Back when I was first married (about 12 years ago), my husband and I listened to a lot of talk radio. One of my favorites was Dave Ramsey. He is a financial guru who gives some pretty phenomenal advice on getting debt free and staying debt free. My father in law was kind enough to send me to Dave’s course before Matt and I tied the knot. Though I knew, understood and believed the principles, putting them into action was a whole different story.
Watch Out Marriage….I’ve Got
I entered our marriage with a lot of debt. I had over $20K in student loans and close to $10K in credit card debt. I was an IDIOT! I bought into the lie that debt was necessary for college and that credit was just a normal way of life and also a necessity to build credit. When I look back at the poor financial decisions I made as an 18 year old I want to go back in time and smack myself.
My husband had no debt. He went to college on a full scholarship and had solid career in the Marines coming out of school. One thing was clear; we had some work to do.
The Girl with Debt Handles the Money
Believe it or not, I took over the finances soon after we were married. I took this money management thing very seriously. I knew exactly what I wanted and I had a plan to get us there. I had a carefully planned out budget and I tracked EVERYTHING we spent. If you asked me how much we spent on groceries in April of 2003, I could look it up and tell you right to the penny. I loved my budget and I loved watching our debt go down.
I know you are curious… I paid $191.99 for groceries in April of 2003. I looked it up. 🙂
First of all, that is a mind blowing number! I am thinking that must have been during a time my husband was deployed but I was also very serious about saving money on groceries and using coupons.
Debt Goes Up. Debt Goes Down.
Fast forward a little through the years and we did what many couples did. We were young and had not had kids yet. We had many opportunities to travel and see the world. But because we were still paying off debt we either had to put our fun on credit or slow down on our debt payments. We did a little of both. Our debt went up and down over the years but we never fought it like we should have or could have.
We made some dumb decisions and we learned some great lessons. Thankfully my husband is a very smart guy and all of these years continued to invest a little out of each paycheck. In fact, I would get all excited about a pay raise and would have a place for it in the budget but before it would hit the bank account he had it sent to savings- sneaky sneaky man! I love him!
Small Business Ownership
Three years ago we became small business owners. Dave Ramsey teaches that there is value in getting little side jobs to help you reach your goals faster. Beachbody coaching was my side job for a while. Then it became so much more. We have been on the fast track to financial independence and yes, WEALTH! That’s going to offend some of you to see that “W” word. Dave Ramsey compares money to a brick. A brick is neither bad nor good. If you give a brick to a good man, he will do good things with it- like build a house. If you give a bad man a brick he will do bad things with it – like smash a window. Money is the same way. Be careful not to judge.
No More Car Payments
On 1 May 2014, we made our final car loan payment. In the last 2 years we have wiped out student loans, credit card debt and this month – the very last payment on our vehicle. We only have a mortgage. We have been home owners for just 2 years but believe me, WE HAVE A PLAN and I can’t wait to write the blog on the day we no longer have a mortgage!
Now, I can’t close this post out without giving credit where credit is due. God has been so faithful. His word says that He gives to us according to our abilities (Matthew 25:15). I firmly believe that God began to provide more for us whenever we got serious and showed our willingness to work hard and to be faithful in what He has let us borrow. That means being wise in spending, saving and giving. I know that if we ever get stupid again with God’s money- well, he can take it back as fast as he can give it out.
I am thankful for my husband and all his wisdom. Thanks babe for getting on the same page with me and keeping us out of stupid financial decisions.
I am also thankful for my dad. He never really made a lot of money and he certainly wasn’t perfect in his financial decisions, but he showed me a lot about the value of working hard, saving and being thrifty….sometimes embarrassingly so.
My Encouragement to You
I encourage you to keep your head down and your focus set on laser as you pursue financial independence. Don’t look at the big number and how long it will take to get there. Make a plan and take baby steps. It is so worth it! Please let me know when you knock out your financial goals! I can’t wait to hear. Share it on my Facebook page.