Living Like No One Else

I love Dave Ramsey. He’s opened my eyes to how much debt hurts your long-term financial future and he’s opened my eyes to how quickly you can get out of debt with some determination.

When Nick and I got married we had about $1,000 in CC debt between us, which really isn’t that bad considering how high the national average is per person. We also each had a car loan and each had a student loan. We did work hard to pay down the CC fast, but it never dawned on us to try to pay down the other loans early. That is, until I read Dave Ramsey’s The Total Money Makeover: A Proven Plan for Financial Fitness After reading the book I was suddenly inspired to have us dump our remaining debt (just one car payment and 2 student loans at this point). It took me a while to get Nick convinced, but eventually it happened.

First we paid off the rest of the car (my Neon), then we started chipping away at the student loans. Mine was the smaller of the two, so we worked on mine first. We finally paid it all off last fall – 4 years early! Then we started working on Nick’s student loan. We had some set backs along the way when various large car repairs came up, but last week Nick paid off the remainder of the loan using a big chunk of our tax refund. WOOHOO! We’re (almost) Debt Free! Now all we have left is our mortgage (which we just refinanced to a lower interest rate, saving us $100 a month).

Last week we also were dealt another financial blow by the Jeep. We’ve been saying for months and months that we’re going to get rid of it and finally buy a minivan, but it took longer to pay off the student loans than we had hoped. We spent $900 on that Jeep in February and when the check engine light came on again a couple of weeks ago and we were told it would be another $500-$800 to fix we said “enough!”. Nick and I had a financial pow-wow and came up with a plan.

Dave Ramsey talks about living like no one else now so that you can really live like no one else later. The last thing a newly out of debt family wants to do is run to the nearest bank and take out a several thousand dollar loan for a car. So we’re going to live like no one else. We’ve become a one car family. Yep. We’ve slapped a for sale sign on the Jeep (and have had 3 people look at it in the last 4 days) and are making due with just the Neon. Good thing we bought the narrowest car seats on the market and can fit all three in the back seat!

The grand plan? Sell the Jeep (it’ll make a great car for someone, we just don’t want to keep spending money on a car that is too small for us) and do some serious saving in the next 2 months. We have a target date of June 1st; by that day we want to have purchased a van either totally for cash or pretty darn close to it. If we have to borrow a thousand or two, it’s not the end of the world. We’d be able to pay that down completely in a matter of a few months.

Who’d of guessed our new “family car” would be a tiny, yellow Dodge Neon? Not me! But I’m willing to live like no one else right now so that we can live like no one else later!

March for Babies update: Two friends have stepped forward and committed to walking with team Three Cuties, so we’re back up to 6 walkers! Yay!! Now to just chip away at that lofty fund-raising goal I have…

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