One small financial step at a time

It’s been a long time since I’ve posted about our financial journey. In the past two years, we’ve been focusing on adoption. Let’s face it – adoption is expensive. But we haven’t given up on finding financial freedom!

A quick back story – my husband and I both made some really stupid financial decisions after turning 18. We both attended private college and paid for our tuition and living expenses with student loans. We both racked up credit card debt. I bought a brand new car. Both of us spent money with no regard to the future.

After we got married, we realized just how buried we were in debt and monthly payments. When we combined our finances, we discovered that we owed a whopping total of $95,856.02. I don’t know exactly how much we were paying every month, but I know it was at least $1,300. That was just to cover the minimum payments.

We were so frustrated, completely broke, and had no idea what to do in order to climb out of the hole we’d buried ourselves in. Thankfully, and I believe it’s a God thing, a coworker introduced us to Dave Ramsey’s financial principles. That was seven years ago. We put together a budget, cut all unnecessary expenses, and starting sending every extra penny to our debt.

We are not completely out of debt but we are so much closer. We have an emergency fund in place, no car payments, and no credit card debt. We’ve paid cash for one and a half adoptions, moved to Washington, and ended up with me as a full time homemaker after a job layoff. I’m not saying any of this to brag, just showing how we changed our financial lives.

Today we reached another small milestone. I love celebrating the milestones because it encourages me to keep making forward progress. After paying our student loans, we finally dropped below $30,000 owed. We are finally in the twenties instead of being in the thirties. I’m so excited! This month’s payment dropped my husband’s student loan below $10,000 so his debt is now four digit debt instead of five. And my biggest student loan is now under $15,000. We still have a long way to go but we’re climbing out one step at a time. I cannot wait until the day we can finally yell, “we’re free!!!!”

Once we get back from Taiwan, we get to make the next big financial decision. Do we attack the rest of the student loans so that we can get out of debt completely? Do we save up a down payment so that we can buy a house instead of wasting our money renting? Or do we see about starting another adoption so that we can bring home a second daughter? We are praying about it! I can’t wait to see which direction God points us.

2 Thoughts on “One small financial step at a time

  1. I’ve always wondered about the backstory here so this made for an interesting read. This is really amazing! And you are right – it’s a God thing. What a beautiful testimonial!

    I was raised on the idea of debt and had some upon getting married. Thankfully my husband was raised on Dave Ramsey and so he had none + savings so we were able to start out marriage on a very peaceful financial note and we live much the same as you. Our car is old, we buy things on sale, we RARELY eat out, we look for deals and specials and try to spend smart so as to save more and spend it on things which are of greater importance to us instead of knick knacks or restaurant bills. I’ve definitely learned a lot from my husband and his family when it comes to money and I’m so thankful! Living debt free is most definitely FREEING!

    • Carrie, I’m so glad that your husband had good financial principles set in place when you got married!! That really helps! I’m so glad that Jeff and I learned our lessons early on and didn’t make things worse. We could have been in worse debt, though the debt we had was pretty bad already. We have an old car too. Ha! We too try to be picky about what we buy so that we’re not wasting money. We’re both food people, though, so restaurants are a welcome treat but we try not to overdue. People don’t believe me when I say we live without a car payment or credit cards and that’s why I’m so open with our financial story. It IS possible; it just requires conscious choice.

      I really do want to get rid of the student loans, though. Over $350 a month still devoted to debt payments. It would really help to get rid of them, but I’m not sure I want to delay another adoption in order to do so. We shall see where God leads us next!

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