I don’t know what it is about this time of year, but the last time I blogged about our debt free journey was last November as well. I guess it’s the upcoming holidays coming up that gets me thinking about it.
This year it’s extra special because I was asked to participate in the Dave Ramsey Merry Different Christmas series over at daveramsey.com. It was such an honor to be asked to write about our experience and I so cherish the relationship I have built with the people there.
It’s been almost two years since we finished paying off $125,000 (in credit card, car, student loan and I-have-no-idea-what-we-bought debt) and became debt free, and yes, I can easily say it’s been the best two years of our lives. It has changed us, our marriage and our outlook on life in general for the better.
I get asked all the time how it’s changed our lives. To say there is a peace and a feeling of FREEDOM is an understatement. The only money we owe anyone is for our house, and we’re chipping away at that at a good rate too. After living our entire adult lives in debt, that is an amazing feeling!!
It’s the little things that make a difference to me – I can buy primed wood if I want to now, instead of unprimed. Silly maybe, but it’s still not lost on me. This year I went to the salon to get my hair highlighted for the first time in five years. I don’t shop Goodwill as much as I used to, which I think bothers some people. Thing is, I believe I’ve saved money by not stopping in a couple times a week anymore. I used to buy items just because I’d be afraid to “lose” them for a good price -- and my house filled up with STUFF I wasn’t using. It was a waste.
Some things have not changed though – our two cars combined are 16 years and 300,000 miles old. They are…interesting. ;) But we’ll keep fixing them as long as we can to avoid buying new (used) ones. And although we can now hire help sometimes (no, I didn’t frame and drywall our basement, thankfully we hired out for that), I still find great joy in doing things myself and always will. :)
A time that I feel the change in our home the most was last Christmas (our first without debt), and that’s what I wrote about over at the Dave Ramsey site here. A few years ago, right about now, I would start to feel the panic of not having enough money to pay for Christmas. Then that panic would be “eased” by our fall back method of using credit cards throughout the season.
But it returned a couple months later…and for months (years?) after, as we continued to pay off the holiday (and everything else from months and years before). It’s just what we did. It’s what so many do! And I’m not mad at you if you do either – but if you are fed up with the debt, I write this to tell you you CAN do it differently.
That day that we asked each other – “Can we REALLY live without credit cards?” -- caused a shift and changed our lives.
This year the folks at Dave Ramsey are encouraging you to be weird too with their "A Merry Different Christmas” series. They want you to avoid going into debt for Christmas gifts, parties, decorations and focus on what really matters. To celebrate, they’ll be doing product and cash giveaways that total around $75,000 ($10,000 per week and a $15,000 grand prize)! There hope is that this will ultimately provide someone the chance to celebrate being debt-free for Christmas. AWESOME!! It gives me chills. And yes, every time I hear a debt free scream on the radio show, I still get tears in my eyes. It is an emotional thing.
My hubby and I would like to pay it forward too. If you are struggling with a little or a lot of debt, we want you to know that is really IS possible to become debt free. So like last year, we are giving away the Financial Peace University classes to five of you. This is the nine week series of classes that got us SUPER excited to kick some debt butt. The end of our debt journey was the hardest for us, and these classes motivated us SO much.
You can just use the CDs in the packet to go through the class on your own, but I highly encourage you to go to the classes if you can. It makes a difference!
You can take a look here to see where there are classes near you. Many start up at the beginning of 2013 – I can’t think of a better way to start the new year!!
The Dave Ramsey folks are throwing in 25 desk calendars as well:
Believe me, when his words are staring at you every day, it motivates. ;)
To enter to win one of the five Financial Peace classes, just leave your comment here with an email so I can contact you if needed. And of course, if you’d like to enter privately, please just send me an email at thriftydecorchick (at) gmail (dot) com with the subject “Financial Peace.” I’ll leave this open all week, till this Friday, the 9th, at noon. Winners will be contacted via email.
Good luck, and if you have a debt story to share, please feel free to do so in the comments! I love hearing them!