Part Two

Previously: …I didn’t have a plan, money wasn’t a concern; the lights were on, the house was warm in the winter and cool in the summer. Until 2014, when my husband was injured at work and couldn’t continue heavy physical labor any longer.  Now, I’ll tell you the rest of the story…

So now I’m the primary wage earner at a contract position due to end very soon. I secure a full-time position with benefits, during the summer of 2015. During this time, we max out our credit cards, as well as taking on student loans.   We react to each crisis as it comes but we’re resourceful. 

We pay down the credit cards but charge again to focus on our four walls, utilities, gas and groceries and continue the debt cycle while we take out payday loans to pay bills on time. 

Everything changes for us; my husband receives his disability and I begin a new position. I’m back to pre-recession income after ten years.    

Driving home from work one evening, I scan the radio stations and find Dave Ramsey on. This is the best time in our lives to start our debt free journey. I pick up my copy of his latest book and can’t stop reading. 

Getting started is difficult for us, we each have our own ideas about money. We have separate bank accounts, and different approaches to spending. Our ‘emergency fund’ covered an emergency every week. 

“Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” Unknown   Its time to change this and be intentional with our money.  We have several budget meetings, sometimes daily because I’m determined to find a solution together. 

  • Make a budget that works for us
  • Beginner Emergency fund $1,000 in the bank in one month.  (Completed March 29).
  • Baby Step 2:   paid off first two small debts – my Ulta card $134 and $175.96 for my dell computer.   Additionally, we paid $150 on the Kohl’s card. 

This seems simple enough, but this is the most difficult thing. Changing our mindset, while convincing my husband this is the right thing for us. We’re not willing to carry this toxic debt any longer. 

Carrying Debt wasn’t always normal. Installment plans started around the time of the Civil War.  History of Installment loans  started with the Singer sewing machine. The catch phrase “dollar down, dollar a week” started it all.  Furniture dealers were next to see the future around the 1900s, and of course the automobile – its normal to have a car payment, just expected. 

I can tell you how we’re doing this, tell you to read everything about getting debt free that’s the easy part. The why comes from deep down in your heart that makes you determined to be debt free yourself.  I’ll share my secret with you.  I have an autoimmune disease which is in remission, but daily pain is the constant. I get advice all the time from people who don’t live with this but know someone who does and offer advice.  Its nice they want to help but understanding comes from someone who’s going through the same thing.  I educated myself on my disease and sought out support groups and found an online group http://www.bensfriends.org for others like me. I found healing that I couldn’t get anywhere else, and eventually was able to help others as well. I grew from this experience and helped myself more when I helped others.  Every summer, newcomers would come into the group scared, crying and alone looking for someone to understand them. This became my new normal, just like my debt free journey is now.  I’m educating myself and surrounding myself with like minded people.  

Today I have a plan, I’m aware of every dollar spent; the lights are on, the house is warm in the winter and cool in the summer and I’m a step closer to my debt-free reality.

What’s your journey like? Leave your comments below and lets do this together!

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