My friends Vicki and Alan became debt free this week!! I asked if they would do a little interview for this site and they graciously agreed. Make sure to give them some congratulations in the comments. They aren’t “professional” bloggers, like me (haha) so I’m sure they would love to see support and congrats from all over the world!
How much debt did you pay off and how long did it take?
Just under $37,000, and it took 13 1/2 months, or 58 weeks – sounds better!
What made you decide to become debt free?
We had some friends of ours, Steve and Cynthia who were on it, and as Steve and Alan got to talking, Alan got more excited about it. When he makes a goal, it is full steam ahead. At first, I was merely a passenger in this adventure, because I was very passive in our finances. Sure, I tried to cut back here and there, but I truly “got it” and got on board when I began listening to the Dave Ramsey archives. Dave speaks with real people in every possible financial situation, and the patterns of success or failure with money became so clear. So I then became more interested in what we have going on, and doing my part to meet the goal. We make decent money, and when Alan added our consumer debt up on paper in black and white, we couldn’t believe the balance. You don’t think about the TOTAL when all you have to think about every paycheck is the lovely little “payment”. For us, the total was a real eye opener.
What was the most difficult part of the debt free journey?
For me (Vicki) I’ve found that I want to share my new found knowledge with everyone and anyone. I’ll find an opening in a conversation and throw out a “Better than I deserve” in response to a “How are you?” and see if it registers. If not, it’s my chance to toss it out there.
We see so many people that could benefit from this methodical, basically “dummy proof” way to kick debt’s butt to the curb. It’s like I just want to shake some people and say “YOU NEED THIS!”. Getting no response or interest is like chasing a baby who wants to stay in their dirty diaper.
What was the best part?
For me, I found the true blessing of delayed gratification. I bought an $800 camera while this was going on. We made it a goal and since I have $75 drafted into my savings every payday, I watched the balance creep up slowly, all the while knowing that I’d be paying cold hard cash for that big ticket item, and when it happened, I envisioned yelling “I’m paying cash!” as I walked out of Fry’s Electronics. It is very liberating, and I just feel like I need to be and share inspiration for others, but it often falls on deaf ears.
There are so many good parts, here’s another. Our daughter Rebeccalynn has lived every bit of this with us. We pay her commission for the chores she completes. She has a spending, saving and giving envelope. Often, she will give more than we suggest to her giving envelope. Her goal is to buy a big bag of dog food to give to the dog shelter. We’ve also bought groceries for people at the store just as a random act of kindness. Also, she has denied herself spending, as she’d rather have the cash than the item she was seriously pondering. Ahhhh how satisfying!
Now, having no payments, we know that her college will be funded, and the house will be – notice I didn’t shay “should be” – paid off around the time she starts to drive.
Alan and I communicate even more about everything. Now we can start to dream. Next goal – check!!!
What did your friends and family think?
We’ve had several people who are shocked and amazed and very openly supportive. Others just kind of smile and nod.
Did you have any setbacks?
Our $1,000 baby emergency fund was hit when Alan was rear ended by an uninsured driver and his pregnant teenage girlfriend. So the $500 deductible came out of that. More than that, we worried for this young couple who are starting out behind the eight ball by decisions they make. Every decision has a cumulative effect on life!
What advice do you have to someone who is considering becoming debt free or just starting the journey?
Do it! Invest a tiny chunk in Financial Peace University at a location near you or the DVD lessons you can commit to doing every week in the comfort of your own home and schedule. The inspiration will propel you! Just seeing that first tiny debt gone, then the second, and so on is like being on a diet and seeing the scale go down every morning. That alone keeps you on track. The archives on www.DaveRamsey.com are what Alan and I did every day, simply because we looked forward to the life stories and the knowledge and wisdom Dave shares. The journey is not drudgery in any sense. It is very enjoyable!
Ashley here: I think the most powerful part of this interview was the impact it’s having on their daughter. Dave always encourages us to “change our family tree” and here’s proof that what we do financially does wear off on our children. Vicki and Alan not only got themselves out of debt, they changed their daughter’s financial life as well. Amazing!
I’d also like to point out that $37,000 in 14 months is an average of $2,642 per month. Did that take sacrifice? You bet it did!! But also notice that not a word was said about sacrifice during the interveiw. The most difficult part was not being able to convince others to come along! Think about that.