Now for something completely different!
When I started having my headache we lost everything financially. Though we were just actually treading water before that, we thought we were fine since we could make the payments. I had to quit my job, so Barry had to close his business down and go get a normal job so we could have insurance. Then one of the cars was repo'd, then we lost the house and moved into a crappy apartment in McPherson. Let's not forgot all the medical bills either. When we moved to Mac we had a lot more breathing room since we didn't have a house payment or big utility bills. Then I finally was approved for disability and received a large lump sum in Oct. '08. We had learned our lesson and didn't do anything really dumb with it, though we did buy more car than we really needed.
Then, about this time last year, Barry asked me to listen to an audiobook(The Total Money Makeover) and see what I thought. He (and me occasionally) had been listening to a talk radio show, the Dave Ramsey Show, the author of the book. All about financial problems. It is kinda like Hoarders, you can say, "At least we aren't that bad!" at the same time feeling bad for them. Anyway, I thought being out of debt, having money in the bank and most of all, having a plan sounded like a great idea.
We had been planning on going bankrupt. We didn't think we had another choice. We had hired a lawyer back when we first moved to Mac that took forever on doing anything about it, now I might thank him! When we decided to follow the Dave plan, since our plan(or lack of plan) wasn't working, we ran our credit to know for sure where we stood. The house wasn't on there which confused us till we realized since it was a 100% loan we had mortgage ins. That was a load off our shoulders. In March '09 we started Financial Peace University, a class put out by Dave Ramsey. Learned everything from how to do a budget to what life insurance to get, it covers a lot. Doing the budget was like getting a $1,000 raise. Made us realize just what we were spending.
Since then we haven't borrowed money from anyone, taken 2 vacations and going on another(one of our debts was a sampler timeshare) with plenty of money, put more money in savings than we've ever had, and payed off about a 1/3 of our debt. Well, ok, we have two big ones(car and hospital) that I'm not including, but they haven't sent us anything in years and we would like to get Barry through his bachelor program and save up the total amount first. Don't wake the sleeping giant until you know you are going to win the fight.
Yesterday we realized that we had all of our monthly bills for Feb. paid by the 3rd. Isn't that grand? March is our 3 paycheck month so we both wanted to see how the budget for March would look. Our extra money going towards debt will be like getting double time and half compared to normal. Plus we are getting a nice refund. We have since changed our with holdings, no sense in giving the government a loan! With all of that we should be able to get the paid off amount to half the original debt. Excluding the 2 big ones, which don't count right now, remember? We will only have the student loan to go.
This is so exciting for us. Every time we pay off a debt we cross it off(we have a chart and a graph!) and it is amazing how fun it is! Maybe we need to get out more... Anyway, getting to pay off 3 at once instead of one a month will be great. Not having to worry about money and knowing we have some in the bank if there is an emergency is so peaceful. Like when Barry had to have his teeth pulled. Money isn't everything but it sure makes things easier. When you have money it isn't an emergency, it is an inconvenience.
We are looking for another place to live. Overall this place has been good to us, but the negatives are starting to outweigh the positives. Moving might slow us down some, but now we feel we have a choice. That means a lot too.
I have lived paycheck to paycheck. Then I got sick and the walls came crumbling down. I wanted to share our excitement and our story so others can learn from our example. I wish everyone could feel this wonderful lack of worrying about money. Think about that, what it would be like not to have to worry about money?
What a difference a year makes.