I don't know about you but I was 22 years old when I got married. I wasn't always one for thinking ahead. I had worked several jobs through my college life and I was holding down a job at the time. I was also in very little debt and had the blissful feeling right before entering repayment on my student loans. I thought I had everything under control when it came to money....dunt dunt duh....then I got married.
Not only does getting married change who you are as a person, it changes every other part of your life! I married the man of my dreams but it was more than that. I married into his family. I married into his ministry. I married into his money (or lack there of -- which was more like it). I also married into his debt.
Now Jimmy and I are a unique case. For personal reasons that I won't get into here, Jimmy has a lot of unresolved debt due to theft of his identity as a small child and mounting student loans. Thankfully, he told me about all this before we got married or we could have had WAY more financial problems than we did. As it was, we only had so much income and no plan to make it work, but we had credit cards!
According to USA Today money is one of the top 3 marriage stressers out there. So what are you going to do about it?
In July, I was let go from one of my photography jobs and as a last resort applied to a job as a night monitor at the Missouri Baptist Children's Home. It's not what I wanted and if I got it we would have to leave our wonderful apartment in South County to move to a considerably less desireable (but more affordable) apartment in North County but I had no other hope. I got the job.
In August, we moved to Bridgeton and I started work. While I was in training I learned about Dave Ramsey and Financial Peace University (FPU). God knew what he was doing when He brought me to the Children's Home and put me in Amy's (a die hard Dave fan) training class. As it turned out, Amy taught the FPU class at Ridgecrest Baptist Church. By the end of training, I was desperate to find out more about this class and I knew exactly who to go to.
When class started in September, I had a new job and so did Jimmy. We were prepared to hope that our situation could be different if we were ready to make drastic changes. We eagerly sucked up all the facts and techniques that Dave was willing to teach us and began trying to put them into practice. It was really hard at first and we were frustrated, but we knew where we would be if we quit. By the end of FPU, we had completed Baby Step #1: Put $1000 into an Emergency Fund and had begun Baby Step #2: Pay off Debt Using the Debt Snowball Method. Here we are a little over 3 years later and our life is so different!
Yes, we are still on Baby Step #2 but we have paid off more than $7,000 worth in debt with our limited incomes (guess what ministry doesn't pay much and we both have ministry jobs!). We also live by a budget that we actually know how to make work! We fight less about money (unless someone is just having a greedy or selfish moment). But best of all we have HOPE for the future. Yes, at times things still seem overwhleming, but we have a plan. I know that if we stay the course or do better than planned then we will be debt free (except student loans) in September of 2013. That means that just 6 years from starting we will have paid off more than $75,000 in debt with interest probably closer to $100,000. I think that's pretty remarkable.
I thank God for showing us how to find financial freedom. I thank God for Amy who God used to show us the way. I thank God for Dave Ramsey who God used to give us the tools, and I thank God for my husband, Jimmy, who has been with me all the way.
To find out how Financial Peace University can change your life, visit daveramsey.com or find a class near you!
this blog is dedicated to Shaina Rubin, Dustin Underwood, Shelby Conn, Kevin Little, and all people getting ready to start a new life together. may you get your marriages started off with the strong foundation and tools you need to make life easier and to help your marriages thrive.