22 May 2014

The time has come...to kick debt out!

I've always considered myself more of a spender.  My parents encouraged me the importance of saving so much from each paycheck and such, but it never really stuck with me.  I remember even as a teen Mom teaching me the envelope system  to set aside my cash for all expenses and save the rest (she was doing things the Dave Ramsey way before it was popular;).
When a paycheck came, it seemed like the money was gone as quickly as it was deposited into the bank.

Fast forward a few years to college.  Even though I worked 2 jobs through college and my parents helped me, I still didn't have enough money.  $34,000 dollars plus a well loved Visa card made it difficult to transition to being financially stable after graduation...oh did I forgot to mention I actually took out a loan to go to Europe?!  Clearly I was doing just fine handling my money the way I was.

Then of course, a few years later I met my husband.
We dated, fell in love, and got hitched. 
Thankfully he had no school debt when we married.

After we got back from our honeymoon, the reality of being financially stable as our own little family hit me. and freaked me out. way.out.  I will honestly say up until know we were living paycheck to paycheck.  And that sucked.a lot.

Sure we were paying our bills, but we both were spending irresponsibly and neither one of us were sticking faithfully to a budget with gazelle like intensity .  I would harp on Jim saying we need to put money into savings so we can afford a house someday...but how can we save for a house when we have a total of $38,800 dollars in debt looming over us and we're not really doing much with it?

Last fall I signed up to take Financial Peace University at our church.  After two sessions, I felt overwhelmed and frustrated trying to do it on my own while Jim was crazily working through grad school.  So I put it aside and said we would come back to it when we both could commit.

Well that time has now come folks.

Two months ago I had the courage to pick up and read The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey.  Honestly, I think I had been secretly avoiding it since fall 2012.  What I read was mind-blowing!  I finished the book in over a week.

I went crazy with my highlighter & dog-eared half of it.  I would excitedly tell Jim all this stuff I was realizing for the first time in my life.  My friend Mary and her husband are really into Dave Ramsey and they paid of all their debt last July; her experience and reading this book with great furry gave me the motivation to take the jump.

Two weeks ago I paid off my credit card for the last time.  It be gone.  I'm a little embarrassed to say we have made our first official budget since getting married.  Our budget kicks off in June.  We went online and purchased some Dave Ramsey tools to help us figure out what the heck we're doing.  Of course this is all still new and we're learning, but after adding in all our debts (my car, Jim's credit card, my college loans) it looks like we could be debt free in summer/fall 2016. 

I am excited, nervous, and scared to death all at the same time.  Jim is really excited and likes using the online tools. I'm really thankful for that because when I get all crazy-overwhelmed-emotional about this stuff, its good to have him help ground me down to earth.

I already am anticipating there will be times I want to throw my Dave Ramsey book across the room, yell, curse, and will likely want to throw a hissy fit because saying no to my instant gratification doesn't feel good.  But you know what feels worse?  The worrying and uncertainty about money.
If we don't get our act together now, how can we provide and set a good example financially to our kids someday?



Its the right time to do this...to start living like no one else so later we can live like no one else.

6 comments:

  1. Patty- I took out a thousand dollar loan the second semester of my senior year so we could 'party'. Aaron called it my 'bad decision loan'. I am so happy for you guys. The thing is, prior to changing our emotional habits with money, I used to constantly feel sick about finances. It just seemed like a hole I couldn't dig out of. There really is a freedom that comes with not owing people tens of thousands of dollars (we were at 90 k- imagine that!), and I know this might seem crazy, but I also believe there is a spiritual slavery in living above means and in debt. This will be life-changing for you guys and I am so excited to watch it. Know that Aaron and I are always up to discuss, encourage, answer questions...for us, it was a tough ride because aside from the blogging world, we were the only ones doing it. Let us know if you need anything! ROCK ON!

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  2. very very insightful post Patty! I have been indulging and using my credit card a bit much lately...and we could really use to cut down on that habit...especially since next May I'll be graduating pharm school with tons and tons of student debt looming over us...and our house mortgage...and Greg's car (I already paid off mine before entering pharmacy school). SO I really need to figure out a way to STOP spending. I think our problem is that we never use cash, but always just swipe, swipe, swipe the credit card....and then the bill comes and it's like WOAH where did this balance come from?! SO thanks for your insights!

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    1. Thanks Agnes! Girl, I'm right there with you...Visa and I were good buds! Check out and read The Total Money Makeover, it breaks things down well and actually makes you see the reality to live without debt is possible. :)

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  3. Yay! I'm so glad for you, Patty, it will feel so good to be out of debt! Several of my family members have been using the Dave Ramsey system for years, and it's really helped them a lot. Angel and I got lucky--we're naturally very similar in our views toward money and we're both savers. Angel wanted to get married without any debt, so he worked 24 hrs. overtime just about every week we were engaged to pay off all of his school loans--in all, he paid off $25K by the time he's been out of college a year and a half--not necessarily the most fun season of life, but I'm so grateful for that and proud of him for doing the hard stuff!

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  4. I just read the book and we are doing the same thing! Yesterday was our first official day of our new budget, even though we started our plan last month. It's so freeing! Right? I can't wait to be debt free. I just wish I knew this all one year ago when we had two incomes. Lesson learned!

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    1. Isn't it!? Wishing I would have done this long before I got married lol ;-)

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