Thursday, August 5, 2010

Live like no one else

Let me introduce you to my nemesis best friend debt free inspiration…Dave Ramsey. I’ve mentioned him a lot lately, and many have you responded, wanting to know our “debt” story.

I’m sharing it with you because hearing the stories of others is what inspired us to become debt free. My hope is that those of you who are drowning in debt right this very second will be inspired as well. I hope that you will see a light at the end of the tunnel. Ours was a long, long, very dark tunnel. :)

We are not debt free…yet. We’ve been working on it for about three years. The start of our massive debt started almost exactly sixteen years ago – the month I started my first year of college.

I went to school that fall not knowing exactly how I was going to pay for it. I had some help from the government in the form of grants, and I had a part time job that made a little, but those together were not nearly enough to cover everything.

My mother had no money. My father had no money. (My parents were divorced.) My home life was not good – and I had done all of the prep for college on my own – registration, picking out classes, applying for financial aid, etc. I had NO idea what I was doing and really didn’t give much thought as to how I would pay for the THOUSANDS I was supposed to shell out that first year. ;)

All I knew is I was going to college. It was a dark time in my life and I needed control of my life, needed to control my own destiny -- and getting that education simply had to happen. At the time, I very much felt like my life depended on it. (Dramatic, but true.)

If you’ve been on a college campus in the first few months of the school year, you’ve seen the credit card companies out en masse – promising free money in the form of a shiny new credit card to kids who make little to no money. I figured I would use it for back up – it would only be a few hundred bucks at most, right? So I applied for one card, got it. Another one. Got it. Another? Got it.

And I got a free t-shirt each time! Or, even better, a two liter of Pepsi! WHO, I ask, could resist that?  ;)

Now, when I look back, I am thankful for those credit cards, because when the first bursar’s bill came due, I went to the ATM and withdrew from each card. Enough to pay my college bill…and I did it every few months for ten months.

After that first year, the balances were growing out of control, and I realized I couldn’t keep up. So I applied for school loans and got them. But by then, I had been living with credit cards for a year, and was HOOKED.

Remember -- I was young. No one had taught me how to handle money. No one had talked to me about debt. We had NO money at home for such a long time, and these little cards were magic to me. I could spend, and then only pay $15 a month and all was just fine.

I didn’t go crazy – but when my school loans ran out each semester, and the part time job money was gone, I went to the cards. It became an addiction. I truly believe I was addicted to credit cards. And then the you-know-what hit the fan and the calls started.

Suddenly I didn’t have enough to pay the minimum  payment on all of my cards. So I paid one, and not the others. And the others called. Then I’d pay those, and not the other, and the other called. I was late on all of them, above my balance on all of them, and it was a very scary time in my life.

The credit card companies would call and harass me, all day long. They yelled at me and mocked me when I cried and said, NO, I had no one I could go to for the money. (I hear they’ve changed the laws on what they can say and how often they can call.) They threatened, and I was scared out of my wits. Finally one day I realized I had do something.

I went to a credit counseling service while I was still in college, and it was one of the best days of my life. They sat with me, went through all of my bills, and set up a payment I could deal with. (One payment that was dispersed to all of my cards.) The service called my cards and got my interest rates lowered, late fees frozen, and I started to get control of my life again.

Let me clarify one thing – this service was FREE. There are credit services that charge for this service and I’ve not heard good things about them. The people I worked with were a not-for-profit agency and they helped me more than I can even express to you.

Fast forward years from that time, and I was still paying off those cards. It was slow, but I was doing it. One day I decided to get my credit report, to see my progress. Then I saw something that helped to turn things around even more -- I found a department store card I had applied for and had forgotten about.

It was the ONE card I had left that I could still use – my credit was so bad I couldn’t get any new cards, and the current cards I had were frozen. So I called that store, got a new card and went and charged twenty dollars on it. And paid it off. Did it again, paid it off. For months.

My credit got better and better. Then, I had student loans I was paying off as well. So I paid those on time. And it helped. I actually was able to get a car loan (with a crazy high interest rate, but it was a loan!) and I paid it on time.

Slowly, I was repairing my credit. But did I stop using it? Nope. I don’t know why I hadn’t learned any better. Maybe it’s because I was making a decent living and living comfortably? Maybe it’s because I was still addicted to credit and had the mindset of someone who is addicted – it’s not that bad, I can control it, blah blah BLAH.

Enter my future hubby, who had created a ton of debt on his own. He had done it over time, even longer than me. And we continued to live like that for years. Then we decided to build a house. I took a second job and we worked our butts off to save for a decent down payment – and we had a little leftover for some new furniture. ;)

But as I’ve mentioned before, we moved into a house with lots of rooms and very little furniture. And I kept getting the itch to fill each space…some of it was big stuff, like the dining room furniture. Some of it was small, like a file cabinet from Bombay Company. But it all added up.

I had learned nothing. Nothing.

Years of harassing calls, years of crying, years of growing debt (again), years of not knowing how to tell myself NO.

I guess I should say “we” – both my hubby and I were equally to blame.

About five years ago, while traveling through the state for my job, I came across a radio talk show that caught my attention. (I LOVE talk radio.) People were calling into a show to talk to some guy named Dave, asking about and talking about their debit issues. And this Dave, in his southern drawl, would bring them back to reality in a hot second…calling them out and making them take responsibility for their lives and their money.

I was intrigued. I went home and couldn’t stop thinking about it. So the next trip, I searched the radio again, and found it again. I was hooked. I came home and mentioned it to hubby. We talked about it, daydreamed about it, but never took any action because it was too overwhelming. We were in it SO DEEP.

Then Mr. Dave’s show came to our local radio, and I listened every day. On Fridays, people would call in and tell Dave how much money they had paid off. One couple I remember in particular had paid off $168,000 dollars. (That’s THREE zeros peeps.) Some callers had paid all but their house. Some had paid everything.

They had NO debt. Nothing. Utility bills and retirement were their monthly expenses. And at the end of their call, they would count down, 1…2…3…and scream “We’re debt free!!!!”

And I would cry for them. Because I wanted to be them, because I was so happy for them, because I wanted to be grown up just like them.

So we started. My husband was still a bit hesitant, but we bought Dave’s book and he read it within a few hours. We were hooked. We were ready. We were SO EXCITED.

We’ve been at it for about three years now. We don’t follow Dave Ramsey’s plan to the T – no rice and beans, beans and rice. ;) If we did follow it exactly as he lays out, we would probably be debt free by now. But we have become more strict on ourselves with each passing month. The closer we get, the less we spend, the more we pay off. The more being debt free becomes a reality. :)

Because my husband runs his own business, we may keep one credit card for those expenses after all is said and done. That will most likely be the Amex that we will have to pay off every month. But we also figure that if the rest of our debt is gone (all but the house that is), we probably won’t need it anyway.

We’re not rice and beans, more like macaroni and cheese. And lots of Goodwill. ;) No more new furniture. Even if we can pay for it in cash – we put the money towards cards. No large purchases. No new cars. We rarely go on vacation. (Most trips we do take are for hubby’s work.) We are paying for my stepdaughter’s college education – NO LOANS. And the gift we are giving her by doing that is overwhelming to me. I know she appreciates it, but I know she will truly appreciate it in about 15 years. 

Yes, we splurge sometimes, and that’s another way we don’t follow the Ramsey plan exactly. But we pay for our splurges. They don’t sit on a credit card for six years. And they don’t end up costing us 3.5 times more than they originally did. ;)

We work on one credit card at a time, and when another one is paid off, we are like little kids. Giddy.

Paying off credit is so much more fulfilling than spending money we don’t have.

It is JOY. Pride. It is delayed gratification. It makes me feel like an adult. :) And it has created SO many possibilities for our family. Dave Ramsey talks about the new way of life you create for the generations of your family after you… and that is so true. When we are debt free, we will be able to save for our children, mentor them, lead by example and then one day pass along what we have saved to them.

It is exhilarating. It makes me want to cry at what is possible for our family without this monkey on our backs.

So how much have we paid off?

In the past three years, we’ve ridded ourselves of approximately $60,000. Actually, that’s probably pretty conservative. It’s car loans, credit cards, department store cards, student loans, furniture loans, you name it.

It took a long time to create it all, and it’s taking a long time to pay it all off.

We still have a big chunk to go. I won’t say how much till we’re done – don’t want to jinx anything. :) But we are pretty sure we will be debt free by the end of this year, if not in a few months.

The thought of it makes me so emotional. When we pay that last payment, it will be the first time in my adult life I will be debt free. It is overwhelming. And fantastic. And so worth it. I cannot even express to you how worth it it will be.

And the day we make that last payment, we will call in to Dave Ramsey’s show and scream

WE’RE DEBT FREE!!!

And I will cry.

I’ll let you know when that day comes too. ;)

P.S. If you want to know more about Dave Ramsey, click here.

220 comments:

  1. You're a girl after my own heart. I think I'm a new follower and I just HAD to comment on this post. My hubby & I LOVE Dave. His plan works. We're down to a house & 1 car now. That's it. We owe it all to Dave and his plans. We don't follow it to a T either, but we definitely scrimp.
    Blessings to you & your hubby for doing this. It ROCKS, doesn't it??
    Keep on this path. It's awesome to live like no one else - so you CAN live like no one else!! :)
    Hugs - Hi-5's!!!
    By the way, I LOVE your blog & writing style! :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. You go girl!! I love this post. What is it that Dave says? That quote about not having what everyone else has and then in the end having what everyone else can't have?

    Love.that. Actually I think he ripped that off my grandparents 'cause that was their motto and it is ingrained in my family. ;)
    I know how you feel-- my hubby and I had a financial savings goal for 5.long.years. 4 kids. Huge savings goal. When we got there, holy cow. Heavens opened. Angels sang.
    Can we get a post that says giant huge "DEBT FREE!" when the time comes? (oh I hope it's soo soon!)

    ReplyDelete
  3. WOW! A-ma-zing!!! I'm happy for you all Sarah. Wonderful!

    Does being *debt free* mean no house payment? I always thought a house payment did not count the same way. I'll have to check out his book and site. Interesting and informative post. Love it!

    ReplyDelete
  4. That is truly amazing that you have paid off that much debt. I was fortunate enough to have parents who taught me how important saving was. I am also unfortunate enough to have parents who didn't think about my college education and I have no way to pay for it except for by student loans. I NEVER accept more than what school cost's. It is difficult for a high school grad to pay for college without having any student loans whatsoever so I commend you for paying for your step-daughters.

