I have some huge news that I couldn’t wait to share with you. Now if you read the title of this blog post you probably have a good idea of what I’m getting ready to share with you. But let me start with a little back story.
I was very blessed and thankful that coming out of college I didn’t have any student loans and that my husband didn’t have any student loans either. Starting off our marriage we were in a good place. Early in our marriage, we didn’t have a lot of money, but we were living off of love right? Well, not quite, in all reality we were young and naive. 3 years into our marriage we had our first child. At the time my husband had a little maroon Ford Ranger and I had a silver Mitsubishi Eclipse. His truck had the fold-down seats in the back, like the ones that fold down towards the middle of the truck and my car was only two-doors, neither were conducive to correctly fitting a car seat in the back. So we sold my car, which was also my first car I ever had and it was a sad day when I had to let that go. Then we purchased a new car that would fit a car seat in, but little did we know that my knees would be in the dash if I sat in the front seat with the car seat behind me. This would not have been the case for everyone I am tall with very long legs. That was the start of our debt. Also if you didn’t know kids are expensive and newborns are really expensive if you don’t have great insurance. Before our baby turned one we had to sell my husband’s truck to pay off hospital bills. We were trying to be smart with our money but like I said we were living on a limited income. Not long after paying those bills off, my husband got a new job offer with better pay and way better benefits, but it required us to move. If anyone was wondering, moving isn’t cheap either. But I’m guessing you already knew that. 😉
A couple of years later we were pregnant with our second child and I got tired of sitting in the front seat with my knees in the dashboard. So much so that we decided to trade our car in for an upgrade. We bought a crossover SUV. The story of us buying this car was kinda comical now that I look back on it. Let me just say that we were there for what seemed like forever and we came home with a new car and managed to get an extra $2,000 off the price. They never saw me coming. Haha. Probably because I’m really not that scary. So again we had a new car payment and at the same time a house payment.
We moved again to a new state a few years after that and the process of selling our house and moving, between seller’s fees and truck rentals, etc.., created more debt for us. We didn’t have a house to stay in when we moved but luckily we were moving to my hometown and my parents were nice enough to let us stay while we found a rental house. That took about 5 weeks but we were able to pay off some of the debt built up from moving. So we were in a better place, that was until my husband lost his job due to pay cuts. You can read more about that experience on my blog post titled “Pink Slip”. And this is where we got in over our heads with debt. We were in survival mode, we weren’t even trying to do anything extra, just pay for the roof over our heads and food on the table. Even when he accepted a new job it was way less than his salary before and we weren’t able to dig ourselves out of debt. Then a shining light came through when he received a job offer for a better job and he is still at that same place today! But the story isn’t over there. That debt that accrued previously wasn’t paid off and continued to grow plus new hospital bills that came from multiple procedures I had the past two years. We thought it would be 10 years before it would be paid off. That would have been true if we would have stuck with paying the minimum payment. Guess what, we didn’t do that. We tighten our belts and I created a really strict budget that we stuck to and any extra money that came in went to help pay it off sooner. In January of this year, we made our last payment on our car and as of 2 weeks ago, we made our last payment to pay off all of our debt! We did purchase a house last year and we still have that to pay off but all our negative and rapidly grown debt is paid off and wow what a relief has it been!
I don’t know if you are struggling with overwhelming debt but I would encourage you to face it head-on. Don’t just push it to the side to deal with it later because it will consume you. Create a budget and stick to it. Also, do some research and find what works best for you and your family. The “snowball effect” worked best for us. If you don’t know what that is, it is when you pay off the smallest amount first and then once that is paid off add that payment to your next smallest bill. You are making the same amount of payments a month and as you pay off the smaller debt that frees up funds to make larger payments on your larger debt. The road to becoming debt-free isn’t easy but even this small step makes a huge difference on your path to gain financial freedom.
I pray that this blog today was an encouragement to you and can help in your daily life. Always know I am available to pray with you or just be someone to talk to when life gets hard. E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you need prayer!
Talk to you next Monday!