Freedom from Debt

Hi Friends 🙂

Are you having a lovely day?

I am, because I took the day off of work. Jason and I decided to take a little trip tonight/tomorrow down to Kansas City, MO – which is all part of his birthday gift. We are going to see Dave Ramsey speak:

(I realize that is a banner for a different date, I couldn’t find the correct one) It is a one day seminar about leadership. Although I am looking forward to the trip/seminar, this is totally more for Jason. He loves this sort of thing. The seminar is geared towards small business owners (which we are not) but the principles taught can apply to anyone.

We love Dave Ramsey, because it was his book The Total Money Makeover that helped us get our finances in order. Averie recently wrote a post about paying off debt, and to be honest, it is a subject that I have wanted to write about for a long time, but I felt so ashamed and there seemed to be this sense of guilt hanging over my head.

When Jason and I got married we had tons of debt – a mortgage, a car payment (thankfully my car was paid for), and credit card payments up the wazoo. I never told anyone (except for 1-2 friends who had as much if not more debt than we had) because I was ashamed. I felt like we had both been so terrible with money and I was embarrassed!  I also knew that if we had asked our parents for money they would have helped us in a heartbeat. But I didn’t want that. I wanted us to pay off the debt ourselves. And we did!

It took us about a year and a half to pay off 4 credit cards that totaled over $35,000. It was not easy. I am working on a few more posts detailing how we paid off that money, but basically we only bought what we absolutely could not live without and we budgeted every penny we earned. There were some months that we were able to pay lots of extra money onto the cards (garage sales, 3 paycheck months, tax returns), and some months we didn’t have as much extra money (car repairs, replaced washer/dryer, etc)

We still have some debt (mortgage and car payments), but it isn’t hanging over us and being such a stressor in our lives. We have built up our savings (and we are continuing to build it!) Our cars will be paid off before the end of this summer and what a relief that will be!

Seriously if you have debt (especially credit card debt!!!) I urge you to visit Dave Ramsey’s website – his Total Money Makeover book is usually only $10-$15 on his site and is well worth the money. I’ve heard Suze Orman is a good money/debt advice person as well, although I haven’t personally read any of her books.

Even though I still feel shame when it comes to having credit card debt, I feel so much better after sharing with someone how far we have come! You remember that we took a weekend trip to Las Vegas last November – that was to celebrate paying off the credit cards and saving enough money to pay for the entire trip with CASH. We haven’t charged ANYTHING in almost 2 years. It feels great!

If you have any questions that you’d like me to address in future Debt Relief Posts – feel free to email me at couchpotatoathlete (at) gmail (dot) com.

Hopefully our car trip will go quickly – have a great day!


Posted in Life. Tags: . 37 Comments »

37 Responses to “Freedom from Debt”

  1. 1970kikiproject Says:

    WOW, wow, WOW!! Congratulations, Holly to you and Jason on this accomplishment. i so commend you for sharing your story and for the dedication you gave to paying off your debt.
    money issues are something we as a society are not really comfortable with sharing…i really appreciate your honesty.
    luckily, i have not been in this situation, but do know of others who have. it’s stressful.
    ENJOY your trip!! so nice of you to indulge jason with this seminar!

    • Holly Says:

      Thank you so much Cathy — I am so glad you have not been in that situation. I wouldn’t wish it on anyone.

      I hope you are enjoying your trip!

  2. Sarena (The Non Dairy Queen) Says:

    Congratulations on getting through all of that! I hope to be debt free some day. I am so tired of it and it does hang over us.

    Have a safe trip and a lot of fun!

    • Holly Says:

      Thanks Sarena! We still have car loans and our mortgage that create stress (I don’t like money LEAVING our bank account!) — but they are nothing compared to the credit card debt.

  3. Beth Says:

    Wow congratulations to you Holly! I’m struggling with credit card debt myself and I agree – it feels so shameful! I got a credit card when I was in college, and then right afterwards I had to leave my job because of a back injury and I was out of work for 6 weeks. I maxed out the CC ($2000 limit) and they kept upping the balance and now its at $6000. Only in the last few months have I gotten really adamant about paying them off (I have 3 credit cards, one I just paid off, and two that are almost maxed out) but I cannot WAIT until they are gone!!

  4. Katie Says:

    That is such a huge accomplishment, you should be proud and write about it! I am impressed!!!

    My parents told me a long time ago never to buy anything on credit if you can’t pay it off that month. Well, I got into a little trouble in college with credit cards, never anything too major, but it was enough to scare me straight. I still have a ton of student loans (being in college and then grad school for 11 years will do that), but that’s my only debt!

    • Holly Says:

      My parents also warned me about credit cards and I never thought “it would happen to me” — but I opened them for “emergencies” and suddenly buying groceries was an emergency.

  5. IHeartVegetables Says:

    Congrats on getting out of credit card debit! I know that can be really hard to get out of 😦 and now you’ve probably built up some great budgeting habits!

  6. Hollie @ Lolzthatswim(andRun) Says:

    Congrats! I took a whole college course about debt and it just scared the bageezus out of me. I’m glad you were able to overcome it girl! I’m sure I will be in debt once I’m out of college…

  7. Averie (LoveVeggiesAndYoga) Says:

    Congrats on paying off your debt, Holly! Trust me, I know full well the discipline that is involved in doing so. Thanks for linking me and I am glad that my post helped you feel less ashamed and more ok with posting about it.

    Paying off debt is SUCH a great thing, it’s SUCH hard work to do, and so you have every “right” to want to post about it after working so hard to get where you are.

    Congrats 🙂

    • Holly Says:

      Seriously Averie your post helped a lot!!! I have seen so many posts from bloggers about budgeting, etc but they never mention debt. I didn’t think I was the only one who ever turned to credit cards but then paid them off. It was refreshing to see that you got yourself out of that situation as well.