    Keep up the good work!


    Hannah
    http://youngancrafty.blogspot.com/

    P.S. I WILL be checking out Dave Ramsey!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Are we twins??? I could have written that exact post, the exact same way. I was exactly like you in my "younger" days and what an idiot I was! We follow Dave's plan too, not to a T, but in the same ways you mentioned. I still slip every now and then. :( He is very inspiring and I love listening to him. We even went to his Total Money Makeover conference when he was in Houston. It was awesome. I love my little "Goodwill" envelope. :)

    Big congrats to y'all, and what a legacy you will be leaving for your children and family. Nothing better than that!!

    xxoo, Emily

    ReplyDelete
  6. Good for you! My husband and I are also working towards paying off all of our unsecured debt, mostly credit cards and loans from college and our first years of marriage. We are so pathetic our Saturday date night ritual is watching "Til Debt do us Part" on CNBC. Definitely our favorite show.

    ReplyDelete
  7. This is something when you can share something so personal as finances with the blogging world! Sounds like you are well on your way to being DEBT FREE! congratulations to you and the freedom that will be coming your way!

    Lisa

    ReplyDelete
  8. Love Dave. I'm lucky I "met" him when I was a newlywed..it saved me from making a lot of mistakes I know I would be paying for now.

    My husband and I have committed to a debt free life, and I can't wait til we pay off our home so that I can say I'm truly debt free.

    Excellent post. It inspired me to keep going!

    ReplyDelete
  9. great post...also a dave ramsey fan!

    judi ;)

    ReplyDelete
  10. Dave Ramsey and I are good friends too!! :) I am steadily (like a gazelle) working on my debt...it is not easy, but as you pointed out, it took a while to get this way! Thanks for spreading the word about his wonderful program!

    ReplyDelete
  11. Thanks so much for your honest post. This came at such a great time for me...we are also on the Dave plan and I feel like we are smack dab in the MIDDLE of it...it's a hard place to be and it feels like it's never going to end. Thanks so much for your inspiring words. It's given me a boost! Way to go you guys and keep it up!

    ReplyDelete
  12. Thank you for sharing this...I have been seriously contemplating all week about sharing our story and for the right time to present itself. We were so close to being debt free 5 years ago and then...well, that story is for another time. I am cheering right along with you and your family to be debt free! I can relate so much to what you shared about your youngers years and money...and then again later into adulthood when you didn't want to wait for things...umm that pretty much describes the way we were. So encouraging to hear that you are almost there. It gives me hope.

    ReplyDelete
  13. http://llnoe.com/
    Living Like No One Else dot com, a Community devoted to working Dave Ramsey's personal financial plan.By the way its free! Hopefully it will also help in many ways good luck to you. I have also done it. I'm 25 with 3 kids and We are debt free. We paid off the house both cars and all the cards. Whew, Dream come true and a load off my mind. I know you can too.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Thanks Sarah. I needed to read this tonight.

    Everytime I visit Dave's site I get overwhelmed with what book is best to start with. What do you recommend?

    Donna

    ReplyDelete
  15. Hi Sarah, my hubby and I have been debt free for 5 years, including our home! It is so worth it, we will never go back to debt living again. Did you know the term " mortgage" means death grip. Interesting huh? Thanks for sharing and encouraging others to experience financial freedom.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Dave Ramsey Rocks!!

    His broadcast is from my home state too. Go Tennessee :0)

    Great post and I'm so happy to see all of you are working towards debt free.

    ReplyDelete
  17. We're Dave Ramsey followers too! My husband heard him on the radio 4 yrs ago while I was away on vacation. I came home and one of the first things he says to me is we're on a budget. Hmmm. Not what I wanted to hear! It has been great though. We to are not rice and beans people but we are thrifty. I've come to love the challenge of finding a good deal on even the most basic of things. Good luck to you and everyone else on this path to being DEBT FREE!!!

    ReplyDelete
  18. Thanks for writing this, I think you could just take your names out and put in mine and my husbands through most of it. I know just how you feel. We've been Dave Ramsey fans for a while now and were working hard, but still have a ways to go.

    ReplyDelete
  19. I am a HUGE love of Dave Ramsey. We did FPU about 3 years ago and he is just so straight up and SMART!

    ReplyDelete
  20. Sigh. I, too, could just take out your name and put in mine. I have been thinking about debt-free living lately - not about wanting it (that I already am working on) - but about why we have gotten in this situation (as a nation). It's like living without debt was scorned for a while - but I am SO happy to see it is coming back.

    ReplyDelete
  21. my college story is so similar to yours. i had no training with money and no idea what i was getting myself into. i had to do the credit consolidation thing twice. nothing stuck until we found dave one year ago this week. we are on baby step 3B/4 now, and loving it. keep up the good work!

    ReplyDelete
  22. Good for you!!! I'm so happy for you and grateful that you posted this personal story and also introduced Dave to so many.

    My husband and I are now retired and, with no debt, it's easy to live on a "fixed income"!

    I can't remember the year we paid off everything but the house, but I do know that in 2004, with only 5 years left on the house, we had an opportunity to do mission work. We did that for 5 years and now have been back home for a year. We could never have said "Yes" to this awesome opportunity if we hadn't got rid of our debt first.

    Our house has been paid for now for about 3 years and it feels wonderful! Keep up the good work!

    ReplyDelete
  23. That is so awesome!!! Keep up the good work!

    ReplyDelete
  24. Have been following your blog for a while but this post particularly stood out for me, because I have been in the same situation. Ignore Anonymous, you have been very brave in sharing this story! Being in debt is something that happens to SO MANY people but no one talks about it, people try to pretend that it's not there, sweep it under the carpet. Thank you for being so open about this, so that others in the same situation won't feel so hopeless and will get the help they need. It was a great day for me too when I finally made the last payment, so I hope yours comes soon!

    ReplyDelete
  25. It has to be faith or something, I stumbled on your blog with a friend last week on how to decorate on a dime and be frugal, I have been in love with your blog since then, and this post really has to be fate because since just last Wednesday I have been listening to Mr. Dave Ramsey! Let me tell you I am addicted to him, I just want to learn more and more! My husband and I are a young couple with three children ranging between 7 to 4. well we just want to be debt free for them! And just reading this post as been such a wake up call to me! I am also looking forward to the day were we can call in and say " WE're DEBT FREE!" Good luck and can't wait to the day you will do that!

    ReplyDelete
  26. Congratulations on your journey to being debt-free! My husband and I did the Dave Ramsey plan in 2003 and we have had no debt except for the mortgage ever since. It is a wonderful feeling. I can tell from your post that you have the will and commitment to get there.

    ReplyDelete
  27. Hey Thrifty! What an accomplishment! I am so proud of you and your hubby for growing up and taking responsibility for your past actions. What a great example you are to your family and friends. God keep you both on track and I'll be crying with you when you scream! (I've read his books and love them! He and Mary Hunt have been instrumental in our lives!)

    Maryhomemama

    ReplyDelete
  28. I knew it when you first posted his name! :) I've followed Mr. Ramsey on the radio for years...however BOTH spouses have to want to follow his principles otherwise it may not work.

    I applaud you for being "real" on your blog and sharing, I just posted about that the other day and the truth is if someone were to see your blog, they'd think, wow, you have an amazing house (and life) not knowing that you struggled to get where you are!

    My favorite quote (in regards to finances) is: "The fastest way to get poor is by acting rich."

    Having been a SAHM for 12 years and married to a teacher, I learned quickly that I would have to cut my spending and learn to be frugal. It's been a long ride, but we are finally seeing some light!

    Thanks Sarah, always a pleasure to read your blog! :)

    ReplyDelete
  29. I adore Dave Ramsey, too. Living in debt can ruin a marriage and make life totally miserable. We have been creditcardless for at least three years. Still paying a student loan and house payment and a loan for a failed small business. No car payments and proud of it. Definitely want to change our family tree, as Dave says. Congrats! You are doing great!

    ReplyDelete
  30. Way to go! That is awesome how much you have paid off so far!! My husband and I just started a class of Dave at our church just a couple of weeks ago. We will start the envelope system on friday when he gets paid. EEEK! We don't have much at all in debt (only a small student loan) but we need to stick to a monthly budget so we won't keep dipping into saving just because we wanted to go to the movies or something.
    I will rejoice with you when you get to be debt free. One day I would love to pay off the house too, but I know that is a Looooooong way off. Probably not until we move and buy a smaller house.

    ReplyDelete
  31. Hey there! I think it is not just a coincidence that you posted about dave ramsey and I just got his financial peace university kit in the mail yesterday! We actually just paid off our credit card for the SECOND time! We seem to have a pattern and we didn't want to be in the same spot a year from now. So thanks so much for this post. I feel even more encouraged. Congrats on your accomplishments. I look forward to hearing more about your debt-free journey.

    ReplyDelete
  32. Thanks so much for sharing your story and so much information about Dave Ramsey. Your blog is a joy and inspiration to read, thank you.

    ReplyDelete
  33. I love Dave Ramsey and he has motivated us so much! We now try to always buy used and save the difference. In addition, we pay cash or at least payoff the credit card every month.

    I have the credit card addiction problem and I must say I didn't learn my lesson either. Sometimes I still need to buy something I can't afford to make myself feel better. Then after the bill comes in, that feeling is definitely gone. We built our house and that just added to our expenses because it was more house than we could afford.

    I have overcome so much so I keep trying even harder! We only have our house and our used van payment remaining. Trying to get that van paid off within the next two years. I am unemployed now so funds are short but we are making it. We are putting two boys through Catholic school and will help with college. Definitely community college for the first two years!

    I am also decorating our house via Goodwill, thrift stores and Craigslist. I feel a sense of accomplishment when it is complete!

    I cry too for everyone that calls in to Dave. Our plan is to sell our house after the boys are out and get something smaller that we can possibly pay cash free and clear.

    So thank you for your post and congratulations thus far!!

    ReplyDelete
  34. Congrats on being almost debt-free! My husband just finished grad school and we're looking at the atrocious amount of student loans we have to pay off and are freaking out about it. We have a plan to be out of debt in 6 years. In fact, we're living with my in-laws while we save for a down payment on a house! If I can survive that, then surely we can be debt free in 6 years! (Don't get me wrong, I LOVE my in laws, but a girl needs her own space!)

