Things have been pretty silent over here. I am in my absolute busiest season with my full time job and have multiple design projects (and clients!) since Ashley’s big nursery reveal went live. (Also Ashley welcomed little Jax! He is too precious!) So honestly I have been way too busy to sit down and write some posts. But this weekend we hit a huge milestone – we hit $60,000 on our debt payoff! JR yelled to me from the kitchen with excitement and we literally did the most embarrassing happy dance you’ve ever seen. So in honor of our almost halfway point milestone (yeah not even halfway!) I thought I would give a breakdown of our current debt payoff journey and a little intro into our new finance section here on the blog.
We got married in May 2016 and with marriage came moving in together, combining finances, and yes, combining DEBT! JR had went on a fishing trip to Canada the past year and our dear friend Tyler so kindly played Dave Ramsey’s podcast the entire 26 hour roundtrip drive. These guys came back ready to sell everything! JR was hooked after that – I took a bit more convincing but soon joined the Dave bandwagon. After getting settled after all the wedding and honeymoon excitement we decided to sit down and make a plan. This is not the fun part and will probably take you an entire afternoon/evening – a bottle of wine may or may not help!
We sat down and wrote out all our debts – everything! Credit cards, student loans, and car loans. The number at the end wasn’t a fun realization. Ready for it – $134,711,10. Yeah yikes! We both pretty much paid in full for college (I had some help from my parents), had car loans, and unfortunately paid for some of our wedding and honeymoon with credit cards. You can see our total break down above. It was pretty defeating to be honest. That massive number along with our mortgage seemed insurmountable. But we made a plan and so far have stuck to it. We have definitely had some roadblocks and hiccups along the way but the more and more we chip away the closer we get to achieving our goal.
We started out by loosely following Dave Ramsey’s baby steps and the longer we are on the plan the more we have decided to stick to it without question. We started out still using two of our credit cards and would dip into our emergency savings for things that weren’t really emergencies. Every time we slipped up we would feel the snowball rolling backward. When we stick to it exactly we have had multiple experiences where God has truly blessed us and we gain so much more momentum. We now have made the commitment to no longer use credit cards, we plan on not taking any more debt (hopefully ever!) and don’t use any money out of emergency fund unless it is truly an emergency. This has been a giant lifestyle change but after being on the plan for 18 months we don’t feel the pinch as much as we used to.
I will go more into how we implement the plan, what it looks like day to day, and different experiences we have had but for now I just wanted to give a quick overview of our current status, where we started, why we started, and a few action items to help you get started with your own debt free journey. If you are currently in debt and want to free yourself of the burden and gain true financial freedom I strongly urge you to start today. If you are married maybe send this post to your spouse to get your snowball slowly rolling. If you are single think about reaching out to an accountability partner. This is someone who is financially responsible and ideally debt free. Ask them out to coffee to help you get started and have some support.
Until my next post – which will include some free budgeting downloads – here are few action items to help you get prepared.
- Sign up for a Credit Karma account. This will give you a full overview of your current debts and allow you to easily write down all your totals and keep track of your accounts.
- Listen to the Dave Ramsey Podcast (bonus points for reading Total Money Makeover!). Our total annual income is around $92k. One of the biggest places we get encouragement from is listening to the debt free screams on the podcast. Go and listen to a few – it really helps you realize you don’t need to make a million to become debt free and build wealth.
- Schedule a meeting. Pick a time and a place and make a plan to meet with your spouse or accoutability partner. I will plan on posting the budget planner post by the end of this week so this weekend would be a great opportunity to get started!
- Sign up for an FPU Class. We took the class this past fall and it was a huge game changer for us. We were on fire after the class ended and made a huge dent in paying things off. I also cried in front of all 50 people about Target but another story for another day!
If we stay on track with our current momentum we hope to be debt free within the next two years and I plan on tracking the rest of our journey right here. Be sure to sign up for our email list so you get all the reminders on new posts!