“The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is slave to the lender.” Proverbs 22:7
“I did then what I knew how to do. Now that I know better, I do better.” – Maya Angelo
“Live like no one else so that later you can live like no one else.” – Dave Ramsey
In order to “do what you love” and be successful, you must get rid of what’s holding you back whether it’s a job you hate, negative people in your life, or getting your finances in order. For us, it was primarily getting rid of our debt. Early on, before we learned about how to manage our finances, Kenny and I made a lot of financial mistakes which put us in a place where we had to fight to get any room to breathe. We are still in the process, but are hopeful that we will be debt-free in one year and free to do what we love.
(Note: full disclosure might make some people uncomfortable, but I think finances should be talked about! We all could learn from each other’s mistakes so that we are not put in a position where we feel stuck in a life we don’t want and unable to dig our way out.)
Beginning debt: $162,000
Beginning debt payments: $1,995/month
Debt we have paid off:
- $2,000 – John George student loan
- $900 – Overdraft credit card
- $900 – Dentist bill
- $7,500 – Bank of America credit card
- $3,100 – ACS student loan
- $10,800 – Nissan Altima lease
- $9,000 – Jeep Liberty loan
- $10,000 – Sallie Mae student loan #1
- $7,000 – AES student loan
- $22,000 – Sallie Mae student loan #2
- Plus parts of our last 3 loans
So far, we have paid off: $114,350 (71% done!)
Debt we have left:
- $4,600 – Sallie Mae student loan #3 (began at $28,000)
- $18,000 – Direct student loan #1 (began at $22,000)
- $25,050 – Direct student loan #2 (began at $39,000)
Current Debt: $47,650 (29% to go)
Current payments: $793/month
*Last updated: April 3, 2013
How do we do it?
We budget hard, and we pay off as much as we can on one debt at a time (while paying the minimum payments on the others). We paid off credit cards first, then student loans, and we bought used cars with cash so we wouldn’t have any car payments. We recently just moved close enough to work so that we only would need one car, so we sold our other car – this significantly reduces expenses (gas, car insurance, repairs, maintenance, license renewal, etc.). We have been paying off our debt since January 2010, and we anticipate that it will be paid off by January 2014 if all goes as planned.
If you desperately want to get rid of your debt, I would highly recommend checking out these blogs: manvsdebt.com and zenhabits.net as well as reading The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey or taking his Financial Peace class.
If we can do this through all of our moves (5!), job changes, while having only one income for a year, and while paying for Kenny’s prerequisite classes for a year when he went back to college as well as other ups and downs, you can, too! If it’s important to you, you can make the changes that need to be made. It’s extremely hard at first, but it gets easier and easier. If you have any specific questions, don’t hesitate to ask. I would love to help you get started!
What is holding you back from doing what you love and feeling financially independent?