Saturday, October 2, 2010

Livin' Like No One Else!!! Baby Steps

Finally, I think it's safe to get back to the subject of Financial Freedom.

So, fast forward a little bit - we sold Chris's beloved SportTrac, he started driving the Granny Grand Am, and we moved to the great state of Washington.  Chris was attached to his first boat...SSBN 730 Henry M. Jackson (blue crew).  I got a job as a nanny for two families.  We found a nice little pet-friendly apartment (Callie & Mocha are with us).  During my commute to &/or from my nannying job, I started listening to Dave Ramsey again (I hadn't listened since I lived in Charleston).  I also started trying to get Chris to listen to it...but he was/is/always shall be bored out of his mind with talk radio.

The more I listened to Dave, the more insistent I was that we really needed to become debt free.  Chris did not agree with getting "gazelle intense" and putting debt freedom before everything else.  He had already given up his beloved this became the source of more than a few arguments.  Luckily, it wasn't long before Chris had to go to sea for the first time.  I used that opportunity to start paying off debt on my own without anyone arguing with me.  I didn't care if I ate PB&J sandwiches every day!

Eventually, Chris noticed that he was one of the few husbands who came home to more money than he left with.  I'll just say that it wasn't (isn't?) all that uncommon for many wives to spend a lot of money when the husbands are away.  I was able to start the debt snowball during one of his deployments.  Imagine his surprise when he came home to find some debts paid off and significant headway made on others.  This was what it took to get Chris on least somewhat.  He is a hard sell, sometimes.

Now, we weren't following the Dave Ramsey plan 100%, myself included.  I was just sold hook, line & sinker on the debt snowball method.  It made sense to me and it definitely worked.  Getting out of debt requires a change in behavior more than it requires a calculator.  We committed to the debt snowball and didn't increase our lifestyle as he moved up in the Navy & received various pay raises.  This allowed us to get a good handle on paying our debt off.

I had promised Chris he could get another truck once we reached some financial stability and we both felt like we had made it there when we paid off the American Express card (we had previously closed the account because our rate jumped & they refuse to lower it).  *Remember - I said we were not following the plan 100%* Chris traded in the Granny Grand Am and we bought a brand new Ford F-150 FX4 SuperCrew.  We negotiated well and the payments did not significantly change our financial status at all.  I do believe I said, "I will never buy another new car," after this purchase.  (foreshadowing)

So, to summarize, our 3 years in Washington helped us both get mostly on board for getting out of debt.  We didn't significantly change our lifestyle, we just didn't increase it as our income increased.  We didn't get on a budget, we didn't sacrifice anything, but we did, for the first time, have a common financial goal as a couple.  Money was no longer a source of arguments in our house.

Our next move would take us to the beautiful and ridiculously expensive Monterey Peninsula...and the next phase of our debt free journey.

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