I left off sharing that my husband and I began reading Dave Ramsey’s Total Money Makeover. We were both so enthralled with the idea of eliminating our debt that we read every book and watched all of the movies in a matter of days. At that time, we had nearly $37,000 in debt which consisted of automobiles and a home equity loan.
As we began our journey I realized that we had made a huge mistake. I had vowed to never allow myself to get into the same financial situation I had been in years before. However, I “thought” that auto debt and a home equity loan was “OK” debt to have. It isn’t. The right type of debt is no debt at all.
Thus began the changes to our way of living. I did all all of the same steps that all of you have done. Yes – right down to cutting up those credit cards and using only cash for everything. It was TOUGH! I wasn’t sure how we were going to do it. The numbers just didn’t appear to add up. However, as we worked and tweaked our budget, we realized that we really could do it. Sure, it would mean hard work – but of course nothing worth having is ever easy.
We reduced our grocery budget and then used extra money to pay down debt. Part of our doing so was to find a way to save more money at the store. Through my studies and hard work, I learned how to really save on our shopping excursions. I shared this information with some on-line friends. My best friend encouraged me to start a blog. I never dreamed it would be what it is today. I am truly blessed.
As I shared my deals, we continued to pay down our debt. We sold items. We didn’t eat out. Finally – in February 2010 – we made our final debt payment! It was liberating. I can’t describe the feeling. This time around I did it the RIGHT way. I didn’t just run from my debt. I faced it head on – with my husband. We paid it all down. It took us 27 months, but we did it.
I am proud of so many accomplishments in my life (my husband, my kids and my site), but I am also very proud that I was able to actually pay off that much debt. When I say that this was life changing – it truly was. Not only did we pay off our debt (other than our mortgage), we changed our way of living.
To this day, we still use the same budget form. We check and update it regularly. We still use cash — and use our envelopes. If you ever catch me shopping at the store, you will see that is how I pay. We still have no debt – and do not plan on heading down that path again. We have fully funded our emergency fund. We have been able to do things that we want to. When you do not have debt, your money is all yours.
I share my story with all of you so that you all know that it is possible to do this. I want you to know that I understand where you are at – more than most of you probably ever realized. If you want to change your life, you can do it. But only you can make the decision to change your life – for the better.