I know, I know, it’s been a while. This summer has been different from what I first imagined it to be, but it’s been good. Spending 5+ weeks with family was sweet, but bitter at the same time due to the circumstances. But I won’t go into that now. I’m still processing.

What I do want to talk about today (I sound like a teacher here, sorry) is the number $29,703.68. That’s a big number. It’s a lot bigger than I thought it would be. I just added it up and indeed, it’s correct.

This number was my debt! Phew! I was just shy of $30,000 in the hole! My goodness. So what was this ~$30K made up of? Well, about $12K was my car. About $7K was credit cards (how did that happen?). About another $7K was a personal loan. And finally coming up the rear, good ole Sallie Mae made up the rest.

But I am so excited to say that these numbers are a distant memory — for, as some of you know, I AM DEBT FREE!! I actually paid off my last debt (my car) in March and have been basking in the light of debt freedom for close to six months. And I have to say, it’s a WONDERFUL feeling! These last six months I have been working to ultimate freedom, and currently have a 4-month Emergency Fund set up. Ah, sweet bliss.

My journey started on April 4, 2007 and in just under three years I paid off $30,000 (and believe me, I wasn’t earning much!). In all honesty, I probably could have been debt free earlier, but vacations, family reunions, computers, and the like got in my way a little bit. BUT I did pay for all those things with cash and didn’t go into further debt for them.

This adventure all began with an email from my Christian radio station about the fact that they would be airing a radio show call “The Dave Ramsey Show.” Hmm, who was this Dave Ramsey guy? Well, if you’re sick of being a slave to your bills, check him out! His program, and I know this sounds cheesy, changed my life. If I had $7K worth of credit card debt at 24, I can only imagine how much I’d have now if I hadn’t been on a strict budget and had a plan to attack my debt.

Here’s what my Baby Step 1-3 tracker looks like:

FYI, Baby Steps 1-3 are:

  • Baby Step 1: $1000 to start an Emergency Fund
  • Baby Step 2: Pay off all debt using the Debt Snowball
  • Baby Step 3: 3-6 months of expenses in savings

I am currently beginning Baby Step 4, which is Invest 15% in Retirement. And to figure that out, I am waiting for a call from an ELP (Endorsed Local Provider — check out DaveRamsey.com) to get a retirement fund set up and to rollover my 401K and all that fun junk.

Man, I feel like an adult. Retirement? Debt? Emergency Fund? Where did all this come from? When did I become old enough to have to worry about this stuff?!

As Dave Ramsey would say I plan to “Live like no one else, so later I can live like no one else.”

If you’re intrigued, I really do encourage you to check out www.DaveRamsey.com or www.MyTotalMoneyMakeover.com for more information to get the Debt Burden off your back.

If you do decide to start this process, let me know, so I can walk along with you! Or if you’ve been through this journey already, we can share our battle scars!