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Story 181 for We Did It
We just crossed the finish line!!!
Original story submitted by Jeff
on January 13, 2011
Gender: male
on January 13, 2011
We just crossed the finish line!!!
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Two and a half years ago I remember listening to my first Dave Ramsey podcast while mowing my lawn in the middle of summer time. It happened to be a Friday episode so everyone was calling in and shouting "We're Debt Free!!!" Instantly, I was hooked on the show. I started listening more and more and developed Dave's tactics into our monthly budget. We had $47,000 in debt including a car loan, a kitchen renovation, a second mortgage, and a few other small debts. The monthly payments were manageable for us but my wife and I wanted the debt gone for good! We started our debt snowball in the summer of 2009 by paying off a flat screen TV we had purchased. After that debt was paid off, we used that monthly payment coupled with the money that we started our debt snowball with and started attacking our next biggest debt. Before we knew it that was gone. Today we sit here having paid off a total of $47,552.00 in 31 months. We still have the mortgage on our house as we are only 28 years old but just refinanced it to a 15 year loan with an interest rate that is unbeatable. God blessed us with a beautiful baby girl in October and it feels great knowing that we can enjoy her without the stress of money hovering over our heads. We are putting back 15% of our annual income into retirement and are looking forward to starting a college fund for our daughter. Thank you Dave and team, your ministry is excellent.
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Story 182 for We Did It
But for the Grace of God
Original story submitted by Holly
on January 4, 2011
Gender: female
on January 4, 2011
But for the Grace of God
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My husband and I have received so much Grace, it's overwhelming. We've worked hard for the past 18 months to pay off $40,000 in student loans (our only debt, thankfully). We're continuing to work and sacrifice so that we can pay cash for medical school, which I'll start in July (getting in was Grace enough). What I didn't expect, and what has humbled me the most in following Dave's plan, is the amazing Grace God has shown us, presumably because we're working hard to be good stewards of what He gives us. While we were paying off the debt, and even now as we're looking at what we have in savings versus tuition, it's sometimes hard for me to look at the tithe line of our budget because that big chunk of our income would go a long way, but let me tell you, we've been more than blessed for following God's plan. This morning, I found an unexpected and significant surplus in our budget, and while I was writing the email to tell my husband, he was writing an email to me that his company's stock, which they automatically buy for employees, had gone way up and they were sending us a very large check. Grace overwhelming. I don't believe the idea that if you give God a dollar, He'll give you ten, but I do believe He blesses you for your giving, and He knows what you need better than anyone. If you were like me, if you tense up over trusting God by giving your hard-earned money to His Kingdom, I just wanted to encourage you that He is big enough and He will take care of you.
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Story 183 for We Did It
30K debt, Italy and a Home
Original story submitted by robs
on December 28, 2010
Gender: female
on December 28, 2010
30K debt, Italy and a Home
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Us in Tuscany
Us in Tuscany
Josh and I married in May 2008. I was debt-free with no real financial knowledge, but inherited his school loans, some credit card debts, and soon enough 2 car payments, totaling about $30,000. I was still too in love to realize how much this would impact our life. By August, Josh declared that we would be starting the cash envelope system and set up a budget for us to follow. He had read Total Money Makeover and knew what to do. I was mad about having to touch dirty dollar bills and having to go inside gas stations to pay for fuel. I wanted to resist him, but he asked me to try it out for 3 months and I agreed.
Soon enough, I received a raise and a promotion at work and got excited to plug the new numbers into our budget - that's when I took over the management of our finances! I learned about saving pennies and living below our means. I read Total Money Makeover about a year into budgeting and was inspired even more. We paid off all of our debt within two years! It was time to start saving.
We knew the next steps would be an emergency fund, saving up for a home down payment, and starting a family, but we wanted to have a little fun first. In three months, we saved enough to vacation in Italy for 10 days, which was the time of our life. In five months, our emergency fund was complete. It's amazing how much money you can save if you spend about 30 minutes a month maintaining your budget! Our friends and family are really impressed with how quickly we've been able to come so far. We credit the Lord first, and Dave second for giving practical advice to help us out.
We're now about 7 months away from completing our down payment fund and feel so great about being debt-free. We're ready for the family, too. Thanks be to God, and thanks to Dave Ramsey as well!
