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Debt Story

Debt Story

We’re Out Of Debt…..Now What?

October 27, 2014

After 2 years of putting every bit of momentum into paying off debt we are now basking in the splendor of freedom of owing anything to anyone.  We have been celebrating this season that felt would never come and now look to what’s next. The wonderful thing about being a part of Dave Ramsey’s FPU is that the guidance offered doesn’t stop after this step. As a matter of a fact, this is only baby step 2 and we can now progress to the other 5 steps. Paying off your debt is just the beginning to building our wealth for our families future. Here’s a great visual of Dave’s 7 Baby Steps:Screen Shot 2014-10-27 at 8.39.49 AM

It’s amazing how empowered we feel now that we have completed in my opinion the toughest baby step. We are eager to build our 3-6 month expenses in savings to prepare us for life’s uncertainties, emergencies and family needs. As a mom, I love this next step of building a hefty amount in savings! Life is never consistent and as a family our needs are always changing and with money in savings we don’t have to look to borrowed money (credit cards) to help us out.

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We are beginning to charge our momentum once again for this next step. Our challenges will be much different as we won’t have the stress of owing anyone but it will take the same amount of discipline to commit to saving. I admit as the free spirit this isn’t my strength and my challenge will be to remember that the work isn’t finished. Sticking to our budget will be extremely beneficial to saving fast.

I have had so many people reach out to me since we announced that we have been debt free! I appreciate all the encouragement and the celebrating from friends and through social media. Many of you have been inspired and have been looking into taking a FPU course! If you are interested in what I believe to be a life changing event, I highly encourage you to buy a home study, find a church that is hosting a class or at the very least read Dave’s Book and learn these crucial principals to being a good steward of our finances! Our lives are forever changed and we have our whole future in front of us to prepare for anything that may come and to build a future for our kids and ourselves!

Debt Story

Debt Free Cash Splurge

October 10, 2014

We love our kiddos to death!! They have been on this journey of becoming debt free along side us and we wanted to go all out on a huge cash paid surprise for them!! I can’t tell you enough how fun it is to walk into a store and make a big purchase and not use credit!!! Last week we went to toys r us with a set budget to find the kids an awesome swing set! We’ve never owned a swing set before and with the coming week of fall break I knew I would reap the benefits just as heavily as they would. You see, one of the cool things that we have found with stewarding our money well is that there are always these little blessings from God, kind of like “good job, your managing this well, I love you and proud of you and this item you want to buy is now on clearance”. We have encountered a lot of these little blessings and we were so thrilled to find this swing set $200 less on clearance making it way under budget!! SCORE!

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Charlie and I were itching to bring the kids home to this ridiculously cool surprise and planned out our day so it could be up and ready for them! We had a planned event to see Frozen on ice that morning and grabbed lunch afterwards. One of Charlie’s friend from work graciously accepted the challenge of setting up the swing set while we were away and we couldn’t be more thankful for him helping us! Soon as we pulled in the driveway, Charlie quickly grabbed his phone to savor the anticipated reaction:

We are rejoicing as a family for the long awaited finale of being debt free! There is so much unbelievable freedom and joy in being good stewards of money! We are enjoying this time immensely and so are the kids!

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Debt Story

How Getting Out Of Debt Has Rocked My Marriage

October 8, 2014

I have a solid relationship with my husband. We have been crazy about each other for the past 13 years and I fully intend for us to die together in bed like in the notebook. What? I’m a romantic?! We are the closest of friends and not saying that everything has been easy for us but our relationship has always been thriving and steadfast. Before Charlie and I decided to take Financial Peace University we knew that if there was one area in our relationship that needed some guidance it was with finances. We weren’t extravagantly different than the average American when it came to spending but we definitely had different opinions on how we wanted to steward our money.

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In FPU, Dave Ramsey talks about how with every married couple there is a free spirit and a nerd. Nerds enjoy putting together the monthly budget and calculating the numbers. They like that it gives them control, and they feel like they are taking care of their loved ones. Free spirits don’t want to have anything to do with the numbers and tend to “forget” about a budget. They may feel controlled or not cared for and appear irresponsible to the nerd.  I am without a doubt the free spirit of our relationship and before doing FPU I loathed when Charlie and I would have talk finances. We almost always ended in a fight with me getting upset, feeling controlled and he feeling disrespected and uncared for. I didn’t understand his frustration and wanted more that he would understand me first.

Even with a beautiful relationship that we already had we were driving a wedge between each other. The number-one cause of divorce in America is money fights. But when couples learn to agree on their money and are determined not to let it drive them apart, they form a unity that is crucial for a successful marriage. I didn’t realize how I was hurting my husband by spending money and hiding purchases without knowing what our financial state was at. I used credit cards to get what I wanted when I wanted and often indulged in luxuries that we really couldn’t afford. I was selfish, prideful and didn’t understand why I had to have all these boundaries on money that was mine. I mean I deserved it after all…right? He was so hungry to pay off debt and have structure that he would use ant extra earned money to pay off larger payments on credit cards before discussing it with me which lead me to use my credit card for any extra needs for our family.

