Motivated To Be A Debt Free Mama

woman raising her arms in triumph in front of an ocean

 I paid off just under $120,000 of debt in 20 months.

The first question people ask me is,

    “How did you do that?” 

I”ll save that for another post. I first want to talk about ‘WHY’.

Why did I feel it was necessary to get out of debt?

In our society, debt is looked at as normal. Everyone has some debt, right?!

We are so used to the idea of having debt around that we no longer feel the weight of it. I can assure you, it’s still there. Debt is heavy and can impact so many areas of our life.

It was pure naivety that I entered my situation. I truly didn’t know better. 

In 2008, during a huge recession, I was accepted to graduate school in San Diego. I used student loans to cover the entire cost of tuition as well as my living expenses.

I had no idea that the amount of student loans combined with the interest was going to be near impossible to pay back.

I graduated in 2010 with a doctorate degree in physical therapy. At that time, the most I could make was around $80-90 grand a year. Unfortunately, I now had over $150,000 of student loan debt. To be honest, I was petrified.

I was not afraid to get to work, however. So I immediately accepted a position in my new career and started paying back my student loans. The payment schedule was daunting. The loan company had estimated it would take me 30 years to pay them back. I was only 25 years old at the time.

 

The thought of paying someone for longer than I had been alive was terrifying.

So I did what I was good at, research. I have been a student my whole life. I found The Dave Ramsey Show and my eyes were opened to very simple steps to get myself out of debt.

Simple, however, does not always mean easy. I started binge listening to the podcasts and would be overcome with emotion each time they had ‘the debt-free scream,’ a segment where an individual would call into the show and would explain their journey over the past few years of doing everything they could to pay off their debt. Now they had made it, they were debt free! To signify the end of their journey, they would scream at the top of their lungs, “I’m Debt Free!!”

The caller’s emotions were palpable and the segment had served it’s purpose. I was inspired. 

Over the next year and a half I learned how to budget and followed the plan I learned from Dave Ramsey. I was shocked at how the momentum would build with each payment I made towards the loans. Let me tell you, the short term sacrifices were well worth it.

After 20 months of working 2-3 jobs and living on as little as possible, I experienced my full circle moment. My husband and I flew to Nashville to be live in the studio on The Dave Ramsey Show. I was 6 months pregnant with our first child and I screamed with a smile spread across my face from ear to ear, “I’m debt free!!!!!”

Here’s my why. I did not want the next 30 years of my life to be tied to paying back loans. I did not want my new marriage to be under financial stress. I did not want to be unable to provide for my child because of how much I owed. I wanted freedom. 

What would it look like if you were able to keep every dollar from your paycheck?

How much more would you have if you weren’t paying on a car loan, a credit card bill, or a student loan?

You might have an extra $300 or $500? Maybe even $800 more a month?

That’s somewhere between $3600 and $9600 a year!

What could you do with that extra money? How would your life be different having financial security, knowing you could cover an unexpected expense? What if you had enough money saved to take an extra course and advance your career or pursue a side hustle? What if you could take a family trip to spend quality time together? What kind of impact could you make in your life, in your family’s life, in your community?

The power of financial freedom is so great, words can’t even describe. 

What kind of impact do you want to make?

What’s your why? Leave a comment below!

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