For some, imagining life without debt is strange. I remember as my husband and I were preparing to get married he explained financial concepts from Dave Ramsey and the debt snowball. At the time, I was working full time and finishing my undergraduate degree. It was a dream of mine to study abroad in Italy for my last semester of college. However, as the date moved closer and financial requirements became more real, I realized I hardly had the money. I remember it like yesterday, crying to Michael, “but I got accepted to the program, I only need a few thousand dollars more!” Michael looked at me lovingly and said, “Right now, you can’t afford it.”
While I would love to share some tale of giving up my young 22 year old dreams and choosing to live debt free…. that’s not what happened. Instead, I got financial aid and went on the trip anyway. However, seeing numbers the way Michael did and looking hard at debt and how long I would be paying for this trip (LONG after the trip was done) did in fact change me. So when we got married, I gratefully accepted Dave Ramsey into my life and our first 18 months of marriage were spent working our butts off and getting debt free. Though this goal was important to me, it really didn’t hit me what it meant until we were debt free. The day that we paid off the last of my school loan debt was incredible! I began to see that no debt equaled more income each month to spend how we PRESENTLY wanted to spend it. I didn’t have to keep paying for the past. And more income, meant more TIME. Unpaid time off = no problem! Money was no longer something that was hung over my head, it was a tool to be used in any way we wanted.
As the beginning of this journey approaches I am struck with the feeling that the journey had already begun that day we married and decided debt wasn’t going to be apart of our family. Being debt free laid the foundation for this crazy leap into a self supported sabbatical.
27 days to go!