    ReplyDelete
  35. I'm so happy to read this post. My husband and I have been thinking about going to Dave's Financial Peace University. But we really had not decided 100% to go. Now after reading about your $60,000(!) I think I'll sign us up for the Sept. Classes.

    Thanks for sharing!! :)

    ReplyDelete
  36. Thanks so much for sharing your story, I am 50 years old and am just NOW starting to get debt free. But for the FIRST time in my life, I have a plan (yay, Dave Ramsey!) and I know I will succeed. I'm posting this so if there is anyone else out there that feels "embarrassed to think they're old enough to know better, but didn't", IT'S NEVER TOO LATE TO START!
    Thanks and God Bless!

    ReplyDelete
  37. When my first son went to college I was amazed and disgusted at the credit card companies preying on these kids like vulchers. And the fact that they do it when the parents are off at a separate meeting just tells you something. I have warned my kids about debt. The oldest left with a small loan, just over 1,000. The middle one lost his scholarship so he took out a bit more to last him until he can get it back. They both were on scholarships and we paid their living expenses, books and fees. What is scary is he has this vision of paying of the loan not being a problem. Trying to get him to understand that you don't want to start of your life with debt like that. So, I am on him about his loans.
    Congrats to you and your hubby and getting this monkey off your back. We didn't use Dave but we have worked it out ourselves. It is hard but what a feeling of relief when you do!

    ReplyDelete
  38. What a wonderful post....very inspirational. I appreciate your honesty and vulnerability in sharing. You will probably have no idea how many people will be helped, encouraged, and inspired to get rid of debt just because of your testimony. And, by the way, I think Goodwill is a blast....a treasure hunt...you never know what you are going to find, but you know it will (usually) be inexpensive. Thanks again for the great words. Linda

    ReplyDelete
  39. Hi Thrifty! Amazing post!! I too am a Dave Ramsey fan and get such a big chuckle when people "hate on him". They talk about how his plan will ruin your credit score etc- but thats so funny to me because if you follow his plan you dont NEED A CREDIT SCORE! I am so proud of you! Keep up the good work. I have my baby emergency fund in place and knocked off my first snowball. Working on the 2nd. It feels so good to be in control!

    ReplyDelete
  40. I hope I'm listening when I hear you call in to say you're DEBT FREE! I always love hearing you talk about Dave because it reminds me that even if I'm not "normal" I'm not alone ;) When you call, can you say something about Thrifty Decor Chick so we'll know it's you...Like a code word or something ;)

    <3 <3 <3

    ReplyDelete
  41. My hubby and I took the Dave class last year and cried, "We're debt free!" On Dec. 31, 2010. We have a budget meeting every month, pay cash for things, save up for everything, and use the envelope system. Thank you so much for sharing. I hope that your readers hop on board! It is sooo worth it. <3

    ReplyDelete
  42. Great job! It really takes some discipline to do it and it sounds like you've really got a handle on it. Way to go!!!

    ReplyDelete
  43. I love Dave Ramsey too!!
    My sister and her husband are following him and have paid off a HUGE chunck starting with the smallest bill and working up to the larger ones.
    Good for you!
    Kelly

    ReplyDelete
  44. great story. we are FPU grads, too! we're not "to the tee," as you state. but... sacrificing daily and operating cash only. do we get frustrated as our debt-laden friends constantly jet-set and remodel? yep! but... we're not jealous of the bills. we'll get there -- and live like no one else one day!!

    ReplyDelete
  45. What an inspiring post! You go, Girl! You will never regret the sacrifices you are making now for the peace that comes with financial freedom. Keep up the GREAT work! Let us know when you'll be screamin' on Dave's show!

    ReplyDelete
  46. We listen to him a lot also, chick. We're debt free except for our house. We don't buy much on credit but when we do it's paid off the next month. Being debt free is the new "Mercedes" of the middle class. Loving it, sugar!
    xoxo,
    Connie

    ReplyDelete
  47. Thanks for sharing your awesome story! We too heart Dave and his principles on finances. We are currently three years away from paying off our mortgage (we are making double payments) and being totally debt free.

    It's an amazing thing when a couple can work together toward and accomplish a goal that seems insurmountable.

    So happy that you and your Hubs are almost there!

    ReplyDelete
  48. We are also Dave Ramsey followers. We're debt free except for our house (working on paying our mortgage off early). Thanks for sharing your story. Can't wait to hear your debt free scream!

    Mary Ellen

    ReplyDelete
  49. My X husband and I racked up an IMMENSE amount of debt and declared bankruptcy along with getting the divorce! HORRIBLE TIME! That is a long story and I won't go into it here....

    Then I met my now husband and I told him I would not marry him unless his debt was gone...in three years he paid off $10,000 and we got married.

    We have lived debt free since 2003...we have a car loan that will be paid off in 2 more years and our morgage, but that is it. We never have 2 car loans going at once.

    I am happy to be debt free....makes life so much easier....GOOD LUCK!

    ReplyDelete
  50. I love that you posted about this and included your honest story! What an inspiration and testimony to others! I just posted today on my own blog about how we're using mint.com to help us stay on Dave's plan so I thought it was funny you had also posted about Dave. We were beyond blessed to go through the course together before getting married and we got our marriage off on the right foot. (I would recommend the class as a next step beyond reading the book. So much accountability and it's offered almost all the time at various churches.) We're paying for my grad school right now with cash and it feels wonderful to know that it won't haunt us at all when I finish. And the only debt we have it what Dave calls "good debt", which is our mortgage. We're living on the motto of your title right now...b/c we're sure living different than most people we know. At times it's difficult, but hearing others stories like your own gives me the boost I need here and there! Happy Wednesday!

    ReplyDelete
  51. i just stumbled onto your blog a week or so ago and LOVE it! of course, i have to comment on dave because, seriously, who doesn't love that man? my husband and i started doing TMMO in june and have already seen some drastic progress. i decided to begin a blog about it to inspire others as well as keep myself accountable. please feel free to check it out if you'd like.

    thanks for your blog and your tips! and did i just see that you live in indy? i'm on the southwest side!

    ReplyDelete
  52. Thank you for this post! I have a TON of debt with my husband too and we both have pretty good jobs, but at the end of the month are continually going "Where does it all go?" We have a budget, but it's our credit lines that are killing us. We don't have any credit cards, but have STUDENT LOANS, car loans, and toy loans. We want to save for a house, which seems impossible, but you've given me hope. I'm going to share your post with him and pick up the Dave book. :) THANK YOU FOR THE INSPIRATION!!!!!

    ReplyDelete
  53. I love Dave too! Good luck on getting out of debt. My husband and I are close and have paid off over $35,000 in the past year-ish. It is exciting, isn't it?

    ReplyDelete
  54. I am totally on board with you. We've been working on Dave Ramsey's system for only a few months now. He is such a fantastic inspiration as are the callers on his show.

    We have a little list on our fridge that lists "Baby Step #1, Baby Step #2 (with each credit card separated), etc." and each time we pay something off, we cross it off. It's such a great reminder of our ultimate goal and inspiration at how much we've done already. It's also nice to have it right there on the fridge as a reminder every time you pass buy it or open it up to get a snack.

    Good luck to you, I KNOW you will get there. Just keep pushing on. :)

    ReplyDelete
  55. Oh my...so much to say about this topic, my commment could be a blog post (oh, maybe it has been in the past). First off, it just IRKS me to see anonym. comments who don't "get it." Yes, go back to decorating, but keep this post in the forefront because readers need to understand your journey to appreciate your decorating even more. People DO need someone like Dave Ramsey to give them a systematic step by step way to feel like they can actually move that huge mountain they are carrying around and if that commentor would look at the statistics in America to see the overwhelming catastrophe that debt is causing...in government, marriages, divorce...ok, don't get me started...hahah.

    We love you, girl, and your journey. I am privileged that we are debt free and that we just survived over a YEAR of unemployment with five children and my hubby being the sole income provider because we had a fully funded emergency fund. Unfortunately, we also had to use savings, college money etc to make it through, but we did it. I read your college story and that is one thing that resonates with me. Our oldest is going in two years, but we are committed that he is not going to be strapped with debt when he comes out. We are brainstorming other options like doing on line classes first to get all the general requirements done at a fraction of the cost. Ok, well, I do have my own blog to write...better get at that.

    Let us know when you call in, so we can celebrate with you. I am NOT a cry-er at all, but I cry every single silly Friday when people scream DEBT FREE. My kids think it's crazy. I won't cry at other really sad things, but I cry listening to the radio.

    ReplyDelete
  56. My first time posting, and it isn't about decorating! I just wanted to say how great it is that you and your husband are paying for your stepdaughter's college. Both my husband and I were very blessed to have our entire college education paid for by our parents, and it the true appreciation really sunk in when it came time for us to buy our first home. Congrats and how lucky your little Bub is to have parents teaching by example the power of living within ones means :).

    ReplyDelete
  57. Congrats to you! I'm a believer in Dave. I get his newsletter and read his books and dream of how it could be...if only I get my hubby on board. sigh.....he'd rather just blame and keep on keeping on rather than trying something new.

    ReplyDelete
  58. Sara! I have been reading your blog faithfully for about 5 months now and I love it!!!! You have inspired me in more ways than I can count! You give such great tips and inspiration :) I have always wanted to post comments but never had an account set up....until today....until I read this post. Why today you ask? Well-I just felt it was important to say how brave I feel you are for putting yourself out there like that! It made me like you even more! There are so many people out there that have debt issues (umm --credit card issues, myself included) and needed your inspiration to do something about it. My hubby and I just developed a plan a few days ago to get rid of ours so I was very shocked to see your post. It drove it home for me. Anyways- I could go on and on but- keep up the great work!

    ReplyDelete
  59. It's scarey how similar our stories are!! I'm here to tell you there is a light at the end of the tunnel! We are debt free (except the house, but working on that) and the freedom it brings is truly amazing! i love your blog - kind of feel like I'm reading myself:-)! Hang in there and live like noone else, so you can LIVE like noone else!

    ReplyDelete
  60. Thank you for being so transparent- I love Dave Ramsey! You are doing many people a great service by mentioning him and his program on here. There are many times I get frustrated/depressed/pouting because I can't have the showroom house my neighbors have, then I listen to Dave, take a deep breath, and remember how blessed I am.

