In late 2011 my wife and I decided to try to become debt free.We attended The Dave Ramsey Financial Peace University to learn how. So far we've completed step one of The Total Money Makeover which is saving $1000 for emergencies and step two which is paying off all debt using Dave Ramseys debt snow ball. I'm very proud of my wife and I, we've accomplished so much. Who in America these days can say they have no debt? My wife and I now can. The most important thing we've learned in the process of paying off all our debt is that ppersonal finance is 80% BEHAVIOR and only 20% HEAD KNOWLEDGE. Most people live outside of their means. They use credit cards and get loans to get things they don't need with money they don't have. They buy more than they can afford and justify it by saying to themselves we deserve this, we work so hard, or the kids shouldn't go without should they? But what they should be saying is "do we deserve to be broke and should we be teaching our children to be broke and live irresponsibly too? We know, because we lived like that most of our lives.
We are now approximately 4 weeks away from completing step three which is saving 3 months of expenses in case I lost my job or became temporarily disabled. Dave Ramsey said on average it takes most families 24-36 months to complete steps 1-3. If all goes as planned by August my wife and I will have completed steps 1-3 in 8 months. It's been hard, much harder than I thought it was going to be. I've been working 72-84 hours a week every week since December of last year. I've had to miss kids soccer games, family activities, friends get-to-gethers, UFC parties, workouts, triathlons, bike races, etc. Pretty much all I've done is work and sleep. I'm beyond tired. Since I started working this many hours I've struggled with weight gain, being too tired to work out, getting sick frequently and taking a long time to get better. Worst of all is that I miss my wife and kids desperately. But it's been worth it. After 8 months of sacrifice and prayer we are so close! I can't wait to be able to wake up every morning knowing we owe no one any money and we are finally living the way God wants us to. The bible says these things about debt:
The borrower is slave to the lender. When you are in debt to another, you enter into a slave/master relationship with your creditor. (Proverbs 22:7)
We are required to pay back what we borrowed. It is easy to take this lightly, but if we borrowed it, we should pay it back. (Psalm 37:21, Ecclesiastes 5:4).
There are no instances in the Bible where God provides through a loan. He provided for His people in many ways but loans were not one of them. That is something to think about next time you get tempted to reach for the credit card.
If anyone else is interested in becoming debt free I'd highly suggest attending The Dave Ramsey Financial Peace University. It's nine 90 minutes classes over a 9 week time and it costs less than $120. I promise you, it'll change your lives and your children's lives. It'll change your legacy.