Our Debt Free Mission One Year Later

It’s that time again for us to reevaluate our budget. As I had mentioned in an earlier post, we have decided to work hard to become completely debt free. We are following the 7 Baby Steps to Financial Freedom from Dave Ramsey and are in step 2 with a bit of step 4 & 5 mixed in.

:: February 2010

So here we sit one year into our debt free mission. It has been a roller coaster journey to get through this one year mark. We have had easy times and harder times but not one time have I regret starting this. Here are some highlights of our 1 year journey:

  • Getting started that first couple of months was our hardest obstacle . I honestly didn’t think we could get through not using a credit card. But, we have not charged one thing in the past year. Not one.
  • Brought our debt down to 17% lower only to be hit with additional college loans taking it back up to only 5%.
  • One of our cars was totaled in an accident and we quickly had to scrape together the money for a new/used car which we paid cash for. It was only $5000 but we did it and now we do not have to carry a car loan for that car.
  • Our household income was reduced by 25% for 2009. We were actually surprised at this. It wasn’t until we did our taxes recently that we realized just how much lower our income was this past year.

With our income being so much less, I have to tell you that we are in so much better of a financial situation now then when we had more income coming in. Because we have completely changed our thinking and spending, our financial picture has improved greatly. Even with 25% less in salary.

Now, one year later, our debt has now been reduced by 14%. We still have a long way to go but I feel so good about this crazy mission and I can’t wait to see what another year will bring. I can never go back to our old way and even when we are debt free and living an easier financial life, I will never change.  My only regret, I wish we had done this so much earlier in life.

I do know that the biggest help in all of this is the $9000 I was able to cut off my grocery bill this past year. That was huge because without that, I can guarantee you that $9000 would have most likely been added to my debt by years end…and probably more. Because like a snowball, once it starts rolling it picks ups speed and collects more as it goes along.

How did your month/year go?

“The amount of money you have has nothing to do with what you earn. People earning a million dollars a year can have no money and people earning $35,000 a year can be quite well off. It’s not what you earn, it’s what you spend.”
-Paul Clitheroe

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  • Terri

    “A penny saved [truly] is a penny earned.”
    Good job, Cindy. You are an inspiration to me!

  • Erica

    About a year ago I was a fresh faced college grad enjoying her business woman life. When the company downsized and closed our branch, I was devastated. I went from being the breadwinner (my husband was finishing his graduate degree) to having nothing.

    It sparked a new appreciation for life and really forced me to evaluate my life. Even though I had enjoyed the money from my job, I wasn’t happy. With my husband graduated, and our new lives started (and the economy in the pooper) we decided I’d become a homemaker and a stay at home mom. I have never regretted my choice, and because I have more time dedicated to cooking, budgeting, and deal seeking we’re living so much better than we were before. We actually have a savings cushion and are looking forward to moving into a new house soon.

    I’ve also found a new love of teaching and took a part-time job as a sewing and craft instructor at my local JoAnn’s. All the money from my job goes right into our savings, and it feels so good to get out of the house and help others a couple days a week.

  • marcia

    Great job! Enjoy the financial freedom and thanks for the help!

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