    ReplyDelete
  61. Thanks for sharing! My hubby and I are big Dave fans, too. We're lucky to really only have (used) car debt, but it's still annoying and weighs on you. I look forward to the day we're without it! You guys are very inspiring!

    ReplyDelete
  62. I am so happy that you found Dave Ramsey & that you are sharing your story with everyone. I am sure that you will help many take the first steps toward addressing their debt. Debt free Fridays are my favorite show because they are so inspiring even though we don't have any debt,except a small mortgage.
    I just want to encourage you to keep going because living debt free is the best way to live!

    ReplyDelete
  63. Thank you, thank you, thank you! It makes me so happy to read about others paying off debt & saving money. It's what got our country into a tizzy, right? I hope this blog and others who have recently posted on their financial status inspire folks to live a more simple life instead of keeping up with the Jones'...who, by the way, must be in super-debt!

    ReplyDelete
  64. I really enjoyed your post. It's inspiring to hear others getting their debt down to zero. We're working on it, too, but it's going to take a while. It's not personal debt as much as business debt but it's still debt. Ugh!

    I'm a fairly new reader but I really enjoy your blog.

    Elisabeth

    ReplyDelete
  65. I used to work in Residence Life at a college and we only allowed one credit card company on campus (the one that "sold" the alumni credit card) and the rep was only allowed to set up directly outside the bookstore. On top of that, no freebies were allowed.

    Despite the rule, the credit card people would just show up and set up where they wanted to. Their entitled attitude was amazing. I once had to call the campus cops to get rid of a guy who was set up outside one of the campus chapels on a Sunday. The freebie he was hocking was a candle, but I guess he thought that would work on people coming out of a service.

    I shudder to think about the damage those guys did. On our side of things, we ran financial programs for all first year students to try to combat the credit card salesmen.

    ReplyDelete
  66. You are amazing! We LOVE Dave at this house. We had great examples from our parents who never had any debt. Both sets saved and paid cash for everything. My husband and I were tempted on occasion to go into debt but we never have, with our house being the one exception. If we don't have the cash we don't buy it.

    We bought our mini van with cash! It's no luxury van, but we own it clear and free! And when we have an unexpected bill. It's no problem, we have the money!

    We also have a college fund for each of our three kids. We started them when they were born, and even though we didn't have much money we made sure to put something in every month. I can't tell you how good it feels to know that they will be able to attend college.

    The best thing about doing this now, is that you can teach your kids! Hopefully they will learn from your example and make good choices in the future!

    Thanks for sharing. You will do great and I can't wait to hear you are debt free!!!!

    ReplyDelete
  67. Love this post! Love Dave! We are about to complete our third year on Dave's plan. By the end of this year we will have paid off 103K in debt and fully funded our life over the last three years in cash - including a number of trips to NYC to visit our daughter and last month a 16 day vacation which included a cruise to Alaska! By April, Lord willing, we will owe no man - including the house. If you think we have a big income - wrong - my husband is a teacher and I am a secretary. No big bucks here - but telling them where to go really makes a differnce. We have led Dave's FPU class in our church two times and are preparing for our third class. Love Dave and love that one of my favorite bloggers it headed to Living Like No One Else.

    ReplyDelete
  68. Thank you for this post! We too, have been doing Dave's Plan and hope to one day to be able to call in and scream (I'll cry too) I'm Debt Free!!!

    ReplyDelete
  69. My ex and I went through Financial Peace University at our church a couple years ago. It totally changed the way I spend money. I love using the cash system. Hopefully one day I will be able to scream "I'm Debt Free!" too!

    ReplyDelete
  70. Thank you so much for your beautiful story! Fortunately my hubby and I have no student loans....but we did have a home equity and car payment. We have been doing Dave Ramsey for almost a year. We have done away with our HLOC (by refinancing our mortgage)and are about 4 months from paying off our van. I can't wait until the day we can start paying double house payments and get it paid off. I also look forward to the day in which I can help my children though college.....at the same time, educating them about their fiances so they don't make the same mistakes as their parents.

    Are you planning on teaching your step-daughter about Dave Ramsey?

    ReplyDelete
  71. FYI: If anyone wants to get their kids started early on financial responsibility, Dave has his products for young people on sale right now for 40% off.

    ReplyDelete
  72. I'm a new follower of your blog, as in I just subscribed earlier this week, thanks to suggestions via my google reader. Anyway, I just HAD to leave a comment because my husband and I are on "baby step 2" as well and we are HUGE Dave fans. I listen to him every day on my way home from work. Good luck in the remainder of your debt journey, and congrats on all that you've accomplished so far! So glad you did this post to not only share your story but to also spread the word about the amazingness of Mr. Dave Ramsey.

    ReplyDelete
  73. Congrats to you guys! We have been on his plan since the beginning of the year. Paid off all our debt and are now working baby step 3. I emailed Dave when we paid it off and he read it on air. It was such a thrilling moment! Let us know when you guys are going to call in so we can all listen! Keep up the good work.

    ReplyDelete
  74. I am so happy you posted about Dave! We are newlyweds since May 30th and have started the TMMO. My husband got a teaching job this year and I'm teaching too. We plugged in our debt into a debt calculator on Dave's website, and if we follow our debt snowball plan, we will be out of debt (over 100,000!) by June 2014!! That is amazing. We are committed to not using our credit cards anymore and saving, saving, saving. Thanks for the inspirational post!

    ReplyDelete
  75. My story is very similar, and I have a similar sense of pride about how we're doing paying it down. We have about $50,000 to go, but we've paid off $5,000 in the last four months alone. We think we will be debt-free at the beginning of 2012, if all goes well. Congrats on your hard work!

    ReplyDelete
  76. Loved this post Sarah!
    I will definitely think of you when the collection agencies/mortgage company start blowin' up my phone today! LOL! :-)
    We did get rid of our last credit card about a year ago though- and MAN did that feel good. We only pay for things with cash now too, and I gotta say- it's been pretty cool not living in COMPLETE fear since then! (Partial fear is a lot less scary.) :-)

    Layla

    ReplyDelete
  77. I am a Dave follower myself and just started my plan officially August 1 and am doing very well....I had been half on or so the last two weeks of July waiting for the beginning of the month. Actually did a budget for the first time in my 45 year life and I am following it and tracking each and every expense.... I will probably be on baby step 2 until August 2013 when the credit card is paid off but the goal is to beat that deadline....

    ReplyDelete
  78. Love this! Good for you and thank you for sharing! Too many people in this country live well beyond their means but have no education or training to do it any other way! Can't wait till you guys get to scream on the radio!! :) Woo hoo!

    ReplyDelete
  79. We have very similar backgrounds...My parents didn't have money & I fell into the same trap during college...only I took out loans early on so the credit card debt came later. I took the Dave Ramsey course (Financial Peace University) & it has really changed the way I think about things. Luckily my husband has always been a saver. His only debt was college debt. We just graduated college in May & we're confident that we can be debt free in 2 years...even less if I can find a better job. We don't live off rice & beans either but almost half our income goes to paying off debt. Your story is very inspiring. Good luck becoming debt free!

    ReplyDelete
  80. I've never heard of Dave but totally understand the debt thing! We always tell people credit cards are like crack cocaine at our house. ADDICTIVE!!! So we have NONE, it's a great feeling to be debt free. It took us years to figure all this out, we seem to be the type that have to hit the bottom and then have to dig ourselves out! Great post.

    ReplyDelete
  81. We are in the SAME boat as you! My hubby lived off credit cards while he was in college as well. He also had student loans. When we got married, I helped him dig the hole for us even more! And now we have even MORE school loans because he is about to graduate with his Master's. And he wants to take courses to get his doctorate which will mean even more loans! We take the leftover money from the student loans and are paying the heck out of our credit cards. We started about 3 years ago ourselves. Right before our son was born. In about 7 months our largest card (over $11,000) will be paid off. It feels great! We will then just have my car and the dreadful student loans. We don't own a house yet. We also want to get to a better place financially before we have another child. My hubby is a teacher (I am a stay-at-home mom), so you know he doesn't make much. We hope by him going back to school and getting his degree in Ed. Leadership, he will have better opportunities. We, too, will call Dave and scream we are debt free when it happens! We can't wait!!!

    ReplyDelete
  82. I am so glad you found something that worked for you and I can't wait to read the post where you get to tell us you are debt free!

    I was never a reader of Young House Love (I used to flip through it, but wasn't a big follower) until I read that they do it ALL without going into any debt. I was so impressed that I now read there blog all the time! Such smart young people. Wish I had started off so smart! ;D

    ReplyDelete
  83. My husband and I LOVE Dave!
    When I met my husband-to-be, I figured if I can make my minimum payments each month, then I was doing okay and it was no one's business (sound like justifying to you?!?!).
    I was NOT taking into consideration all the interest I was paying and I never figured out what all that "stuff" I bought REALLY cost.
    Not-yet-hubby bought a house for us (I certainly couldn't!). But what I COULD do, and DID, was make sure that I moved into said house with no debt. I took all my savings and paid off all my debt: $12000 in credit card debt - not counting car payments and school loan payments.
    My husband paid for our house in cash: $153000. no mortgage. We got married ($21000 in cash), bought a vacation home ($196000 in cash, no mortgage), we own 2 used cars and a motorcycle outright (will be selling one car soon) and when I needed a new car, we bought it for cash.
    We have no debt.
    And it feels great. There just aren't words to describe how it feels, to know that you.owe.no.one.anything.
    Congrats to you, and thanks to Dave. We listen to him whenever we can, even today!

    ReplyDelete
  84. Thank you for your honesty - I think the photos of your house are beautiful, and it is so refreshing that you do everything with "thrift" in mind. Shopping at Goodwill and on Craigslist are great for our creativity, individuality, our wallets, AND the environment. We are almost debt free, just the house left, and it is a liberating way to live!

    ReplyDelete
  85. What an amazing story. We to follow Dave's plan and hope to become debt free in 2 years. I to cry every Friday when I hear those people scream "We're debt free!" Especially touching when their kids are with them in the background screaming with them. (getting choked up now!:) That WILL be us someday. It's all about leaving a legacy for our kids. That's important to us. Thanks so much for sharing your story.

    ReplyDelete
  86. Judging by the number of comments you've received, so many of us can relate to your journey to become debt free! Just wanted to thank you for sharing this - it strikes me that money woes are rarely talked about but universally experienced. Thanks for being so forthcoming... and kudos on changing your life!

