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Story 181 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 182 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 183 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 184 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 185 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 186 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 187 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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Story 188 for We Did It
Debt Free FAMILY!!
Original story submitted by laika89
on October 18, 2010
Gender: female
on October 18, 2010
Debt Free FAMILY!!
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WE'RE DEBT FREE (except for the house) and have a fully funded emergency fund!! My husband Will, 29 years old, and I, 27 years old, paid off $67,000 in 13 months making a combined income of $110,000. We also built our full emergency fund over the past 4 months.
We have been married for 5 years and have always been somewhat money conscious, but we never realized that debt was a problem. Will had been telling me for several months that we should look at Dave's Total Money Makeover, but I always thought we were doing ok financially. We didn't use credit cards, and our only debts were student loans and two (large) car payments. We were throwing a little bit of extra money toward each debt every month with no real game plan to pay them off.
In April 2009, the company we both work for experienced difficult times, and we both had to take a 20% pay cut. That forced us to really take a good look at our finances. After listening to Dave, we decided we needed to create a budget for the first time. We realized that even at the reduced salary, we could survive on far less than our income. That left plenty of money to start on our debt snowball with gazelle intensity!
In January this year, we found out that we were pregnant with our first child! Our health insurance had also been discontinued at work as part of the cutback, and I was denied private coverage. So we faced a pregnancy with no health insurance, but we did not let that deter us! We pre-paid all our medical bills with cash, while still continuing to tackle our debt snowball. We paid off our last debt, my student loan, in June, and in July we got our 20% salary back at work!! And the blessings keep on coming... On September 29, we welcomed our beautiful daughter Madelyn.
It is an awesome feeling to be debt free, financially secure, and know that we will be able to provide a great life for our family! We are continuing on the baby steps (we're now looking at Step 5 to start saving for Madelyn's college), and have a plan to be mortgage free in 5 years (or maybe less)!! Thanks Dave!
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Story 189 for We Did It
Young & Free
Original story submitted by Benjamin
on October 10, 2010
Gender: male
on October 10, 2010
Young & Free
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My wife and I are 23yrs. old and debt-free! I paid my used car off four years after buying it my senior year in high school. We paid my wife's new car off early in 2010. Since she was wise and worked to get her schooling paid for through scholarships, she had no other debt. On the other hand, I had over $10k in student loans which we just paid off in Oct '10. We have most of our emergency fund saved up and are now working to save for a (hopefully) sizable DP on our future first house. Now we are traveling, my wife as a travel nurse and myself doing whatever work I can find. It's a true blessing to be debt-free and enjoy living in new places with such freedom! Dave, thanks for your common-sense approach to finances and life choices! You've been a great encouragement to us. God bless!
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Story 190 for We Did It
Winning on the Debt Diet!
Original story submitted by Jennifer
on September 30, 2010
Gender: female
on September 30, 2010
Winning on the Debt Diet!
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About 5 years ago, I watched a program on TV that talked about a serious epidemic in America...Americans upside down in debt. The 5 part series followed 3 families as they worked with well-known money advisors to break bad habits and dig their families out of debt. Recognizing myself in their stories I, too, signed on to the Debt Diet.
But bad spending habits are hard to break and I found myself constantly looking for ways to keep myself motivated. That's when I stumbled across Dave's book The Total Money Makeover. That's when things really started to change for me. Following The Baby Steps gave me a goal to work on as well as a vision of what lay ahead. The personal testimonies of so many who had succeeded kept me motivated--I wanted to be like them! I wanted more control of my financial destiny.
So 5 years and 2 paid-off car loans, 3 paid-off student loans, and multiple paid-off credit cards later...WE ARE DEBT FREE!!!
The peace I feel is beyong description. The optimism I feel for the future is palpable. I'm so grateful to those who blazed the path and gave us the tools to succeed.
My current motto: "Stand fast in this liberty wherewith ye have been made free!"
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