In my desire to pay down my debt as fast as I possibly can, I let my parents talk me into taking Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University class at their church. I will admit I was less than enthusiastic about the idea of giving up my only free weeknight to listen to talks about financial planning, but it turned out far better than I expected. Not only did I learn about creating a budget, investing, paying off debt, and insurance, but I enjoyed the experience (gasp!). The things I learned in that class changed my approach to managing money, and I am grateful to have learned how to manage money well at a young age.
As I recently graduated from college, I entered the class with a substantial amount of student loan debt. On top of that, I had a car loan. Even though I had been diligent about paying on my student loans while in school, and paying as much as I could above the minimum payments every month, progress was slow. It seemed like I was never going to be able to pay off my debts. They were hanging over my head, weighing down on my shoulders.
One of the first things we did in the class was create a budget. This was hard for me initially, but has since become a source of comfort. Once I knew how much money I planned to spend in each category for the next month, I could relax. I knew all of my bills will be paid because I allocated the appropriate amount of money to them. I was then able to decide that the bulk of what remained was going to go toward my loans.
Once the necessities were taken care of (tithing, rent, utilities, gasoline, food), any remaining portion of my paycheck was directed toward my loans. Sticking to a budget allowed me to funnel more of my money toward paying off my debt because I no longer had money being siphoned out of my bank account into little odds and ends I wasn't accounting for before.
Taking this class was the catalyst I needed to get in gear and really be intentional about paying off my debt as soon as possible. When you set your mind on something, you are willing to go to great lengths to make it happen. I started dreaming about what life would be like without debt, and it looked pretty great. I decided I would fight to make it happen.
During the 10 weeks of the class, I paid off nearly $5000 of debt, which was a huge accomplishment for me. And it only motivated me to keep going. It was as if I could finally see the light at the end of the tunnel. I completely paid off one loan, so I was only left with one school loan and my car loan, lightening the load I was carrying.
I just paid off my remaining student loan last week, and am on track to have my car loan paid off by the end of the summer. I can't explain to you how elated I am at the idea of being free of debt. Knowing that I will be free to save for things I want to do or invest in things I support brings a huge smile to my face. I know it will be a freedom I have never known, as I have only known life with debt since I became an adult.
Will you join me in dumping debt?