Daniel & I just hit a big milestone on Monday. We paid off and closed my Chase credit card. Happy dances ensued as I hit the “send” button on my payment. I felt like a huge weight had been lifted.
Let me back up a bit. When Daniel & I got married 2 years ago, we both had very different ideas of how to spend/save our money. I was meticulous with my checkbook register but always spent every dime of my paycheck, and Daniel didn’t even have a checkbook register, but his philosophy was to “spend as little as possible.” Sounds like a recipe for disaster, right?
Well, right after we got back from our honeymoon, we decided to enroll in the 8 week Dave Ramsey “Financial Peace University” at our church so we could figure out a new way of handling money – that way neither of us had to conform to the others way of money management (are we two independent people or what?) Well, we decided the first week of the class that we weren’t going to put anything on credit cards anymore. We had a decent chunk of debt between our 4 credit cards, my car loan, and his small student loan, so we both decided to get 2nd jobs on top of our regular full time jobs to help our, as Dave calls it, “shovel to hole ratio.” It ended up being a blessing that I got a second job because I ended up quitting my job a few months later due to … ahem… and unsatisfactory work environment. It took me a couple months to get a new job (which required me to take a pay cut – boo), so my job at the Gap helped to keep us financially afloat and it kept me from going insane from boredom/depression as I pounded the pavement for a new job.
So, long story short…in 2 years we’ve paid off close to $15,000.00 in debt in the midst of buying a house, renovating said house, and even taking a very nice trip to San Francisco for our 1 year anniversary (all paid for with cash). It’s been rough working 5 jobs between the two of us, but we arranged our schedules so we work on the same nights, and we make the most of the time we do have together. We still have a ways to go, and with me starting grad school in August, that will cause me to quit my second job, but we are well on our way to being debt-free. When I was worrying the other night about how we are going to make it once I start school, Daniel reminded me that it’s been 2 years since we’ve relied on credit cards to sustain our lifestyle. If we can do that, we can do anything. It’s been hard, but it will be worth it when that last debt is paid off.
I’ve already told Daniel that once our last debt is paid, we are going to start saving for a 3 month trip to Europe to make up for all the years we’ve been unable to travel as extensively as we did in college.
What about you? What would YOU do if you were debt free?