In the 22+ years we’ve been married we’ve been in and out of debt. Job loss, medical bills, babies, and life happens.
To say carrying debt is a burden and weight on my shoulders is an understatement. It causes me so much stress and anxiety. I hate owing people!
I lost my job at the beginning of November in 2019. I’d been looking for a new one and thought I had found one that was a perfect fit, until the PTSD kicked in the night before my interview and I had to cancel. 🙁
I was litterally on my bathroom floor hyperventalating and having a panic attack…for about an hour. I thought I was ready to work outside of the home but clearly I wasn’t. I had to call the owner (who happens to be an old High School friend of mine) and tell her I wasn’t going to come in.
I was heartbroken and frustrated and I felt like I was letting God, my family, my friend, and myself down. It sent me into a downward spiral for several weeks. It makes me angry and I hate that this trauma wins and dictates my life in so many ways!
I kept looking for work from home jobs. Virtual Assistant positions. Nothing was coming my way.
I was scrolling through FaceBook one day and I came to one of the gals I follow. Her page is called Six on a Budget. She gives tips on how to save money on your groceries. I’ve been following her for a while but on this day she mentioned some other budget sites that she follows and I barely read the post. I half skimmed it and scrolled on past it. Then something made me go back and look at it again. She mentioned another mom who has a page called The Budget Mom. There was no link or any information about who The Budget Mom was so again, I just kept scrolling. I got a nudge to Google her.
I found her first on YouTube she has tons of how-to videos on how she paid off $77k of debt as a single mom. She has an Instagram account, FaceBook page, and a community FaceBook page (which is where I personally have found the most help).
So, to make a long story even longer (LOL!) I began to study and learn and read all I could about her budgeting methods. With Jared’s first paycheck in January, I decided to jump feet first and make this work for us.
It’s taken a lot of trial and error and hard work but it’s been an INCREDIBLE blessing to our family. If I can’t work outside the home (yet), I can give all I can to make sure I am a good steward over what God has blessed us with. Enough was enough. I had my “why”.
It’s been 2 months and I honestly can’t believe I was able to do it so quickly but we are officially DEBT FREE!!!!!! I want to call up Dave Ramsey and yell it over the airwaves!
We had 3 credit cards that on January 1st, 2020, that had a combined total balance of $13,778.21! Crazy right!?! Ugh!
I’m sharing real numbers because I know we aren’t alone and it’s helpful to see it’s possible. TBM shares all of her real life income, debts, bills, and that made it feel attainable to me. A real person with real life going on. THAT inspires me!
Now, Jared has a great job and it pays well. But I want to clarify that paying this amount of money in such a short time didn’t just come because his paychecks could cover that amount. (It would be awesome though! 😛 ) We did have some/most of it in our checking account. But we were grossly misspending/overspending every month and I knew I couldn’t put it towards our debt because we were going through it at a remarkable pace. It wasn’t going to last us at that rate. It was running out fast!
The other part of the equation was I stopped the madness!! I followed TBM’s methods (which are similar to Dave Ramsey but more for real people who can’t always go “gazelle hard” like he talks about and a lot less guilt/shame). I went over almost a year’s worth of our bank statements and boy that was eye opening! Seeing what we were spending in a month on groceries/eating out made me sick to my stomach! And don’t even get me started on Amazon!
I put together a budget with those numbers and then I STUCK TO IT! Making a budget is easy. In fact, I think it’s kind of fun. I love making pretty spreadsheets. Sticking to it and living by it…that’s hard! LOL!
Now comes the most important step…continuing to stick to it. I don’t EVER want to be in debt again. I feel I have a good plan in place that I can continue to keep our finances on track and even save for future expenses. One of which that has been heavily on my mind is our air conditioner. We’ve been nursing the one we have along for the last several years. It’s original with our house which is coming up on 20 years. Every time the technician comes out he tells us we need to replace it soon. It’s only a matter of time. Air conditioners are NOT cheap. We were quoted about $10k! So that is our next goal. Save up so we can pay cash for a new unit. Let’s all have a moment of prayer for that!!! LOL!
I hope our story inspires you and doesn’t make you feel like you can’t do it or that it feels too far out of reach. You CAN do it. It may take longer, it may require a lot of sacrifice, but it is achievable. And the feeling you will have when you see those zero balances will be SO WORTH IT!