Robin and Josh
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Story 184 for We Did It
Step 7 By Age 30
Original story submitted by The Joyners
on December 28, 2010
Gender: male
on December 28, 2010
Step 7 By Age 30
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Yesterday, my wife and I started putting money into a 529 account for our new daughter (who came 3 months ago). We have already been saving 15% for retirement and we paid off the house this past April. And we both turned 30 this year. We are so excited and feel totally free from debt and financial worry. Much of our focus and momentum has been spurred on by Dave and his advice.
This has not been an easy road. About 8 years ago, just before we got married, we both graduated from a private liberal arts college with over $20,000 in debt. We then both attended a graduate seminary. But we were determined to pay for life with cash, so we each worked 70-80 hours a week each summer in a challenging (but rewarding) sales program and paid cash for seminary and paid off our undergraduate debt by the time we graduated from seminary.
By the end of 2007 we both worked full time, but we maintained a "seminary student" lifestyle. We ate cheap, went without internet and TV (we still don't have a TV), drove a paid-for 2001 Toyota Corolla (and still do), and bought clothes and furniture at thrift stores and yard sales (nice stuff, if you ask me). We rented as cheap as possible, socking away one income while living off the other. We did that for two years and bought a beautiful house that needed a little work in Richmond, VA for $88,000. We paid that off in 10 months with the money we had saved while renting and during the 10 months of the mortgage. We have paid cash for all the house fix-ups. Our family income in 2007 was $47,000 and it grew to almost $120,000 in 2010.
Our daughter came as a long-awaited answer to prayer. She was born in September 2010 after almost 5 years of waiting and praying for a child. By God's grace, we can welcome her into a completely debt-free family and look ahead to helping her with education as well.
Since we are debt-free, my wife just quit her job in order to stay at home with our daughter. Our income will drop significantly, but our lifestyle is still well below the means of the one income on which we'll live.
My wife and I have more than enough peace and joy in our lives right now. We have found freedom in being content with less.
Thanks Dave for all your advice and I hope this encourages someone out there that it can be done!
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Story 185 for We Did It
Debt Free Yes!
Original story submitted by melo69
on December 15, 2010
Gender: female
on December 15, 2010
Debt Free Yes!
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My story is I have credit card debt that I can only pay the minimum. My church offered the class The Financial Peace University and I decided to take it. I missed quite a few of the classes and did not get my certificate the first go round. My instructor Bob Moak in Augusta, Ga at St. Augustine's Episcopal Church let me take only the classse I missed and I was able to get my certificate and graduate from Financial Peace Univ. I payed off my credit card debt by using timber money which I and 2 other grandchildren inheirted from our grandfather. I have money leftover to use for this years property taxes. We did a thinning of the trees on the property and the money is divided 3 ways. It would have taken me forever to have done it Dave's way but I was making progress doing the debt snowball. I am now "living like no one else" and it feels wonderful! Debt free is great! I no longer use credit cards. I use my debit card and that is it. Dave's program helped me to learn that you have to be very careful with credit cards because it is a loan with a very high interest rate. Dave's program also helped me to live within my salary and to develop a budget.
Thank You for giving me the tools and movitation to help myself!
Melissa Leonard, Augusta, Ga.
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Story 186 for We Did It
Defining Moments
Original story submitted by Mandy
on December 2, 2010
Gender: female
on December 2, 2010
Defining Moments
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Everyone can think back on an event in their life and realize that that event was a defining moment in their lives. My husband and I are no exception. We have had several defining moments, but one that made us stand up and take notice was one we had in November 2007. My husband had recently been introduced to The Dave Ramsey Show on Fox Business Network and we had just finished watching an episode and decided to look at our finances. We looked at our income versus outgo and realized we were in major trouble. Just a few years earlier we were both making decent money as teachers, had purchased on older home that we were remodeling, and had our first baby. But in 2005, when our oldest child was just a year old, we found out that we were expecting triplets. I would eventually have to quit my job to stay home with our kids, but we did not change our lifestyle even after our income was cut and our family size had doubled. So as my husband and I looked at our income versus outgo we began to realize how serious our problems were. We knew we had to do something and so began our journey to financial peace.
