It was only seven years ago, on January 1, 2012 that we began our debt-free journey.
It’s amazing how much can change in seven years…and that’s the story we are here to share with you today.
Debt reared its ugly head once when Jonathan and I got engaged but we quickly buried our heads in the sand on all things money because we didn’t want to deal with it.
The Reality of Debt
Between the two of us, we had $24,500 in debt…but only took home $35k/year.
Here’s the breakdown: Amanda: $8,000 student loans | Jonathan: $13,000 student loans + $3,500 on a credit card
We got married on October 22, 2011 and on our 10-day long honeymoon (that was charged on our Visa!) was the spark of our first financial blowout. The credit card bill came due while we sipped margaritas poolside and I had a panic attack wondering how we’d pay the bill without getting hit with interest.
Upon arriving home, we quickly realized this is NOT how we wanted to start our marriage off and that something had to change. We dove headfirst into learning everything we could about money.
Real Talk About Money
On December 30, 2011 we sat down for our first Teixeira Budget Committee Meeting. Looking back, it was hilarious—we fumbled our way through varying categories and were really bad at estimating the cost of things. (Wanna create a budget you’ll love in 5 minutes or less? Grab our free guide here!)
Despite being bad at budgeting from the first go, we had tremendous amounts of zeal and passion for it. We were finally a team. We were on the same page. Nothing could stop us from getting to our first goal – $1,000 in a starter rainy day fund, which we saved in one month’s time.
The Family Budget Shift
Even though it looked impossible on paper, we were on track to paying off our student loans within a year! (Cue jaw drop but internal squealing)
After getting those emergency savings set aside, we turned our gaze toward that pile of debt.
As the months crept by, we not only got better at creating a budget but also sticking to the budget! (Yep, we learned a LOT about budgeting…get our tips here!)
Our desire to become debt-free was so intense we were willing to sacrifice everything but necessities to meet that goal. We would rather suffer a short but intense time of delaying gratification than several years of lukewarm spending/paying debt.
Sometimes we rode bikes to work when we were low on gas money. Or we would make PB&J sandwiches with carrots and celery on the side when we wanted to stretch the grocery funds. We sold dozens of items on eBay and Craigslist. Instead of buying a new mattress, we slept on a (clean!) donated mattress from someone’s old RV.
We were officially weird and on an unstoppable mission. Friends and family thought we were taking things just a little too far . . . and that is exactly where we wanted to be!
The debt started falling rapidly, and with every dollar thrown at it, our confidence and excitement grew. We quickly went from first-time fumbling budgeters to budget pros with a goal no one could stop us from reaching!
In late July, we saw the numbers really plummeting, and we were just itching to get it all paid off the next month. We continued living on a bare-bones budget and scraping money out of thin air, hoping we could have an August debt-free date.
On August 15, 2012, we had finally scrounged up enough to sink our last loan and become debt-free! What once was a one-year stretch goal took just over seven months to accomplish.
And you know what, it was only the starting line!
Since then we’ve been able to save six months of expenses to complete our full rainy day fund, put over half down on a custom build home we plan to pay off within the next two years, purchase two new-to-us vehicles, cash-flow over six-figures in infertility and adoption related expenses, travel with our three daughters, give generously to causes we care about, launch our own business, and have complete confidence that our investment strategy will allow us to retire how and when we are ready.
We don’t share that to toot our horns (um, no, gross!) but to inspire you that if WE could do it, YOU can too.
We’re covering how to save $1,000 quickly, how to harness momentum and blast out of debt FAST, what exact steps to take to reach financial freedom, and much more.
Amanda Teixeira, co-founder of Wallet Win. She’s part of an amazing husband and wife team that have a passion for helping others get out of debt, build wealth, and change the world with a giving heart.This post may contain affiliate links. For more information please review our disclosure policy.