Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Life is expensive

This is not a running post, I repeat this is not a running post.  Today I want to talk about debt, and how life can bring on lots of it, and how life is so gosh darn expensive! 

As a young couple with two kids it was easy for the husband and I to rack up bills and continue adding to our list of debt each month.  Credit cards, car payments, student loans, house payments, it adds up so fast and before you know it you're scraping by each  month just to pay these bills.  Every month we dreaded balancing the checkbook, writing all those checks and then being left with little to last til the next pay day.  I know that plenty, probably most people, that I know end up dealing with this at some point in their lives, and sometimes for a large majority of their lives.  It stinks.  So two years ago we decided to try and change that. We knew it would be hard and we knew it wouldn't happen over night. Most things that are worth it take time and patience.  Just like in my running life, I can't expect results over night, I have to work for every step and know that in the long run it will be worth it!  So back to the money business, the husband read a book by Dave Ramsey, most have heard of his theories on erasing debt.  I am in no way affiliated with the Ramsey theory other than we read the book and followed SOME of his suggestions.  We didn't hide money away in envelopes or any of that business.  What we did was focus on our debt and set a long term goal of two years to pay it all off.  When it started it seemed like it would take FOREVER!  24 months of scraping by, 24 months of seeing little change?!  It was daunting to say the least, but we did it.  Here we are, 26 (yeah it took a couple extra months) months later and we did it.  I'll tell you how. 

The idea is to put as much money towards one bill as possible, choose your smallest bill if possible, that way you can get it paid off fast and move on to the next one.  So we focused all of our extra money, little as it may have been, on the smallest bill we had, Jordan's truck payment. We started by paying an extra $100 towards the truck, we made it a point to write out a budget every month and stick to it, cut the wasteful spending on fast food or that extra crap at Wal-Mart that always ends up in the cart somehow.  Then on the chance months that we made extra, worked overtime, got some extra cash, we put it towards this bill.  We were able to pay the truck off a year early.  Then, since we were able to payoff the truck, we used what we had been putting towards the truck and added that to the amount we were paying on our next bill, Jordan's motorcycle {he is well aware that he is spoiled :)}.  So now we have the truck paid off, and we're paying the usual motorcycle payment, along with the $$ that was going towards the truck.  We paid the motorcycle off that August.  On to the next bill, student loans. We paid both of my student loans off by April 2013.  It seemed to take forever!  They were big bills and sometimes we got behind, thanks to the holidays, taxes, etc.  But we kept at it.  We kept making a budget each month and trying to stick to it.  We kept putting all the extra we had into those bills.  So the truck payment, motorcycle payment and the original amount towards those loans was all going into paying off that debt.  By April 2013 we were left with my car payment, the biggest of the payments.  We rolled all of those previous bill amounts into one big bill and diligently paid a large sum of money towards my car payment every month.  Again, we had set backs, but the next month we went back to paying the big debt off.  We had to borrow from our savings some months, but we always paid back the savings the next month and included that in our budget.  As of February 2014, we have paid off all of our debt, aside from our home.  The idea was never to have the house paid off right away, but all of the rest of the big bills are now gone.  Now all of that money can go towards our house, or our savings/retirement.  Something other than bills and interest and debt!  We are beyond excited to have the weight off of our shoulders.  Those bills could have lasted well into our 30's and instead we have it all paid off.  Of course there will be new cars in the far off future but we hope that by relieving this burden we can save better for those cars before we have to actually buy them. 

I realize it all sounds easier said than done, and that's true, it is easier to write it all down.  But we have the budgets saved on our computer desktop to prove it.  We did it, and you can too.  If you're in need of budgeting advice or advice about debt relief look up the Ramsey method.  It worked for us. I hope this rant helps someone to realize you don't have to be stuck under all of those bills forever.  If it helps no one then so be it, but this is my proclamation to the online world, the Beard's are finally free! :)

Have a great day.  Get out there and do something to make your future brighter!

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