Everyone comes with a past, baggage, and previous choices that may still have an impact on their current lives. For me, it was a previous relationship, bad financial decisions (not horrible, just not smart), a mortgage, student loans, and expensive hobbies. My husband on the other hand came with large student loans, a car payment, and needing to take charge of a dojo for his sensei. The martial arts dojo was in a building that had been sold and the entire dojo needed moved and his sensei opted to allow my hubby to take over the dojo. We were trying to be smart with our money but it felt as though every time we started down the right path we quickly detoured with expensive
In 2009, we married, turned a garage into a martial arts dojo, continued breeding a few horses on our farm, each started a doctorate program, and continued to work full-time. It was a bit crazy busy. We also knew debt was something we did not want, but at the time we were not really able to get ourselves out quite yet. We did our best not to add any debt though, which helped greatly.
During our graduate school programs we realized that the life we were living was not going to work for us long-term. We started reading books (when we had time) such as Dave Ramsey’s Total Money Makeover, Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki, and The Millionaire Next Door by Thomas J. Stanley. We related to Dave Ramsey’s approach the most and began a modified version of his 7 baby steps plan to get out of debt.
We started to pay off our debts by using the debt snowball method. The good news was we had very little credit card debt, so we started with our smallest debts and worked our way up. We only used cash using the cash envelope system and never used credit cards for any purchases. With time, patience, and monthly payments we made progress not as quickly as we had hoped, there were some expensive house projects that needed to occur along the journey.
Currently we are looking at paying off our last student loans during 2017 and then will only have the mortgage left. It is somewhat surreal, but also worth all of the trials and tribulations that we endured on this journey.