If you’re living in America, chances are you are in financial debt to some degree. Unfortunately, our country itself is in TRILLIONS of dollars of debt so it is pretty much inevitable that the majority of its citizens will be in debt as well.
I always thought it was so silly that in order to buy a house or “get ahead” in any way, we are taught to go into debt, so we can pay it off to impress lenders with our credit score, so we can then go even more into debt. I mean really, how ridiculous does that sound? I refuse to play that game anymore. If I can’t buy it in cash or pay in full up front, I cannot afford it. End of story.
If you’re looking for someone to tell you that the gov will come and save you from your problems (student loans, etc.), you’ve come to the wrong place, sister. Around here, we don’t play the victim. We take responsibility for where we are in life, we make a plan and take action towards our goals.
When I first started dating my now-husband, I was $33,000 in debt. I will never forget that number. I remember googling “how do you pay off your debt?” The first step I saw was to write down everything you owe. I took out my notebook and wrote down what I owed between my federal student loans, private student loan, credit card, car note and a medical bill. I almost sh*t myself when I saw how much debt I was really in. It’s easy to get wrapped up in the monthly payments and how “manageable” the can be, but think about it. If you add up the cash you have and your assets then subtract your debt, that is your net worth. My network was like ($22,000). NEGATIVE twenty-something THOUSAND dollars. If that wasn’t a wake up call, IDK what was.
Obviously I was not going to tell my boyfriend about this, especially because we have only been dating for a few months at this time. I guess he was on a similar journey as me behind the scenes because he told me about a podcast he started listening to called The Dave Ramsey Show (now I believe it is has been renamed to The Ramsey Show). He told me how he started listening to learn more about investing, but he ended up learning a lot about how to manage his money and pay off debt. My sweet bf thought I would like it… while probably also wanting the woman he was with to know a thing or two about finances if we were going to continue on with thing relationship thing and become more serious.
I started listening on my commute to and from work and was hooked immediately. Dave Ramsey is an older gentleman from Tennessee. He is very bible-based and his money and life principles are very old-fashioned. I’m a chick from South Shore, Massachusetts who swears like a sailor that believes in a higher power but doesn’t go to church. Dave isn’t someone I would usually vibe with, but just keep listening to him. He is hilarious, knowledgeable and has gotten hundreds of thousands of people out of debt. He is worth listening to. If you’re more of a reader, his book The Total Money Makeover is incredible and has all the “baby steps” as he calls them in it. I personally started with the podcast then made my way over to the book (which I breezed through in one or two days).
What if you totally committed yourself to getting out of consumer debt? Where would you be in six months? In a year? In two years? Now, think of where you would be if you didn’t start today…. scary thought, huh?
By following Dave Ramsey’s baby steps, both my husband and I, who eventually came clean about all our financial decisions, both got out of debt. When you get out of debt, you are able to make decisions based on what YOU want to do and not feel like a slave to the lender. Since getting out of debt, I quit a 9-5 job to coach cheerleading and tumbling full-time to then deciding I want to be a stay-at-home mom. My husband and I can make these decisions confidently because we busted our asses and got ourselves into a good financial position.
Dave Ramsey’s Baby Steps
1. Save $1,000 as fast as you can!
Anything else you have saved will go towards debt. It sounds scary if you are a big saver, but you will see that you can make it work. Trust this process.
2. Pay off all debt (except the house) using the debt snowball method
List your debts smallest to largest, make minimum payments towards all your debt, but put everything you possibly can squeeze out each month into your smallest debt until it is paid off. You will see how fast the progress starts to move when you do it this way.
3. Save 3-6 months expenses in a fully funded emergency fund.
4. Invest 15% of household income into retirement.
5. Save for your children’s college fund.
6. Pay of your home early
Imagine having a paid off mortgage … #goals
7. Build wealth and give!
“Live like no one else, so you can give like no one else” – Dave Ramsey
To be transparent I was making about $50-55k at my day job while I was on this journey. I took up multiple side hustles to pay things off even faster. I was working 4 jobs at one point. I would work 7-3, coach a high school cheerleading team, choreograph cheerleading routines and do private tumbling lessons at an all-star cheerleading gym and at a dance studio. Fortunately, I had a skillset from my tumbling experience that I was able to make really good money at my side hustles. I also enjoyed that kind of work so it wasn’t very difficult for me to be so busy. Obviously, I had my hard days where I just wanted to go home and veg out, but the work was SOOOO worth it. Eventually I got myself into such a great financial position that I was able to dump my day job and take up doing what I love full time.
Paying off debt isn’t easy. It takes a lot of work and commitment. Any “quick fix” is not sustainable. You have to learn how to handle your money and stick to a budget. If you can’t work with what you make now, you’re not going to be able to keep the money you make if your income increases. So stop playing the lottery hoping you will win millions and start betting on yourself and get sh*t done starting today.
Putting in the work to get into this financial position has set my husband and I up so I am able to stay home and care for our children and we are responsible and seasoned enough to budget and live on one income.
Did you find this helpful? Have you started your debt free journey? I’d love to be your cheerleader and keep the conversation going. You can follow me on IG @mindsetmama_ <3