Between my husband and I we have 5 degrees; 2 undergraduate and 3 masters degrees. We definitely have the student loans to prove it.
We had known each other since 6th grade, so when we got married after undergrad we knew we didn’t want to wait very long before starting our family. We had our first daughter during our second year of graduate school and when we relocated to the Chicagoland area after graduation we thought everything was perfect.
We both were able to land great jobs, I got my dream job as a healthcare architect, we bought a house close to family, and even found out we were expecting our second child the day we bought our house!
We knew we had a lot of student loan debt but hadn’t taken the time to truly add it all up, get freaked out about it, or figure out how to get rid of it.
We were working on our budget for when I would return to work after our second child was born, and we realized we were in some deep trouble. Our expenses each month with two children in daycare would be more than our income. We had two great jobs and we thought we were frugal people and yet we were in the red.
We were seriously freaking out and lost on how to make a difference in our bills. After finding Dave Ramsey we totaled up our debts to find out that we had a whopping $241,000 in debt, mostly all student loans! To say we were overwhelmed is an understatement.
While we were working on how to gain control of our finances and lower our expenses God was doing some major work in my heart.
Growing up I never ever imagined I would be a stay at home mom. Never.
I knew I wanted to be an architect when I was 5 years old and spent my entire life pursuing that dream. Enter our second child and the amazing power of God.
It wasn’t long before I was calling my husband while at work bawling about how badly I wanted to be at home with our children. Sitting at my desk there were times that I had tears running down my cheeks and I had to turn my pictures of my kids upside down so that I wouldn’t be crying in front of my co-workers.
God kept telling me that I needed to go home but our budget kept telling me that it was not possible. Just as the Bible tells us in Proverbs 22:7, we were truly slaves to our debt.
This is how our faith filled debt journey began. With an overwhelming, motivating, and monstrous goal to conquer our 241 K in debt and move towards me coming home.
I continued to work for another 2 years while we cut our budget in every area possible and picked up extra jobs. We went from being in the red every month to paying off thousands of dollars each month.
When I found out I was pregnant with our third child we had gained traction over our finances enough that we knew it was time for me to go home. We still had a long part our debt journey ahead but it was time.
I’ve now been at home for just over a year and we’ve recently hit the mark of paying off $100,000 in under 3 years. UPDATE: We’ve now paid off $145,000 in just under 4 years.
With so much of our journey behind us I finally feel like we have tips to share, and hope to give. But with so much of our journey left we need encouragement, motivation, and accountability.
If you’re just starting out be sure to check out these posts to get you started on your debt repayment journey:
- The Why behind your financial dreams
- How to Begin Cutting Your Expenses and What we Cut from our Budget
- Top 5 ways to stay motivated while paying off debt
- 5 Tips to Handle Financial Setbacks during your debt payoff
- Power of Prayer in your Finances
- Dear working mom who desperately wants to be at home but your bills won’t allow it