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We were on a downward spiral of poor communication and handling our money. The challenge in a marriage is to work through the different identities, ideals and values you each bring to the relationship. You win at marriage by losing your need to get your way in every battle. You get a happy marriage by giving up selfish desires in order to win together

Once we learned our identities, we unlocked this foreign language and were able to understand each other. For the first time he understood how I felt trapped in his idea of a budget and I got how truly disrespected he felt when I would had no regard for our money. Through FPU, we learned how crucial it was that we both be a part of the budget. It’s important that both spouses be involved with creating the monthly budget. The partner with the natural gift can prepare the budget, but the decision-making must be done by both of you. Once we got this down we begin enjoying budget meetings and respectfully hearing from each other. We often would end with discussing  about  our future financial plan after we were out of debt and it was so nice to have dreams and goals together.

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Our marriage has changed significantly. We have been united with finances and we have so much joy working together. The best part is planning cash paid vacations and surprises for the kids! If we can’t afford something there isn’t even a question to buy it anymore until we have saved enough for it. There is no longer guilt, remorse or stress with purchases or even emergencies. We have so much fun managing our money together and telling it where to go. Paying off debt has been extremely rewarding not just as individuals but together because we both sacrificed and put our own desires aside to reach this goal. The respect and trust I have for Charlie now is more than it has ever been. I understand my role as the free spirit to help spend and enjoy our budgeted money and also enjoy having a cash boundary to know when I have to stop.

Being Debt free is amazing and I’m so proud of my family but my favorite take away from this entire adventure has been how my marriage has grown and become a rock. I’ve never felt closer to my husband and there’s nothing I can’t share with him now. If for no other reason than your marriage learning to identify your role as financial partners is one of the most important aspects in a healthy relationship. Wether it be to pay off debt or build wealth if your goals are not unified the result will come with a lot of pain and hurt.

Getting out of debt has rocked my married, unified our financial goals and opened a new door to dream for our future. Would I do it again? Absolutely!! In a heart beat! Financial Peace University classes are offered all over the country and it’s really easy to find one near you! Visit DAVE RAMSEY to get all the information you need to find a class and purchase a kit! I promise it’s the best money you will ever spend!

 

Photos by the Beautiful Kellie Mueller

 

 

 

 

 

Debt Story, Family, Featured

Ladies and Gentlemen…WE’RE DEBT FREE!!!!!!!!

October 6, 2014

September 2012 we embarked on a life changing journey to go against the mainstream of culture and rid ourselves of debt! When we started Financial Peace I didn’t really think we’d be able to do it. Sure, maybe we’d make progress and get it down to at least a normal number but never did I think we would be standing on this side of the line. Since living on a budget, working our debt snow ball, taking every job we could and putting all of our money towards debt, we paid off $175,000 in 2 years!!!!!!!! We are no longer shackled or bound by any “owed” payment!!

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There were definitely times of struggle and frustration but overall our family has grown through working hard together in a way that I never thought possible. My relationship with Charlie has changed significantly because we have aligned ourselves together and live on common ground when it comes to finances. The sacrifices we have made to become debt free seem small to what we have earned and are reaping. Our children have watched this entire process and asked so many questions along the way. Of course my favorite from Norah ” When we become debt free, does that mean we can buy everything and anything we want”? Obviously we have more teaching to do when it comes to finances but we have taught our children a valuable lesson that we had to learn the hard way. If you don’t have the cash you cant afford it!

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We have big plans for our family of saving, investing and building our wealth but first we’re gonna celebrate since we just conquered a mountain!! So Ladies and Gentlemen, The Gann’s are officially DEBT FREE!!!!

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Photos by Kellie Mueller 

 

Debt Story

Hallelujah! We Own Our Car!

August 25, 2014

We have been celebrating all weekend because we no longer have a car payment!!! Our debt snowball is in fast motion and we couldn’t be more thrilled. We are now proud of owners of two vehicles with no payments! Even better is that we have more money to attack this last credit card!! that’s right we are down to 1 last card!!

Our lives have been forever changed by this desire to be free from debt! It goes against everything our culture encourages and we have never had more joy! The sacrifices that have been made are all worth it and we are so excited for what the future holds!

We are so so close! The end of owing anything to anyone is near and we celebrate through each victory!

Debt Story, Featured

I Can SEE Clearly Now the Debt is Almost Gone!

August 13, 2014

A couple weeks ago charlie and I killed one of our last 2 credit cards!!!! We pushed the “pay outstanding balance” cheered, kissed and ate a huge helping of pad thai! Heck yea we are celebratin!!!

We haven’t seen our outstanding debt this low in a very long time!!! We are so so so close and will be doing the debt free dance soon! We have been working hard and staying the course to achieve a big goal! It has brought us together as a family and I can’t even imagine what the future holds!! We are so thankful for the principals of Financial Peace University and the changes it has made in our family. We are so ready for bigger and better things than being in bondage over debt!

 

Debt Story

Our Family Retreat

July 10, 2014

Yesterday we returned from a fabulous trip to the beach. Before we left I was a little apprehensive how the kids would do but to my surprise everything went better then I could imagine! We are back feeling refreshed, renewed and ready for a new approaching season of school and weddings. The hubs and I spent 12 hours of our driving time setting new personal and family goals for the remainder of the year and we are so ready to take on new challenges. We bathed in the sun, did a trillion cannon balls in the pool, built sandcastles, night walked at the beach, ate the most delicious seafood and even swam with mermaids and fought pirates. I  beyond proud of us for staying on budget during our whole trip and even have cash left over!! We immensely enjoyed ourselves!

From the minute we stepped on the back Sunday evening the kids were in love and zoned out in beach land!

The weather couldn’t have been more perfect!!

Debt Story

Cash Paid Vacation

July 3, 2014

Our little family is about to embark on our first official vacation! We have always dreamed about rounding up the troops and taking them on fun excursions but either young age or lack of funds have kept us from actually going. We are especially excited because this entire vacation has been paid with CASH!!

There is nothing more freeing that knowing that we can actually afford to go on vacation and that once it’s over we won’t continue to make payments months after!

We continue to dream about the summer’s ahead when we can save up even more cash to do big trips like Disneyland! But for now we welcome our little excursion to Penscola where we will bask in high volumes of Vitamin D, build massive sand castles, and eat fish hoping it was wild caught and not farm raised:)

Acting our wage for now might seem small to most. But we are so proud to have our envelopes of cash and a complete stress free time as a family to unwind and recoup!

Florida here we come!!

Debt Story

The Cost of Debt

April 24, 2014

Things really work out funny sometime. The decisions we have been making to get out of debt have all been from good intent but circumstances continue to surprise us. From my last post I had shared that we had paid off $7500 of debt during a really tough financial month, due to car repairs and dental needs. God has certainly been showing his provision! We had also shared that we would be leaving Franklin and moving to south Nashville. This would enable a lower monthly rent which would expedite paying off debt and begin saving up to buy a house. When we first decided to move from our rental I admit that I was sad to leave Franklin. This past year has been one of the best for our family. So many healthy choices, Norah starting school, a lot of sweet memories and of course the convenience of living in a great small suburb of Nashville, I really wanted to stay. But more so, I really want to be free from the bondage of debt. We are closer now than we have been in a long time. One of my initial prayers during our decision to move was that we could stay in Franklin. I figured due to the high cost of living here that we would have to leave the area to get the rent we needed.

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As we have been preparing to move to our new place we discovered recently that our town home was suddenly no longer available in the price we were told. With much frustration we re-grouped and started looking again in Franklin. Within the same day, while browsing craigslist, we found one little home in Franklin in our desired budget. We went to see it and with much joy we knew this was where we wanted to be! We have known from the beginning that breaking the bondage over debt would take sacrifice. It would mean that we give up unaffordable luxuries and begin acting our current wage. We will be moving in less than a month and losing 1000 sq ft from our current home and we couldn’t be more excited! We have found so much joy as a family in the midst of this struggle. Working hard and having the same determination has brought us together even more.

This debt free journey has been wild roller coater ride. Full of surprises and unexpected turns. I am so excited for this new chapter of our families life. This move will enable us to be debt free before the end of the year and begin saving up to buy a home. Charlie and I have already been planning creative ways to make every inch of our home functional and minimal. A family of 5 in 1025 sq. ft home, we gladly take the challenge!

Debt Story

Killin’ the Debt

March 26, 2014

I’m pretty excited to share what’s been happening over this past month. I wrote in my last debt post that we had been focusing to pay off debt but were side tracked by some large unexpected car expenses and an empty emergency fund leaving us feeling quite insecure about our next step.

Charlie and I sat down together and prayed that God would help us back on our feet so we could return to paying off debt. We continued to work hard and have taken on all the extra work we could get our hands on. To get out of the negative we needed Charlie’s car repaired and our emergency fund back at $1000 (baby step #1).  Living a life without the dependency of credit cards forces you to depend on God’s provision. It is certainly a step of faith and our family is living proof that God loves His children and rejoices in obedience. Over this past month, one of our toughest financial months, we were able to pay cash to fix $1500 worth of car repairs, re-fill our emergency fund back to $1000 and pay off an additional $7500 of debt!!! God showed up BIG ya’ll!!

We are beyond excited about this giant step. We are getting even closer to our move in May and looking forward to finishing out the rest of this debt for good. We are celebrating this huge victory over the bondage of debt and are already planning our next attack!!!

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