There was a time when we were knocking down some pretty decent cash. My wife and I were both working at professional jobs. We had an awesome nanny. We even hired a company to clean up after our dog in the back yard. We ate out. A lot. We were spending it faster than we could make it, even though we were making a decent amount. The year our income maxed out, we actually increased our debt. Were we out of control? Maybe. But we were definitely not on a budget.
Then our nanny did something that she knew would cost her a job. She gave us the book “Total Money Makeover” by Dave Ramsey. It took us about a chapter to figure out that we were nuts. We were spending money like crazy and we had a ton of debt. A ton of debt. Hundreds of thousands of dollars, not including our mortgage. So we started kicking the crap out of our debt and cut our expenses like crazy. Then something happened. My wife became compelled to leave work. We had let our nanny go, and were leaving the kids in daycare. We felt like we were subcontracting our parenthood. We both made about the same amount of money, so we were about to cut our income in half.
We pulled the trigger. We quickly learned that the cuts we made to our budget were nothing. We cut more. Deep cuts. We cancelled cable. That usually makes people think you’re completely nuts. But it was working. But we kept looking, kept digging for more cuts. We found them. We started growing a lot of our own food. We started making our own pasta, which is ridiculously cheap by the way. We started paying cash for everything. Everything. Yes, you can buy iTunes songs with cash. Paying with cash radically changes your spending habits. But we were still living in dependence on my rather unpredictable commissions.
Well Friday morning was a big day. On Friday morning we paid all of our bills coming due over the next pay period, and for the first time since cutting our income in half, we have money left over. It stopped me dead in our tracks. Whatever commission I got could be applied to debt, and catching up on a couple of projects around the house. I feel for the first time like we’re in charge of our money, instead of the other way around. I felt proud of where we had come. It’s been years since we’ve borrowed any money or used a credit card. Now we’re really starting to turn the corner. I can see a light at the end of the tunnel for the first time. I can envision what my life will be like when I’m 100% debt free, not even a mortgage.
So now I spend some of my free time working with people in debt and budget crisis and help them fight through it. It’s rewarding and a great way to meet some amazing people.
That’s it for today! Debt is tough and it sort of eats away at you. Hope this encourages some of you to fight your way out of it and pursue the true freedom I can finally see in my future. Love you guys! Have an awesome day.