Debt Free Living | Our Financial Story

money-story

Awhile ago, I decided to start a personal blog. As you may know, I used to write on topics like motherhood, faith, and life in general here on this blog. I decided to separate the two and ended up starting The Ruffled Life. If you are interested, go check that one out for topics other than sewing. Even though I made that decision, I may still very randomly throw in something non-sewing related if I am really passionate about it.

With that being said, I think our money story does tie into sewing for a few areas. Number one reason, I can stay home with our daughter while pursing my own (sewing) dreams. I don’t HAVE to go to work to pay bills since we are debt free. I do understand this is a luxury that some people can’t do, but it doesn’t come without trade-offs. Number two reason, I build my business off of these same money principles.

On to our story. I wrote a post last year talking a little bit about our money story. You can read about how we paid off 10,000 making less than the national US average income in less than 6 months here. When we first got married, I would say I thought we were financially responsible. I hadn’t really listened to Dave Ramsey yet so we did some “normal” things. We took out a car loan, used a credit card for everything, went out to eat whenever we felt like it, didn’t really say no to much, and didn’t do a budget. After I started to listen to Dave Ramsey we decided to change the way we handled money. At that time, Loren had recently switched jobs and I decided to quit my job I didn’t love. Our income was majorly cut. Like over half. A great time to start paying off 10,000 on a second mortgage right?! We lived on basically nothing for awhile. Loren picked up some side work and I started selling some handmade items via Etsy. Our income started picking up again after we did the hard stuff and knocked out our debt. Loren’s side work continued to grow to where he was gone evenings and weekends. We got to start spending money again! Sound the chorus! Even though we were able to start spending money again, we did it in the boundaries of a budget. We use everydollar.com and absolutely love it. We still don’t make as much money as we made when Loren was at his first job and I was a PTA, but I can tell you something, we have saved a whole lot more than we did then. Going through the different financial highs and lows has taught me one thing if nothing else, if you don’t tell your money what to do, you will wonder where it went. The simple fact that we save more now, while making less, is proof enough.

Living our financial life the way Dave Ramsey talks about is defiantly “weird” in the culture we live in today. Recently I have been feeling a little down about it as Loren has stopped doing side work. We are back to the point of tightening our budget again. It is hard saying no to certain things our friends are doing. You feel like a dork having to say, “it isn’t in our budget.” It is hard to feel like we are only saving and paying bills like life insurance and disability insurance when everyone else has nice new things. I was at the point where I was questioning if it was worth the sacrifices.

I get emails from the Ramsey Solutions team and got an email about applying to be apart of a launch team for Rachel Cruze’s new book Love Your Life Not Theirs. They were searching for people to help with their launch team. I applied and got in! I was super excited to read the new book before it was released. Many of the money principles she talks about, I was already aware of or was implementing because I had listened to Dave Ramsey for so long. The book was such a refresher regardless. Rachel approaches the money topic from a fresh new perspective. She talks a lot about comparisons, contentment and even some about entitlement. She addresses my generation, the millennials, new struggles, since we now have a social media feed a mile long to compare ourselves to others. She talks a lot about her own struggles with money, which was so encouraging for me. As I read the book, I told my husband, I was struggling with wondering if all of this was worth it. What I forgot about is the utter peace we have financially. No we don’t have all the nice fancy things I would like, but we have peace. Yes, it seems like we have to say no to fun things, but we have money saved for an emergency. Yes, it seems like all we pay for is boring things like disability bills etc, but we are absolutely covered if anything would ever happen to either of us. I think the short term can easily crowd out the long term at times.  I have to say no to this so later I can say yes to that.

With anything there is sacrifice. Rachel talks about two families in her book. One family the husband works as a teacher and the wife stays home with the kids. They sacrifice material things and nice vacations because they both love what they do. That is OKAY! There is another family where both the husband and wife work and they don’t really love their jobs. They are able to take nice vacations and have nicer things and that is what they want. That is OKAY!  It really stuck out to me because we need to realize there will be sacrifice in everything we do. I think this point really encouraged me to not feel bummed about where we are in life. We are making the sacrifice of money and material things because I choose to be a stay at home mom and Loren chooses to do very minimal side work. We are a family again and if that means that all we do is save and pay bills, that is the sacrifice we are willing to make. I can’t compare my things to someone else’s, because maybe they make the sacrifice to work so they can have the nicer things. That is ok! I am really learning to be ok with the the sacrifices to get what I really want. I have heard it said, we can have it all, just not at once.

Along with reading the new book by Rachel, I also got a mood bump because we just bought a van….. and paid cash for it. We have decided we aren’t going into debt for anything (house excluded) so we were perfectly fine driving our cars until we absolutely had to buy something else. We have been slowly saving for a vehicle because we knew it would be on the horizon. We had a pile of cash that we decided to put in a money market account for either a van or to put toward a house in a couple years. We weren’t really serious about actually buying anything until a van came through Lighthouse that was perfect for us. Long story short we decided to buy it.  Sure I would have loved to buy a newer van with less miles, but let me tell you, the road feels different under you when you drive a paid for vehicle. The simple fact that we have worked so hard and saved and done the hard things, like saying no, makes this van so incredibly special. Paying cash for something, like a van, does incredible things to one’s soul. I think it all comes back to the word peace.

I share our story because I want to spread hope that debt free living is a thing and it is possible. I don’t want to sound like I am bragging in any form because I am far from it. You know why? Because it takes HARD work. It is HARD! Living debt free is not easy and it takes discipline but it is worth it. That is another reason I love Rachel’s book. She bring hope, not condemnation. She never makes her readers feel bad, rather cheers us on through the whole book. That is what I want to do for you, cheer you on. Loren and I are passionate about helping people with their money. We all make mistakes and we all get lazy from time to time. That is ok, that only makes us human. We have made bad choices with money and good choices. It is a learning experience that we are still on. I doubt any of us will ever get off it. Through this journey we are on, I want to spread hope and I hope that is what our story has done for you today. Dave Ramsey and his team has so many resources to help you financially. Check them all out on his website. I would also highly recommend checking out Rachel’s book, it is a good one!

jumpingmoney

This picture portrays my excitement over our 126,000 mile ’07 van. Sure there are newer vans and nicer vans, but something about OWNING it and having the discipline to save for it makes it feel like it is a brand spanking new van.

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