Living Debt Free As a Twenty-Something (And how it changed our lives!)
Personal finance is not something they taught in my high school, or even college for that matter.
Debt was a 'tool' you used to get the things you wanted: a new car, a house, college, a fancy vacation, etc. Investing, saving for retirement, living within your means, and only buying things you could pay cash for were never part of the conversation.
I lived with this notion of 'debt' as a tool until I was sick and tired of being sick and tired. That day, and I will never forget the date, happened to be December 3rd, 2014. To set up the backstory, my husband and I were $42,000 in debt, we had just purchased a house that year on a thirty year mortgage, and a few weeks prior, financed an (almost!) brand new car. We were normal, but we were also living paycheck to paycheck.
Enter Dave Ramsey.
The man with the baby step plan. I don't remember where I first heard about him, but I do remember this: from the moment I read The Total Money Makeover, I felt hopeful. We both knew that we couldn't sustain the way were we living if we truly wanted to do the things we wishes for in our lives.
So, we got gazelle intense. We both worked two jobs, sold whatever we could, downsized our lifestyle, and were intentional with our money by budgeting. In just a short eleven months (what we thought would take two years!), we were able to become fully debt free. Of course, our journey didn't stop there.
Personal finance is an everyday thing. You must tell your money where to go in order to live a healthy financial life. We added things like Roth IRAs, life insurance, and investing to our vocabulary. We cut out unnecessary purchases and began to live minimally (more on this on another post, soon!). We spend time each week talking about where we are, what we need to adjust in the budget, and what we have coming up that we need to plan for. Surely, we still have a long way to go, but my biggest takeaway from being on this financial journey is this:
The baby steps give you options.
We have more ability to do the things we enjoy, to serve others and give back, to pursue what we really love and are passionate about, but also, to live the life we want to live. We continue to live like no one else, so later we can live and give like no one else.
I will never go back to living the way we were before Dave Ramsey. Sometimes life knocks you back down a baby step and you have to start all over, but I'm so grateful that we are able to take things as they come instead of being one crisis away from broke.
Dave has many other personalities, too, that cover things like planning for retirement, small business, leaving a legacy, teaching kids how to handle their money, and learning how to stop comparing yourself to others (just to name a few!).
I'll leave you with this last quote from Dave:
You must gain control over your money or the lack of it will forever control you.”
Tell me: are you following the baby steps? Do you have any great tidbits for investing, saving, or retirement? Have you heard of Dave Ramsey before? I'd love to hear your comments!