Today’s debt free story is from Stacy. She shares delicious recipes, money saving tips and frugal living posts at her blog, Stacy Makes Cents.
1. Tell us about you and your family. Where are you from? What do you and your spouse do for a living? What are your hobbies? Include anything that you’d like to add to give the reader an idea about your personality.
We live in Southwest Virginia – I was born and raised here. I’m country – and my dialect will tell ya that. Barry was born about 45 minutes down the road in Tennessee. I’m a stay-at-home homeschooling mom to Annie (5), Andy (2), and Eli (2 months). Barry is the marketing director at a local manufacturing company. Barry is a woodworker in his spare time and I cook – I wish I did more, but sometimes I even find it hard to take a shower, so it’s not my time for adding new activities.
2. How much debt did you pay off? What kind of debt was it? How long did it take you?
We paid off $20,000 in about 8 months. That was the remaining balance on our home. We were debt free before I was 30, including our home. The only debt we had was a mortgage – however when we first got married we were stupid and bought a Mercedes. D-U-M-B. We ended up using my remaining collage savings to pay that off. We swore we would never finance a car again. After we purchased our house, we decided that it would be our last debt – so we worked hard and paid the entire thing off in less than 8 years.
3. What inspired you to get debt free? Was there a particular event?
I was raised debt-free and Barry was introduced to a debt-free lifestyle from his grandmother and aunt. So, it’s the only way of life that I have known. No money? Don’t buy it. It’s normal….actually, no it’s not. I’m about as far from normal as you can get. We just decided to pay our house off as quickly as possible because we didn’t even want to be saddled with a mortgage. We wanted to be free to give as much as we could….and to never have to worry about bills.
4. Did you follow a particular debt freedom plan or book, such as Dave Ramsey or Debt-Proof Living?
We did follow Dave Ramsey’s plan – we’re still following it as we save for the future. We took his Financial Peace course once before we were married and twice afterwards…and now Barry teaches it. He’s an overachiever. 😉
5. What are the top 3 – 5 ways you found money to put towards debt.
- We sold anything that we didn’t need or love. And trust me…the stuff you can accumulate, even when being cheap, is enormous. Live junk and debt free!
- Barry worked extra side carpentry jobs and we put all that money toward debt.
- I taught coupon and frugal living workshops and put any donated money toward the mortgage.
6. What are your top 3 – 5 tips for saving money/pinching pennies to put towards paying off your debt.
- STAY HOME. Seriously. Become a hermit. It’s so much easier to save money when you’re not gallivanting across the countryside. And it saves on gas too.
- Pack your lunch. This one seems dumb, but really it’s genius. $5 every day for lunch could pile up quickly…and quit Starbucks. It’s not forever…it’s just temporary. Unless you’re cheapo like us, then quitting Starbucks is permanent.
- Forget vacation. Again, this isn’t permanent. I’m not telling you to stay home and grow roots so that you can never leave the premises. The temporary sacrifice will pay off in the long run. Trust me. I’m no liar – because I know what happens to liars (Revelation 21:8).
7. If married, who initiated the debt free goal? Were there arguments during the time you were working on your debt? How did you resolve the tension and arguments?
My husband and I never fight. Hahahahaha! We both were on board with the debt-free goal. I’m not sure who was the first to suggest paying off the house. We’re both pretty stinking hard headed, so we do fight. But not usually about money. We fight over dumb stuff like Taco Bell and hand towels.
8. Who handles the day-to-day finances in your home or do you work on it equally? How often do you and your spouse discuss your finances/budget/spending?
Barry usually takes care of that – accounts and balancing and such. Because math makes me want to curl up in the fetal position. We do budget together EVERY SINGLE MONTH. Because each month needs a different budget based on the circumstances you’re currently in. I carry the budget envelopes in my purse, because if Barry carried them in his pockets, that would just be weirdo.
9. How did you celebrate when you became debt free?
We went to Nashville to Financial Peace Plaza and screamed WE’RE DEBT FREE on the air with Dave Ramsey. So much fun – and they have free cookies.
10. What habits did you form while being debt free that will now stick with you for the long term?
A monthly budget – but we’ve done that since day 1. We went on our honeymoon with our budget. I think that might make us nerds.
11. Was there something that you gave up that you will go back to now that you are debt free?
We started giving more as we became debt free. Honestly, that’s the best part. To be able to give to people freely – because as God has blessed us, so we want to be able to bless others. Oh and toilet paper. We quit when we were paying off debt. I might buy it again…I’M TOTALLY KIDDING! We use TP. And deodorant. Don’t be afraid to be around us.
12. What are your financial goals now?
Now we are saving to buy a minivan (which I said I would never drive, but an expanding family has changed me. Crow, anyone?) and to build our dream home. We purchased our current home with cash – it was a foreclosure. We are also saving monthly toward retirement so we can be rich like Donald Trump and get cool toupees.
13. What advice do you have for someone that is paralyzed by their debt load, but wants to be debt free?
It might look bad right now, but if you don’t turn it around it’s gonna get much worse. Ha ha! Okay, so maybe that’s not what you’re looking for. I want to encourage you by letting you know how good it feels to no longer be held bondage to a debt. You’e truly free to live – and give. And really…it will get worse if you don’t stop. So just quit. Turn around. Don’t look back – remember what happened to Lot’s wife. 😉
14.Is there anything else you’d like to add that you think would help the readers who want to become debt free?
It’s fun being debt-free. It really is. And it helps you help others. And it also lets you tell naysayers TAKE THAT. But, I probably shouldn’t say that. It is possible to live debt free. And it feels good. To God be the glory.
Thank you, Stacy, for being so honest with your debt free story. For more stories like theirs, go to Debt Free Stories.
Would you like to share your real life debt free story? You don’t have to be a blogger to share. Send me an email at familybalancesheet at gmail dot com. Put “Debt Free Stories” in the memo line and I will send you a questionnaire.
Please note, I AM NOT A FINANCIAL PLANNER. This series was written based on the experiences of other who have become debt free. If you feel you need additional advice, please consult a certified professional.