Ah! So I have to get this off my shoulders/ outta my head. Get it somewhere where it can stop simmering and just… sit.
Debt! We used to have it! Lots of it! My husband and I got married 7 years ago give or take and I brought my dear friend ACS into our wedded bliss. (ACS was my student loan company). It was baggage of around $40k, maybe more (I really don’t remember, sorry) of college loans. My dear Hubby brought in some sweet rides (Cadillacs! Let’s just take a moment here to… HAHAHA.) with not so sweet baggage attached around $30k or something. Plus a chunk more for his student loans. We had, oh I don’t know, 10 years of college between us. And we had some random other credit, like a wedding dress and other wedding- type things (totally a necessity. Psyche.) Oh and the TV I bought on credit for my Old Man with a store credit card for Father’s Day because he never had anything nice (not true #povertymindset) and I “had” to get my FICO score up so I could be a grown up (also not true).
So we started our married lives about $100k in the hole. Ish. I don’t remember the real numbers but it was more than we should have had, which is zero.
Since I’m a teacher and he’s something else professional, we figured we’d do what most of our friends did which is pay off the loans in a normal amount of time like normal people while we lived our normal lives and occasionally complained on Friday nights about how the little man just can’t get ahead, but we planned to take a few vacations, keep driving our awesome Cadillac (! Ha. This is still funny to me) and put our kids in club sports and basically be middle class Americans until we died. Sounded pretty #WonderYears which to us, was #perfect. (BTW I’m thinking I’ll hashtag WonderYears pretty frequently because, growing up in the 80s90s, basically our dream was to own a 1980s house in a cul de sac and live out the sitcoms we so enjoyed watching growing up; Wonder Years/Saved By the Bell/ et. al.. Our great dream was (ahem… is) that our lives play out pretty similarly to the Tanners/Arnolds/Morrises and that for our anniversary, hubby buys me an ID bracelet inscribed “Kevin Amold.” Because to us… that’s super romantic).
So that was the plan and then — crash boom bang — babies came! And more importantly… I couldn’t get past the fact that we were driving a Cadillac (lol) when there were Starving People in China. Which is my stock way of saying, my affluentness, be it as it was, bugged the crap out of me.
I grew up a little bit poor. More on that eventually but suffice to say we had our fair share of donated Christmas presents and “camping” as my parents called it. And then I married this guy who drove a (drumroll) Cadillac and it kind of bugged me. Because.. Starving People in China!
So I prayed for wisdom. I prayed a few light prayers with deep questions that God would teach us what do with “our” money. I prayed He’d teach us to live the right way. Because driving a bright shiny new car when there were Starving People in China (you know that’s a line from Christmas Story I hope), and at the other end, being one paycheck away from the food stamp line both seemed wrong to me, but I didn’t know what Right looked like. So I prayed.
And OH. My. Goodness. Did He answer me.
We are talking Angels Singing in the Clouds with Giant Scrolls of Knowledge Falling Into My Lap answers to prayer. It was like writing on the wall. With Sharpie. And a Laser Pointer. And Glitter. And Spray Paint. And a Marching Band. And Post It Flags that said “READ THIS.”
We were supposed to take a Financial Freedom class at church! How did I know? Because at this time, we had been married for nine months and we had a baby coming and I was fixing to quit my job because that had always been my plan! So… we had to figure out fast how to start surviving without my teacher’s salary. Meanwhile, Hubby wouldn’t take a churchy class with me. But there was this Financial class at church!! So I convinced him (sneaky) to take that instead. So we did and. Mind blown.
Two years to the day later we had dumped all of the debt. I quit my job a month before the baby was born and a year and a half later, all the debt was gone. Kachow.
One day I’ll tell you how we did it. In a word, we got CRAZY.
AH! Feels good to have that out in the open. The Take Away: We dumped 100k in debt (probably more) in two years with one income. A nice income but not a mind blowing income. A five figure income. I’ll just say that.
But we did it. You can, too!! (aha! See! There’s a clue to my blog’s purpose! I’m going to encourage you. Get ready.)