Financial freedom is not out of reach for anyone who decides to do one very simple thing: Plan for it. This is something my husband and I wanted to do a long time ago but, alas, it wasn’t until recently that we wanted financial freedom enough to make a plan and stick to it. We’re just getting started and it will be a long and tough journey to our financial freedom but maybe… just maybe our story might help you with yours.
My Journey to Financial Freedom
The plans of the diligent lead surely to abundance,
but everyone who is hasty comes only to poverty. Proverbs 21:5
I have always been fairly responsible with money… And, at least up to this point in my life, I’d like to think I’m a fairly intelligent person. I pick up new things quickly and think things through logically. Biblical principles and common sense guide my life and finances. My parents taught me well and I try to learn from others’ mistakes so that I don’t have to make too many of my own and learn the hard way. This is how I would to like to summarize most of my life…
And then there was 2015…
God brought us two amazing children in one year… It was the best and hardest year of my life. It consisted of a whirlwind adoption followed by finding out I was pregnant. There was a very challenging pregnancy and delivery followed by learning how to parent two under the age of one. (You can read all about our adoption story here.) These precious children took my life and turned things upside-down all for the better, with one exception… our finances.
The Back Story
After our wedding, Zach and I spent the first five years of our marriage cash flowing two masters degrees simultaneously. Blessed with scholarships and consistent employment, we were able to graduate with no additional debt other than Zach’s undergraduate student loads of about $14,000. After graduation, we attacked the debt with a vengeance and in less than a year had paid off about half of his student loans. I had just taken on a third part-time job and we were anticipating financial freedom from debt in only a few months more!
Then Dawson happened… And then Selah. And I lost track of everything.
Survival mode was my new default. Learning to be a new mother while also learning what to eat and not eat while pregnant, not much of which actually stayed down. Our financial goals became a very vague memory during this time. We raised about $20,000 of adoption support and cash-flowed about $5,000 out of pocket. The final $5500 ended up on a credit card, which was an absolute miracle to me that we were able to adopt in a matter of seven weeks with only that amount of debt. If only it had stopped there.
Once Selah was born, our well-used 2001 Jeep Grand Cherokee was feeling super small with two car seats crammed in the back seat and the giant double stroller taking up the entire trunk. I hated to finance a vehicle but felt we didn’t have any other option. And surely just one car payment wouldn’t be so bad. We found a nice and reliable 2015 Toyota Sienna at an auto auction and felt like we were set.
Until three weeks later, Zach was driving our ever-reliable 1998 Toyota Camry home from work, when the poor thing just died on the side of the road. After 245,000 miles and 18 years of life, my college-mobile left me high and dry! I fully expected to drive that car until the van was paid off. No such luck! So, we added a second car payment. Ouch!
After that, we had some house work to do. I just decided that we could afford the payment so why not just go for it! Charge it!
Our habits had been ever so silently slipping into the mentality that if the payment was in our budget, then the debt was ok. Without even realizing it, we had built up a mountain of debt so large that, once I added it up, the sum took my breath away. We owed over $43,000. In what seemed like minutes, we had accumulated more debt than I could shake a stick at.
Enough is enough
…the borrower is slave to the lender. Proverbs 22:7
Debt is not a sin but Scripture does not refer to debt in a positive context… anywhere. For us, the biggest problem was that the payments had crippled our income to the point we couldn’t save and give the way we wanted. Not able to adequately prepare for our future, I realized that a major lifestyle change was in order.
And now, it is time to clean up the mess! It’s do or die!
I invite you on our journey to financial freedom. May it inspire you to make the best choices for your financial well-being. Learn from our mistakes and inspired by our
victories blood, sweat, and tears! In my updates, I will share tips, tricks, and lessons I’m learning along the road to financial freedom. I hope it helps!
Let the journey begin!
To follow our progress, check out our updates below: