Financial Freedom

In 2015, my husband and I decided to get out of debt for good! We bought Dave Ramsey’s FPU set and decided to made a date to complete the home study. We got our budget started, we switched to paying cash for everything, WE WERE ON FIRE…my husband even got himself a new job with a 20% pay increase. Look out world! Nothing could stop us now.

Except us. We could stop us.

Through a series of events, both fortunate and unfortunate, we found ourselves in more debt than ever, and with another mouth to feed. On the surface, we have it all: a lovely home with a pool, two cars, and four beautiful children. I even get to stay home with those (constantly hungry) blessings. We do not live ostentatiously, but we have everything we need and a lot of the things we want.

But we had two car payments. We have a bigger mortgage than we should because we violently outgrew our starter home before we could save up a good down payment for a bigger one. The pool absolutely had to have work done last spring in order to make it usable for the summer; we live in Phoenix and I was heavily pregnant at the time, so that felt like a life or death matter at the time. We had a can’t-miss family wedding to attend, that cost five high-season, cross-country plane tickets. That fourth mouth we’re feeding? Yeah, she was a (miraculous, beyond marvelous) surprise. And did I mention that these people are constantly hungry??

Around this time last year, we looked at each other and realized we were DONE with living paycheck to paycheck. It’s time we act like the adults we are and get this shit handled (hi, yes, I cuss, especially at debt). Time to regain the gazelle intensity we had some years ago and embrace financial freedom at last.

Here’s the fun part: we are weird, y’all. We are a weird, wonderful, wonderfully weird family. We have more kids than most. We homeschool. My husband even works from home, so we are in each other‘s business, like, all the time. We care about things like the environment and ethically sourced goods, we also really enjoy comfort and convenience (because again, SO MANY KIDS). We have special diets in our family, like gluten-free and keto. No vegetarians yet, but my kids are young, give it time; I’m sure we will end up with one sooner or later.

I am not a financial planner, expert, guru, etc. I barely—I mean BARELY—passed high school math. I’m just a mom who wants to stop paying creditors the money I should be using to pay someone to make me a beautiful website to blog on. And I very, very much want to take advantage of our flexible school and work schedules and haul our circus all over the place on adventures. Therefore, I’m committed to:

* Homeschooling…on a budget
* Keeping my family gluten-free, and myself and my husband keto…on a budget.
* Having some fun and staying happily married…on a budget
* Budgeting…on a budget

Okay, maybe that last one was superfluous, but you see where I’m going with this. 

We have made great strides in the last year. We’ve paid off one car, and the pool is *thisclose* to being ours. It would be ours, but we overspent this summer, as is our custom, and we had to start aaaaaall the way back on Baby Step 1. If you’re not familiar with Dave Ramsey-speak, Baby Step 1 is building an emergency fund with exactly $1,000 in it. You don’t pay any more than your minimums until that’s done. Once you get your debt snowball rolling, you get what I can only describe as a “payoff high,” and having that glorious feeling delayed due to our own stupidity and lapse in discipline has me feeling Some Type of Way. 

So Pour yourself a cocktail (or a coffee, or a La Croix, if you were tragically born without taste buds), grab your pencil and paper, and let’s slay this budget thing together!

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