Dave Ramsey then it had to be good stuff.
He said yes to our proposition and we have led the class for four consecutive years.
During that time we went from me working full-time to quitting and staying home with my boys. Then I went back to work part-time and then my husband lost his job for 7 months. It was a roller-coaster that I never care to ride on again!
We were able to pay off over $22,000 worth of debt and were officially debt-free in February 2011. We called into Dave Ramsey’s radio show on April 22, 2011 and yelled WE’RE DEBT FREE! What an awesome feeling!
We were able to climb out of debt thanks to a very tight budget and accountability partners. It’s hard to stand in front of a class while teaching FPU and not do the work yourself. I am often thankful that we had 20+ eyes watching us so that we wouldn’t get too far off the tracks.
WHERE ARE WE NOW
As I said at the beginning we are completely debt free with the exception of our house. All of that sounds good and even looks good on paper (credit score), but there is nothing that feels better than making a big purchase using cash.
About a year and a half ago, we had put $900 worth of repair work into my husband’s car. That was in December. We decided that we were done. We were not going to invest another penny into that piece of junk.
Then when it decided to break down on the highway in January we stuck to our guns.
After praying and really searching for a couple of months we were able to find a nice little Honda for $4,000. We walked away paying for that car using cash and did not come home with a car payment.
This was a huge step for us. This is something that we’ve never done as a couple. We have always had a car payment (sometimes two at the same time) in our 10 years of marriage.
That’s when it hit me that we were in this thing for good and there was no turning back.
What about you? Are you debt free? If so, please share your story.