|How annoying does he look right here!!|
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!