Our Debt Journey and what YOU can learn from it!
I can’t remember being taught too much about money. As a family, we had debt and I knew it. A sporadic allowance was given from place to place, but as a military child, our income really depended on where we lived. I was a hoarder of money back then. Whenever I did receive allowance it was in $1 bills so it always made me think I had more than I really did. It was AWESOME! Then around 13, I started my first job picking strawberries. I learned then to waste money. I cannot actually remember buying anything useful. Is that even a word in a child’s vocabulary, useful?
Student loans are for school, right?
Fast forward through my negligent high school days, where all I had to pay for was my car payment, to college. I committed a tragic act of taking out a student loan. Not for college either; at least not completely. I won’t even go into all the horrid details of how I blew that money, but it was a waste! Just trust me on that.
A credit card…or three
Around this time I was introduced to Dave Ramsey’s book, The Total Money Makeover. I thought that it was going to change my life, but I still had some irresponsibility to get out of my system after FINALLY making more than 30 G a year right out of college. So I wasted even more money and made some bad decisions including 6 months same as cash furniture, credit card mattress, and no budget. A few years of, ahem, irresponsible behavior disguised as “fun”, and I finally got to work. I was on a good path with my career, hoping to make my relationship with my guy a long-term marriage type thing, getting a budget down, and actually paying down my student loan.
Through sickness… and debt
My “guy” and I did get married and along with him I married a putrid credit score, bad debts, and a “free spirit” when it came to money. Together we had just over $30,000 in debts. On our way home from his boot camp we wrote everything down that we owed and started making phone calls. He made a (very small) sign on bonus, but it did help pay for a debt or two. We paid it off then asked the lender to remove the negative on his credit report…and it worked! With paid off cars and decent incomes we paid off all of our debt within 2 ½ years (could have been less, but we fancied ourselves some good food and good fun), saved up to move (the only expected thing in the military is moving), and saved up to take the “trip of a lifetime”, IRELAND.
A new car
Unfortunately, then we made yet another bad financial decision. Hubby’s car had over 200,000 miles on it and was not in the best of shape. We were about to move clear across the country and we needed a reliable car for him. We bought a brand new truck. Yeah, I am not proud. Dave Ramsey would be furious!
We moved, we had a baby, Little Man, then we did the unspeakable thing of buying ANOTHER new car. Yes, folks, we have not been too smart with money. Shortly thereafter, the hubby decides he wants out of the military and I jump all over it. We save up $15,000 for the year and half that he will be without an income, bought a house in lieu of renting for a few hundred more, then made our way all the way to the other side of the country… AGAIN!
Back to square 1
We started on a strict budget, writing down every last dollar we spend, using the envelope system religiously, and still adjusting our spending from time to time. We even paid traded in hubby’s truck for a paid off car! After that, we had 1 debt left and that was my car. It is a good vehicle and very safe so we made the decision to just pay it off when we could. Sometimes you have to make decisions like that and it is okay!
During that season, I learned that budgeting does not look the same for every person nor for every season of life. We would have a monthly meeting for our money and we adjusted as needed. And progress was made, it was just a slower pace than it was pre-baby while we still had two incomes.
On to new adventures!
A quick way to get rid of debt is to get rid of your stuff, and we did just that! After hubs graduated, we sold our home, made a very nice profit, and downsized in a new state. It was what we needed in order to get out of debt and pursue a life that we really wanted. I left my career to pursue my dreams as a blogger. When you are debt free, you can make a lot of really fun decisions:)
After years of learning to save, budget, and get out of debt, I had a feeling that I could really help someone else do just the same (okay, maybe not EXACTLY the same…hopefully with less mistakes!). Because of this, I am now doing just that, helping others (like you?) get out of debt, pursue their dreams, and save some money all while being super intentional about how to do it all. I love being a Budget Coach because I get to see some incredible transformations come out of my clients. If you are interested, just follow this link and sign up for a free chat so that we can get some clarity on if this is right for you!
What do you think, is this an inspiration to you?