We all have those things we love and don’t want to give up. Mine was a life we were once building that we thought we needed. Materials things consumed us but never got us where we wanted to really be. We built a life on debt and frustration and unhappiness.
We built a great house that I loved and I wanted to stay in it forever. I could see my husband and I in our rocking chairs old and grey smiling at each other as we drank our tea. I could see our grand babies running around. I loved the yard. I loved the lay out. I loved the neighborhood.
At first it was good but then we were young and foolish and made bad financial decisions. We rolled debt into it and it came to the point where we could no longer make the payment. We were drowning. Our choices took us down a different path. We were stupid with money. We decided that credit was the best way to get things and we built piles of debt with nothing really to show for it except a miserable unhappy life. My husband worked long hours at a very good paying job and he would work after hours at side jobs to make more money because his paycheck at a very good paying job was never enough.
I had all these dreams of doing things with the kids but we couldn’t ever afford them. I wanted to take them to Disney world and to Hawaii and to visit family and to any where we could think of. I had hopes and dreams but we could barely breathe in our life and it felt like there was no way out.
Then as we were barely treading water, my husband had a heart attack, it was more a stress attack but at the time we didn’t know and they told us it was a heart attack. He was young, there was no way he could have a heart attack. I got the call from the Dr. and I was told he wouldn’t make it. I remember thinking as I sat there with 3 little ones what were we going to do? Thankfully the prayers worked and he was released with a few months of Dr. visits to figure out what went wrong. Our life was a giant pool of STRESS!! And he was carrying it all on his shoulders.
It was time to make a change. We got asked if we wanted to take a Dave Ramsey financial class through his employer. At first I said no and then later I figured what ever it can’t hurt. We were desperate for anything that could make a change. All of sudden our eyes opened. We both came to the decision that it was time to do something because the way our life was going we would be dead or our kids would never know their dad or we would no longer be married because the stress consumed us and their was no time to enjoy life. We were living the American dream of a life of debt.
Dave Ramsey’s teaching helped us see all the mistakes we had made and were making. I told my husband that I heard a small voice tell me it was time to give up the house. The house I loved. But I chose my family over any material things. They were more important.
Slowly we started to sell the toys, we downgraded our vehicles, we found everything possible that we could make money off of and sold it. We started paying our debt. It took a few years to get to where we could breathe again, as we implemented Dave Ramsey’s baby steps. Then we sold the house. It was a miracle. We got what we wanted plus a little extra to pay off the last few debts we had and we moved into our 700 sq ft 4 plex apartment that we owned. We gave the kids the 2 rooms and we slept in a living room. For over a year and a half we blew up an air mattress every night. The only debt we had left after selling our cars, toys and house was our 4plex which was our investment and then we just saved and we saved. We have some of the funnest memories living in that little apartment with all 5 of us. My kids still talk about how fun it was. This was a lesson to me that they don’t need much to be happy.
We did this for almost 2 years until we decided it was time to get a house. We still have made a few bad financial decisions along the way because nothing is perfect but what we have changed is so much for the better. We learned how to save better. We keep a budget. We have an emergency fund. We own our car. We have a great house. We choose everything to be paid for out of pocket and do not hold on to debt anymore. Even though we struggle sometimes with financial decisions, we know we will not allow ourselves to ever go down that path we chose so many years ago.
As with anything we take it day by day and month by month. I get to take my kids on those dream trips I dreamed about and I get to do it paid in full, debt free. I get to enjoy my family and I get to choose to make moments instead of holding on to things we don’t need. And for that I am thankful!
Though it was hard to give up something I thought I wanted so badly I have learned sometimes you have to give away something good so you can have something so much better!!!
~Be the Light for all to See~