Our Debt-Free Journey

I first heard of Dave Ramsey in 2014. At the time, I had two nearly maxed-out credit cards, a leased Honda, and over $20,000 in student loans. My boyfriend at the time, Matthew, and I were discussing marriage, and with a wedding possibly on the horizon, I wanted to get my act together so we could start off on the right foot. By implementing the cash envelope system, I got both credit cards paid off by the time Matt proposed in December.

Then came the wedding planning.

I worked SO hard to kept our expenses as low as possible. I DIY'd as much as I could- everything from the flowers to the favors to decor to some of the food- and I was blessed with financial help from my parents and plenty of hands-on help from some of my co-workers. In the end, our wedding created ZERO DEBT, something very few people can say! Likewise, we kept the honeymoon simple- a bed and breakfast in Atlanta, GA, only an hour and a half from my hometown where we got married.

Once we were wed, we moved from Alabama to Illinois then to Missouri for Matt's job, and we got on the same page with our finances. We set up joint checking and savings accounts, made our first written budget, used Dave's cash envelope system, and saved up a $1,000 emergency fund.

In September 2015, we officially began our debt snowball. In one year, we paid off over $10,000 in debt. Then an unexpected cross-country move set us back. Big time.

Matt took a job back in Alabama, about 2-3 hours away from our parents and siblings. But we had less than a month to prepare for the move. With only $1,000 in savings, we blew through the cash in no time and went back to swiping credit cards to help with moving expenses. We had two days to find a place to live, and the only available option we could find on such short notice was way more than we wanted to pay each month. But, the clock was ticking, so we signed a lease for one year in a too-expensive apartment.

Before that one-year contract ended, we began searching for a home. A real home that would provide us the means to homestead and slash our housing costs. In August 2017, we closed on a small, modest, older house on an acre of land just north of Huntsville, Alabama. Our monthly mortgage payments are drastically less than rent, and we have more space to call our own and a spacious backyard for gardening and perhaps even farming.

In October 2017, my three-year lease with Honda finally ended, and I got rid of my ridiculous $300 car payments for a car I would never own! I turned in this leased CR-V and financed a nine-year-old Toyota Camry Hybrid. In doing so, slashed my monthly car payments, as well as my fuel costs, in half

That's where we are now. New homeowners trying to do everything we can to get out of debt: $8,000 in credit card debt, 2 car loans, and a hefty pile of student loans.