Travel & Lifestyle

I'm debt free!

“You must gain control over your money or the lack of it will forever control you.”
― Dave Ramsey

This topic is paramount to creating the freedom you need to live a fulfilled life! In July 2009, my colleague introduced me to Dave Ramsey's The Total Money Makeover: A Proven Plan for Financial Fitness . I was very skeptical about this Debt-free "thing" and was convinced as a child I would "always" have debt. Actually I refused to buy the book because I was sure it was a gimmick! I was newly divorced (2yrs) and still struggling to stay a float after inheriting a two-income household with one income and desperate. So with library card in tow, I checked-out Total Money Makeover (TMM) . After reading TMM, I became a Dave follower immediately and was now "gazelle" intense.

This book changed my life!

How did I do it?

1.)The "B" word!

Budget! There, I said it! Before TMM I would loosely write bills out as they were due, but didn't have a consistent, systemic, methodical (get my point), plan for budgeting. I created a easy monthly budget in excel (a simple pen and paper will work too!) that included income and expenses at the end of every month for the following month. I used debit card and receipts to track my spending weekly. Budgeting is simply "telling your money where to go instead of wondering where it went."

Free Printable Budget Worksheets

2.)Sell Pizza!

I didn't sell pizza, but I did pick up a second job (sometimes working 70hrs per week). It was tough and exhausting but the reward of becoming debt-free superceded every thing. Hard work and sacrifice are guaranteed ways to get out of debt and stay debt-free!

3) Have Plastic Surgery!

Think Nip/Tuck meet credit cards! This was tough, and initially I put my credit card in the freezer. But After a couple of weeks, I scheduled my plastic surgery, Grabbed a pair of scissors, and cut up my Master card!


4) Get Creative!

I sold everything I could (except the kid)! Ebay, Craigslist, Amazon, or local garage sells are great tools to generate funds to pay down your debt. I also became a coupon DiVa. I searched store websites and ads for deals before shopping and used Groupon for dining out.

In 3 years I paid off $30,000: student loan ($15,000) , car loan ($10,000) and credit card debt ($5,000). The 7 steps introduced in Dave's Plan are simple, practical methods toward money management and using income to build wealth.

How bad do you want to be free? Not just debt-free, but free from life's burden ? Free to live a life worth living ! Free to pursue your wildest dreams! Free to be! 

As a result of becoming debt free, I fired my boss, moved from Savannah to Atlanta, went on my first international mission trip and will soon travel the world! All goals I mentioned years ago in Write Your 10!

I'm currently on baby steps #3 and thinking about retiring at 36 (Blog post coming soon)!

If you will live like no one else, later you can live like no one else.”
― Dave Ramsey

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