Has anyone beside me ever been so burdened with a situation that they felt it would destroy them? Or so overwhelmed with a problem and they knew they would not have the strength or wisdom to overcome it on their own?
That’s where I was in 2007 when facing our surmounting debt. I felt like I was trying to do what God had called our family to by being at home, but I could steadily see my family drowning in a tsunami of debt. I saw no way out.
I felt as though either I had made a wrong turn on the road to following God or I had totally misunderstood Gods will for my life. How could God want me to be a stay at home mom when we could not even pay our bills?
Fast forward three years and her I am, consumer debt free with just a mortgage left to pay. I own both my vehicles and pay all of my bills in advance. In 2007 it would have been hard to imagine how I’d feel once I’d gotten to this point. In fact, there were many days when I didn’t think I’d see debt freedom. While we are not 100% there, I am thankful to God for where He’s brought me from.
This week I am rededicating myself to being debt free. Over the past few months I feel like I’ve lost my ‘gazelle intensity’ (if you follow Dave Ramsey you already know what I’m talking about). I feel like I’ve gotten complacent in my efforts to save money.
I’ve not become a shop-a-holic or anything, but it has felt good to be able to buy the things we need debt-free without feeling like some bill would go neglected as a result. In that last four months we’ve bought a second vehicle (after nearly six years as a single car family). We’ve replaced our dryer, shelled out money for back to school clothes, supplies and activities and incurred medical bills. We’ve paid for everything except the second vehicle without dipping into our ‘Emergency Fund’ but I know that could have been money used to rebuild the fund much faster. We put nearly 20% of our income in savings but I know we could cover more ground if we increased that number.
So why haven’t I done it already?
The main reason is that I’ve enjoyed being able to spend money on wants instead of just needs. It felt really good to buy myself some new clothes instead of wearing 2nd hand stuff. (My bestie always give me the nicest stuff from the LOFT so I’m not complaining). It’s just that it feels good to have this new found freedom. It’s been a long time.
It’s amazing how great it feels to be (almost) debt FREE which is why I’m reminding myself today, that while I am almost there…I still have a way to go.
The next steps in my debt freedom journey are too:
- Fully fund my 6 month Emergency Fund (used a portion to buy a 2nd car)
- Start saving 15% of our income for retirement (we stopped once we used some of the EF money to buy a second car)
- Make 2 extra mortgage payments this year
These are my overall financial goals for the rest of 2011. I want to get the first two done as quickly as possible in order to start knocking out the mortgage. I am anxious to see what God has in store for our finances once we no longer have the debt of a mortgage.
Are you about to begin, on or just finished a debt freedom journey?
If so, contact me with your story. We’d love to feature it here on the blog.