This time of year I’m especially…incredibly grateful that we are one of the weird ones. Well, I’m always weird but weird meaning debt free. :)
If you’ve read along with me for awhile you know our story – we were $125,000 in debt. It was a combination of everything – I took out a ton of credit to get through college and had a pretty decent student loan bill at the end of the four years (even though I had grants for almost half of my education!). We financed absolutely everything as adults too – TVs, cars, trips, furniture, a hot tub…all of it. We did what “everyone” does.
What’s funny is it never crossed our minds to save for those items. We wanted it…so we got it. We now know the meaning of delayed gratification. Sometimes it sucks. But three months later, six months later, two years later when we still would have been paying it off, then it does not suck. ;)
It’s been almost four years since we got rid of that massive monkey on our back (all but the house and we are chipping away at that) and it is now just our nature to use cash. To save. To be patient. To be deliberate with our money. That is huge.
It’s hard to explain the freedom that comes with not having debt – it just becomes normal so it’s hard to put into words all this time later. We now live like no one else and some think that term means living extravagantly. That’s not the case. Living like no one else means you get to do things you weren’t able to do before, yes. But more than that it’s living with a peace that we didn’t have before.
Deep in my soul I am thrifty. Most every time I will do something myself before I have anyone else do it if I’m able. I will always wait for a sale, use coupons, and try to find the least expensive way to do things (well). My car is now nine years old and I still love it. My husband’s car was 11 years old and this year we were able to buy him a new-to-us car. I’m not a big bucket list person but that was one of those things that I’ve dreamed of doing my whole life – we paid for that car with a check. Amazing!!! I tell you what, it makes me tear up to even write that. Who gets to do that??
And of course we give way more than we did before. I can’t really put that into words either – giving more is easily the best part about being debt free.
It took us years, a lot of sacrifice and a ton of work to get through all of our debt. We used the teachings of Dave Ramsey and they truly changed our lives.
I got to meet him two weeks before we paid off the last bill:
For us it started when I caught his radio show on a business trip. I think he actually annoyed me a little bit at first. ;) I was all…I have it under control! We don’t have that much debt! We could stop any time we want! And then the more I listened the more I woke up and then dreamed of us doing the same. I told my husband about it and he bought his book – we were hooked.
We worked through the debt for years and it was when we took his Financial Peace class that we really got hard core about it. A few months later we were debt free. The book is wonderful, the CDs are great…but those classes changed our lives.
That’s why I chose to give a few of them away every year. I missed last year so I’m making up for this Christmas. ;)
I’m giving away five Financial Peace classes/packets and the lovely folks at Dave Ramsey are throwing in five as well. I’m thrilled to have developed a relationship with his team over the years and am so grateful that they continue to do this for my readers.
Things you should know – this includes a packet of info (including the book) and you can follow along on your own at home. But I strongly recommend making the commitment to the classes. They meet once a week for nine weeks. Our church offered free childcare during the class so that was a huge help.
You will meet others in your situation and will get a lot off your chest – it helps to just be able to talk about it with people. You don’t have to share any details at all – but the group setting helps immensely.
Go here to see if you have a class starting in January near you. Or any time – it doesn’t have to be January. If you want to take the class or get a packet, feel free to comment to enter. I will sign up the ten (randomly chosen) winners or have the packet delivered to you.
If you’d like to win one of the ten packets/classes please leave an email address in your comment or you are welcome to email me (thriftydecorchick at gmail dot com) to enter with the subject line Financial Peace. I’ll leave this open through the end of the week (Friday the 26th).
This is a feeling I want for everyone that feels completely overwhelmed by their debt and finances. It is worth it.
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