Debt-free and loving’ it!

Debt-free and loving’ it!

On Wednesday, March 31, 2010 we became DEEBT FREEEEE! We made the FINAL payment on our school debt, eliminating the ridiculous $57,500 of debt that we had accrued. It was a 3-year goal completed in 2 years and 10 months! This amazing feat all started with a wedding gift from Dad Hutchens—Financial Peace University. Hesitant at first (since we didn’t need financial advice), we signed up for this Dave Ramsey class all the way in Fort Wayne—an hour long drive every Tuesday night for thirteen weeks!

We soon became intense followers of Dave Ramsey’s “Baby Steps” (see below).

  1. $1,000 in the bank (It’s Murphy repellent.)
  2. Pay off all debt using the Debt Snowball (pay off smallest loans first, not just high interest rates).
  3. (And this is where we are now.) 3-6 months expenses in savings.
  4. Invest 15% of household income in retirement.
  5. College funding (for the kiddos!).
  6. Pay off home early.
  7. Build wealth (Boom, baby!).
    Giving is included in every step.

Listening to Dave’s radio show via podcasts has been integral in keeping us motivated–hearing how other people have paid off hundreds of THOUSANDS of dollars worth of debt in a matter of years–inspirational! And we’ve now joined that group who can scream with the Debt-Free Friday group that WE’RE DEBT FREE!

To celebrate this occasion, Sarah surprised me Thursday night with an amazing gift–she called off work

for me Friday (without me knowing!) and told me that we were going to Tennessee to see Dave and thank him in person. Wow! So we made the 7-hour trek to TN, listened to his radio show live, shared inspiring stories not only with Dave himself but also with at least a dozen other families in the lobby.

As we look back on this journey and think of how impossible it really should be for us to pay off that much with our average income, we truly must attribute it to the provision of the Lord, especially during seven months of unemployment, two cars breaking down, and putting Sarah through half of her masters courses. Our only explanation? God alone.

  • Rachel Angevine
    Posted at 14:01h, 13 January Reply

    Great job! Thank you for sharing this in so much detail–it is so encouraging! I just bought the financial peace starter kit for our “family” Christmas present. Quite a few of my friends have gone through the program successfully, so we’ve already started on steps 1 & 2 just from hearing about it. I’ve already paid off two of my student loans using the debt snowball which is so pretty exciting and really does make it feel doable! So cool that you guys went to meet Dave Ramsey!

    • theredheads
      Posted at 06:46h, 14 January Reply

      Keep it up, Rach! Once you get those first couple done, the inspiration (and debt snowball) really come into play! You guys planning just to listen to it yourselves or join a class in your area? He’s such a motivational speaker; he’s really fun to listen to!

      • Rachel Angevine
        Posted at 11:45h, 14 January Reply

        For now we’re just planning on listening to the CD’s and going through the materials ourselves. Our church offers the class on two days, but they are the same two days that never work for our schedules :(

        • theredheads
          Posted at 13:52h, 14 January Reply

          I am still convinced you will benefit even from just hearing him! And obviously you think so too, since you purchased the kit. Good luck! If you want someone outside of your local friends, please don’t hesitate to email: theredheads[at]gmail[dot]com. Would even be up for Skyping, if that would be helpful! Sometimes it’s nice to get an outside perspective from someone way outside. :)

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  • Molly V
    Posted at 11:41h, 09 April Reply

    Way to go you two!! Such a great testimony to hard work, good teaching, discipline and OF COURSE God’s faithfulness! He is always faithful. :)

  • The Red Heads
    Posted at 09:42h, 09 April Reply

    Thanks! Erin, congrats on being done with Med School! And yes, paying of school debt can be done without keeping them around for 20 years. Crazy. I hear you and Chris are moving to California!

  • Chris Helgerson
    Posted at 06:41h, 09 April Reply

    Nice work guys! Wow, that’s amazing! It can be done…

  • Erin Helgerson
    Posted at 05:32h, 09 April Reply

    I’m proud of you guys! This is such a big deal in a world where everyone in sinking more into debt. Here in a couple in a month we’ll finally be done accumulating school debt and we hope to follow in your footsteps. Thanks for the inspiration!

  • Lena Winn
    Posted at 18:54h, 08 April Reply

    Congrats, you guys!!! I admire your determination!!! Sarah, I miss you!

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