I have often been asked how this was possible. Did we make a lot of money? Did we know something that most people didn’t know? The short answer is “no”. We just saw our situation as it really was, a mess. We had bought into to all the cultural lies of buying everything that we could to make us happy, financed a new car so we didn’t have to worry about maintenance, went to college in order to get a good job, the list could go on and on.
The Real Story
We didn’t own our stuff, our stuff owned us. Not only did we have the $52,000 in debt we also had 2 mortgage payments as well. It was slavery. Get up, go to work, get a check, pay the lender. Get up, go to work, get a check, pay the lender. I could only take so much of this until I finally had it. My wife & I decided to get our act together and started making better choices with our finances.
We Got Intense
We sold EVERYTHING! (Well, it seemed like everything). We sold my brand new Nissan Altima within less than a year of purchasing the car and we even lost $6,000 in the deal. However, this was worth it because we were in line to lose much more than that in the years to come. Ebay and Craigslist were on my PC speed-dial and it seemed like every day I was mailing out something that I sold online or I was meeting up with someone from Craigslist to get rid of our stuff. It was a liberating feeling. For the first time in my adult life, I felt like I was getting control of my finances.
We Trimmed Our Monthly Expenses
This was a huge part of our success. We cut the cable, my gym membership, chiropractor visits, massage therapy, eating out, and I am sure there was more. The idea was that we only had two options: increase our income or decrease our expenses. So the latter became the momentum we needed to make some serious headway.
We Refinanced Our High Interest Debt
Between Kim and I, we had a few credit cards that we were paying over 13% interest on. My grandma was kind enough to loan us the money at a much lower interest rate which helped us pay off our debt even faster. If you don’t have a grandma to help you refinance your debt, there is a company called SoFi that I absolutely love that does this all day long. They can get you rates as low as 6%, so definitely worth checking out if you have multiple credit cards that have a high interest rate.
The Bottom Line
Interest compounding against you will be your financial demise. Albert Einstein said once that compounding interest is the eighth wonder of the world because of how powerful it is.
Wouldn’t you rather have interest work for you than against you?
Our problem was that we had credit cards at over 13% interest, a mortgage over 8% interest, school loans at about 6% interest, and a car loan at about 4% interest…It makes me sick just thinking about it. What I realized is this one simple fact: I wanted interest to be working in my favor, not against me.
As I write this article, we have no debt but our primary residence. We pay interest to only one lender and we have a plan to pay that off in 10 years. The interest that we made in investments far surpassed that which we paid in 2010. We are now heading in the right direction.
And You Can Do it Too
As corny as it sounds, you have to know that this is true. Debt is not a way of life, it is a product that has been sold to us and that we bought, hook, line and sinker. You have the ability to get out of debt and YOU CAN DO IT!