    ReplyDelete
  87. I love Dave!!! My husband and I went through FPU almost 2 years ago and this Feburary (after we get out tax return) we will be DEBT FREE!!! I am so excited and he is counting down the days!! After that we are setting aside money to buy a house, its a dream come true! I didnt want to be like my parents and not be able to buy a house until the grandkids came, so we took action and are going to be in a position to buy withing 2 years!!! keep up the amazing work it is a snowball!!!

    ReplyDelete
  88. I enjoyed reading your post today and I wish you and your husband the best as you reduce your debt and eventually become DEBT FREE!!!

    My daughter who is 30 and her husband were in the same boat with you a couple of years ago and they too came across Dave.....like you they bought the book and committed to becoming debt free. I am happy to say about six months ago they were on Dave's talk show and were able to count down! I am soooo proud of them. Luckily, they came across Dave's program as my SIL has lost his job and thankfully they had there "rainy day" savings in place. Good luck and we will be waiting for your post about counting down with Dave!

    ReplyDelete
  89. You words are inspiration to me. I have been working on being debt free and have accomplished it, but I recently fell off the wagon. Nothing too bad but I couldn't pay it off at the end of the month. I will be close to being debt free by the end of the year. I'm going to check out Dave's advice.

    Thanks for writing this. It's put me back on track.

    ReplyDelete
  90. great post, thanks for sharing. I was just talking with my hubby last night about our debt. It's hard to get on the same page sometimes. I really like DR and he doesn't..hm. Albeit, I am determined!

    ReplyDelete
  91. Amazing and so insipiring! I've wanted to be debt free for so long. The hubs & I have hit some hardships & credit cards is how we got by for a while but we're making it, slowly but surely. I'm so happy for you guys that you're becoming debt free. We might have to check out Dave Ramsey for ourselves. :-)

    ReplyDelete
  92. I am so happy for you that you have come so far. Hubby and I are debt free and it was the best feeling when we were able to pay the last of it off. I found the closer we got to being debt free, the less we wanted to spend. And now we can't handle even being close to zero because having savings feels so good. Thank you for sharing your inspiring story with us! Keep it up!

    ReplyDelete
  93. Thank you for being so real! Your post was both genuine and very personal, I really appreciate you sharing this! My husband and I are actually on the Dave Ramsey journey ourselves. We are newlyweds and decided if we want to live like no one else one day, we better start now! Thank you again, your post really makes others feel like they are not alone!

    Lindsay @ A DESIGN STORY

    ReplyDelete
  94. Your story sounds a lot like mine! I got into debt during college as well, and am slowly trying to dig myself out. Thanks for the motivation to keep working at it! :)

    ReplyDelete
  95. Thank you for sharing your story. You are doing amazingly well and should definitely be congratulated! It took us several years to pay off our credit cards after we got married (we didn't have too much), but it is a wonderful, freeing feeling to live with no credit card debt (we still have a mortgage, car loan, and student loans), but we've been able to not have any credit card debt for the past 11 years. It's worth every sacrifice. Keep up the great work!

    ReplyDelete
  96. One of the best things my husband and I ever did was take a bet from a friend--to see who could pay down the most debt by the time they turned 30. We paid off 25K in 18 months and we didn't win! It has enabled me to be a stay at home mom. The only bummer is now we can't feed our inner hunger to pay down debt as much! (it is SO addicting!) Congrats on your progress, and I'm excited for your announcement, whenever it comes!

    ReplyDelete
  97. Isn't it amazing how similar everyone's stories are! We've all paid Stupid Tax (as Dave says). My family is debt-free except for the house. It is so freeing! Thanks for sharing your story, and keep it up!

    ReplyDelete
  98. That is SO groovy-great! I love me some dave! Congrats on being so close!

    ReplyDelete
  99. Great job!! We are on our way to being debt free too! Having Dave's plan to follow was awesome because sometimes I felt so defeated and his go get them attitude helped me through that. To bad school does teach what we really need to know about money!

    ReplyDelete
  100. Congrats on controlling your money and not letting it control you :) My hubs and I are debt free but the house and instead of getting a new car to replace his 1996, nearly 200K SUV we are inheriting a car from my grandma which is a 1992 but has less than 100K miles. Won't look cool... but hey, we're weird! :-D

    ReplyDelete
  101. I really enjoyed your post about Dave Ramsey. We sooo appreciate his message and teachings! My husband and I did FPU thru our church approximately 1 1/2 yrs ago, and we've paid off $22K to date. We only lack our mortgage, and we were able to recently refinance - after cleaning up our credit. I can so relate to you about juggling the bills; my credit card mess began in college as well. Did I learn my lesson? NOOO! Took another 12 years to do that - ugh!! My greatest hope is that we can lead our children by example on how to be their own financial advocates. Thank you for your blog; it's great inspiration to me! I was really focused for awhile on whittling down grocery and everyday expenses; now I'm finally ready to spruce up my nest on a shoestring budget. Thank you, thank you for inspiring me and knowing I can do it in a thrifty way! Blessings to you and yours!

    ReplyDelete
  102. Good for you, no great for you! It's hard, but sooooo worth it, isn't it? We have read Dave and Crown Financial, both are similar and right on the money (wink).

    ReplyDelete
  103. The hubs and I are actually very money conscious - and we appreciate the teachings of both sets of parents. We are debt free in credit cards - about to finish a car payment, and we're feeling good!

    I think people must think I spend so much money over at my blog - but I really do thrift shop, and if we don't have the money for it - we don't buy it. We force eachother to use the money we have, not credit cards.

    Great post!

    ReplyDelete
  104. I am a recent follower of yours and was going through my blogs before I started writing my own blog today about this exact subject!!! My husband and I just went through one month of Dave's plan and we are super excited to get moving on being debt free! Glad to hear that you guys have done so well on it!

    ReplyDelete
  105. Inspiring! I learned all my money smarts from my mother-- one day your stepdaughter (and everyone else you influence) will be able to say that about you. They won't need Dave Ramsey, they'll have you!

    ReplyDelete
  106. Aw - thanks so much for sharing this! I'm right there with you trying to get completely out of debt and build my savings. I'm absolutely amazed when people are able to pay off sums like $165,000!!! I want to cheer for them too.

    Thanks again for being an inspiration! xoxo

    ReplyDelete
  107. Congratulations on being so close to debt-free. After hearing Dave Ramsey's "Money Minute" for months on the radio, I finally read his book this spring. What a huge paradigm shift it caused for my husband and me! We quickly started attacking our smallest debts and got them paid off far sooner than I ever thought we could thanks to our newfound focus. Now we are tackling our biggest debt-- STUDENT LOANS (so worth the opportunities warranted by the education, but so hard to pay off) and will be debt-free except for the house by the end of October.

    What makes this whole process even sweeter is that we want to adopt a child but thought we would have to add adoption fees to the mountain of debt we already had, which meant I would have a hard time ever realizing my dream of being a stay-at-home mom. With our debt gone, we will now be able to adopt sooner than we had initially planned AND quite possibly have the fees saved by the time we bring our little one home. Plus I will have more options when it comes to being a part-time or full-time stay-at-home mom. God bless Dave Ramsey for his wisdom and the tough-love encouragement he shares to help so many of us attain financial freedom!!!

    *You can find many of the budget and debt-assessment forms used in his book on his website. Just google "Dave Ramsey."

    ReplyDelete
  108. I love it... My husband and I listen to Dave Ramsey on a daily basis... congratulations to you and your husband....My husband and I are following his guidelines (but not the T either)... he is an amazing man.. one that can teach us all something!! Good luck with the remaining balance.. and I can't wait to hear you on the D.R. Show screaming "we're debt free!"

    ReplyDelete
  109. Keep up the good work!! It's so satisfying to be debt free! We followed Dave's plan as well and paid off our debts, paid off the cars, did the full allotment on our retirement funds and have our emergency nest done. IT FEELS SO GOOD!

    It took awhile for me to get my husband on board. As in several YEARS! But eventually he saw the light and we will never go back.

    We're taking a break before we pay off the house to save up for major home remodeling. But we STILL use only cash and stick to a tight budget.

    For anyone who is AT ALL tired of debt, check out his books from the library and let your life be changed. :)

    ReplyDelete
  110. Good for you! I look forward to hearing you scream. :)

    ReplyDelete
  111. With a little help from Dave, my husband and I have been debt free for the last 3 years. I am so excited for you that you are almost there! It feels like being led out of Egypt by Moses and into the Promised Land.

    Thank you for being transparent and honest with this post. I can see that doing so has already encouraged and inspired so many others. Way to go, girl!

    ReplyDelete
  112. WE ARE DEBT FREE! It has changed our entire marriage. I highly recommend it to everyone!

    ReplyDelete
  113. I would LOVE to read all the comments, because I love reading other folks that are traveling my same road. THANK YOU for sharing your story. It is mine almost to a T!

    Dave Ramsey and our family are close friends too. When I have the discipline to say no to something I really want, I have Dave to blame. :-) But it's all good! In 8 years, hubs and I have paid off close to $75,000 in debt. We have about $700 on one last card and then it's only our mortgage. We drive old beat up cars, shop Goodwill, menu plan, and do the cash envelope thing. We don't do it to the extreme, but the new habits have instilled in us an awareness of how little discipline we've had in our finances. It's also allowed me to make the decision to leave my job and stay home with my two toddlers...a dream I never thought possible!

    Neither of us were taught by our parents how to handle money. It's not a mistake we plan on making with our children. If it's in our control, it's a lesson they WILL learn before leaving to be on their own.

    Thank you for touching such a sensitive topic head on. This economy is hard on so many of us. I think the stress would be a lot less on every household if we lived by Dave's very simple advice.

    ReplyDelete
  114. My husband and I have been listening to Dave since he was broadcasting as THE MONEY GAME with another guy. Same great advice. We started listening right after we were married. His advice allowed me to be a stay at home mom when we adopted our son (paid cash for that, too!). Keep it up!

    ReplyDelete
  115. Thank you for sharing your story. My hubby and I are working on being debt free and while it's definitely slow and steady it feels so great to be making progress!

    ReplyDelete
  116. DH and I are huge Ramsey fans as well. We worked the plan and paid off $75,000 in 14 months. Eating out for our family was a pizza and hot dog combo at Sam's Club for $5. The main thing to remember is that its only temporary. Once your debt free you don't have to make the drastic changes. We are now living like no one else so later we can give like no one else.

