My Financial Journey

Budgeting Part 1 Over 8 years? That couldn’t possibly be right. I looked at my calculations again.  Yep. It was going to take me over 8 years to dig myself out of my $52,000+ mess.

What had I done?

Four years after college, I bought my first nice car. Five years after college, I bought a house. Six years after college, I went to graduate school.

A former co-worker loaned me a bunch of Dave Ramsey cassette tapes that she swore changed her life. Always game for some good self-help, I listened to the tapes. The more I listened, the more I found I hadn’t been living by God’s principles with money. I assumed that car, house, and education debt was “normal.” I justified my choices based on the fact that I had never lived outside of my means through credit cards.

I sat down at my desk one evening and looked at my finances for the first time in my adult life. I wanted out of this mess as quickly as possible, so I made a plan to cut my spending, increase my income, and tackle my debt.

I opened my home to two roommates (a tight crunch in a 3-bedroom home), took extra jobs at work, got a second job, and even babysat for the first time 14 years--out came the Monopoly board. I called service providers to ask them to lower my bills. I declared war on the student loan companies.

Each time I made a sacrifice through working extra, I immediately put the money toward whatever debt I was paying off at the time. There were a lot of $5 payments toward my car as I determined that it was cheaper to go for a walk with my girlfriends than go to coffee with them. That $5 left over in my entertainment budget went straight to my debt payment. At one point in the process, my debt snowball payment was larger than my mortgage payment.

In August 2009, my future Sweet Husband asked me out. A year later we were married.  On our wedding day, I had about $6,000 left in student loan debt and he had about $2,000 left to pay on his car. After the honeymoon, we paid off everything within 4 months. What I thought would take me 8 years to pay off was actually paid off in about 3.

As a result of our financial freedom, I was able to Ducks in a Row Personal Organizing (debt free!), where I work with clients to find ways to create time to live the life they want to live. I attended Dave Ramsey’s Financial Counselor Training to help people even more. I’ve led five Financial Peace University classes and mentor those who seek to have financial freedom. My prayerful desire is my story we will be of service to you along your financial journey. Your debt may seem surmountable, but with the right plan and the right attitude, you can find financial freedom, too.