We officially began our journey with our first budget in January 2008. When we started the program, we had just over $100,000 in debt that included 2 cars, school loans, credit cards, a time-share, and a line of credit. This didn’t even include our home. The first budget was hard, especially when our grocery budget for two weeks was only $150. This was supposed to buy food for six people, diapers for 3 toddlers, and pet food for two dogs. But we stuck to the plan, and now almost three years later, we are months away from being debt free. Our goal is to be debt-free except for the house by April 2011. This process has not been easy. Murphy has visited several times, but because of our emergency fund and our budget, it hasn’t been a disaster. We were able to replace our dryer right away after it quit working and we paid cash to cover what insurance wouldn’t when two of our kids had their tonsils removed.
Through this process, we have testified to others about how the Total Money Makeover has changed our lives and the lives of our four children. My husband and I led the Financial Peace class at our church and we have given the Total Money Makeover book as gifts. We tell and will continue to tell anyone who will listen to us because we know this works and we want everyone to experience financial peace.
That fateful evening back in 2007 changed us and that defining moment has shaped our future. We look forward to calling Dave in April and giving our “We’re debt free!” battle cry. Until then, we continue to push forward. We’ve paid cash for all our Christmas gifts this year and will enjoy the holidays that much more, knowing we won’t have bills arriving in January. May God bless you all this holiday season and may God bless you, Dave, for your very important ministry.
Trent and Mandy Austin - Columbus, IN
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Story 187 for We Did It
Completely Debt Free in PA
Original story submitted by Adam
on November 20, 2010
Gender: male
on November 20, 2010
Completely Debt Free in PA
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Our paid for home
Our paid for home
My wife & I have always been been conservative with our finances but we never had "a Plan". Because of our family upbrings, we have always worked hard and tried to be smart with our money. We built our own new home (no contractors) over a 2+ year period in mid 2000's while both working and starting a family. In December 2008 we came across your TV show and it sparked our interest. We bought your Total Money Makeover book and read it. We were both immediately on board with your plan and we realized what potential was ahead for our lives. We started your plan January 2009 with about $2,000 in credit card debt, $7,000 HELOC, and a $63,000 mortgage. Now 23 months later on November 19, 2010 we are completely DEBT FREE including the mortage. My wife is 32 and I am 37. We have 2 children...Shayla age 8 and Laura age 7. We are working with your ELP from Erie PA and have a future that looks fantastic! Thank you for your plan and what it has done to change the lives of our family. Sincerely, Adam & Ginny
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Story 188 for We Did It
Changing a Family Tree
Original story submitted by Josh
on November 17, 2010
Gender: male
on November 17, 2010
Changing a Family Tree
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My wife Abigail and I became debt free on 14 October 2010 thanks to the amazing ministry of Dave Ramsey. We took the FPU class through our church Kempsville Presbyterian in Virginia Beach, VA beginning in September 2008 and completed the course in early December of that year. We began the course with approximately $88,000 worth of debt, most of which was student loans. Thanks to two upstate New York undergrad degrees and one graduate degree, we began our marriage in December 2006 with about $77,000 in student loans! The rest of the debt was tied up in credit cards and car loans. Thankfully our expensive degrees have been put to good use. Abigail is a teacher in the Virginia Beach City Public School system and I am a naval officer stationed in Virginia Beach. We were making a combined income of between $100,000 and $110,000 before taxes.
Once we began FPU, our knowledge of finances increased. Although we came from two loving households, neither Abigail nor I were taught the necessary skills to manage finances in a healthy, Biblical manner so we look at this accomplishment as a blessing from God and an opportunity to change our family tree. We want to instill in our children the requisite knowledge to accomplish their goals in life without the burden of debt.
From February through June 2010 we led 12 other young married couples in our Bible study through the FPU curriculum as coordinators. We found that the material was so helpful in our marriage that we needed to pass it along to other young couples. By far, the most valuable component of the program, in addition to the knowledge provided by Dave, was the Endorsed Local Provider (our ELP is Dave Stagemeyer in Hampton, VA) who enabled us to put our plan in action. He provided tailored guidance and answered many of the questions we had about our future and what the next steps would be. We are excited to return to him and begin new programs towards our savings goals.
Now that we've completed Baby Step 2, our focus shifts to completing Baby Step 3. I've volunteered for a tour in Afghanistan that will provide the adventure I've been seeking and a side benefit is the ability to quickly achieve our goal of saving a full emergency fund (6 months) as well as a down payment on a house and the full amount of a new, used car. I've been driving the same Chevy Cavalier for eight years!
