I’m currently sitting in my hotel room in Des Moines on what will probably be my last solo work trip for quite a while. If you follow along on Instagram or are friends with me on Facebook then you are aware we are currently expecting a little girl at the beginning of February! I took advantage of the last 3 weeks I am able to travel to line up a site inspection for a client and have hunkered down at the Marriott with all my concierge lounge snacks and my big-baby-kicking-belly to watch some cheesy Fuller House and figured now is a great time for a blog post! (Talk about radio silence!)
I will try and post more about the baby and all our planning centered around that but I thought a debt post would be a great update to do this week as we will make our final debt payment for the year this Friday! We set a goal on New Year’s Day this past January to pay off a total of $30,000. It was a little bit of a stretch and we knew we wanted to start our family so we gave ourselves some grace if we didn’t make it but after a lot of diligence, a surprise chunk of debt forgiveness, and a ton of planning we were thankfully able to save up plenty for the baby fund and still reach our goal!
We found out at the beginning of June that we were expecting and halted our entire debt snowball to start piling up cash. Prior to that, I had been paying back my parents for some of my student loans and randomly one day they said not to worry about it – that was a giant help. Overall though, we still had a little over $27k (even after that debt was forgiven) to save up for the cost of baby supplies, hospital, and medical bills, and still meet our debt goal for the end of the year. I would love to say we methodically planned all of it out but honestly, after crunching the numbers, I truly know God had a hand in it. Based on our take-home pay, our average budget, and our expenses – the numbers just don’t add up. JR did a TON of side hustling (he is a dealer for corporate casino parties on the weekend – so random!) and we did sell some things and find some deals on baby items but I truly believe God really played a role in everything coming together right at the final paycheck of the year.
So in total, as of this Friday, we will officially have paid off $109,488.17!! We are so close to $110k I can taste it. Hopefully, if everything goes smoothly with the new baby we can knock out the rest by the end of 2020.
This year you may have also seen that we are now official Financial Peace University coordinators. We held our first class at our church in the spring, led another class online (so fun!), and then hosted yet another class at our church in the fall. To say leading the classes helped us stay on track would be a huge understatement – leading a class MADE us stay on track. Nothing makes you stay baby-step-accountable like telling other people to get on board. We had a blast teaching all three classes and learned so much from all the members we had the honor of meeting with for those 9 weeks. I loved the discussions we got to have and seeing our story help others be passionate about their financial stewardship as well. Overall we have helped 52 people pay off a total of $124,395 in non-mortgage debt. Those 52 people also saved a total of $238,052 combined and cut up 31 credit cards!! (We may be due for ordering some official FPU scissors!) So if you were one of the people we were lucky enough to lead this year – thank you thank you thank you! We are so glad you dedicated your time to learn alongside us and hope we made an impact on you the same way you did for us.
Seriously, my heart could just burst writing this post out at the end of the year, especially during this special Christmas season. JR and I have so much to be thankful for and are truly so unbelievably blessed. I’m so excited for our next big phase of life and can’t wait to see what 2020 has in store!
If you are new to following or this post has finally piqued your interest in paying down some debt below are the top three most impactful things we have done to pay off almost $110k in 41 months.
- Follow the Dave Ramsey Baby Steps completely without excuses or edits. I don’t care what special situation you are in or what changes you think you need to make for what works better for you. The steps work best in order as stated (trust me, we have been “Dave-ish). If you are really looking for a kickstart I highly recommend the FPU class. We won’t be teaching a class for a while but you can find one closest to you here. (Our online class was great but I personally love the in-person discussions. #extrovert)
- Do a budget every single month (or twice a month!) JR and I have the same pay schedule so we actually do two budgets a month, one for each payday. This is by far THE number one way we make substantial progress each month. You can learn more about our budgeting here, or if you have any questions or need help getting started, feel free to message me directly on Facebook or Instagram. I would love to help you get going!
- Let God in on your goals. A small step toward this could be as simple as including prayer in your budget meetings or financial planning time. Ask for clarity regarding your goals or for guidance on a specific situation. JR and I have grown so much in our faith over the last few years but this year specifically I really feel a connection toward our money/resources/belongings and our faith. We prayed together over our financial goals at the beginning of the year and really kept God’s word at the heart of our finances. We also really opened our hearts to be more generous, which can be such a challenge sometimes when you feel like you have such a big personal mountain to climb.
As always, absolutely feel free to reach out with any questions! (Instagram or Facebook direct message is the best way!) We love hearing from others and have been so encouraged ourselves to hear that some of you have been encouraged by us sharing our story. I promise the next update won’t take so long! 😉