    My DH and I now teach the FPU classes. I would recommend taking the class as you get to meet others in the same boat. Usually you will get some great money saving tips. You can find a local class on dameramsey.com.

    ReplyDelete
  117. I love to hear the Dave Stories! I am a newbie to your blog and just love it! My name is also Sarah and I found Dave Ramsey about 6 years ago. We have been doing the program for about 5 yrs now and we do it like you guys. Not exactly to the "T" but we don't borrow anymore. I am guilty of buying new things but now since I have found all these great blogs on how to do stuff on your own I will be changing that! I love crafts & home improvement/decorating! Thanks for all your inspiration!

    ReplyDelete
  118. First of all, thank you so much for your open honesty in this post. We are Dave Ramsey fans as well and are one of the families that can yell that we are debt free except the mortgage. Like you, we are not rice and beans people, but we still managed to pay off the debt we had when we first got married and now pay for everything with cash, even the two vehicles we now OWN!! I wanted to encourage you and your family to keep pushing for that debt free goal. It is so worth it!! God's blessings.

    ReplyDelete
  119. Financial Peace University (FPU) is being offered at my church this fall. Trying to find out any fees. I have one of his books that I haven't read yet and a friend may still have the dvds from FPU. Have heard wonderful things from people who follow his advice.

    I, like you, was in a rough situation. My husband walked out of our marriage when our son was 4 months old (he's now 21) and I worked part-time only until he went into 1st grade. Sometimes (often), credit cards were the only way to supplement my income. At least child support payed for our rents. When it got to $13,000 (about 8 years) I, too, went to a free, non-profit credit counseling service and began to pay off my debt and went credit card free. That may not sound like alot to some, but to a single mom working part-time it was huge. I stayed cc free until about 2 years ago and allowed myself a small one at a clothing store. I don't use it often and have found when I do, I can STILL manage to not get it paid on time. ERRRRRR!!!! I no longer use it and have only one loan (gutter covers) outside of my mortgage. Can't wait to pay them off and then nail the mortgage - would like to be debt free long before I'm 80!

    Way to go, Sarah & Hubs!

    ReplyDelete
  120. LOVE Dave! My hubby is a teacher and I'm a stay at home mom which means VERY little money. We live by the envelope system and are so looking forward to the days when we're debt free!! =)

    ReplyDelete
  121. I've just got to say that your post has been inspiring. My husband and I don't have much credit card debt (we only have 2 cards in his name with small limits) but sometimes I feel like we'll be paying off student loans forever. I was lucky enough to get a full scholarship. I only wish hubby had been that lucky. We got married young, while still in college, and student loans were the only way we made it through (that and one credit card) Now my husband is in grad school with hopes of getting a PhD (I hear chaching in my head when I say that). We've been fortunate to have help from his dad for grad school but we still have to take out loans to pay the rest of his tuition (which is ten grand a semester!). I am definitely going to check out Dave Ramsey since the thought of being in debt my whole life gives me great anxiety. Thanks for sharing what I'm sure is a hard story to tell.

    ReplyDelete
  122. Congratulations! I cried when I read your posting. I, too would love to be debt free but it will be a long time from now. Is there any help/advice/assistance for single parents? My son has put off going to college straight away because he doesn't want to incur any debt. Maybe, he'll go off next Spring. We have discussed money management-something I wish my parents did with me-so everything he makes with the exception of $40, goes in the bank. With that for he pays his cell bill, puts gas in the car and purchases his trading cards. I'd say he's off to a good start! As for me, this year, I have really reduced my fabric and other non-essential purchase. It's nice to have a month's rent sitting in the bank. I look forward to your big day.
    Angela

    ReplyDelete
  123. Thanks for sharing your story! Dave is the man I hate to love/love to hate. We've been on his plan since January. We are at the beginning of the debt snowball and at times seems like we're never going to get there but hearing your story and others on 'Debt Free Friday' give us hope! My husband and I are going to see Total Money Makeover Live in Raleigh, NC in October - we can't wait! You're awesome and keep up the good work!

    ReplyDelete
  124. Awesome, I can't wait to see you guys on a debt-free Friday edition!! We love Dave too, and I often feel guilty that we don't follow the EXACT plan (eating out is our problem, but never on a card anymore, and definitely not the $$$ places we used to go!!)but am reminded by your post that it's great to be paying off debt and moving in the right direction A LOT more quickly than we were.

    ReplyDelete
  125. I, too, absolutely love "Debt Free Fridays" on the DR Show. I really look forward to them as they are such an inspiration. There are times when I too, can't wait to call in and scream, "I'm Debt Free"! My husband accused me of being DR brain-washed. If that's what it takes to get out of debt, then wash on, Dave Ramsey, wash on!!! I've got two credit cards with minimal balances to pay off, but I too went to school not knowing how I was going to pay for it... and I went to a private college! If I follow the plan, I'm hoping to be debt free in three more years. I'm just hoping my 107K+ mileage Toyota will hold up! Wish me luck!!!! Thanks for posting. This was a great post!

    ReplyDelete
  126. Congratulations to the both of you! Reading stories like yours and ALL of these comments is really inspirational. I took a DR class just a few weeks ago and it really made me watch what I buy!

    ReplyDelete
  127. Thank you for sharing from your heart. We are big Dave Ramsey fans as well, although we need a refresher course now and then. This post was a good reminder of that. Thanks for the inspiration.

    ReplyDelete
  128. Way to GO!!!!!!!! I know that will be a happy day when you call in to tell Dave!

    ReplyDelete
  129. Sarah, thank you so much for sharing your story! I bet you helped a lot of your readers. We have a small credit card balance that we're working to pay off. We had it paid off and then had to add new truck tires, and things added up from there. Nothing too big, but it DOES feel good when you can write that last check!

    ReplyDelete
  130. Congrats to you! Keep up the good work!

    My husband and I got married almost a year ago, and after reading about Dave Ramsey on another blog, we decided to take his Financial Peace University class this spring. It was by far the best $100 we've ever spent!

    The class was a mix of young and old, couples and singles, some with lots of debt, some with none. Dave and the class can truly benefit anyone!

    I'm SO thankful that my husband and I stumbled upon this class so early in our relationship, and will be able to use Dave’s teachings to build a successful life together. Fortunately, we didn’t have a lot to begin with, but we’re also hoping to be debt free by the end of the year. Paying off debt, saving and making smart financial decisions is fun and it’s truly made us a great team.

    I think the FPU class would be a GREAT gift to give anyone – especially young high school and college grads and newlyweds!

    Like most of you, I’m also looking forward to the day when we are “living like no one else!” 

    ReplyDelete
  131. Thank you for sharing your story. Debt has become so commonplace in our society. I grew up in a situation where my dad owned his own business and my mother was a stay at home mom but money was really tight with 5 kids. My parents didn't always make the right choices with money and were learning as they went. When I moved out I made a determination to not be that way, but being young and dumb, my husband and I made our own mistakes. We have spent 1.5 years now trying to get out from under our own hole. After seeing my own brother and sister tell me they are debt free all but their house, I wanted NOTHING more than to be able to say the same thing. Keep up the good work. It's hard but it definitely is worth it. Love your blog!

    ReplyDelete
  132. AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!


    I listed to his podcast on my iPhone every day. LOVE him. Dave Ramsey for President! LOL


    Congratulations. :)

    ReplyDelete
  133. We still have a mortgage, but as of about a year and a half ago, we own our vehicles and have no other debt. I can tell you firsthand that it's the most amazing, freeing feeling. I'll be cheering for you all the way! :)

    ReplyDelete
  134. Congrats on deciding to become debt free. My husband and I are also jumping on the wagon to become debt free. I listen to Dave as I am driving and understand how emotional it is to hear people yell "WE ARE DEBT FREE"! I think that is what has given me the motivation to want to do it even more. Congrats and keep up the good work! Live like no one else so later you can live like no one else!

    ReplyDelete
  135. Thank you so much for your post! It helps to know we're not the only ones who've made mistakes financially!

    ReplyDelete
  136. I often remind myself that one of the greatest gifts my parents gave me was an education. Because of their financial planning and probably thier parents before them they were able to pay for my education. Not haveing the burden of student loans starting out as a real "adult" is the greatest feeling. They also taught and were models of excellent money management skills. This is something that you have and will be able to teach your children as well. Any your right. . .they may not appreciate it right away or realize what a gift it is but eventually they will. I can tell you are so proud of how far you've come and I can only imagine the pride, relief, and FREEDOM you'll feel when that day comes when you are free of debt. Congratulations. Oh. . .and I love your blog. I shared it with my mother in law this weekend and she said she spent about an hour trolling your site!

    ReplyDelete
  137. I did the Dave Ramsey program for awhile with my boyfriend (at the time) and his family. The steps to get out of debt were simple, yet worked. I will never forget the things I learned from the study, even if I didn't make it all the way through. But after nearly 3 years of being in credit card debt (I am addicted to shopping, too) I can say now I'm debt free! I received a large bonus and used it immediately to pay off all my debt, even though I so badly wanted to go shopping. It's the most freeing feeling, not worrying about late payments, not being able to make minimum payments, and the idea that you are nearly paying double with all the interest. Best of luck to you and your husband, and that is wonderful you are able to pay for your stepdaughter's college education.

    ReplyDelete
  138. I hear you girl!! If there is a silver lining to this whole economic meltdown is that sooo many of us are striving to make sure it doesn't happen to us again. My husband and I are also planning and working hard toward the day we scream 'DEBT FREE!' We even put a plan on our Quicken money program that shows us what to pay off first, how much to pay on each debt and a calendar each month. We look at the balance go down and down. If we follow this program we'll be debt free (including our home!!) in 11 years. If anyone has access to this program it's awesome. Dave Ramsey should be a national icon.
    Great post.
    p.s. Love, love, love your diy projects btw!

    ReplyDelete
  139. You just inspired my latest blog post! We are also on Dave's plan (loosely) and we are loving the way it is working for us.


    http://lifeasanoakes.blogspot.com/2010/08/debt-is-dumb.html

    ReplyDelete
  140. This post was EXACTLY what I needed today! My husband and I are one month short of being married one year, and we are just now following daves plan and using a financial planner who literally gives us an allowance every week! I was just complaining to my mom about how badly I want to spend money again..I feel like its been forever! But I need to focus on the longterm goal. Thanks for this post!
    Karlee

    ReplyDelete
  141. We went to a Dave class at our church a few months ago and have followed his plan ever since. with two college educations that pay very little and a masters we have a LOT of student debt. We also don't follow it to the T (we just bought a house even though we still have debt) but spend all of our monthly expenses in cash and it helps out a ton! Thanks for the post and I will for sure cry for you on that day!
    Tara
    twallac3@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  142. we love dave ramsey...but have fallen off the wagon in the last few months. I needed to read this to kick me in the butt and put us back into action! Thanks!!!

