There we were, sitting in our beautiful apartment in Portsmouth, N.H., drinking coffee and talking about our move to Richmond, Va. We loved our idyllic, seacoast neighborhood, but we were ready to explore a new place and be rid of the NH winters we so despise. I was feeling so cheerful until Amanda said “babe, we need to talk”. Those are three little words nobody ever wants to hear. Being the more logical of the two of us, she gently reminded me of how much debt we have, $150,000. The majority of this debt was from me, my Bachelors degree and my year and a half spent in nursing school, which never panned out. We paid all of our debt regularly each month, but we weren’t paying anything off anytime soon. Both Amanda and I have degrees, made good choices, and have decent jobs; yet we still weren’t scheduled to pay off our debt until about age 65. Amanda was an Operations Manager for a small restaurant chain at the time and I was working at Trader Joes and getting into a real estate career. We don’t come from money, so Amanda wanted us to be smart about our financial choices. She told me that it wouldn’t be a good idea for us to move to a brand new place and a brand new job with this amount of debt; especially considering that we were trying to start a family. At this point I did what any self respecting person would do, I went up to our bedroom and cried. Because she knows me so well, Amanda took me to Portland, Me where we enjoyed an amazing vegan donut at Holy Donut and some tea at Dobra Tea. This cheered me up a bit. It was there, sitting on the colorful cushions at the tiny wooden table that we decided it was time to start working hard on our debt and move back to mom’s house. Yes I said it, back to mom’s.
Next thing I know, it’s March and we are moving back to my mom’s house in Hudson, N.H., me, Amanda, our dog Marley, our cat Sonny, and our snail Stanley. Let me just say that Amanda and I are so fortunate to have parents who support us and are willing to help in whatever way they can. Rent at mom’s house was about $1,000 cheaper than our apartment on the seacoast. Although this was a bit of a punch to our pride, we knew it was the right decision for us. Living back at home again can be hard at times; but its wonderful to be around family and the savings are amazing. If you are able to do this, we would highly recommend it.
This is Stanley, isn’t he handsome?!
After we are all settled in, we start to gather information and get started on our financial plan. Amanda had already been reading finance books when we stumbled onto Dave Ramsey. After doing a bit of research and listening to his podcasts; we finally decided it was time to buy his book. This ended up being a good investment because we started implementing his practices almost immediately. It’s all about the debt snowball. We created a budget and have been doing our best to follow it. This means less dining out, no new clothes, and being careful with our grocery shopping. So far we have paid off about $12,000 and counting.
While it can be easy to get bogged down while thinking of your debt, you must always remember the end goal. If I’m feeling frustrated that we haven’t been out and about as often, I think of our life in the future and how amazing it will be. I picture us walking around Thailand and finally getting to go to the beaches of Phuket, or watching a flamenco dancer in Spain over dinner. Whatever your goal is, give yourself visual reminders so that when you are feeling frustrated you can always remind yourself about your why.
A few takeaways:
- Take action now!
- Grab a copy of Dave’s book! Total Money Makeover
Think long term vision over short term gain. Talk to you soon.
All you need is a suitcase and a playlist. A & M