The McLains are Getting Weird: Our Debt Free Journey
For a few years, we begrudgingly faced our student loan debt knowing that we would be 80 years old, with our grandchildren rolling us to our nursing home mailbox to mail out our last payment. This is just how I thought it was supposed to be. We had the attitude that we were just stuck with all this debt for our education, and it was "worth it" and we were still "doing something good for our future". How dumb.
Then I heard about Dave Ramsey. My in-laws gave me a copy of Financial Peace Revisited one year and I read it in about 12 hours. I was fascinated. This was about three years or so ago... and it has taken us this long to get our act together and actually start working on our debt snowball.
We have always lived "on a budget" - I have always been a spreadsheet queen and knew exactly where our money came from and what are bills were and when they were due but for some reason, at the end of the month we never had any money left to put towards our debt snowball. Sometimes this was beyond our control - we just didn't make enough money and we were still living as much within our means as we could - and sometimes (okay most of the time) - it was one too many trips to Target, Hobby Lobby, Taco Bell... You get the picture. I would sometimes add up our frivolous spending at the end of the month and it would be 1/4 of our take home pay. This is embarrassing yall.
So for a couple of years we lived like this. Then my husband took a new job, and we thought we were home free. We would be making more money and could really start grinding on our debt snowball. Well, the short story is that we were wrong and even though my husband's pay did increase, so did our living expenses. Once again, I looked back on the previous few years and wondered how we survived and why we didn't start cranking down on things and living on beans and rice then. We were still left with double, sometimes single digits, at the end of the month, and what was the point in putting that towards our debt snowball?
It was a rough few years.
This year, my husband took another new job, and this time we were prepared. We did a lot of research on living expenses in the area to which we were planning to move, and negotiated his new salary to meet all of our living expense needs, so that my salary would be solely responsible for paying down our debt. I felt very adulty when we got his first round of paychecks. Having all this money felt SO GOOD. And it triggered something real in the depth of my gut.
For the first time, we actually have the ability to have this much money, like for real, forever. Like, $2000 a month to put in our retirement (which up until now has next to nothing in it and we've been adding nothing too it...)
So we moved in September, lived out October and got everything straightened out financially (we went 6 weeks without my husband getting a paycheck in August/September) and when November hit, I had my calculator, pencil, and a designated budget notebook planning out our financial future for the next two years.
And now we are weird. And it is awesome. So I'll be recording our journey here, documenting our budget meetings and talking about how much money we make, what we owe, and how we plan to get out of this mess so we can start a new financial life together. I'll also be talking about all of the aspects of our daily live and how to do things we like to do on a budget, like traveling, Christmas, blogging conferences, having fun with our 2-year old, etc.
I'd love if you joined us and if you have any tips or suggestions or ideas or "hey we did it this way and it worked great" I'd love to hear it!
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