    ReplyDelete
  143. June 2009 I called into Dave's show and got to scream "WE'RE DEBT FREEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!"

    We started the plan in Oct. 2005, had all the non-house debt paid off by Mar., 2006, and then started on the house! We paid off the house the beginning of June 2009!!

    It is a wonderful feeling knowing that NO ONE will ever come take my house or my cars (or anything else) from me! :) It gives work a whole new meaning!

    Good luck with your path...keep on keeping on!

    Loretta

    ReplyDelete
  144. awesome story! God is blessing your efforts & in honoring Him, He will honor you...be blessed!

    ReplyDelete
  145. Good for you! It's a great feeling to not owe anyone anything! I'm lucky I married someone who agrees with that and during both of our first couple of years of working (him Air Force, me teaching) we payed off my student loans entirely AND our brand new car in just under a year. We could have lived 'high on the hog' with our dual incomes and no kids at the time, but he saved and we didn't splurge on anything. I'm learning that stuff is just...stuff. Peace of mind and financial security is more precious than any item (if it comes down to that).

    May I step on my soapbox for just a second for a wee bit of unsolicitated advice? I think it's great that you are paying for your stepdaughter's/kids college education - it is a TON of money to worry about (I had to do it alone with grants, scholarships, and loans!) so I think parents should do what they can to help, but in your efforts to save your stepdaughter from the pains you suffered, don't deprive her of the opportunity to also learn the value of money, saving, and money management during these early important years right out of the house. Even if we are billionaries, I plan to have our children help with their educations - even with just a small portion of their education. Even just books or just getting that part time job so they have their own money for non-essentials. I saw way too many kids whose parents took care of *ev-ery-thing* and the lessons they didn't learn were evident in the way they handled their education. Maybe that's not what you plan to do anyway, but thank you for allowing me to spew that information at you (I guess you didn't really have a choice...:{

    Again, good for you both! Pat yourselves on the back big time!

    ReplyDelete
  146. Very honest of you to share this. I wish schools would include basic financial planning to young people. Knowing how credit cards can cripple you would help a lot of young people avoid starting their adult life with a bucket load of debt. Good luck & your decorating
    skills are a credit to you.



    Barb

    ReplyDelete
  147. If I can pass this along to help others learn about saving. When our sons wanted to buy their first car, we suggested they save half to the down payment & we would match whatever they saved. They managed to come up with a good sum. We did the same when it came time to buying their first home, meeting your kids half way helps them prioritize what they want & tells them parents are there for support but don't expect them to pay the entire bill.

    Barb

    ReplyDelete
  148. I love dave!! and i totally cry when people call in and yell their debt free!! So proud of you and your fam. Thanks for sharing!

    ReplyDelete
  149. Thanks for sharing your story! I only recently found your blog, and I was surprised today to see one of my favorite people staring at me. :) DH and I have been following the Dave Ramsey plan for a year or so and it has totally changed my thinking about money. We didn't have much debt but we didn't have any direction either, and he has given us that. We've got baby step 5 going and are saving for a car before fully attacking step 6. Keep with it - it works! (As you know!)

    ReplyDelete
  150. We love Dave! We took FPU in February 2009 & have paid $14k off! We are now DEBT FREE except for our house. It's awesome, awesome, awesome!
    We have plans to pay the house off in 6 years if we stay put! SIX YEARS! I'm only 27 and that's just AMAZING to me! We'll be able to pay for our girls' colleges with CASH buy them a USED car with CASH. I just love it!
    Fridays are my fave to listen to Dave - I turn him on as I'm cleaning the kitchen from lunch.

    Seriously - it's He is why we can be a one income family. We don't spend lavishly, we don't go on exotic vacations - we spend what we can and nothing more.

    You go girl! Keep up the hard work and I'll look forward to hearing you call in!

    ReplyDelete
  151. I listen to Dave Ramsey, too, and I love when people call in with the debt-free scream! My husband and I have been debt free for many years (pre-Dave) and let me tell you - the good feeling never, never goes away. Life's bumps are far easier to accept when money is not a factor. Car needs brakes? No problem. A/C goes out in August? No problem. The blessing of being debt free grows and grows and never stops!
    You'll get to scream before you know it, and you'll join the rest of us who know how great it is to be debt free. You can do it!!

    ReplyDelete
  152. thank you for sharing this! i recently learned about DR, and am starting to walk the path to financial peace. it's nice to read other people's stories, because it helps me realize that i to can do this. it IS possible.

    THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU! keep up the great work..you will make it...i can't wait to hear about your debt free scream, just as much as i can't wait to yell it myself some day!

    ReplyDelete
  153. Gotta love the Dave plan! Hubs and I only have our house to pay off and if we stay on schedule it will be paid off in 5 years. I'll be 35 and DEBT FREE. Yipee!

    ReplyDelete
  154. Gotta love the Dave plan! Hubs and I only have our house to pay off and if we stay on schedule it will be paid off in 5 years. I'll be 35 and DEBT FREE. Yipee!

    ReplyDelete
  155. God Bless You! As I type this my husband and I are sitting $71 overdrawn! We have very little debt but just can seem to get out act together! He has a great job and I work part time. We were just talking about trying Dave methods! Then I logged on to check the blogs and find what you wrote! Thank you for sharing your story! Your such a inspiration!

    ReplyDelete
  156. Thanks for sharing such a personal story! I will be checking Dave out.

    You might also like Gail Vaz Oxlade's website & Blog: http://www.gailvazoxlade.com.

    Her TV show [u]'Til Debt Do Us Part [/u] is inspirational

    ReplyDelete
  157. I spoke to Dave Ramsey on his radio show in January. We were drowning in a sea of credit card debt. By the grace of God alone, my husband and I had several financial miracles happen this spring....and we are now debt free aside from our truck payment. We have a long way to go on it, but hope to call back to the show next year to thank DAve and SCREAM WE>ARE>DEBT>FREE!!!!! Keep at it girl!!

    ReplyDelete
  158. I knew I loved your blog for more than just your decorating! Dave is awesome. My fiance and I recently started listening to him and we are pumped. Almost done with Baby Step #1!

    I hope I am listening the day you call in to scream "WE'RE DEBT FREE" and Dave will say "That's awesome! Way to go kiddo!" :)

    ReplyDelete
  159. Congrats to you on all your hard work to get yourself back in the black! You'll be doing back flips when that debt free day comes! Thanks for being so open and honest about your situation - it's comforting to so many to know that there are others in the same boat and that there's hope. I fell into that college credit card thing too and it took YEARS to dig out of that hole while trying to get established in the work world. It's been a lifelong struggle for sure.

    ReplyDelete
  160. We got married very young, my husband was 20 and I was 19. Needless to say we were dumb with $ and lacked wisdom. We started off our marraige w/ $15,000 in debt, for buying who knows what.Finally a light went off and we realized we couldn't live with that much debt any longer. We worked our butts off. At one point we didn't buy any groceries until we ate everything out of the pantry. It was hard during that time, but so rewarding afterwards. A couple of years after that we decided to grow our family and it has been a blessing to be debt free before then. We have manage to have me stay home now for 5years. We did fall off the wagon a couple of years ago, but we are fighting hard and owe less than $2000now. Yippee! It is such a strong sense of pride when we can actually purchase something that we have been "saving" for. Thank you for sharing about Dave. We have never tried his system, but from all the rave comments from here, we will check it out. Unfortunatly, we know of many that would benefit from him. Blessings and congrats!

    ReplyDelete
  161. What a great post! We didn't have as much to pay off but we did pay off $15,000 and are debt free excluding the house.

    We even paid for our newest car with cash. That was so fun! All of our latest home repairs are with cash as well and when it runs out, we have to save up more.

    ReplyDelete
  162. I stumbled upon your blog a few weeks ago and have kept coming back to check out all your wonderful creativity!
    Your post today is truly inspiring for anyone dealing with debt and that there is a light at the end of the tunnel.
    You ROCK and Dave Ramsey ROCKS too! :)

    ReplyDelete
  163. I read your blog faithfully and you are so brave for telling your story. Most people try to hide it all. My husband also read the book in about 2 days and now we are on the Dave Plan. We only have our house to pay off but we are trying to pay off our new $140,000 mortgage off in 5 years instead of 30. Then we can buy furniture for our home; until then I guess it will be on the empty side but I thank you for all of your frugal tips and ideas for decorating. Again, thanks and good luck!

    ReplyDelete
  164. That is exactly our story - well the part where our debt was large and we couldnt' even pay the minimums and I found Dave Ramsey. We have been on the debt plan for a year now. It's killer - especially when you are used to having a larger lifestyle because of credit.
    the hardest part for me right now is having to say no - No, I can't come visit you because we can't afford the gas. No, I can't go out to dinner and drinks because I need the extra money to buy shoes for hte kids. No, I can't make that for dinner because it will exceed the grocery budget. I hate saying no, but I like you, I can't wait for the day when I get to call Dave and say "We're debt free!

    I also wrote a post on this topic at: http://shannandesh.blogspot.com/2009/04/you-meansniff-sniffno-more-cable.html

    ReplyDelete
  165. Yay for you!! We've done Financial Peace for over 11 years now. Let me tell you, IT WORKS! We still do the envelope system even though we're debt-free (less a partial mortgage) now. I think your story would inspire many to try Dave's method. God bless and best wishes in getting to your own Debt-free Friday and yelling WE'RE DEBT FREE!!

    ReplyDelete
  166. Oh. My. Gosh. I'm sitting her with tears in my eyes reading your story!! Thank you so much for sharing - I know you will inspire many others to learn what Dave teaches. Our nutshell Dave story is we've paid off $123K since Jan 2007!! We have about $23K left and if the blessings fall in place that are on the horizon right now, we'll be debt-free in April, 2011 and will be driving to Nashville to meet the man himself and do our own "WE'RE DEBT FREEEEEEEE!!!" scream from the lobby of Financial Peace Plaza!! We also facilitate his Financial Peace University classes at our church - #5 starts in just 2 1/2 weeks - it totally keeps us accountable!! For anyone who thinks they're in too much debt to ever get out from under it - YOU CAN - but you have to start chipping away at it and get that Debt Snowball rolling.

