Getting Out of Debt Part 4 – Inspiration Strikes!

When we last left the ‘Getting Out of Debt’ story, we were doing the right things with our money (retirement, no credit card debt), but we still had no overall plan and were spending a lot of money as a result.  To go back and read parts 1-3 start here:

As the curtain opens on Part 4 of our story, a huge change has occurred – the arrival of our dear daughter.  For the first two years of her life I continued to work at my professional career, which entailed a long commute and a day care bill closing in on $10,000 a year.  Even more pressing was a growing desire to be home with her.  My boss was very family-focused and I continued to work by reducing my days in the office, and eventually,  job sharing with a friend and fellow mother at work.

Over Memorial Day weekend, 2007, I tuned into a TV show that radically changed our direction.  The show was The Dave Ramsey Road Show.  As Dave outlined his financial plan to ‘live like no one else’ we discovered we were already pretty far along.

  1. Emergency Fund of $1000 – Check
  2. Pay off all debts excluding your house – Check
  3. Emergency Fund of 3-6 months expenses – Check
  4. 15% income into retirement – Check
  5. Save for kid’s college – Check
  6. Pay off your mortgage – BINGO!
  7. Build wealth and give like no one else

Our house is small, but it is paid for!

We had never even considered paying the mortgage off early.  Dave Ramsey’s plan made so much sense to both of us.  We decided to attack the mortgage so that we could be free of payments and get to a point where I could stay home with our daughter.  Having a specific goal and a vision of the way we wanted to live gave us a laser-like focus on our finances.  We were about midway through a 15 year mortgage so our additional payments made a decent impact on the principal.  My daughter began to think every balding man was Dave Ramsey.  Instead of take-out from the Cheesecake Factory we were rocking the beans and rice at home!

As the mortgage ticked down, I was able to leave my professional career when my daughter was 3.  By the time she was in kindergarten, I took a part-time bakery job to earn extra money to throw back on the mortgage.  That same year we were able to make a final lump sum payment and finish the mortgage off!  When you need a large cashier’s check from the bank it makes you feel like you are participating in one of those scams to send money to a “prince” in Nigeria!  Mailing the check was exhilarating to say the least.  When my daughter went to her 6 year old check-up that week she announced to the pediatrician, “We paid our house off!”  The pediatrician said “What?  No one does that!!”

Since paying the mortgage off three years ago we have been focused on saving like no one else so that we do not have to take loans out in the future.  We have been able to enjoy more travel opportunities and I continue to work part-time in a job that lets me primarily be home for our daughter.  If you are interested in what Dave’s plan involves, I recommend getting the The Total Money Makeover: A Proven Plan for Financial Fitness book from your library.  If you want to give yourself extra inspiration, check out Dave’s video from the radio broadcasts.  Watch and read and do the steps until you find yourself beginning sentences with “Well, Dave says…”

Thanks for reading our story!


16 thoughts on “Getting Out of Debt Part 4 – Inspiration Strikes!

  1. Kelly O'Keefe

    Congrats, Healthfulsave!! What a wonderful thing to accomplish. I have been using a version of Dave’s budget for years. Paying extra toward my mortgage. Have my emergency fund and working on 6 months of expenses. There have been setbacks along the way but I am still working toward the goals.

    1. healthfulsave Post author

      Good for you Kelly! I have to say that I think we are more ‘gazelle intense’ now than we were when we were paying off the mortgage. I think we sense how easy it could be to be back in debt… all it takes is a new roof, new car, etc. We want to create a situation where we can weather a big unexpected expense. Ah well, it keeps when with plenty to write about!

  2. Economies of Kale

    Congratulations – it’s inspiring to see how possible it is to pay off your mortgage 🙂 And I can’t believe you had to pay it by cheque, that would have made me nervous! Everything my bank does is online.

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  7. Mrs. Kate Singh

    I love Dave Ramsey and talk about him in most of my books. I have read his book and blog. We are debt free but now there is this house, however, I was pretty shrewd in this purchase and we bid on a HUD home for $135,000. That is nothing in this market where most homes are $300,000 and up now even in the towns that used to be cheap. I must get back to Dave and my frugal ways more than ever, thanks for reinspiring me.

    1. Jen Post author

      That’s a phenomenal deal, in California or anywhere nowadays. It’s a price that you can pay off early potentially in the future. It’s harder to do that with 400K! We are still in our “starter” home 18 years later.

      1. Mrs. Kate Singh

        Thank you, I love hearing that because people refer to this as a starter home, even my husband, however, I plan on being here for a loooong time. This move was really hard and exhausting for me and I believe it’s that my soul is so tired and done with moving about. I need roots and the kids need to just grow up in one home and grow up with their childhood friends. I don’t mind a small place at all. As long as I have some yard to plant flowers and gardens.

    1. Jen Post author

      Congratulations on making a plan! 18 mo isn’t long especially when you are fired up to make it happen. We have to save now to make sure we don’t borrow again, but at least it’s our money and we control it. Since we want to stay debt free we still have a weekly budget and plan and save for everything.
      Keep at it!


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