we were debt free once :: our story, part 1

debt free part one

back in 2007, i graduated with my master’s degree.  i had racked up 15K in four years of undergraduate school and 25K in one year of graduate school.


a little history:

we decided to move to my husband’s (fiancé at the time) hometown in minnesota to plan our wedding and to get married. at that time we were both working 2 jobs, each paying just around minimum wage.

so, what jobs did a girl with a masters degree have?  well, for most of that year, i worked at the front desk of a hotel and also in a chocolate shop, first working the register and cleaning up messes, but eventually getting to make fudge and caramel.  the hotel job was absolutely horrible, mostly because of the management, and the chocolate shop wasn’t that bad. i was just working with high schooler’s for most of the time.  i hovered between 60-80 hours a week.  my husband, with his undergraduate degree (but no debt), was a dishwasher and a paper stuffer at the local newspaper, also 60-80 a week.

our jobs were embarrassing. it’s still hard to talk about them years later. but we were in the mindset of we need to make money!

our jobs were pretty easy and low stress.  in fact, now that we are older and have more professional jobs, i sometimes miss some of that time in 2007-2008. i can’t say i’d ever go back to job’s like that, but it was a starting place and i think many people fresh out of college have to have jobs like that.  we treated it like a stepping stone.

my dad shared this debt pay down calculator in 2008 when i got the better paying job in california and my husband got a job in his field of interest. i got super excited, the nerd in me came out, and i had amortized everything and had spreadsheets for everything. i anticipated we could get out of debt in 5 years, instead of 10, but that wasn’t doing it the dave ramsey way. it was living without a budget and just putting what was left toward the debt. we also cash flowed his master’s degree.  oh, and we bought a used car and got another loan of 11K.

now, our total debt was around $51,000!

our last debt payment was in 2013, so we were debt free in 5 years, including the car.  we paid it off mostly with tax refunds and extra paychecks (we each get paid every two weeks, so 4 times a year we get 5 paychecks a month instead of the normal 4.) if we could go back and do it the dave ramsey way, we probably could have paid it off earlier than that, saved up 3-6 months er fund and probably even started to save for a down payment on a house.

then, in july 2014, we decided we just had to buy a condo. we went back into debt again and again in february 2015…but that’s another story, to be shared soon, i promise!



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