Another One Falls

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

I've thought of a million ways to format this post.

I've poured through the previous blog posts that laid the foundation for this announcement, analyzing what would most successfully share how we arrived at this half way point.

Ultimately though, I think simplicity is the best vessel.

Last night, with both boys in bed, Tony and I sat across from each other at our dinner table, and with a quick few keystrokes [here I go choking up again], we paid off the remainder of his student loan balance.

My husband no longer has student loan debt.

We are indebted to one less establishment.

I wasn't as emotional last night, as I knew we'd be making the payment this week and it was just a matter of action last night. Tony and I high fived and carried on. Today though, as I shared our news on facebook I was a messy puddle of tears.

I think that some missed the point entirely, as I did not specify that we paid it off early, but our financial journey towards a debt free life has been quite difficult, involving in-depth painful conversations and numerous sacrifices. It has been quite joyous as well, as our marriage has strengthened over a common goal outside of our relationship. This commitment is renewed daily, through simple choices, as we focus on our goal for our family.

I had a casual conversation a couple of weeks ago about our intention to pay off Tony's student loans, and eventually mine by next summer, and was met with "Oh, well you and your husband must make a lot more money than me!" It wasn't the time or place to educate my former classmate on the how's and why's, but what I wanted to tell him was this:

No, we actually don't make a lot of money. Like most everyone else, we still live paycheck to paycheck, but our money is specifically applied and portioned. We have nothing to show for the years we lived beyond our means, but have accomplished more in the last three years than the first half of our marriage. We have endured job loss, job changes and unemployment. We have relied heavily on the generosity and understanding of our friends and family. They have stood with us as we've had to diligently turn down nights out and vacation plans, instead enjoying evenings in and day trips out. We have borrowed not one, but two vehicles on their last legs to avoid adding a car payment that we would not have been able to afford. 


We are not lucky. 


We do not make a lot of money.


We are disciplined. We are employing the talents and health that God has given us.


We are blessed. 


Any one can do this. 

And next year, at roughly this same timeframe, the Lord willing, I will share that we are completely student loan free by paying off my debt.

24 comments:

Jen said...

That's awesome! It's hard making the sacrifices in the short-term, but so amazing to see them payoff.

Andrea said...

Said it on facebook but I'll say it here, Congrats guys!!!! You did good :)

Jessica said...

Congrats on the hard work & sacrifices!

Megan said...

I could cry for you! That really is an amazing accomplishment. With Tyler wanting to go for MORE schooling this fall, unfortunately I don't think I'll be posting anything like this soon. But I am so incredibly happy for YOU guys! One more step closer to the ultimate goal :)

Mrs. A said...

What an inspiration you and Tony are! Jeremiah and I make similar choices and it's good to see someone else go before us thank you!

Rose said...

Yay!!!!!!!!!

Congratulations. :o) I am so happy for you. I know from reading your blog that your struggles are real and I am amazed at the growth and strength it has taken to get you to this point. You should be very proud!

Sara said...

That is awesome Leah! I am so happy for you and your family, and it is SO GREAT that you are one step closer to being debt free. This is a wonderful post and wonderful news! :-)

Kristal said...

I am so proud of you guys Leah!! You are doing such an incredible thing for your family. What an awesome accomplishment, with more to follow behind!

Mimi said...

Congratulations! That is a HUGE accomplishment. It is true, nothing is impossible with God. You guys are blessed by his strength, love and perseverance to live like no one else now, so you can live like no one else later. I'm sure soon enough, you'll have a new baby in the family that you will also be able to stay home with. All because of the hard work you have been putting in now.

Immortal Beloved said...

Preach On!

Erin said...

Congrats again, Leah, that must feel so good!! I know we felt that way when we paid off Dave's car - now onto my car!! And ugh, the student loans - those are years off! But at least the interest rates are low.

Anyway, I'd be really interested, if you had the time, if you'd do a post on some of the specifics of your budgeting and the sacrifices you make on a daily, weekly, monthly basis to be able to pay down debt (aside from the bigger stuff like the cars and forgoing vacations.)

From the outside looking in, you always seem to have nice clothes, you go shopping and do fun things, you get coffee here and there ... I'd be interested in how you work it as far as a monthly allowance for each of you, or how you budget for shopping, eating out, etc., how you keep your grocery bills down while still eating healthy - any and all of that. We're always trying to find ways to cut back while still finding that balance and allowing ourselves to enjoy life!

I agree that it's SO annoying when people assume they know anything about your finances. I try to be very careful about feelings of jealousy when it comes to material things (maybe they work way longer hours than me and make more; maybe they are in debt up to their eyeballs!) or with comments like "oh, must be nice!" or "you're so lucky!" Everyone is on their own financial journey and everyone finds what works for them. And even though it feels like there is never enough, I always remind myself that compared to so, so many people, we are very fortunate and pretty darn well-off!

Anyway, congrats again. :)

Erin said...

So amazing!!! Congrats!

Schmei said...

Congratulations! I hope those snowballs just keep snowballing for you!!

Megalamode said...

That's awesome! Congrats! What a lifted burden!

Adrienne said...

I absolutely love this. What an awesome, and public declaration of such an important thing. I feel like we're in the exact same boat right now.

As friends of ours make more money in their positions, my husband and I are cutting back more and more in order to fit his non-profit job (which he loves), pay off debts, and live off one salary. It's not easy, but it's worth it and it's God-honoring.

Julia said...

congrats, mama! this is an amazing feat.

Jarrin :: Raquel :: Rocky said...

whoo hoo & good for you guys! praise jesus!

Meredith said...

Congrats Leah! Such a huge accomplishment!!

You're so right that anyone can do it. At the very least, anyone can get on a budget and REALLY live within their means. Right now, living within our means for us means not making extra payments because there just isn't anything else to cut in order to do so. BUT, when extra money comes our way, it is so nice to know exactly where that money is going to go, and not feel like 'what did we blow THAT on?'

DianeTaylor said...

That is AWAZING news, Leah - it is hard to type these words - but because of the life insurance that Jonathan had, we are now debt free 9except our house payment, which I consider to be good debt to have). I cried buckets of tears when I wrote out the pay off checks. Truth be told, I want my son back. But he would be so happy knowing that because of him I can breath easy and live within our means.

Sally said...

Congratulations! You guys are really an inspiration. It's great to see that it can be done.

Lindsay @ LindsayInNYC said...

That's awesome! Congratulations!! I can't wait to pay off ours :)

Molly said...

From one Dave Ramsey fanatic to another - WAY TO GO, LEAH AND TONY!!! This is amazing news!

I hope to say the same thing one of these days, God willing.

Sarah said...

Congratulations, Leah! That's awesome!

W said...

This is such a huge accomplishment and encouragement for the rest of us with SL debts. Way to go!!

 

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