We are excited to continue our training and we'd like to attend the counselor training in TN at some point in the future when we've saved enough. We feel this ministry is critical to the success of future generations. Our passion is for young married people (as we've mentioned before) and we feel this training will allow us to give even more guidance in the future.
Dave, thanks for your ministry and for inspiring us to change our family tree. We are celebrating the financial freedom with a cash only trip to New York City for our fourth anniversary!
We'd love to tell our story on the air if you feel it would be inspiring to others.
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Story 189 for We Did It
DEBT FREE
Original story submitted by Amous
on November 16, 2010
Gender: female
on November 16, 2010
DEBT FREE
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colts game
colts game
Proverbs 22:7
The rich rule over the poor and the borrower is slave to the lender.
Those are the words that sparked the FIRE!! With $9,000 in CC debt,vehicle loans,school loans,and a mortgage (yes a mobile home...stupid tax WE KNOW THAT NOW) we had A LOT of debt. I had heard of Dave Ramsey from co-workers and decided that I would ask for Total Money Makeover for my birthday. After reading it, thats when WE decided to DO IT; TO IT!! We started with our CCs and just snowballed our way to FREEDOM! (not as easy as I just made it sound...but well worth it) We made out last payment on EVERYTHING on November 5th!! WE'RE DEBT FREE!! We didn't stop living while we snowballed we just budgeted for what we wanted. We took a vacation to disney world for 10 days, went skiing in the rockies, and went to an NFL game to see Peyton Manning and the Colts!(our sons favorite team and player) This did NOT happen over night..it took us 2 1/2 years with A LOT of discipline but it's the best feeling in the world! We now have a fully funded emergency account and can now start to save for a down payment (if not pay for it in cash) on a stick built home my husband can build for us in 5 years. Thanks Dave for the biblical quote that sparked the FIRE!!
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Story 190 for We Did It
Big cheetah, baby gazelle
Original story submitted by Scoop
on October 18, 2010
Gender: male
on October 18, 2010
Big cheetah, baby gazelle
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Big cheetah, baby Gazelle
Big cheetah, baby Gazelle
FPU was a great eye opener for my wife and I and very encouraging also as I had committed to fixing our financial problems over 7 years ago. The first 5 years on my own (with prayer), and the rest of the time with FPU (and prayer). Step one was a breeze, as we had more than $3,000 in savings, so we actually reduced that to $1,000 and sent the money as our first debt reduction payment. I realized one of my mistakes at that point, that I had protected a $3,000 "emergency" savings account by using credit card purchases (of less than that) for important things, like laptops for our college kids, instead of using the savings. Step two has been a labor of successes and stupidity, but we're getting close. No car payments (three cars), no debts owed to family members, and the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel. But about 4 months ago, I realized what I had forgotten -- gazelle intensity. So I put the attached picture on my computer. I don't have rights to the picture, but I couldn't find a better reminder for intensity, that my cheetah was huge compared to me so I needed to get back to full intensity. I got it from http://www.turnupthemic.com/
We had gotten comfortable on reducing our debt slowly. Another mistake was not concentrating on faith, which has so much to do with out-running this cheatah. Because we had two kids serving on YWAM staff, I became overly cautious about sending large chunks of money to our credit card debt. My children helped me with my faith, and I learned much about it in the process -- "I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!" Turns out with more prayer and faith, God provided for their needs enough to where I did not need to shoulder most of the financial burden. Re-focused, we've paid off two credit cards in the last four months, can't wait to complete Step 2 (and burn through Step 3).
My name is Tom Clements, husband to a great woman of faith and father to 3 outstanding adult children (and two grandsons). I spent 24 wonderful years enlisted in the Air Force, which is not an excuse, but certainly creates many opportunities for credit card usage.
FPU has helped considerably. We had debt in the high $30,000 range, have that down to about $17,000 and hope to have that snowballed in the next 8 months. We have rid ourselves of cars with payments and have purchased good used cars for cash. I have one daughter still serving on YWAM staff in Norway, but Lord willing, can put as much as $2,500 a month to debt reduction even while she is there. When she is back this summer, we will torch step 3 and keep movin on. Thank you for your hard work and dedication. Oh, and my son has really gotten turned on to this, and is showing much greater wisdom in his 20's than I showed (at any age), thanks to you.
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