Monday, March 21, 2011

How We Are Getting Out of Debt: Part 1

This is an old post from "My Proverbs 31 Calling", but thought it would be a good one to re-post here.

When talking to people about finances and some of the things we have done over the past couple of years to cut down on debt, I am constantly hearing things like “I would love to get out of debt, but…” or “I’m so broke, hey do you love the new shoes I got yesterday?” I am having a hard time having a whole lot of empathy for people who complain about their finances but then continue to do things that are irresponsible or make excuses for why they can’t put the effort into fixing things. I realize that this is not a very loving attitude, and therefore is something that I am working on. However I would strongly urge people who do feel that they are not in control of their finances, or have too much debt, to stop making the excuses and do something about it!

Some of you know our story, but many of you might not. My husband Alan and I were married two years ago on January 10, 2009. When we married, we both had a decent amount of debt between the two of us. Alan had a few small personal loans and a car payment. I had a car payment, school loans, credit card debt and a personal loan. On top of that we started to soon accumulate more school loans as Alan’s GI Bill was running out and he would need to start using some financial aid in order to finish up his last few years of college for his Bachelor’s degree.

We quickly decided that this was not the situation we wanted to stay in. With Alan being in school and us living off of my income (which is not a lot as I work for a non-profit), the little we had left over from his financial aid and what he could make during his summer jobs we knew that we had to learn how to make the little bit of money we had go a lot further and to do that we needed to eliminate as much debt as possible. Luckily Alan was much more financially responsible than I was at this point in our lives, though over the past two years I have learned a lot from him and have turned over a new leaf so to speak.

We spent the next couple of years working hard taking any little extra we got (from Christmas and birthday presents, tax refunds, or what we could try not to spend from my paycheck) and slowly paid off all of my credit card debt, and any of the smaller personal loans we had. Next we knew that we had to attack those car payments. We started to slowly chip away at mine (since it was the lowest payment, interest rate, and had less time left to pay it off). We would put a little bit extra on the monthly payment here and there as we were able, and we even projected that we might be able to have it paid off a few months early. Well then last spring we received an amazing blessing and surprise. My dad called me one day to tell me that it has been on his mind for some time and that he wanted to pay off what was left on my car!

Please see Part 2 for a continuation of our story…

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