In the fall of 2009, DH & I did one of the best things we've done since we were married... we took Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University (FPU) course. Shortly after that, we had a drastic financial change, for the worse. Thanks to FPU, we were able to work out a budget and stay the course, not paying any debts off, but not going into any more debt than we already were!
Since the fall of 2009, here is what we have done:
Baby Step 1: Emergency Savings of $1,000 - sold, sold and sold our stuff to get there! Even though we have had to dip into a couple times, we have always paid it right back!
Baby Step 2: Pay off all debt using debt snowball:
~ We've just begun really being able to do this and have been amazed how fast the ball is rolling! We applied our tax returns all toward debt and that felt awesome... any extra money was applied to our debt and since we've begun we've paid off over $11,000 of debt, including our car!
What other steps have we've taken to help us on this road? Please don't think it's been easy...
~ Immediatley (2009) changed our Qwest phone plan to the lowest, cheapest plan available. No caller ID, call waiting or anything fancy... it rings. We have an answering machine at our home... no voicemail! Our bill went from $50 to $20 a month!!! That $30 went to debt.
~ Changed cell phone plans! I got rid of my blackberry and that saved us $30 a month! That went to our debt... (see how we've already applied $60 more a month?!)
~ Stopped eating out. That saves us an easy $100 month... apply it toward debt...
~ Stopped buying gifts for people... I have always bought items when they were on sale and then have a "gift closet." I stopped buying and started only giving what I had on hand, already purchased! I gave Pampered Chef and Melaleuca as gifts and for our new granddaughter, I made her a baby quilt!
~ Continue to NOT pay full price for things!!!
~ Invested in quality hair clippers and give the boys hair cuts at home. This saves us $22 for the both of them.
~ Stick to our budget, allowing for our own "blow money" to do with what we want.
It's been a ride and I can't wait to move on to Baby Step #3!!! 3-6 months living expenses in savings!
Thanks to the encouragement and suggestions from wonderful Godly people, we did NOT give up when the going was tough. THANK YOU!!!