Can we just talk about being financially fit for a minute?
It is SO important! I wish so much that we had been more focused. With most of my mistakes or bad choices in life, I try not to regret them, I feel like I learn a great deal from them… lessons that have helped me to become the person I am today.
However, now I have a family and we can’t even afford a place of our own because, very simply, we have too much debt. Not even because we were big spenders living on credit cards, just a series of unfortunate events, really.
Today, if I could change one thing it would be to have paid off our debt super aggressively while my husband was working as a supervisor in the oil field, before they got shut down. Seriously, he made more than double what he makes now the year before he lost his job. Granted, #1 had 2 surgeries for his adenoids and then for his tonsils because he had pretty bad sleep apnea and would stop breathing all throughout the night. Then, #2 was in the hospital for 2 nights for super high white blood count and super low oxygen levels, discharged, and then back for another 2 nights when he got sick again.
Sooo… 2 surgeries and 4 nights in the hospital later…… Luckily, we did have a decent amount in savings (we were saving for a house) so we were able to pay off most of it very quickly. All but one, which we are still paying off.
Before Texas and the oil field, we struggled a lot financially.
- I had my appendix removed.
- We dropped out of college to do summer satellite sales in Sioux City, IA
- Turns out hubby is no good at being a salesman so switched to installing
- We moved (again) to Mesa, AZ
- We got pregnant with #1
- We moved (again) to Medford, OR unexpectedly and got a fine for breaking our apartment contract
- Paid cash to have baby in a birth center and then had to be ambulance transferred because baby got stuck and had to be vacuumed out at the hospital. (Long story… I still love birth centers!)
- We moved (again) in with hubby’s parents for a few months while he secured his job in Texas.
- We moved (again) to Texas.
Basically, we didn’t make much money, moved a lot and incurred a bunch of medical debt.
Then we had to start paying on our student loans and we desperately needed a car that would run consistently… luckily, we lived within a mile of the grocery store and only a few blocks from church… so we walked a lot… for about a year, then we got pregnant with #2 and decided it was time to get a reliable car.
Grand total: ^$40k
We have more debt than what we now make in a year and thank goodness we never had credit cards!
Debt is like a sand dune. The more debt you have, the bigger the sand dune. You are either at the bottom piling more sand on top or you’re facing your dune, trekking to get on top of it, to conquer it, to reach the top and have all that debt underneath you, showing you where all your hard work has brought you, and then you are free and can see the world all around you, open to you, nothing threatening to burry you.
Seriously… debt is crushing.
If you can… avoid it like the plague!
Even though we were pre-approved for $90,000 and found a super charming little brick 1935 house with tons of charm and only needing a little paint in a cute little neighborhoon for $70,000… the monthly payments would literally be cheaper than renting a halfway decent house… and my sister willing to help us with the down payment, we still can’t afford it because SO MUCH goes to paying off debt!
One third of my husband’s monthly income goes to paying off debt.
We looked into our options…
- Taking a personal loan for debt consolidation.
- Only lowers our monthly payment by $40 and we would end up paying over $20,000 more in the end
- Asking family for a loan
- “Neither a borrower nor a lender be; for loan oft loses both itself and friend.” -William Shakespeare
- “Don’t do this to people and relationships that mean something to you. If someone is in genuine need, it’s great to help. If you help with money, make it a gift instead of a loan. By not having an I.O.U. hanging over your head, you will keep your relationships strong.” -Dave Ramsey
- Also, Proverbs 22:7
- Taking money out of hubby’s 401k
- There’s an early withdraw fee of 10% and then you get taxed on it about 35%-45%
- Taking money from our IRA account
- The money gets taxed pretty heavily so you end up owing money come tax season and you can only take out up to $10,000 for the life of the account
- Selling a testicle or an egg
- Yes, seriously… but somehow it just doesn’t seem right…
- Winning the lottery
- We don’t play the lottery. Plain and simple.
In my head I am screaming, “I JUST WANT TO GET OUT OF DEBT!”
Apparently getting out of debt takes time and patience and focus.
So instead of any quick fix we’ll be paying off our debt the old-fashioned way… slow and steady, with a little Dave Ramsey thrown in. Any extra we have will go towards one debt at a time until it is paid off, then take all the money we paid on that debt and combine it with the monthly payment of the next debt until that one is paid off and so on.
I assume it will take years.
I am disheartened, discouraged, hopeless, frustrated, and impatient. Yet, there is a glimmer of hope. I have been humbled, I have faith, and am finding peace that this is where we are supposed to be in our life at this time.
I’ll try to keep you updated of our progress because I do think it is important to see that it has been done by real people and they survived, but also that it is a long process full of ups and downs… just like life.
Have you been where we are? How did you tackle your debt? How long did it take? Any tips? Would LOVE any advice that we may have overlooked.
“And to all who suffer- to all who feel discouraged, worried, or lonely- I say with love and deep concern for you, never give in. Never surrender. Never allow despair to overcome your spirit. Embrace and rely upon the hope of Israel, for the love of the Son of God pierces all darkness, softens all sorrow, and gladdens every heart.” -Dieter F. Uchtdorf