So I am slightly embarrassed to write this post about our debt. While my little family has come so far from where we were 5 years ago, I am still a little disappointed we’re not further. I am hoping by sharing my story you may find your self in bits and pieces and realize how far you have come, or where you can go.
In the beginning
So growing up, my dad was the one who took care of all the money. We always had trucks that were a decade old. A majority of my school clothes came from the thrift store in Columbus. I did get a few new outfits for school and a new Easter dress every year from K-Mart, but that was about it. It never bothered me that we lived this way, I had everything I needed and that was all I knew. My father passed away when I was 13 years old, and God love my mom, she didn’t have a clue how to budget or save. After my dad passed away, we bought things we couldn’t afford and lived well beyond our means. I didn’t really know how bad our finances were until right before my 16th birthday. Our car was repossessed, our home was being foreclosed, and I was considering dropping out of high school to help my mom. This cycle continued for the rest of my teenage years and the beginning of my young adult life.
I made lots of mistakes and never took my bills or money seriously and BOY did it catch up with me.
When it all changed
I do not recall what it was exactly that made me realize how bad I had let it get, but it was well into my twenties and a lot of damage had been done. My credit score was horrible and I could not get a loan for a stick of gum!
This is about the time I found Dave Ramsey and got serious about trying to get my financial life back on track. I liked a lot of Dave’s principles, having an emergency fund, paying debt with the snowball method, etc. So we gathered a small emergency fund (not the 1,000 that Dave recommends yet) and started paying off some old debts. Things slowly started to improve, but we still were spending a lot of money and not making lots of headway. I found myself wanting to go shopping all the time and buy things I didn’t need like a Coach purse or new shoes. I struggled with wanting to look like I had money, even though I had a negative net worth.
You can find Dave Ramsey’s The Total Money Makeover here! https://www.amazon.com/Total-Money-Makeover-Classic-Financial/dp/1595555277/ref=dp_ob_image_bk
The interest from student loans was eating us alive. We would make a payment and a majority of it was going to interest, this was super discouraging. We would read stories about people paying off their debt at “gazelle ” speed, and instantly became discouraged by seeing their annual income, it was triple our annual income. It made things seem so far off. Would we ever be debt free, own a home, help pay for our children’s education? I soon learned that it wasn’t about how much money we made, but how much we could save.
The end goal
Between two student loans, medical bills, and auto loans, we have massive debt. We want to buy a home, buy and flip real estate, and travel the world while allowing my husband to retire early from his laboring job. So far we have paid off one vehicle two years early and we want to keep the momentum going. My ultimate goal is to still live our best life, traveling and having wonderful family adventures while paying off our debt.
After losing my mom unexpectedly, I knew I wanted to still make memories with my family while still making our path to financial independence.
I want to share everything I learn so that maybe it will help you with yours!!
Feel free to leave me a comment below and tell me your story or ask me anything!