Feeling very vulnerable even while I type the title to this post. It's been heavy on my heart that Isaiah and I need to work smarter, not harder with regards to our finances (in other areas too, but that's for another post). This summer we were given an amazing, life-changing gift. My grandfather blessed us with financial freedom by releasing a burden of $75,000 worth of student loans. Since June I've thought about it every day.
So why am I telling you this? It's definitely not to put down others that are still in the situation we were faced with a year ago. The debt was a part of my life. It came with the package. It was the size of a mortgage. I won't fool you into believing that the debt problem didn't seep into other areas of my life- it affected my attitude towards my education, my relationships, how I felt about my future. I understand where you're at.
I'm not telling you this story to show off or boast- it wasn't our doing. Though my grandpa is one of the most generous, loving people you'd ever meet, I think he even surprised himself with the decision. What a blessing, an answered prayer. (I never prayed that someone would take the burden from us. I prayed incessantly that God would give us the wisdom to handle the long term debt appropriately.) We had breakfast the morning of our rehearsal dinner with my grandpa and Karen. He let us know that he wanted to give us our gift in person. (Truthfully I thought we were getting to visit him in Hawaii this winter!) We talked and he explained thoroughly why he decided to do what he did. I cried for hours. A life changing moment. The weekend of our wedding was indescribable. We had never felt so much love and support in so many ways, from every single person we care about. Amazing.
The choice to share this with you stems from my belief of authenticity. I am grateful everyday that I wake up and know that we can pay our bills, that we are employed, that we don't have massive monthly loan payments but instead can give more away and change the future of our children's lives. Although we were freed from a huge debt, we still have some left to pay. Some student loans and a small credit card balance.
I had heard of Dave Ramsey before and we were even gifted a few of these books by Isaiah's aunt several months ago. Yesterday I read Nancy's story and I was so inspired. I had been feeling convicted about this area of my life. I felt like since we were released from such a big debt, it was our duty to use our money wisely. For the past six months we've gone through job changes and now we're getting ready to have this baby. It's time for us to get serious about our finances and release the final debt from our lives. It will take 3 years of living on very little, and a lot of sacrifice in the first years of our son's life. I can live on very little money, but I need time with my husband and I know I'll need time with my baby boy. If you saw the budget I drew up today you'd probably cringe at how little money we're going to spend.
I highly suggest you read Dave Ramsey's Total Money Makeover to get you started up. We are ready to do the hard work and diminish our debt for good. It's a good feeling to take control, focus on the real numbers and see truth. We made a vow never to borrow again (except for the house, once we finish this step). If you live like no one else, you can live like no one else. We are looking forward to January 1st, 2016 as the day we will be free from debt. Three years of sacrifice will pay off over and over in our lifetime together, I can't wait to see where we end up.