Two and a half years ago, my wife and I moved into our new home. After that move, we had one goal. That was to get rid of our consumer debt.
We started out by paying $700 extra on the one consumer loan that we had. It was a student loan that totalled somewhere near $32,000. Yeah, I couldn’t believe it either. Somehow, I managed to ignore the fact that I was that deep in debt.
I also started this process by reading Dave Ramsey‘s book “The Total Money Makeover.” While reading it I felt pretty good. I had not car loans. Our credit card was paid off every month, and I felt that I was on the right track.
Then came the section on Student Loans. That when it hit me hard that I was not different than other people. Sure, my interest rate was less than most. But the reality was that it was still that terrible four-letter word, DEBT.
Eventually, through pay raises and some other tightening of the proverbial belt, we started to pay $1000 every month towards the student loan. We also used the tax refunds and part of a company bonus to help us pay down our debt.
Finally on April 15 2008, I made my last payment on the student loan. I was debt free (at least on the consumer side, I still owe on my home).
I say was, because I then did something sort of stupid. I bought a new computer that cost almost $1000 dollars. I did this because I knew that buy the time the credit card bill came due we would have the money, and because our last computer was literally on its last leg.
Thus, I am waiting until today to officially announce that I am debt free. I paid of the computer and other credit card balance (like I do every month), and I can honestly say I am debt free.
Our next step is to build our financial reserves and my wife and I are adding food storage. But we need a break from discipline. So we are buying a few wants over the next few months. These include a tent trailer (already purchased), a new computer (also purchased), a new washer and dryer, some furniture for our family room, a safe, and some other incidentals.
I just hope these next few months of “frivolity” don’t have us regretting our decision. But starting in January, we will get really serious about our financial and food stores.