Paying off debt, saving money, and reaching big money goals are easier to accomplish when you have support (from family of friends) or have seen stories of success.
I've always found so much inspiration and motivation after reading success stories! That is why I've decided to start featuring YOUR success stories. I believe that these will help motivate those who are on a similar journey.
Enjoy this amazing financial transformation from Lagena!
We Needed A Plan!
In May 2018 I was a recent college graduate and newlywed just trying to survive my first year in the ‘real’ world and my first year of marriage. My husband and I lived with close family friends of his as we had one part-time income to sustain us. He worked incessant odd hours, trying to earn a full-time spot at his job while I embarked on the dreaded job hunt. I eventually landed as a part-time associate at a Christian bookstore. But I had lofty goals and not to mention an obscene amount of debt that, luckily was still in its grace period. At least for a few more months.
One not particularly unusual day, after rifling through the mail, I learned that I was a few months behind on a student loan that I had no recollection of taking out. It would only take us a little over $250 to get the balance caught up which isn’t much if you have it. We did not. There was no emergency fund, no extra. We were barely getting by as it was.
I stared at the letter in disbelief. I had taken out loans to cover whatever my financial aid and other scholarships could not. Pretty vanilla there. I never kept up with the balance, though. A good friend once told me not to check it until I graduated, or I wouldn’t be able to sleep at night. The irony there is that if I would have meticulously kept track of my mounting debt, I could have formulated a plan.
Instead, I bullshitted my way through my exit interviews every semester and took out one or two loans that were completely unjustifiable. I pride myself in being a generally responsible and shrewd human, but this was anything but. I had been a fool, plain and simple and now my sunny future with my new husband was being eclipsed by an ugly four-letter word. Debt.
The next day, scared of what I might find but resolute in needing something concrete, I went through the painstaking process of tallying up all my debt. Hours of making accounts and aggressive keying on my calculator I had a number. Intimidating would be an understatement. My husband picked up a few overtime shifts and we were able to get the loan caught up, but we needed a plan.
How I Paid Off $24,000 in Debt: Rebecca's Story
Overcoming a Mountain of Debt: Bethany's Story
Ironically, a lot of our best conversations happened sporadically on car rides. On our way to the beach, we were having a debate about credit card debt. I argued that no one could live without it and my husband was fervently opposed. “Have you ever heard of Dave Ramsey?” he asked me. I had not but after he uttered those words, a simple Google search later and I was obsessed. That one simple conversation changed everything for us. We made our first budget after that and with some tweaking here and there, after a few months we got into a flow.
After several heated discussions, we made the decision to commit to the debt free lifestyle. We bought the financial peace university book and started saving for our starter emergency fund. We both picked up extra shifts whenever we could to get our $1K.
Working and saving was great, but I soon began to see yet another hurdle. How would we keep track of our progress? Was that even a thing? So, like any young millennial would do, I turned to social media. That was when I stumbled upon the debt free community and everyone seemed to have these trendy charts that they were coloring in. I can have major fomo and I felt late to the party. My husband agreed that we indeed needed visuals for motivational purposes so one night after work, huddled around my laptop, we picked out a few charts.
Our first ever debt free chart was the ‘Starter Emergency Fund’ chart, and it was a game changer! I cannot begin to explain how satisfying it was for us when payday rolled around, and we could color in more lines. After two months we reached our goal and we’ve been snowballing ever since!
Now, almost 2.5 years in we are on our last (and largest) debt with a debt free goal of 2021. We are credit card free, car payment free and private student loan free! To anyone reading this, it is possible. It can happen! We now have two blossoming careers but still a lot to figure out. And if two broke kids with nothing but love and a dream can do it, then you can too!
One of the most valuable lessons we’ve learned on this journey is simply, for lack of better words, getting after it. Setting aside the shame, guilt and excuses and just working hard. We celebrate the milestones. We come up for air, but we always have a goal in mind and are willing to make the sacrifices that it takes now to get to where we want to be later. The beans and rice are temporary but the work you put in now, you will reap the benefits from indefinitely.
Find the Starter Emergency Fund chart that Lagena used HERE
Have you been in a similar situation as Lagena? How did you make a plan and reach your money goals (or how are you PLANNING on doing so?) I'd love to know your thoughts! Leave a comments below to start a conversation!