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April 2, 2012

Like a Gazelle!!!!!!!

Proverbs 6:4-5 - "4 Give no sleep to your eyes, Nor slumber to your eyelids; 5 Deliver yourself like a gazelle from the hunter’s hand. And like a bird from the hand of the fowler. "

"Gazelle Intensity" - Ryan & I have it!  What does that mean?  It means!!  From credit card companies with low-introductory rates & special bonuses - From student loans & car payments - FROM DEBT!  Just as a gazelle has learned to run & flee from its predator - the Cheetah!  Seriously, the fastest animal on earth that also accelerates faster than a sports car & a GAZELLE can out run it?!  How?!  It has learned to run in circles, bob & weave - anything but stay in a straight line since that is the only way a cheetah can keep up its speed - until the cheetah has tired out & gives up.  So, we RUN! (Read more about "Gazelle Intensity" - here)

We are SO over being burdened by our debt.  So. Over. It!  We still have a long way to go but if we stay "Gazelle Intense" it will be over sooner than later.

In my last blog here, I talked about some of the things I have missed out on so far due to our journey to financial peace a.k.a. DEBT FREE!  This past month was no different.  I had to miss out on volunteering at the NCAA Swimming & Diving Championships because we would have had to hire a babysitter for a couple of the days & the gas to get downtown from our house would have cost us since gas is $4/gallon now.  We also missed out on Winter Jam which is FULL of Christian bands that rock!  These are minor when it comes to things we are missing out on but they are still things we would have liked to do. will be worth it.

What you have been waiting for!

At the end of each month we go over everything to see how much under budget we were so we can put that extra $$ towards our debt.  At the end of February, we had a little over $215 extra to put towards our debt reduction.  At the end of March......?!?!?!?!


This is including our $99 SUV payment we no longer have since it was paid off last month (February).  We put this extra cash towards our lowest student loan which brings it down to about $1700!.  This is so exciting!  I can feel the weight of our debt slowly falling off my shoulders each month.  The burden of being tied down to our debt slowly being cut loose.  Oh to be debt free.  OH TO BE DEBT FREE!  OH TO BE DEBT FREE!!!  To be able to SAVE more.  To be able to GIVE more.  To be able to HELP more.  It's coming...It's coming...It's coming!  AHHH!!!!!

I've been following a couple on facebook along their journey to becoming debt free.  They just recently paid off SIX figures in 4 years - 33 days earlier than they had planned!  You can read some of her blog here.  The King & Queen of Free have done it - you can too!  We can too!  I cannot wait to be able to post something similar. 

The Queen of Free has a great blog about keeping your marriage healthy while paying of debt - you can read it here!  This is SO important.  Money problems can cause huge quarrels between a husband & wife.  Ryan & I had many heated talks when we were trying to figure out our budget.  How much should we budget for clothes each month, how about entertainment, gifts, etc.??  Should we do the cash envelope system?  <---That was a big one.  One of us didn't want cash in our possession - the other thought it would help us out more to stay on our budget & not overspend on groceries or other items.  We decided to do the cash envelope system & WOW - what an eye opener.  To only have X amount of cash to spend on certain things and when it's's gone, has helped out tremendously.  We have also spent at least $100 less each month on groceries.  Amazing how much the cash envelope system has helped us out.  It is a little annoying but SO worth it!  Try it!!

If you are on this journey with us - KEEP IT UP!  Don't let go of that "Gazelle Intensity!"  Everything we are doing (or not doing) is worth it.

As of right now our running total of debt is about $27,431.17.  (About $1,000 more than the rounded total from my last blog - this number here is more accurate.)

We have paid off $6,627.20 in debt since January 1, 2012!!!

Again, thank you all for your support in all of this.  It has helped out tremendously to have your understanding & kind words.  You all are a part of this journey with us too.  We look forward to celebrating our debt free days with all of you in the future!

February 25, 2012

Dave Ramsey....You Suck!!!

Yeah...I said it.  Dave Ramsey - You Suck!!  I can't stand you....I can't stand your teachings, I can't stand your videos, I can't stand your budget calculator, I can't stand ALL your 10,000 forms you have us fill out just so we can BE DEBT FREE!  Ugh - why do you have to care so much about everyone else being debt free?  Really?  Is being debt free all its cracked up to be?
How annoying does he look right here!!
Seriously - you know how many things we are going to miss out on JUST so we can some day "Live like no one else"?  That is another thing I can't stand...that stupid saying.  "We have to live like no one else so some day we can live like no one else."  Yeah - did that screw with your mind, too?  It basically means that until you are debt free you get to do nothing.
 Okay...not really.  That's just me being upset because I have to miss out on some things due to keeping tight on our budget so some day we will never have to miss out on things.  Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University is the best thing that has ever happened to our finances.  I want to write about our journey to becoming debt free so maybe it will help others in our same situation - to have hope or see the light at the end of the tunnel (it's there, I promise!).

As I write this I am missing out on celebrating my dad's 50th birthday & my sister's 30th birthday.  The rest of the family is going out to dinner & eating out at restaurants is just not in our budget (unless we have a gift card!).  The day we are debt free I want to be able to have a celebration like no other - celebrate all the things we have had to miss out on to be able to get out from under this weight of destruction - DEBT.

The journey to being debt free began in January - our Lifegroup decided we were going to do Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University for our Bible study each week.  That first week was an eye opener.  We downloaded his budget calculator here & saw how much extra money we actually had each month (or should have) after all of our bills & expenses.  So - where was it all going?!?

Once we figured that out we had to make a plan.  Write down all our debts & crack down on our spending.  We have to "live like no one else" - which meant missing out on things we didn't want to, not doing the things we wanted to & instead budgeting out each month so we could at least do some things & not be hermits all the time.  But that is the hard part - budgeting out each month & saving until we could do something.  Before, we would simply see if we had enough cash in the bank & go do whatever we wanted.  That is what the problem was.  We never budgeted into our monthly expenses so then we had no extra money at the end of the month to help pay of bills.  We also have to save up in order to make purchases we want & don't necessarily need.  If we want a new dining room table we have to save up instead of financing it.  Pay cash for everything!!

The first order of business is to get $1,000 emergency fund savings - once that is done we could start our debt reduction.  That $1,000 is for EMERGENCY only.  That is something that is really hard for a lot of people to remember & stick to.  We ended up setting up a completely separate savings account labeled "Emergency Fund" just to make sure we never took from it.  So far, so good!  Especially since we haven't had any emergencies come up.

We have 5 debts (not including our house) - 2 Student Loans, 2 Car Payments (SUV & Van) & 1 Credit Card.  The total is just over $30,000.

So - $30,000 in debt beginning in January.  Where to start?  We started with our SUV.  It was just over $4,000 to pay off.  During the months of January & February we put any extra cash towards extra payments on the SUV.  Ryan got paid for doing a couple surveys - straight towards the SUV.  We got our taxes done ASAP - got them back before the end of February & BAM - SUV was paid off!  We also had some extra money left over to put towards our next debt - student loans.

Before the end of February & only about 1 1/2 months into our journey & we have paid off 1 debt.  WOOHOO!!  One debt down, 4 more to go!  Now onto the next!

We will begin March with about $26,000 in debt & plan to have a big chunk of that gone by the end of the year.  The SUV payment we had set aside each month will now go towards our smallest student loan - $2,000 on top of what we were already paying on it each month (and any extra $$ we might come up with).

This journey is going to be long & difficult but I know it will be SO worth it in the end.  Family - please bare with us as we go through this road.  Friends - please understand if we sometimes cannot go & have some fun with you.  Everyone - please pray for us along this rocky road.  I look forward to being able to celebrate with you all someday at the end of our journey of being debt free!