We are a young couple with 2 toddlers and only debt to our name as of
20122014 is our mortgage which we are working our way in this crazy world to pay off while keeping our sanity. However, like most young couples, we had debt. No too much, but more than plenty by means of (mine) student loans and (his) student loans, credit card debt, and car payment debt. We met and married in 2008 and at the time we met this is how our finances looked:
Mortgage: $136K+ @ 5.875%
Student Loans 1: $40K+ @ 5.625%
Student Loans 2: $2K+ @ 5.0%
Student Loans 3: $6K+ @ 6-8% variable
Bank of America: $9K @ 15.0%
Grandparents: $3K @ 0.0%
Best Buy: $1K @ 0.0%
This was the biggest chucks of our debt and even before we got married I helped my husband get his financial situation in place and get lower interests and combine some debts. While in graduate school I took out loans and saved some of that money just in case I didn’t get a job or I needed the assistance, the interest was low and I would of had no other source of money if I didn’t. I then used this money to put towards the student loan debt which almost cut it in half right away, but I finally came to terms with we had an emergency fund and we would be okay with the money going back where it came from.
We got married in 2008 (albeit small wedding, but we paid for it in cash) and had our honeymoon in Cape Cod later that fall (after we saved up for it in cash); however by that time we were pregnant with our son and although the trip was fun, I wasn’t much fun. Morning sickness and delayed honeymoon wasn’t the best of plans, hehe but I digress. We had a plan. Our plan was to get our debts paid off and as fast as we could. Our first payoffs were my grandparents and the best buy. I rather owe debt to people outside my family and best buy was the smallest debt. We needed to feel like we were doing something and by going after that one first, we felt like we were doing something. We were paying off debt and buying our lives back.
We had our baby boy in 2009 and kept up with our goals. We purchased some major home appliances (and got our first combined credit card with 0% interest the first year and got that paid off in full before the year). At first, it seemed too daunting attacking bigger debts, but we went after the smallest first and made minimum payments on the rest. Then I got my eye on that 15% which was a killer %. Every extra $1 went towards paying off our debt. We also paid in full for a storm shelter that spring. All of our major, big purchases we were or had saved up for while paying down our debt as to not incur more debt.
While paying down our debt and having an emergency fund, I would graduatly build the emergency fund a little to feel like we did have a life preserver. However as we got closer to paying off a debt, I would pull the extra bumper out and knock out a debt. We really made a plan and attacked the debt, while still feeling like we had a little money in case of a true emergency.
By August 2009 this was were we stood:
Student Loan 1: ~$20,000
Student Loan 2: $1,500
Student Loan 3: $4,400
Bank of America: $5,800
Appliances: $700 : 0% till May
By October 2009 we were down to only:
Student Loan 1: ~$20,000
Appliances: $430 : 0% till May
We paid off the appliances soon after and worked from 2009 till 2011 aggressively paying off that student loan debt. Our goal was by the time our son turned 2 to have that student loan gone and it was. May 2011 we had completely paid off all our debt and were debt free except for a mortgage. During that time, we’ve also bought a couple of vehicles (used) and sold a couple, always having money put aside. We took a vacation to Jamaica in 2010 (having saved and paid in full) and had our little girl in 2010. The first year of our marriage was a tough one with having a child and tackling on so much debt, but we lived like we were college students and saved money and had a coupon for everything. While it did take my husband a little to get on board with my plan, we’ve been able to accomplish what we’ve wanted in our financial lives somewhat fast and get it together so we can have our lives back and not be owned by companies to whom we owe debts.
Our next major tackle is our mortgage. That ultimately drives what careers we can aspire and how we can change our careers. I do not feel comfortable taking on a career in which I would love to do; however, the pay isn’t there. Without the pay, then I cannot accomplish our goals. I am very driven and have a strong mindset that if I am to be away from my children, then I want to make the most $ that I can so I can eventually buy my way to being with them more. Taking it day by day and thinking out our purchases and not wanting more than we needed.
We live a nice life, I cannot complain. We have a nice, modest house. Our kids are in a top notch daycare (in my opinion). We have two vehicles that work and we all have our health. We are able to do activities or take vacations if we would like too. I feel more than blessed to have 2 happy, healthy children and our family. I do enjoy things that make our First World issues easier, but all in all, we have it better than the majority of people and we truly are lucky in that manner. We are just pushing towards that final step of the America Dream of owning our own house and being able to pursue ‘dreams’ and setting up our children for happiness in a world without debt.