Now that you are all in the groove of your own Debt Free Challenge, there isn’t as much “work” to do – other than to keep on doing what you. However, we can talk about what you can do with your life once you have no debt.
Dave Ramsey has a saying “Live like no one else, so you can live like no one else.” What this means is scrimp, save, turn off cable, drive 15 year old cars – whatever it takes to get out of debt. Don’t worry that everyone else has the newest gadgets, cars or other items, as you are living your life UNLIKE them. Then, in a few years, when they are still paying for those gadgets, cars and other items, you won’t. You’ll be paying cash for it all and never having debt again — and living like no one else can! It truly is something to be celebrated.
Once you no loner have debt, your dreams become bigger – and attainable. You realize that you can now do things you never dreamt you could before. For our family that includes planning large vacations (which have yet to happen), funding college and some work around the house. When it came to our home improvements wish list, we had: kitchen, deck, master bathroom, and even repaint the house on the list. After much thought, deliberation and prayer, we decided to go ahead and paint our house.
Before we started saving, we had to know what it would cost. This past fall, we received estimates for the job to be completed. No only did we know we had to paint the house, we also did not want to keep the stone work that surrounded our 3rd car garage. It just wasn’t our taste. Plus, the color of the stone was very liming with the colors we could choose to paint the house (and still have it look good. We wanted to replace the stone.
That made us realize that changing so much on the facade of our house would require more money. We already had our emergency fund and we were saving for the painting, but now that there was more work to be done, we had to save even more. We kept up with our very tight budget. We kept using coupons, saving where we could and saved every penny we could to help us pay for the work to be completed.
And of course, we couldn’t start the work until we knew we had enough built up in our savings to cover the estimated (plus 25%). Our hard work and dedication finally paid off. On March 31st, we began working on the house. Imagine the look on each contractor’s face when they asked us if we would be able to pay for some of the materials and we simply smiled, said yes, and handed them a personal check (and not one from a Home Equity loan). What a proud moment that was!
We are spending quite a bit redoing our home, but we are able to pay for every cent in cash. More importantly, we are not decreasing our emergency fund to do so. It shows that our own “debt snowball” worked! Rather than sending monthly debt payments each month, we just deposited them into our savings account. Yes – we were finally able to pay ourselves! That is such a proud feeling!
So, what are we doing to the house? What all is being updated? Well, we are removing old stone from the 3rd car garage. We are removing the screen door and shutters. There will be new stacked stone wainscoting across the front. We are replacing a rounded column with a new squared one with stone base. Of course we are painting and we are updating all of the fixtures. I will share the before and after pictures – when we are done.
While this may seem like an unattainable goal for so many of you right now, just know that you CAN get there! Just keep up with the challenge and you too will be saving to do the fun things you want rather than sending those paymentsto a P.O. box each month!