July 5, 2013 at 12:16 am , by Nick Shell
2 years, 7 months.
Today is a very special day… for more than one reason.
It was five years ago that Mommy and I got married!
We had talked a couple of weeks ago about what we would get each other as 5th year anniversary gifts. Well, we couldn’t have planned this, even if we tried, but…
As of today, our family is officially debt-free!
I can’t think of any greater gift Mommy and I could give each other on this special day.
Of course, we still have a mortgage. But as far as school loans, car payments, and our credit card, which mainly consisted of our wedding expenses and pre-existing debts from single life, those are all paid off now.
No other debts. Done.
Just to make sure this good news holds its worth weight, the amount of debt we paid off was a little over$58,000. And just to be clear, our household income level is completely average for Nashville.
No, Mommy and I didn’t win the lottery, gain a huge inheritance from a rich uncle, or suddenly get a multi-million dollar book deal.
We just took Dave Ramsey very seriously. Maybe a little too seriously.
I now equate credit cards with the devil, or at least Monsanto; but really, I think they’re all the same thing anyway.
Every penny we earn is accounted for. We tell our money where to go so that it doesn’t tell us where to go. We snowballed our way into debt and we snowballed our way out.
Another thing that financial guru Dave Ramsey taught us was that if we live like no one else now, we’ll live like no one else in the future.
He jokingly talks about living off beans and rice until you’re debt-free.
Considering that through this process, you and Mommy became vegetarians, and I became a vegan, you could say we took Dave Ramsey’s “beans and rice” advice pretty literally, even though our “plant-based, non-GMO” lifestyle change was motivated more by other reasons.
Either way, our family never, and I do mean never, eats food from a restaurant anymore. That saves us a lot of money every month.
Speaking of, on January 1st, I wrote “5 Impractical Ways To Save Your Family Money in 2013,” in which I proclaimed that this would be the year we would become debt-free.
Here are the 5 ways I mentioned:
1. We don’t pay for cable or satellite TV.
2. We don’t pay for Internet on our phones.
3. We hardly ever go out to eat. (That, of course, has since changed from “hardly ever” to “never.”)
4. We don’t update our electronics or possessions that cost over $100.
5. We live by a strict weekly budget, on an Excel spreadsheet.
Then, a week after I wrote that, I revealed that we also tithe 10% of our income. As Dave Ramsey puts it, “If you cannot live off 90% of your income, then you cannot live off 100%.”
Oh, and I cut your hair now. That saves us about 12 bucks a month.
I’ve never been so happy in my life to be at ground zero. Our family will continue the rest of our lives with our extremely frugal (!) lifestyle no matter what our income is.
Now that we’re out of debt, we will begin to snowball our savings and eventually our investments.
Granted, one of the greatest benefits of strategically working our way out of nearly $60,000 of debt is that Mommy and I will carefully teach you everything we’ve had to learn the hard way about money management.
Apparently, that knowledge alone is worth at least $60,000. It was for us, at least.