Debt is a monkey (or boulder) on the back of many American families and our country as a whole. Money is one of the top reasons couples fight and ultimately divorce. I don’t know about you, but I want to kill anything that could be a top reason to create division in my marriage. For that reason, and many others, we decided to fight debt to the death in our family.
If we really want to be free, as a country and as individual families, we’ve got to kill the debt.
The Bible says it best:
“…the borrower is the slave of the lender.” – Proverbs 22:7b
How true is that?
Almost 3 years ago, my wife and I decided to make getting out of debt a top priority. At the time, I had some student loans, we had racked up credit card debt, had a mortgage with a high interest rate, two car loans, and little to nothing in savings. I was making more money than I had ever made, but we were still headed in the wrong direction. The debt and spending were out of control. For the future of our family, something had to change.
We talked about it and agreed we needed to start walking the walk. It’s hard to point the finger at the Federal government’s budget when I was barely balancing my own at the time. I knew what to do, I just wasn’t doing it.
To help catapult us in the right direction, we took a Crown Financial class at a local church but ultimately ended up following Dave Ramsey’s Seven Baby Steps and a combination of other techniques & tools.
We took steps to drop spending wherever it was possible, especially recurring expenses like Satellite TV and eating out. We used the free (and great) mint.com to track our spending. We setup an initial emergency fund by making savings AUTOMATIC.
Setting up an automatic transfer each week out of your checking account and into the savings account (even a small amount) can ad up huge overtime. Don’t let your self decide if you want to put that money in savings that week, make it automatic. This was a huge thing I learned from the Automatic Millionaire.
We’re still working our way through Dave’s steps, but as of this month, we’ve paid off all debt with the exception of the mortgage (which we also got refinanced to a lower rate). We’re now working on growing savings a little more before investing more heavily in our retirement plan.
The freedom from marching away from debt is an incredible one. It takes time, sometimes a lot of it, but if you have a plan and stick to it, it will change your life.
Or goal, Lord willing, is to have our mortgage paid off before the kids graduate from high school.
Start with step 1, save a little weekly to get at least $1000 in an emergency fund. Then start the debt snowball, along with a detailed budget, and you’ll be surprised how fast it all starts to fade away.
You can do it!