If you've read any of my blogs in the past about life, including finances, you know that we've been on this intense journey to get rid of all our debt for the last three years.
In October of 2010 we were encouraged by a friend to take a course at church called, "Financial Peace University." Over the course of 13 weeks we were taught about the importance of an emergency fund, budgeting monthly, investing, insurance, giving, the dangers of credit cards, getting out of debt AND staying out of debt.
Our entire marriage we've had student loans, car payments, credit card debt, and expenses that were just silly (furniture and electronic debts- yikes). Silly, but oh so common. At one point our unsecured debt (secure being a house- because it can increase in value) was well over $100,000. By the time we started financial peace university, we paid off a car, eliminated some credit card debt and had a student loan forgiven so we were looking at a little over $80,000 of debt. I was now staying at home with our son Kellen and so on one income we started our new plan to get out of debt as quickly as we could. Prior to taking the class, we lost our condo- foreclosure- long story, horrible experience, not intentional, but eventually became a blessing in disguise. We moved, like four times, and finally I was able to go back to work to help speed up the process. When we started our debt snowball, our projected debt free date was somewhere in like 2020 I think. Thanks to my job, and the intentional budgeting and most of my paycheck going directly to debt, we were able to speed up the process a few years!
Over the last three years, we've sacrificed quite a bit. We've moved in with "house mates," (which we actually enjoy) sold stuff, and said no to several invites for extra curricular activities (not all, lol, but some). We knew we were tired of being slaves to debt. In Proverbs 22:7 it says,
"The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is slave to the lender."
This verse was brought up several times in class, and we posted it near our desk, on the fridge, and around the house to remind us of our goal to be debt free. Regardless of the ridicule- it's amazing how much you can get made fun of when you bring your lunch to work (poor Colin) weird looks, and some interesting advice along the way, we stuck to the plan and we made it!! After living with the fear and anxiety that we would always have debt, it's all GONE!
One thing I have learned on our journey is that God never promises to bless us with "more money," if we don't have debt. However, when you handle money Gods way- and trust me he has A LOT to say about money, he does promise to bless your life. I definitely want to be a part of Gods plan and receive blessings!
So, at the end of this debt journey I'd like to say thank you to the Bilton family for practically demanding we take this class. Thank you to friends and family that were supportive along the way, (especially our babysitters that gave us free date nights to stay sane) and thank you to Dave Ramsey and friends for sharing this information with us... and allowing us to share it with others through FPU.
NOW WHAT? Well, now the fun begins! We start saving, investing, and planning. We will continue to give and we will start facilitating our 6th class at Sandals Church on March 12th.
So, in the words of Dave Ramsey, "Live like no one else, so that later you can LIVE like no one else." Thank you for such great words Dave. Can't wait to start living debt free.😃