Trapped and suffocated. Debt was a thief that was stealing our choices. And happiness. We needed to find debt freedom and get our lives back.
And don’t even get me started on GUILT. A mountain of debt and a wallet full of credit cards sure took the fun out of shopping with friends or going to a fancy dinner. Soon, guilt became FEAR. If you are looking to get out of the Rat Race, I will share with you how we are doing it, one day at a time. (PS. If you are wanting some more “getting out of the rat race” inspiration, I love this post by my fellow blogger.
Debt was stealing our choices.
Debt is that bad boy ex boyfriend. The one that you kept going back too, even when you knew deep down it was a bad idea. One day, you wake up and decide enough is enough. There is no going back. You need to get mad at debt. Debt is the villain that makes you say no to a big trip your friends are going on. Debt makes people feel like they have no choice but to stay in a situation they hate. I see it all around me. Single mom who hates renting but feels she has no choice. Young family that would love to travel, but are living paycheck to paycheck. New mom who would love to stay at home with her baby for the first 4 years, but they would not make it without her income. A person in their early 30’s who stays in a job she hates because at least the pay is steady. WAKE UP. CHANGE NEEDS TO HAPPEN. Ladies (or gentleman), it is time to get your life back.
One thing to know about me is that I am habitually late. Becoming not late has been part of my New Years resolution for the past 5 years. Fail. So, I rush to work, find a parking space and I find myself just sitting in my car not feeling like going inside. Do not get me wrong, I am very lucky in the sense that I LOVE my job. But for today, I just felt burnt out. Tired. Running though my huge to-do list over and over in my mind. As I slowly made the trek across the parking lot towards the hospital I work in, it dawned on me. What if I only worked 4 days? Then I realized, if I feel this way now, how in the heck am I going to feel when I have a family? Life should be easy, just me and the husband. Then I started thinking about all our bills. Loans. Debt. Right then and there, I knew I had to keep striving to be debt free. Why? Because I want to walk into work not because I have to be there but I want to be there. What a freeing idea. Hello choices.
Stop letting debt prevent you from living life on your own terms.
I have heard every excuse. People love to live in debt-nile. Easier said than done. Yeah right, that SOUNDS nice. But I live in the real world. It takes too long. It is too hard. We have too much debt. You do not understand MY situation. It probably works for SOME people but not me.
Starting is the hardest part.
Getting started was rough. I think I spent three months reading everything I could about personal finance and getting started, instead of not really starting. Hello waste of time. The thing that scared me the most was adding. And not just because I am not the biggest fan of math. Because adding up all the debt we had piled up meant I would finally know how big of a mess we were in. It was debt-nile. We had started paying things off haphazardly ever since we got married in January of 2016. We had payments on everything it seemed. The leather couch I had to have to furnish the new home. And new hardwood flooring. My wedding ring (yikes). Our cars. A motorcycle. New rims and tires for our non-paid-for cars (you might be a redneck….). A functional water softer. Parts for our furnace. A new electrical panel and wiring in our house. Everything Home Depot had to offer. A new transmission for the only vehicle we did not have payments on. Our dog’s ACL surgery. Our dog’s emergency vet bill. One heartbreaking DUI. By the end of July of 2016, and three car accidents later, we both realized that our two income household was likely going to become a one income household by winter. I sat down and did the math. I sat down on the floor of our bedroom and cried at the mess we had created in just about 1 year. We were just shy of $90,000 in debt. It was time to get on a first name basis with Dave and Rachael. Hear how we began under START.
Light at the end of the tunnel.
Fast forward about 8 months. While I am not proud of the mess we created, and would not have had it any other way. This was a rough year. It felt like the movie, The Perfect Storm, but in reality the names of the three merging storms were debt, poor choices, and family drama. The best part? We have learned to communicate about money in our marriage. Honestly, we have learned to communicate about everything better. I also realized I had no clue how to manage money, even though two years ago I would have thought I would be just fine. Fortunately, my husband and I grew up in very different families. One struggled with money while another was a success. The best part? Both of our families taught us the money comes from hard work. That work ethic is what kept us alive. And me from killing my sweet spouse. It is amazing yet challenging to have two very different backgrounds on money. But we are learning what works for us. Our goal is to be debt free by the end of 2017 with a paid for house in our 30’s. And, we have a real plan that will get us there. For those out there with a spouse, I highly recommend Financial Peace University and the Smart Money events. We did both, and it was fantastic to help us get on the same page.
Let’s be serious, you CAN do it. Thousands of people have. And someone out there had higher rent, more debt, a lower income and 27 more kids than you.
Check excuses at the door. The time to start is now. Have no clue where to begin? Good, I didn’t either. You are in good company. You can do it. Time to change your life and your marriage.
Still unsure about this whole get out of debt thing?
I bet you I can change how you feel about getting out of debt. I challenge you to spice your commute to work. Download the Dave Ramsey App (FREE!) or iHeartRadio app (ALSO FREE!) and start listening to the Dave Ramsey show today. Try it for one week. If your commute is short, I highly recommend you start by watching debt free screams via Dave Ramsey on YouTube.
Below are some of my favorite debt free screams, Dave videos, and Rachael videos.
Happy debt slaying.