Currently my husband andI are following Dave Ramsey's plan to live a debt free life. It's going pretty well, and I highly recommend his book "Total Money Makeover." Last year we paid down a little over $20,000 last year alone. I'm not saying it was easy. We've given up a lot, but on the other hand, it's made our marriage better, reduced one significant area of my anxiety and I feel like we get to do more things without feeling guilty about it. For example, we have $40 allotted for entertainment every month. I almost feel like we have to spend it, and we almost allays use it for date nights, or things to do together at home.
There are times when I get frustrated, however, one of Dave Ramsey's quotes is "Do today what others won't, so tomorrow you can live the way other's can't." So on the days when I feel like I've given up all my financial flexibility and just want to scream, I make a list in my head of all the things Brad and I will do once we don't have the debt monkey on our backs.
- Build a house. Which, yes, will put us back into debt, but at that point it will be the ONLY debt we have, allowing us to pay it off in less than 15 years.
- Have children. We keep getting told we'll change our minds on this one, and I'm not saying that it's completely impossible. But when we consider how much more we'll be able to give our kids if we don't have debt, it's a lot easier.
- Travel internationally. We've been able to budget for a few smaller getaways, but once we pay off debt, we want to go more places.
- A new horse for me. I miss showing horses more than anything else. If we're debt free, I should be able to compete again.
- Pursue being self employed. I'm working on it on a smaller level right now, through my craft business and my blog, but I would like to be able to chase this dream on a more intense level.
- Have more parties and get togethers with friends. What's the point of having a lot if you can't share it.
- Cook more often with high quality ingredients. I am A Farmer's Granddaughter, and we do fairly well, particularly in the summer, when we get tons of produce for free. However, once we're debt free, we can increase our grocery budget and buy better ingredients.
- Take classes. There are so many more things that both of us want to learn.
- Either build a state of the art home gym, or invest in a very good gym membership.
- Build Brad a workshop where his imagination and capable hands can create.
- Invest in a variety of crafting tools for myself.
- Build our dream barn.
- Work to turn our farm into a teaching facility, where we can use agriculture and animals to teach about farming and about life skills.
- Invest in some rental properties that we can use as a secondary source of income.
- Purchase our dream vehicles, gently used and paid for with cash.
- Buy a new horse trailer.
- Give people the perfect gifts, regardless of cost. Again, what is the point of having a lot if you don't share it?
- Support a wide variety of charities we believe in.
- Turn our backyard into a true paradise.
- Leave good servers the kind of tip where they take a picture and post it on Facebook. This is where we both started. We'd like to pay it forward.
I highly recommend everyone try this plan. You can't lose much, and what you gain is worth far more than money.