Debt Free News From A Debt Free Reader #6

Hello everyone. As always, I hope you all are having a wonderful debt free Friday. Today’s Debt Free Friday addition is from one of my good friends, Dustin from Engaged Marriage. He is a wonderful guy, and one of the things I love about him so much is his passion to help others. Him and I, have a lot in common and I know we will be working together on some great projects in the future. Please stay tuned by subscribing to Enemy of Debt if you have not already. You would be missing out if you did not also subscribe to Engaged Marriage.

We worked together on a collaborative e-book that just released called Love Everyday a free, no strings attached e-book about relationships, love, and marriage. Go check it out! Dustin and I are also members of The Extraordinary Life Network.

Please Enjoy Dustin’s Debt Free News!

I have also put together a page in which, anyone can go and fill out the Debt Free Questionnaire themselves. I’d love to share your story.

The Enemy of Debt Questionnaire – Dustin from Engaged Marriage

How much debt did you have and how long did it take you to pay it off?

At our peak, we had around $54,500 in bondage. In other words, a ridiculous amount of debt that was suffocating our family finances.

Once we got fired up and determined, it took us approximately 3 1/2 years to knock it out. It was a nasty combination of student loans, car loans, and furniture loans.

How does becoming debt free actually feel? Does it feel better than you imagined it would?

The day that we actually went to the credit union and paid off our SUV (our last debt) was surreal. I called Dave Ramsey on behalf of my family that same day and got to scream “I’M DEBT FREE!” live on the air. That was 2/29/2008 (hour two of the show that day), and that has become a very important date for our family.

Since then, our debt-free lifestyle has honestly become a routine. It just seems like the only logical way to live now, and I can’t imagine having so much of our income tied up in payments. We’re still very proud of our accomplishments and excited about what it is setting us up to do in the future.

What were some of the struggles that you had to deal with along the way? Was there ever a time where you almost gave up?

We got serious about getting out of debt right after our first son was born, and our daughter was born during the last year of paying everything off. So, I’d say our kids were both the motivation for our intensity and the drag on our progress…they are expensive!

The idea of giving up never occurred to us. It was just too important of a goal, and we were determined to persevere.

What would you consider to be the most important key to becoming debt free? What helped you the most?

The budget. There is no question that success in personal finance must start with a plan, and the monthly side of the plan is a solid budget.

It seems a lot of people have bought into the idea that debt is essential in order to prosper, what do you have to say to those people?

I would say that they are simply buying what the culture is selling without thinking it through. With resources like Enemy of Debt and Dave Ramsey’s books and podcast available, you can find solutions without debt.

I can almost guarantee the short-term pain will be greater when you choose the debt-free path, but the long-term gain is much better. As Dave likes to say “It’s hard, but it’s worth it.”

What was the biggest sacrifice you would say you made in order to become debt free? What about you changed the most?

For us, it required us to refocus our priorities. This came pretty naturally since we were also welcoming children into our marriage.

However, it takes sacrifice and a willingness to not “keep up” with the appearance of some of your friends if you are going to get beyond “normal” in your level of financial success. And trust me…in hindsight, normal truly does suck!

Did your friends and family give you a hard time about your new mission to eliminate the debt from your life? If so how did you deal with it? Do you think you inspired others by your journey?

We never got a lot of criticism for pursuing debt freedom, but we did get a lot of disbelief. Even after we accomplished our goals, some friends and family remained doubters that they could do the same.

I’m proud to say that our example has inspired several of our friends to pursue debt freedom. This was my first experience in really inspiring others to improve their lives, and I think it laid the groundwork for the work I’m now doing with Engaged Marriage.

What is next for you? What financial goals do you plan to accomplish?

It looks like I’ll soon become an owner in the engineering business where I work. That will require a lot of cash to buy in, but I’ll be doing it over time and our debt-freedom is essential for giving us the cash flow to accomplish this.

Aside from that, we’ll continue to pay down our mortgage and invest for the future as much as possible. And I’ll be spreading the good word about achieving an extraordinary marriage and awesome family life over at Engaged Marriage…and teaming up with Enemy of Debt every chance I get to help change the world! (I like that)

photo credit

Debt Free News From A Debt Free Reader Series

Debt Free News: The Kick Off yours truly @enemyofdebt
Debt Free News From A Debt Free Reader #1
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Debt Free News From A Debt Free Reader #2
Nick @Nickfro
Debt Free News From A Debt Free Reader #3Paul @fiscalgeek
Debt Free News From A Debt Free Reader #4Peter @MoneyMatters
Debt Free News From A Debt Free Reader #5J Money @BudgetsAreSexy
Debt Free News From A Debt Free Reader #6 – Dustin @EngagedMarriage
More to come…

About Brad Chaffee

21 Responses to “Debt Free News From A Debt Free Reader #6”

Read below or add a comment...

  1. Thanks for the opportunity to share our story, Brad! Debt freedom has been a total blessing for our family, and I strongly encourage your readers to make debt freedom a priority in their lives.

    It’ll take them a long way toward the Extraordinary Life we are pursuing!

  2. Oregonsun says:

    Thanks for the reminder…ours was a long and arduous road…glad we aren’t there now! Woot! Just have to addthat yesterday we received in the mail a letter from Citi regarding a credit card we have (no balance on it) that they will be charging a $60.00 fee. Apparently the $60.00 is for the honor of having a credit card and paying interest….ha ha. I called immediately and cancelled the card. When the representative asked me why, I told her that I wasn’t going to pay to have a credit card. Then I told her that we have no credit card debt. She responded somewhat wistfully that she wished she was in that position. What a happy day this is for us!!!

    • Brad Chaffee says:

      LOL, they always ask why, and most of the time act surprised by the answer. Every card we ever closed seemed to pose this question to us: What are you going to do for emergencies? LOL Ummm, use my cash. ๐Ÿ™‚

      $60 for a card with NO BALANCE is ridiculous!

  3. Great post! Congrat Dustin on a well deserved debt free life. You have shown that anybody can get out of debt. I will defiantly add you to my twitter account.

  4. Bucksome says:

    Wonderful debt-free Friday reading. Thanks for the inspiration, Dustin!

  5. Congratulations to Dustin on his very impressive work getting his debt paid off. He’s an inspiration, and here’s hoping the future is full of good things (and no new debt)!

  6. Ted says:

    I loved this line “Since then, our debt-free lifestyle has honestly become a routine. It just seems like the only logical way to live now, and I canโ€™t imagine having so much of our income tied up in payments. Weโ€™re still very proud of our accomplishments and excited about what it is setting us up to do in the future.”

    Just awesome. I can not wait for that feeling! I also love our you said it becomes a routine to live this way. It is tough starting out to reign in spending as I have done so naturally over the past dozen years. But now I am seeing such freedom from reigning in spending and living below our means (doesn’t help that I got a sweet raise this year too).

    • Dustin says:

      Thanks for the great comment, Ted (even though I just saw it 3 weeks later ๐Ÿ™‚ )! It's really true that our lifestyle has adapted to our debt-free ways, and it's simply "the way we live" now. It doesn't seem so profound when you are living it, but reading your comment really helped it hit home. Thank you.

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