In a few short weeks, we will have paid off every debt that we owe except our mortgage!

It’s surreal.

It’s empowering.

It’s opened my mind even more to the realization that ANYTHING is possible. ANYTHING!

 

This Is My Story

Only my husband and I know how just a few short years ago, our finances drove off the road and left us perplexed. We went from having the freedom of a high six-figure income to almost losing everything. Nothing was right.

Today we are witnesses with Isaiah that God will give you

…beauty for ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.
Isaiah 61:3

To God be the Glory!

This is my acknowledgment that God has worked with us, in us, and for us to make what was bad, good. If left to me, the story would be different. I am grateful for His grace.

Only after learning what the Bible says about debt, saving, giving and diligence were we able to fight and apply financial wisdom.

And in the words of our great Dr. Maya Angelou, “When you know better, you do better!”

 

What We Have Done So Far

  1. So far in 2014, we have paid off over $23,000 in debts! This included old business debt, a small student loan and a credit card. I really hated that credit card. We used it to hold on to our pre-recession lifestyle which was quickly slipping away. That piece of plastic was our crutch and when the credit dried up and our minimal income with it, things were really a mess. It was such a stressful time.
  2. We kept tithing and giving. It’s common advice to stop or reduce tithes or giving during a financial recovery. We couldn’t do that. God has been amazing in our lives. It didn’t make sense to give less and expect more. It doesn’t work on our jobs, in our marriages and neither in our faith. Jesus commended the widow with the two mites. He saw her faith and honored it.
  3. We kept writing and re-writing our budget instead of falling off and using it as a reason to fail. Staying on budget is not easy–life happens off of the spreadsheet. But when we saw ourselves drifting, we had to be accountable to each other and get back on track. Be realistic about adjusting your numbers as needed.
  4. We implemented a single account for just bill pays. I will create a separate post for this strategy. [Be sure not to miss any of my posts by selecting to Join the Community. It’s quick, easy and you will receive a personal email each time a new post is added!] Essentially our income goes into one account called the Bill Pay account. All bills are on auto-pay which ensures that everything is paid as scheduled. All money for discretionary spending is moved to another account. This is where our everyday spending occurs. While it took a few months to develop a smooth routine, this works great for us.
  5. We made great use of additional income.  All income above our regular 9-to-5s is for debt elimination. We tithe from it and pay debts. You would think that it’s simple to manage “extra money” but it’s natural to blow through additional income. You must have a plan!
  6. We delayed gratification in a lot of areas. It’s not a slow death! We could have traveled, completed home projects and shop for new phones, tablets, clothes, shoes, bags, you name it! We could not bend on this because the monster named “Want” will never stop asking to be first. Since you cannot get rid of him, you must find a desire that overrides him. FREEDOM and this LIFE-ALTERING moment is heavy on my mind so “want” takes a back seat, but caution, he is not fair and does not give up easily.
  7. We kept our cars in spite of major repairs that we faced early in the year. We both have older, used (paid for) cars and they both required a couple thousand dollars of work between January and March. We did our research and sought the best deals for repairs. A car payment is one of the things that I plan to never see again.
  8. We celebrated but kept focused. For the 4th of July, we took a short excursion to Florida. See picture below. We needed the replenishing and it fit within our all-cash budget. We faced a few minor inconveniences using debit cards versus a credit card for the car rental and hotel reservation, but we survived like champs! I look forward to a return trip.

 

 

In April, I wrote about our 1st quarter big wins in Steps To Paying Off Debt-1st Recap. You can read about our other tips and advice!

Can you see yourself debt-free and building wealth? I see you doing it.

Please leave a comment if this post has encouraged you in any way!

 

 

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