  8. emily (a nutritionist eats) Says:

    Oh that is SO awesome! I recently paid off all of my CC debt too and it does feel SO good. I do need to work on budgeting more though, because I should have a lot more saved then I do. Good for you guys!!! I’m going to check out that book!

    • Holly Says:

      Yes, the Dave Ramsey book is great, but also check out his website, he has lots of useful info on there as well. Congrats on paying off that CC debt!!!

  9. Maria @ Oh Healthy Day Says:

    Good for you! I know how difficult budgeting money can be and you have a lot of be proud of! Thanks for opening up and I look forward to reading your tips on the subject!

  10. Mary @ Bites and Bliss Says:

    Ugh, debt. I don;t even have any and I’m already dreading it!! Glad you’ve come so far, that’s really great news. 🙂

  11. Christin@purplebirdblog Says:

    That is fantastic!! And I’m glad you shared your story. I am actually filing for bankruptcy this year… I have CRAP TONS of debt stemming from my divorce in 2004 and having all of this over my head is weighing me down, not to mention I don’t even want to think about marrying Alex with all of this, especially considering it was all amassed way before he was even in the picture. I am looking forward to starting over with a new chapter in my life!

  12. bakebooks Says:

    I’m so happy for you!

    Hmm…my debt is 4 times that amount…uh-oh – were talking about 16-20 years…no surprise 😉

    (p.s it’s not credit card debt – it’s student -crappy- loans, car, line of credit…well, I guess that’s like credit). either way – it’s still debt!!

  13. Megan @ Healthy Hoggin' Says:

    Two of my best friends go to Dave Ramsey’s classes in Kansas City, too! They rave about his work! My mom bought me his book, but I have yet to read it… sounds awesome, though!

    And congrats on paying off your debt! You guys totally deserved that trip to Vegas!!! 🙂

    • Holly Says:

      I’m sure once you read the book you will love it — lots of good information: not just about paying off debt, but about saving, budgeting, life insurance, etc.

  14. Stephanie @ Walking my Talk Says:

    Thinking about debt makes me cringe. We owed a lot of money, mostly in consumer debt – pretty much the same amount you did, although we’ve paid a chunk of it off. It’s embarrassing, because we’re both smart, successful people…our debt was almost all stupid decisions or lack of planning. We’re moving in the Summer, and at least we’ll pay the rest of it off with proceeds from the house…but I feel kind of dumb about the whole thing, since that should be more money in our pocket! We’ve promised ourselves “never again”.

    I love Dave Ramsay. I also really love another book (an older one) called Your Money or Your Life. I don’t remember who wrote it…but it’s definitely worth checking out.

  15. Jess Says:

    WOW. You’ve come SOOO far. I am seriously impressed! My dad always says that the only “somewhat acceptable debt” is your house. Awesome, AWESOME job!!

  16. Lisa Says:

    Great topic—amazing you were so dedicated to beating the debt monster! Nothin’ better than being debt free 🙂

    Thanks for the recommendation too—I love learning about how to be smart about money 🙂

  17. Alaina Says:

    My husband and I love Dave Ramsey! He has definitely helped us in building our “nest egg” and getting rid of debt as well.


  18. Lisa @ I'm an Okie Says:

    Congrats!! I LOVE that book! You did an amazing thing for yourself!

  19. moneyiscenteverything Says:

    Keep it up. After Baby Step #2, it is a great ride saving, investing, and giving like noone else!

  20. charlotte Says:

    Congrats on paying down all that debt!! My husband and I are huge Dave Ramsey fans too! His book was life-changing for me. I wanted to go all the way and pay off the mortgage but my husband doesn’t want to do that yet. But that’s all the debt we have:) So glad you are helping to erase the stigma and speaking out about your debt! I know that you are helping a lot of people. I look forward to reading your other posts on this!

    • Holly Says:

      Dave Ramsey is the best.

      As sad as this sounds, when he walked on stage on Friday I started tearing up because his Total Momey Makeover has helped us so much!

  21. Sara @ OurDogBuffy Says:

    Don’t feel bad. My husband and I have just as much debt. We’re slowly whittling away at it. I’d be interested to know how you got rid of it that quickly. We should be debt-free in about three years and by then, we’ll be close to having my husband’s car paid off. Mine is paid off thankfully! It is so nice to see those balances drop. We’re trying to live frugally and we only use cash now too.

    • Holly Says:

      I’m working on a few posts (hopefully will be up early next week) with our methods of paying off the debt. I’m glad you are working on getting rid of your debt — for us, making the decision to start paying it off was the hardest part! It meant we had to quit spending so much!

  22. Sam (the neurotic yogini) Says:

    This post gives me so much hope!!! I am currently about $30,000 (or more *shudder*) in student loan debt and I thought I was going to have to sell my soul to get it paid off!!! I will have to make one more purchase for myself and get that book! 🙂 Thanks!!!

  23. Homemade Blueberry Pop-Tarts « The Couch Potato Athlete Says:

    […] think next week will be Paying off Debt/Budgeting week – I’ve been working on a few posts but I keep adding more info, so maybe on Monday I’ll […]

  24. Mary (A Merry Life) Says:

    I’m paying off credit cards right now and it’s something I rarely talk about. It’s kind of embarrassing. But I like to hear other people tell me it’s possible to finish this long process. I’m looking forward to your next posts on this topic!

    • Holly Says:

      Mary it does feel embarrassing, but good for you for paying them off! You’re doing something about it, which you should be very proud of!

      When we started, we knew it would take almost 2 years to pay it off and in the beginning it felt like it would take forever — as corny as it sounds the time really flies by and each month you are closer and closer to your goal!

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