Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Debt Free and Lovin' It

A few of you know bits of the journey my family has been on to pay off all of our debts and get our financial house in order. It is a journey we started about 2 and ½ years ago just before we moved to Austin and just after starting a new job at PFI. For our first ten years we had lived paycheck to paycheck. There was too much month left at the end of the money. We were classic consumers using our plastic cards for whatever we wanted. Occasionally through the years we would try this thing called a budget. We would write some stuff down on a yellow pad, average out our expenses, and juggle things around till it seemed to work out. But that never lasted long.

We played the game of surfing our credit cards around to lower interest and payments. We used those nasty checks to make up for monthly shortfalls. We refinanced our house for a remodel and some extra lifestyle. Upon leaving an employer we cashed out a 401k to pay off some debt and buy some more stuff. We leased a van, and paid way too much for a small car for way too long. Basically, most of the stupid stuff that people tend to do with money, we did. We had nothing in savings and were 75k in debt (not including the house). I often wondered “How can I make this much money and have nothing to show for it?”

Then in March of 2007 we started taking this class at church about what the Bible says about managing money. Something in us clicked and we made a decision to grow up and start managing our money properly. But first we had to figure out what “properly” was. We went searching for more information and found a plan that worked for us. We had tried doing things our way and failed miserably so we looked to the wisdom of others. It was not easy, but I can honestly say it was worth it. Now $75,000 and 30 months later we owe not a dime to anyone. We have money in the bank, and a game plan for continuing to build our financial stability. We are teaching our kids these things in the hopes that they will not have to follow the path we did and end up in a much better place.

I am putting this out there to let you know it can be done and to provide some encouragement if you find yourself in a similar situation. I am not trying to sell anything and I am not a financial planner or advisor by any stretch of the imagination but I can tell you what worked for us (and millions of others around the country) if you happen to be interested.

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