I am beside myself with excitement to share with you this quarterly update of our financial journey to being debt free! We have made more progress than anticipated and have one major victory to share!
But, before I get ahead of myself, I should probably recap.
Ok, so where did we start? In case this is your first time hearing about my journey to financial freedom, my husband and I are on baby step two of Dave Ramsey’s Baby Steps. You can read about the beginning stages of our journey out of debt here:
- My Journey To Financial Freedom
- 3 Month Update: My Journey To Financial Freedom
- 6 Month Update: My Journey To Financial Freedom
March’s Major Win!
As of this month, we were able to pay off the remainder of the student loans IN FULL! Thank you Jesus! This has been a weight on us since before we got married. If you remember, these student loans were deferred from undergrad since we were working on cash-flowing both our masters degrees. We started our marriage with about $13,000 of student loans. After graduating from seminary, we went to work paying them down. We made it half way before Dawson’s adoption took financial priority. We’ve been making minimum payments on them until December when the smallest student loan made it to the top of the snowball.
Some very unexpectedly generous Christmas gifts gave our snowball a boost when we were majorly running out of steam. I’m not going to lie you guys… I was really discouraged by our progress up to about the beginning of December. Medical bills were really impeding our progress but THANKFULLY by January we reached our deductible for the year and we were able to gain some traction.
What I’ve Learned
1) Remember that life is a film-strip not a snapshot
This is a really powerful concept. If you take a snapshot of your life in its current condition and multiply it out for the foreseeable future, it can be really really depressing (unless your life is perfect… then congrats to you… pray for the rest of us!). But doing that does not allow for God to work in your circumstances.
This applies to so much more than just your finances too. God is constantly moving, working, and seeking your good. Not your material good, per se, but what sanctifies you and causes you to grow closer to Him. As He allows circumstances to press on you, He also continually moves you to see His goodness. Look for those unexpected reminders (little ones and big ones) that point to His sovereign hand on your life. I promise that you will be surprised by how He works.
2) Continually set goals and work a plan to move toward them
I am really goal oriented and Zach is really plan driven. It’s made a really strong combination for us to get where we are. Our big over-arching goal is, of course, to get out of debt. But there are a million little goals that we continue to set each month that help us achieve the big one. We say no to a lot and that isn’t pleasant, especially on those nights after work when I am too tired to make dinner. Ordering pizza would be so much easier. But that’s not in the plan….
So I set a goal. Get up. Go to the kitchen. Find something to feed the family. If you put the effort in, it’s so easy to stick to the plan. A little effort and some accountability from your spouse or friend, makes it possible. You can do it!
So, praise the Lord, we’re under the $30,000 mark! At this rate, we still have a WAYS to go but I am really motivated to get this DONE! Our projection says we have another 18 months or so to go and, to me, that is too long. We’ve sold a bunch. We’ve come up with little ways to pick up some extra income here and there. Zach and I have been brain-storming possible “Dave jobs” we could take on to increase our income. All of this requires balance however. Our time is already at a premium with responsibilities at church increasing and our precious toddlers requiring a lot of our attention.
So again, we are setting goals and realizing that life is not a snapshot. We’ll see how we do!