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Debt Story

Debt Story

The Cost of Debt Part 2

February 18, 2014

We are finding that our plans don’t always work out the way we hope. Even in our best intentions to expedite paying off debt our goals can be intercepted causing us to take a different path. When I wrote my first blog post on “The Cost of Debt”  we had shared that we would be selling Charlie’s car in effort to relieve ourselves from the remainder of his car payment. We also had purchased an older jeep in hopes that it would take his VW’s place giving him a car to get from work to home. We truly felt that this was the best direction to make a gazelle intense decision and take a chunk of debt away. But ironically, we were having a hard time selling the car. We had so many bites but no one that wanted to actually buy it. Along with this disappointment, one of the first times taking the jeep on a drive the clutch went out and had to be immediately towed to the shop. We began to realize that this might not be our best effort in paying off debt. Dave Ramsey always speaks on the importance of the four walls being taken care of before you conquer any debt. Here’s a great video explaining further what that means:

While our intentions were honorable to sell the car it was going to cause more stress than relief. We only have $3800 left on our car payment and believe we can conquer this amount quickly. We fixed the jeep and resold it losing only $27. We are still making head way with our debt snow ball but have been praying together and processing ways we can get out of debt faster. We have financially run into a couple of tough months. It’s been extremely cold in the south this year and our heat bills have been overwhelmingly high. If we weren’t paying out monthly on debt then these tough months wouldn’t be so hard.  But, since we are, our finances have been tight. Along with over budgeted electric bills, both of our check engine lights in our cars came on in the same week. When it rains it pours!  Our cars each needed over $1000 worth of repairs. To say the least, we were discouraged. We spent some time in prayer together asking God to help us trust in His provision. We were even contemplating for the first time in a while using a firestone card to get at least one vehicle working. Charlie works a lot of extra freelance and thankfully a couple checks came in the mail the same day and we received enough to have the van worked on. God is absolutely taking care of our family and we will trust and wait for the rest of the money to have Charlie’s car fixed.

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Through our time of prayer as a family we have decided that the best way we can attack our debt is to lower our monthly housing rent. We live in one of the wealthiest small towns in TN and with that comes a highly desired location allowing cost of living to be high. Our current rental has wonderfully served our family’s needs. Our transition from Chattanooga to Franklin has been an amazing experience and this home has been a huge source of peace and joy. But with our rent being at the top of our housing budget we found that moving out of Franklin could save us quite a bit of money to put towards debt. This past weekend we found a wonderful town home 3 exits away and are now preparing to move in 3 months. We will be saving over $500 a month on rent alone and we are really excited for this next season of our lives as we continue to attack our goal of being debt free by the end of the year! We will be downsizing about 600 sq ft and will be selling quite a few things to help transition us into a smaller space.

We are consumed with the desire for financial freedom. It is so much more than just freeing up money and having more to spend. It effects every aspect of our family and what our future holds. It effects our ability to give and to serve others, and it shapes our children’s perspective as they watch us wrestle with what it means to be good stewards of what God has entrusted to us.

Debt Story

The Cost of Debt

October 21, 2013

Throughout the course of mine and Charlie’s married life we have struggled to keep off debt. So many times we would pile up debt and then pay it completely off. We have always seen the benefits of being debt free but struggled with the american culture so deeply ingrained within us coercing us to buy it now then pay for it later. Particularly for me, I love instant gratification. I have always enjoyed the splendor of bringing home that big ticket item and worrying about the consequences later. I am not fond of this attribute of myself and hope to teach my children the prize of being patient and wise with money.

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The past two years have been the most monumental financial years for our family. After a huge shift in our life, having Miles, deciding to leave our church family and many of our closest friends moving away we were left very discontent with where life had us. Looking back now we both constantly wish we had been more patient and fervent in prayer instead of anxious with a need for something more. We decided to move and pursue a new adventure of remodeling a home. Our intentions were to stay in this new house and raise our children. While this is not a wrong desire to pursue, we simply were not in a financial place to even make this decision. We proceeded forward with borrowing money, financing and putting ourselves more in debt then we had ever been. This dream home quickly became a burden and a source of stress. We were able to survive and make mortgage payments but with the debt we had accumulated, we were only able to make small minimum payments which was slowly burying us.

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The problem ultimately for me was that I was not feeling the burden I was putting on my family by continuing to use credit cards. I only knew what I wanted and I didn’t want to wait or be restricted to those wants. What bothers me the most about this is that I held a wall up against Charlie and our relationship.

Finances really can effect a marriage severely. Charlie and I are the greatest of friends and communicating has never been an issue but because of my frivolous spending and lack of desire to change he felt deeply disrespected and hurt. I never intentionally meant to cause this hurt but I was too selfish in my behavior to change.

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Soon after moving into our home we declared this new stage of life as our “Year of Health” – which for us meant spiritual, financial and physical health. After a year of being without a church community we found Rock Point Community Church, which became a huge stepping stone to many more healthy choices. With much resistance on my part we signed up for Financial Peace University and began a 9 week class to better understand how God wants us to handle money. For me this class was a pivotal turn in my behavior with our finances. Dave’s simple common sense principals rocked my world. I became extremely convicted and repentant. The minute we began to honor God with our finances, everything changed. We started implementing all of Dave’s principles and quickly saw results from our changes. We no longer have ANY credit cards and we now have a better understanding where our money comes from. And believe me, our hope is not built on Visa or MasterCard. The greatest thing about relying on Jesus for our needs is that He always comes through. I wish that we allowed Him to show us sooner what a great provider He is.

Charlie and I are not out of debt but we’re getting closer. We look forward to the day where these financial locks are broken from our family. We are working hard to “act our wage” and show God we mean business. Since moving and selling our dream home, paying off the loan from a family member and taking on extra jobs, we have paid over $150,000 of debt with just $25K to go. As we have were siting and looking over ways to pay off more debt, we decided it was time to sell Charlie’s car so that we can use the monthly payment to add to our debt snowball.

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We will never have a car payment again! In the future with any car we buy we will save the money, pay cash and drive debt free. Getting to put this principal to practice last week we bought a car for $950 with CASH! A 1989 Jeep Cherokee. The car’s exterior looks rough but’s in incredible working order and we couldn’t be more excited!

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I never understood how freeing it would be live by God’s standards of money. I am more secure today than I have ever been because now I understand that all these needs and wants are provided by Him. We have been more financially blessed while making choices to get out of debt and becoming good stewards of our money than ever before. God has entrusted us with more than we could have ever imagined! We look forward to attacking the remainder of our debt with great strength and determination! We are already dreaming of our future and the financial freedom we will have to give to others and start a legacy with our children – which we would never be able to accomplish with debt. Most importantly we want our lives to be aligned with and obedient towards what God desire for us. I am excited to continue to share as we continue to conquer our debt!

“If you will live like no one else, later you can live like no one else.”

– Dave Ramsey