When Deaundre and I got married in April 2010 we, like a lot of couples came into our marriage with debt. A considerable of amount of debt. At the time, we had:
– 6 credit cards (3 major and 3 store specific cards)
– 1 Student Loan
– 2 Car Loans ( We actually only had 1 payment when we married, but we replaced my car in August 2011)
– We also have a mortgage on the condo we live in.
I do not have the exact starting amount of debt, but I can guarantee you it was not pretty. It probably was close to $60,000.
About 1 month into our marriage, the unexpected happened. We found ourselves with only one income.
Even now when I think back, I can remember the stress as a new wife. I was trying to keep it all together and be supportive of my husband (no one wants a nagging wife) but on the inside, I was stressed out. We had charged some of our wedding and honeymoon expenses and obviously we banked on both incomes being available to pay it off. It was always our intention to start our marriage with Dave Ramsey’s plan and to get out of debt, but this was a significant setback.
I don’t regret this time as I learned two very valuable lessons: 1. God is crazy faithful. We never went without. We ate well every week and all of our minimums were paid. Of course we had to cut back, but God sustained us. 2. We need to get out of debt. The reality was that if we did not have any debt, we would have been better than okay with one income. We could have lived very comfortably. That showed me that our debt was a major problem in our lives.
Once my husband’s work situation stabilized in the beginning of 2012, we attempted to hit the ground running. We actually paid off quite a bit of debt, but I felt we really needed to see the Dave’s plan together as a couple. I took the class when I was single when our friends (Trina and Vern Nelson) led one, but I felt Deaundre needed to experience it for himself. So we singed up for a class that started in July 2013.
When we started the class our total debt number was about $42,000 our debts were:
-3 credit cards
-2 car loans
-1 medical bill
Dave’s plan is written around 7 Baby Steps you follow to make your way out of debt and onto the financial good foot:
1. $1,000 to start an Emergency Fund
2. Pay off all Debt using the Debt Snowball
3. 3 to 6 months of expenses in savings
4. Invest 15% of household income in Roth IRAs and tax-advantaged retirement accounts
5. College funding for children
6. Pay off home early
7. Build wealth & give
I love these steps because it allows you to focus on one thing at a time. For example, if you are getting out of debt, your are not also saving for a house.You are focused on the step you are on. I find the steps to be really helpful when it comes to staying focused. It allows us to channel all of our extra energy and funds towards the step we are on. We are currently on Baby Step #2.
The one thing I learned in the class that still sticks with me is debt limits your options. You can’t take a job you really feel called to, because it doesn’t pay enough. You can’t move for a new job, because you have no savings. You lose relationships because you have to work several jobs just to make your debt payments. This cost is too high for Deaundre and I.
Currently we are still on Baby Step 2. Our current debts are:
-2 credit cards
-1 car payment
Below is a picture of our chart once we hit 25% paid off in February of 2014. #weareontheway
Here are some links to the plan we are working and more information on Dave Ramsey’s plan. I would highly recommend taking the class. It is life changing. Also, Dave has a daily radio show where callers can call in for financial advice and people come in to do their Debt Free scream!
Please leave comments below! How do you feel about debt? If you are debt free, or on your way, please share your journey!