Guest Post by Beverly Hootman
“Stay alert, with your eyes wide open in gratitude.”
Col. 4:2b, The Message
We were at one time debt-free and only left with a mortgage.
What?! Yes, it is true. We went through a financial program, and it was free. We were diligent about getting things paid off, and we did it early.
Then … we decided we wanted to move from Ohio to Florida, and so we did. That is where a lot of our debt came from.
When my husband’s retirement ran out, we lived off of credit cards until he was able to get a full-time job. Why? Because we wanted what we wanted and we got it!
We also got a pile of debt in the process!
This year Dave Ramsey kept popping up all around us here and there. Then it was at church, of all places!
Every Sunday someone was reminding us about the Financial Peace University (FPU) class coming up in February. My husband and I kept saying, “We have gotten out of debt before and we will just keep with that plan; it was free.”
Then someone at church suggested we audit the class to see how it is different. It only took one class and we were hooked. Life has not been the same since.
- We see the light at the end of the tunnel. Debt will be done and we will not be going back. That has lifted a weight off all our shoulders.
- We are working together as a couple and tackling this mole hill. We are meeting weekly to discuss our budget and future expenses. We have discussed the necessary cutbacks with our children, to become debt free in the next two years.
- Our children have now learned to hate debt. This pleases my mommy heart. Yes, learn from our mistakes little ones!!
- We took all of last years bank statements and placed every transaction in a category.
- We found our biggest problem area is food. Our grocery “budget” was $600-700 in reality it was $1,200-1,300.
- Our eating-out “budget” was $0, but in reality it was $100-150. We solved this by using Dave Ramsey’s envelope system and not using a debit card.
- We also plan meals for two weeks and go shopping in one big trip with only a milk and produce run in between.
- I have been giving out snacks when dinner is running late and cooking it anyways, even if it means we eat at 7 o’clock at night. Last month we spent $900 for groceries and eating out!! It makes our goal of $700 feel reasonable.
- First we built up our emergency fund to $1,000.
- Then we paid off the lender with the smallest balance. Now we will throw that monthly payment onto the next lender with the smallest balance.
- In January of this year we were looking at being debt-free by May of 2015. We are now looking at February of 2015 being debt-free. It is just a matter of throwing what we can when we can and knocking that debt down even faster.
So are you staying alert? Are you looking with things with wide eyes or narrow? Are you appreciating what you have and saving for the future?
About Beverly Hootman: I am just a girl who loves running after God and falls flat on her face doing it. I like being real and transparent, not sugar-coating life’s issues. I love my husband and the five children God has blessed us with. I stay at home and home-school our children. I enjoy my morning time with God, blaring music, dancing with my children and giving my husband a kiss goodnight.