yesterday was a great day for the milthaler family. we paid off our last credit card and are on our way to paying off all our debts.
a few months ago we took a short vacation to the cabin our friends (scott and julie mcmiller) own in the hocking hills region. we both were totally consumed with the idea of purchasing our own cabin... and so the journey to put ourselves in a firm financial position to achieve this goal.
it's staggering to say, but over the past five months we have eliminated tens of thousands of dollars in debt... it's really amazing. i am embarrassed in one sense to share that we were so "out of control" but, on the other hand i want to provide hope and freedom to those of you that are stuck in this negative debt behavior. the actions that got us in the position we found ourselves weren't that untypical. we weren't gambling or living a lavish lifestyle... we just weren't living our wadge.
the sucky part is that i would like to redo our kitchen, update our furniture and start aggressively saving for college and the cabin, but we can't. the following statement is true... "debt steals from the future".
so how did we do it? the simple answer is that we spent less than we made and put what was left over on our debts... but there were some more keys:
1. we sat down and added up ALL of our debt. not just the high interest, or the stuff we thought we could never pay off... all of it went into excel.
2. we started dave ramsey's financial peace university. ramsey never said anything i didn't already know, but he gave tough fatherly advice that stuck in my brain.
3. we started to account for every penny that came in and out of our wallets. when we started our budget we were shocked at how little things add up.
4. we gave ourselves a fair amount of blow money. we didn't budget for eating out or simple stuff like that. no envelopes, just a monthly or weekly allowance. it was a decent amount, so it gave us freedom. i think this was a big key to our success.
5. whenever we got free money, like royalties or supplementals we put them toward the debt. we started paying on the smallest and then rolling the money to the next smallest when it was paid off.
then something awesome happened, god started to bless us like never before. in a way, i think he was waiting for us to get our act together so we wouldn't misuse the resources that are ultimately his.
we still have a long way to go, but i am more confident than ever that we will get there.