WOOOOO HOOOOOO!!! This blog is an update from our last post about Our Total Money Makeover. We are so thrilled to announce that we are 100% debt free! In the past 8 months we paid off $3,500 in CC debt and nearly $21,000 in student loans…which adds up to over $24,000. We were sick and tired of our money working for the bank instead of for our family. Proverbs 22:7 says, “the borrower is the slave of the lender” and we wanted to begin handling our money the way God recommends, not society! I knew the principles that Dave Ramsey taught before Jonathan and I got married…but there is something about being single that had me messed up in my thinking about finances. I thought all my money was disposable income to travel, go out to eat, shop, do fun things with friends, etc. (after tithing and taking care of basic necessities of course!) I didn’t think about living on a tight budget to get all my student loans paid off before getting married. They were one of those things I would get around to dealing with. I wish I knew then what I know now and we would not have been in as big of a mess!
We cancelled our credit cards and cut them up. My credit score dropped (since I wasn’t playing kissy face with the bank anymore) and I had one heck of a time renting a car a few months into this journey! I had pre-paid the rental, had plenty of money for them to “hold” in my debit account, and even had cash in my wallet. The company rejected me and said I can’t rent the car without a credit card in my wallet. Well, I found another company and did business with them instead just fine. It baffled me that I would get punished for actually having REAL MONEY instead of plastic. They would rent a car to some guy on plastic who may not in reality be able to afford it but not to me…how backwards is that!?!?
I will say that the toughest thing about this entire process was learning how to say “no!” mostly to ourselves. We didn’t buy one another birthday gifts…never went our for a nice dinner…had date nights at home….we ate the same sandwich for nearly every meal…we sold a vehicle and became a one car family…the only clothes we bought were $3.00 jeans for Jonathan at The Good Will. Yes, we were “gazelle-intense” but we knew that if we lived like no one else now, we could live like no one else later. I happily wore the same clothes and never went out to eat, knowing that later I could go shopping whenever I needed to or out to eat whenever I don’t feel like cooking…without any bills following me home or a feeling of guilt that I could have spent the money on debt. I also look forward to being more generous in giving of our income to supporting our Church and organizations we want to sponsor.
We’re out of debt, yes, but we will continue working the “babysteps” as recommended by Dave Ramsey. Now we are on the next goal – still living on our budget, completing our emergency fund of 3-6 months of expenses and then we will begin to save 15% of our income towards retirement. I am so excited to continue on this journey, glorifying God with this area of our lives.
Anyone else who has done this journey and is living debt free, please post below on your success story! Anyone who is reading this and still in debt, I pray this post gives you the HOPE and COURAGE to begin a new journey towards financial freedom! Some people’s reaction to finding out about our journey has been, “well that is good for you but not for me…I could never do that…you must be superhuman.” That is a lie from hell. Anyone can do this!!! It’s a matter of choice, discipline, and living on a budget. If you can do simple math, you can do this! Read The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey or consider going through Financial Peace University. Details can be found on his website.
How will we celebrate? Well, right now Jonathan is making “debt-free donuts” upstairs from scratch with our friend David. Our big celebration though, is a trip to Rome in October with FOCUS, the organization we work for. We land in Rome on our one year wedding anniversary and couldn’t be more excited. The trip will be cash-flowed and what happens in Rome will stay in Rome, not coming back to the USA on my credit card statement! 🙂
THANK YOU JESUS for giving us the strength to go down this journey! It was hard but worth every sacrifice!