    Thanks again, Sarah - what an awesome story!!! Keep up the amazing work and definitely let us know when you're making the call - I can't wait to listen and cry tears of joy along with you!!!

    ReplyDelete
  167. Good post!!! I am a new Dave fan and although I haven't officially started the steps at least I know what I need to do. Love that you shared him with everyone in bloggy world. :)

    ReplyDelete
  168. We are avid Dave Ramsey followers too. We are one month from being debt free and it feels wonderful. We had a much rougher ride, but the end result is SO worth it. I really appreciate all these wonderful blogs (yours included) that are Dave Ramsey followers and decorate on a budget. It helps those of us who are doing the same.

    Thanks, Heidi

    ReplyDelete
  169. I just started listening to him about a month ago, and I have learned so much! Thank you for sharing your story, it's hard to tell people about mistakes that we've made, but I really admire you for it. I've unfortunately had to learn things the hard way too! But thank you for your story! It truly is inspiring, and Dave is the man!

    ReplyDelete
  170. So inspiring. I followed Dave's plan until I bought a house. And suddenly, my wants were more important than my needs. Thank you for the encouragement to get back on track!

    ReplyDelete
  171. I discovered Dave last year. I'm lucky enough to be deft free except for my home (and recently my new windows which I'm paying extra on every month so I can get it paid off quickly)...and have no plans to go back!

    For once in my life, I actually have money to save! I have money to put towards retirement!

    Like you, I don't follow everything to a T, but I follow enough to keep me moving ahead financially!!

    ReplyDelete
  172. My hubby and I finished Financial Peace University about 3 months ago. It totally changed our lives! I just wish, like you, I'd learn Dave's techniques when I was younger. We keep trying to explain the need to be debt free to our children...hopefully some will sink in ;0) I'm just glad to hear about someone elses experience. Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  173. THANK YOU! I have just a little debt compared to most Americans, but like you I thought it would be just a hundred dollars, and I would be able to pay it off. Now it haunts me. No time like today!

    ReplyDelete
  174. What a wonderful and inspirational story! Can't wait to check out his website. With the economy and job markets the way they are, none of us needs to incur any more debt. Good luck to you and your hubby! Can't wait to hear the ending to this great tale!

    ReplyDelete
  175. Thank you for being such a normal person. Great advice and once again thank you for being real! I love you girl!

    ReplyDelete
  176. This post was perfect timing for me! I just read the Complete Money Makeover book and I am waiting for the hubs to finish reading it. We are ready to get started. My favorite Dave quote is, "You don't want to be the Joneses -- the Joneses are in debt!" It's so true!

    Hope you have a great weekend!

    ReplyDelete
  177. Thank you! I needed this post. My husband and I have set up a plan to be completely debt free (yeah, besides the house) in a year and a half. It is hard for me to remember that the sacrafices we are going to make during that time will be worth it, but this post has inpired me to continue on! We want to live our lives debt free! I was also a young stupid girl moving out while still in high school and signing up for various credit cards. Lukily, I got married to a money smart guy at 20, and in our first year of marriage paid off my 10,000 of debt. We have gotten ourselves into some more stupid debt, but we are going to pay it off! It will be worth it! Thanks again Sarah!

    ReplyDelete
  178. We're on the same plan and you're right - it's hard, but SOOOOOOOOOOOO much more rewarding than going out and spending it like you've got it. There's just something about being self-disciplined that makes you feel so good about life! Congrats - and keep up the hard work!

    ReplyDelete
  179. You give me hope. We have about $75,000 to pay off and I look at the three-ish years it would take to Dave Ramsey it and it seems way too far away to deal with. But seeing someone very much like myself and my husband doing it - well then we can do it too! Thanks for the inspiration!

    ReplyDelete
  180. Your blog is very inspiring!

    We had to file bankruptcy after our business went under, and we are now learning how to live off of quite a lower income. Visit my blog at thefrugalfamilyjourney.blogspot.com.

    I have been focused on how to cut your grocery bill in half by matching coupons with weekly sales.

    Good luck and God bless. -Julie

    ReplyDelete
  181. Great Job! Saw you were featured on Dave's Facebook posts as well. Very cool! Dave is such an inspiration, and seeing and hearing other become debt free is such a great motivator. Thanks for sharing yours.
    Love you ideas and blog!

    ReplyDelete
  182. Right before I got married, my bankruptcy attorney father-in-law gave me and my husband a Dave Ramsey CD to listen to - we love it and do our best to live by it. We still have lots of debt in the form of student loans, but we're living like no one else so that in the future, we can live like no one else! Keep up the good work, and thanks for your honesty. :)

    ReplyDelete
  183. awesome post!!! great job!!! Thank you for sharing your story. I think it's so inspirational. Dave rocks. my parent's teach his financial peace university at our church and have had the opportunity to yell We're debt free! on his radio show.
    my hubby and I are slowly working through the baby steps and are plugging away at just the mortgage and school loans we have left! Keep up the good work! :)

    ReplyDelete
  184. I looooove hearing peoples stories about getting out of debt! It's so inspiring and motivating! We've been working the Dave plan for a little over a year and just have one more payment and then we'll be debt free! We don't get Dave's show where we live, so I listen on the computer when I can. The Friday show is my favorite. I always tear up as well when people do their debt free shout. I know how hard these people have worked and I'm so happy for them. I can't wait to have made it there. What we're doing for our future and our children's future is absolutely priceless. Thank you for sharing your story and as Dory would say, "just keep swimming!" (My kids have been watching "Finding Nemo" a lot lately if you couldn't tell ;) )

    ReplyDelete
  185. We have also been living the Dave Ramsey Life Style for about 5 years. To begin with, we paid off my husbands 90,000 college loans!IN.ONLY.THREE.YEARS. Now we have no car payments and only one credit card left. We are sooooo close to being debt free (except for our home loan). We hope to make double payments once we are done with our debt. AND I PRAY that our cars last us a LONG TIME! SO happy for you and your hubby, congrats on almost being there :)

    ReplyDelete
  186. We started the Dave Ramsey plan 9 years ago. Paying off our consumer debt allowed me to stop working and stay home. We paid off our house two years ago (we were 35 and 36 at the time), paid cash for the adoption of two siblings from Ethiopia and now both work in full time ministry. NONE of that would have been possible without changing our lifestyle and following Dave's advice.

    I've been trying to chronicle our story in parts each Friday on my blog: http://www.fourplusmore.com

    ReplyDelete
  187. I'm so proud of you (and others who posted that they are doing it)! It is SO WORTH IT!!! We were able to pay for our daughter's college years at a small private school, because the money was there. We told her that she could go to school where she wanted, if she worked for scholarships as well, which she did, and got two academic and one music scholarship. She is no almost 27 and owes no one anything and does not carry a credit card. As the Bible says in Proverbs 22:7, the borrower is SLAVE to the lender.

    Keep it up!!!

    ReplyDelete
  188. Amen sista! We are living in Financial Peace too! It's a daily choice, isn't it? So happy for you and proud of you for sharing.

    ReplyDelete
  189. Way to go! I have been a blog stocker of yours for a while now :) My hubby and I are debt free including our home, and you know what? I still cry EVERY TIME someone calls Dave and does the scream because I am so happy for their FREEDOM! Can't wait to hear you on the radio :)

    ReplyDelete
  190. I found your post from Dave Ramsey on Facebook...I am proud of you! Keep up the good work. If you want to read my debt free story, go here: http://thelifeofmisty.blogspot.com/2009/07/im-debt-free.html. If you get down, send me a note, I will encourage you! Press on!!! Be a Gazelle!

    ReplyDelete
  191. Thank you for this post! My Hubs and I were lucky enough to be given a set of Dave's DVDs last Christmas and STILL haven't watched them--but your post is so inspiring it makes me want to have a Dave marathon right now!

    ReplyDelete
  192. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  193. Great story! I am happy for you and will be happier for you when you are able to make your debt free call!!

    ReplyDelete
  194. Sarah-
    Thanks for posting about your debt and letting others know about your success story. Seriously, $60K in 3 years is amazing!!! I just paid off my car last month and thought I was doing good!!! I too was bombarded with credit apps when I first started college and without any parental help with the cost, I used those cards for everything rent, food, fun, etc. I remember going to Dillards and charging all new bathroom decor on my shiny new card and not even thinking twice about it. Now I would go straight to Goodwill for those items! Thank you for putting yourself out there and letting us all know that paying off debt really can be done!
    ~Beth

    ReplyDelete
  195. Thank you so much for posting your story for the masses. I love how DR still keeps Christ at the center of his teachings and inspires so many. I'm sure you can attest to this too, that marriage is SO MUCH EASIER without money arguments!
    We're debt free and loving it right now, but I'm so happy that someone who has exposure like you can get his name out and begin something that will spread even faster now!

    ReplyDelete
  196. congrats that you are on your way! i started listening to Dave about 3 years ago and since then I have gone debt free (except for a small student loan of my husbands) and saved as much as possible. it feels so gratifying buying everything with cash and knowing that i don't have those bills looming over me every month. this has never been more important than in the last 6 months as i lost my job and if i had a mountain of debt i don't know what i would be doing now. keep up the good work and thanks for sharing. congrats for making it to Dave's facebook post!

    ReplyDelete
  197. What a great post! Very inspirational. I'm also a big Dave Ramsey fan. I bought his book on CD and after I listened to it, I made 3 copies of it (shhh!) and taped a $20 bill to each of them. I gave one to my oldest son, one to his wife, and one to my then-teenaged son who is now 21. I told them they could have the $20 AFTER they listened to all the CD's.

    Best $60 I spent in my life! I'm hoping it has saved them all a lifetime of the heartaches their father and I have endured. Like you, we learn the lesson and then we unlearn it again. Just paid off another store account today - yay! It's a long road, but we'll get there and we'll be happy when we do.

    ReplyDelete

I LOVE your comments, thank you! (I read every single one.)

If you have a specific question I will do my best to answer you back here! Be sure to check out the FAQs tab at the top of the site and my Projects page for paint colors and DIY projects as well.

THANKS so much for reading!