Bankruptcy to debt free, how going broke helped us turn around our mindset.
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Housewifery: the function or work of a housewife. Derived from the term housewife, which is defined by the Oxford dictionary as “a married woman whose main occupation is caring for her family, managing household affairs, and doing housework.” Managing our household is a super awesome job. But managing the finances has not always been my strong point. After all, we did file for bankruptcy 6 years ago. But I am not here to boo-hoo about our past financial situation, I am here to tell you if you are facing bankruptcy, you are not alone! You can get through this and in the end you will be so much stronger.
Since 2014, my husband and I committed to buckling down on our finances. We set the goal to become debt free by age 40. But what caused this big turnaround? Aren’t people who are striving to be debt free super frugal and excellent with money? I can tell you first hand, no we are not!!
In the fall of 2010, my husband and I reached the lowest of the low financially. A combination of credit card debt and medical bills had piled up to the point where we couldn’t possibly keep up. Credit cards were left unpaid, creditors constantly called, and finally we were served with papers from a credit card company. We consulted with a lawyer who told us the best course of action was bankruptcy. Talk about embarrassment, shame, and a huge wake-up call.
In fact, we experienced a plethora of emotions. We constantly worried about whether we would keep our home and our cars. It was so embarrassing asking my parents for a loan to pay for the lawyer and shameful when we needed them to babysit our kids while we had our court date. Anxiety over our court date (called the meeting of creditors) but we experienced relief when our application for bankruptcy was approved. Within a few months, our debts would be discharged.
Our long legal drama had ended. But our money problems were far from over. We were still living paycheck to paycheck, struggling to make ends meet with one income. Even with some of our debts gone, we still had my student loan payments, a mortgage, and an eventual car payment. We struggled with our money habits for about 4 more years. We returned to old habits and charged to credit cards again, although not nearly the amount as before. We felt truly stuck in this cycle.
The turning point was when my husband finally received overtime pay for his trucking job. It was like a light bulb went on for us. We have been hoping for the increase in pay for YEARS!! We said to ourselves, “Let’s not blow this money. Let’s get ourselves out of this mess.” But how? We weren’t terrible with money, but we certainly weren’t good with it either. Our debt wasn’t overwhelming, but we didn’t know where to start.
Debt free by 40
Then my husband started listening to the Dave Ramsey Show. And let me tell you, it has changed our life and perspective on money. Hearing all the success stories from actual Ramsey followers, motivated us to become debt free by 40. That’s credit cards, student loans, and car payment to pay off in 6 years. It’s as freeing as it is crazy. This is our goal. To be out from under our debt and control our money instead of it controlling us.
Step one was taken: We decided to become debt free? But now what?!