I have always been a saver. Ever since I was a little kid, I would squirrel away money for things. But after college and a house purchase, it got harder to do things without debt.
Debt REALLY bothers me… I mean, I HATE IT. I can’t stand owing anybody anything. It’s painful for me. I have NEVER carried a balance on my credit cards – that’s how much I hate debt.
About six years ago (the first time I ever had a car payment and my husband still had student loans), I started reading. I read the “Tightwad Gazette” books, anything by Mary Hunt and Suze Orman. I read “Miserly Moms” even though I was years away from getting pregnant. The books inspired me. They showed me that you could have a very good life and not have debt looming over you. I learned that we could be in charge of our own money.
So we began to live off Hubby’s income and put my income toward all of our debts. In just over one year, we paid off $19,000 in debt and remodeled our kitchen. And then Hubby realized how much he hated his job. So he quit his full-time job and went back to grad school. He managed to snag a graduate assistantship that took care of tuition costs AND came with free health insurance. He finished his master’s degree in just over one year and had a full-time job shortly after that. It was a GREAT career move for him.
We decided to build a house. We had our first child. And then we bought a new car. And then I got pregnant with twins. A giant mortgage, a car payment, and more mouths to feed, and we were very stressed out. So we went back to the living on one income way of life. We paid off our car and saved up for a minivan. And then I was put on bed rest. After the twins were born, I made arrangements to take a one year’s leave of absence to take care of the kids. At this point, I’m not sure I want to go back to work. The best part is that I KNOW we can live on one income. We’ve done it twice before. I also know that it is going to take a lot of work.
If we can do this, anyone can. My advice to everyone is that if you are in debt, get out of it. Do whatever you have to do. There are so many free resources at the library and on the web to get you started. And if you are not in debt – STAY that way! We don’t live a grand lifestyle (no fancy house or exotic vacations), but we live a happy one.
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