Finding Freedom- Our experience with Financial Peace University




Disclaimer: Some of my posts do include affiliate links. This one does not. I am sharing this information with you because I believe in it because I know it works. I am not affiliated in any way with Dave Ramsey or Financial Peace University.

Disclaimer: I am not affiliated in any way with Dave Ramsey or Financial Peace University. I am sharing this information with you because I know it works!

Before Finding Freedom

Once upon a time, I was a normal person who went on vacations, went out to eat, bought new clothing and enjoyed frequent trips to Target.

I had student loan debt, a mortgage, credit card debt, some personal loans, some medical bills, etc.

We were “normal”.

And we were drowning.

The Path to Financial Freedom

I had heard of this Dave Ramsey person when I was in college. I paid attention for about 30 seconds and then decided to get married and enjoy my life instead.

Three years later, with a baby on the way, we weren’t sure how we were going to afford maternity leave. Much less daycare, diapers, clothing-in a nut-shell, we were broke.

In our panic, I remembered that I had once upon a time stored cash in envelopes because of this Dave Ramsey fellow, so I decided to look him up again.

To make a long story short(er), we managed to save enough money for maternity leave but we were still a financial mess.

I was trying to budget by myself, use credit card points and juggle balances to save us from disaster and keep our overdraft fees to a minimum.

Hitting Rock Bottom

A little over a year after my son was born, we got the wake-up call we needed to take action.

I was at the grocery store buying food for the week. I swiped my debit card to pay and heard these awful words, “I’m sorry, your card was declined.”

All of our credit cards were maxed out. I had $0 in my wallet.

We were officially broke. And then some.

We had to change.

I went home and signed us up for Financial Peace University (FPU). That decision completely changed the trajectory of our lives and our view of “normal”.

5 Ways Financial Peace University Transformed our Lives:

1. We broke up with debt.

Debt is no longer an option in this household. If you want something, you better save up for it or you’re out of luck.

Our credit cards are chopped up in a bag that I will someday turn into a picture frame for the photo of the beautiful vacation we will pay for with cash.

Yup, crazy people like us still use that paper stuff. It’s magical. You should try it.

2. We learned to create a good budget.

Our lives now revolve around something I once hated. Budgets.

Creating a budget is the one thing that keeps us on track each month. Instead of spending money on whatever we feel like at the moment, or justifying purchases by the number in the bank account, we have a plan.

Before the month begins, we decide together where every dollar will go. We like to use everydollar.com because it is quick and easy.

3. We started setting realistic goals.

Goals are a game changer. Instead of just floating through life, watching to see what happens, goals put you in the driver’s seat and give you a plan.

Need help writing your own goals? Get your free goal setting ebook here.

4. We learned the difference between wants and needs.

This is a painful but important lesson that we are still learning each and every day.

Through budgeting, we quickly discovered that we were wasting our money on things we could live without, like min-vacations and dinners out.

The good news is, saying no to wants is only for a season. By choosing not to give ourselves the things we want at the moment, we are able to focus on what matters- finding freedom.

5. We learned to live our life

Most debt is a result of trying to live a life you can’t afford. We learned to accept the fact that, at the moment, we can’t have fancy cars, nice clothing, exotic vacations or fine dining.

We’re OK with that.

The funny thing is, the longer we spend without these luxuries, the less we miss them.

We definitely missed our “normal” lifestyle at first- a lot.

However, now that we have adjusted to our life as weirdos, we are happier than when we were “normal”.

How can we possibly be happy living like this?

For the first time ever, my husband and I are on the same page about our finances, working together to achieve our goals. Thanks to Financial Peace University, FPU, we learned how to communicate, view life more realistically and were given a plan with clear steps to help us grow up financially and get ourselves together.

FPU was exactly what we needed to get our lives on track and start planning for the future, instead of being slaves to the past.

We got rid of the extra stress of being broke and in crisis mode. We said goodbye to the things that we didn’t really need.  With the fluff and distractions gone, we realized we had more time to spend together, enjoy each other, and enjoy our life, just the way it is.

We finally have some money in the bank and yet we live like paupers.

I wear clothing with holes in them and drive a ’99 old lady car. My husband’s vehicle is literally falling apart. We have no TV. I make all of our cleaning supplies and most personal care items.

We are straight up nuts (according to society).

And we love it.

Why?

Because we want to live our lives to the fullest. In order to do that, we need to be free.

What does debt have to do with freedom?

“The rich rule over the poor and the borrower is the slave to the lender.” Proverbs 22:7 (NIV)

Financial slavery- you do all the work but someone else gets all of your money. Sound familiar?

Before getting better control of our financial life, we were 100% in slavery. We went to work each day to pay the bills. Payday came each Friday, yet we were broke by Monday. We were tired, frustrated and stressed.

Instead of living our lives, we were just surviving.

Now, instead of feeling hopeless, we can see light at the end of the tunnel. We are no longer stressing to make ends meet. Instead, we know exactly where every dollar goes before we spend it.

While we break the chains of the past, we gain the confidence to dream of the future.

We are learning to live simply and love life as it is. We are learning to tell ourselves no now so that we can say yes later.

 

Need extra inspiration for your own debt free journey?

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Author: Vanessa

I am a free spirit who learned to use creativity as a key to success in chasing after debt freedom. I am a mom, lover of all things DIY, a little bit of a treehugger and modern-day hippy and an encourager to the core. If you need a little inspiration for your debt free journey, you’ve come to the right place.

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