As many of you know, we began the Dave Ramsey Financial Peace University one year ago. I thought I would post an update as to how we are doing on the program. I know money talk is supposed to be taboo. But my goal is to help someone. To tell them that if they are struggling with credit card debt, it doesn’t have to be like this.
I remember last year at this time when we first started the class. I sat there and bawled to Naaman about how we would never be able to get rid of such an insurmountable total of debt. At the time it involved five digits. I am ashamed to admit that we let it get so out of control. But knowing the statistics of the amount of credit card debt that most American families hold, at least we knew we weren’t the only one.
Last year at this time, our goal was to be credit card debt free by November 2012. And this spring we were on track to meet that goal. But as we all know, shit happens and plans don’t always work out. When I lost my job (and plump income) in June the debt snowball came to an abrupt stop. We didn’t have any extra to pay off debt. Instead we were focused on paying our mortgage, utilities and food. You know, the important things.
In June, which equals eight months that we were following the plan, we had paid off $14,000 worth of credit card debt. I know. I can’t believe it either.
I am happy to report, at this time we only have $1,900 in credit card debt left to pay off! This is a VAST improvement from the five digits worth we had last September. Can we pause for celebration please???
We also have a small private loan we need to pay off but after all the progress we’ve made I’m no longer worried about if we can do it. The only question I now have is when we will finish.
Many of you might be wondering how we did this. Well, I wish I could tell you that it was easy. But the truth is, it wasn’t. Nothing that’s worth it ever is. We sacrificed a lot. Our house isn’t decorated. There aren’t beautiful wood blinds and fancy furnishings. We still live comfortably. But we live within our means.
Where do I buy my shoes? Payless
Where do I buy my groceries? Aldi
Where do I buy my kids’ clothes? Clearance racks at big box stores
There’s NOTHING wrong with bargain shopping. In fact, I love Aldi more than any other grocery store out there.
Some people might be okay with credit card debt. But we aren’t. I want to save for retirement, save for the boys’ college fund, pay off our mortgage early. These are far more important to me than shopping at an upscale retail store.
Like I said, this isn’t easy. When I see someone get something new it’s still hard for me to grasp that I can’t run out and buy the same thing.
But as it turns out we’re happier on a budget. We’re happier knowing what’s coming in and what’s going out. We’re happier when we send off an extra payment to a bill that has been hanging over our head. I’m proud of us.
I hate it when people say that they will always have credit card debt. That it is normal to have credit card debt. That, my friends, is what is wrong with our society. We just buy buy buy because we think it will make us happy. But it doesn’t. It’s just STUFF. Usually stuff we don’t need. And I urge you to really think about it next time you think you need it because your neighbor has one.
We’re not perfect. Sometimes we break and buy something because sacrificing is hard to do. But we’re determined to change our financial future and in turn, make our lives better and more fulfilling.
We’re back on track to have our last credit card and private loan paid off in early 2013. The cheap paper blinds are worth it.