I can honestly say that being debt free is the most wonderful feeling in the world! About 5 years ago my husband and I started the Dave Ramsey plan and have never looked back.
Credit cards and debt are a thing of our past. Except for our home and rental property. What did it take to get there? ALOT of sacrifice. But looking back I think we would both agree the sacrifice was worth the payoff.
When my husband and I were first married we were both knee deep in debt. Our philosophy was to have nice cars, fix up our home and obtain the latest stuff. I had student loans and his credit card bills were maxed out! At that time we both still had a car payment and ate out at least 3-4 times a week. We thought life was good.
Then in 2008 my husbands’s work died down in due to the economy and I was pregnant. I had a housecleaning business, but did not know how long that would last with my being pregnant.
We drastically needed a plan. I had heard of Dave Ramsey and his plan but had not put much thought or effort into it because at that point we were still able to pay our bills.
A budget became our best friend. Each month we took the money that we did have coming in and wrote down in a notebook our expenses. Our expenses were more than we could afford. So, the cutbacks began and we set a goal. Our goal was to follow Dave Ramsey’s plan starting with #1. Get out of debt.
When we put our minds to it, every ounce of frugal living began to payoff and our debt was going away. Not slowly either, once we used focused energy and cut back on expenses most of it was paid off in a year. I was able to quit working and become a stay at home mom. Knowing that I was able to watch my children each day and not hear about their day from a stranger was worth the sacrifices I was making.
My minivan may be 10 years old and not very pretty, but it is mine, and we are able to take vacations to Disney and other parts of Florida at least once a year. Debt freedom was the best financial decision my husband and I have made together. Our time is better spent with our family together at the beach instead of paying on a new car with a payment.
1. Have a written budget.
This really helped us see what was necessary and what wasn’t. My husband and I do not use anything fancy, we have an old ledger that we write down our income and our bills. When we get to the end of the bills list if there is any money left, it goes into our savings.
2. Goal Setting
Being debt free was not an accident. We had to want it more than we wanted the “shiny” new stuff. Set a goal to have a certain amount of debt paid off before 2015. Then work at it everyway possible to pay it off. Go crazy on the goal.
Now, we can have the shiny new stuff but the road was difficult. Our dinners were grilled cheese and soup.
If your TV breaks save for a new one. Start an envelope. Go in and pay cash. Discounts will be more abundant when a sales person sees the sale will happen right then if they give you a good, fair bargain.
3. If It Is Not Broke, Do Not Fix It
Learn contentment with what you have and teach it to your children. They will benefit from it when they make financial decisions. If your old car is good, use it until it is broken or costing too much to fix. If there is a new gadget on the market, show your children that it is not necessary to have the latest gadget. Be a good example and use the old one until it is unusable.
Commitment to being debt free with a goal is what makes being debt free obtainable.