We did it. About 365 days ago, P and I were in debt. We started our marriage with debt, CC and student loan debt. The first 2 years, we spent making small payments on all of our debt. Then through the blog world, I discovered Dave Ramsey and did some research. I liked his simple straight forward, sound, advice. P and I looked into him even more, then we went to one of his seminars when he came to town last year. We spent 5 hours listening to him, and to be honest it felt like 5 minutes. While there we purchased one of his packages with all the books, dvds, and cd's. We came home, sat on our couch, took the credit cards from our wallets and cut them up. Honestly, I will admit that when we cut them up and called to cancel our cards, I got a little nervous. I never realized that I saw our credit cards as our safety net, our emergency fund. It is sad to me, but I learned, and moved on. We vowed right then to never use credit again. And we have not. We busted our butts and got out of debt a few months later! It was an awesome feeling. But, we didn't stop. We kept busting our back sides. We started saving aggressively for our emergency fund. I took on a second job as a house keeper at a hotel in the summer, which was one of the hardest and most exhausting jobs I have ever done. But, it helped us reach our goal even sooner. And during that time as we were saving Murphy moved in. The car needed repairs, the fridge broke, the washing machine went on the fritz, but we worked it out.
On Monday, P and I wrote a check and it cleared on Friday, our emergency fund is completely funded! It represents 7 months of living expenses for us. Baby step 3 is done. WOW. This feels even better than getting the debt paid off, because this represents something that we worked for for us, for our future. What I like about Dave's Total Money Makeover is that it is not a get rich quick scheme. It is not about how much money you can horde. It is about having a healthy financial life. It is about giving. It is about balance. It is about saying, I am not going to be a slave to anyone. When we were at Dave's class and he quoted Proverbs 22:7 over and over, " The borrower is slave to the lender." I don't want to be a slave. I don't want to work hard just to sign my money over to some company to pay my bills. I don't want to have to stay in a toxic work environment simply because I need the pay check to pay my bills.
So now, we get to start baby step 4, building wealth. I already have a IRA and a 403 B, so we need to do just a little work there, converting my traditional IRA to a Roth IRA, but that wont be hard. Plus, we need to set up a Roth IRA for P as well.
We also have a short term goal we want to meet. P and I are going to start saving to buy a new (read: new to us, aka used) car for P. Then we get to really have fun and start saving for a house. I honestly cannot stomach debt any more. I had a taste of it, and it was foul. I want no part of that any more. The thought of taking on debt makes me sick. I joke and like to say that I am now allergic to debt. It will take a long time to reach some of these goals, but that is ok. We are patient.
Now its on to bigger and better things!