Finding Freedom- Our experience with Financial Peace University



Disclaimer: Some of my posts do include affiliate links. This one does not. I am sharing this information with you because I believe in it, because I know it works. I am not affiliated in any way with Dave Ramsey or Financial Peace University.

Before Finding Freedom

Once upon a time, I was a normal person who went on vacations, went out to eat, bought new clothing and enjoyed frequent trips to Target.

I had student loan debt, a mortgage, credit card debit, some personal loans, some medical bills, OK, it was a lot of debt.

But that’s normal.

Everyone has debt.

Right?

Wrong.

The Path to Financial Freedom

I had heard of this Dave Ramsey person when I was in college. I paid attention for about 30 seconds and then decided to get married and enjoy my life instead. Three years later, with a baby on the way, we weren’t sure how we were going to afford maternity leave. Much less daycare, diapers, clothing-pretty much, we were screwed.

In our panic, I remembered that I had once upon a time stored cash in envelopes because of this Dave Ramsey fellow, so I decided to look him up again.

To make a long story short(er), we managed to save enough money for maternity leave but we were still a financial mess.

I was trying to budget by myself, use credit card points and juggling balances to save us from disaster and keep our overdraft fees to a minimum.

Hitting Rock Bottom

A little over a year after my son was born, we got the wake-up call we needed to take action.

I was at the grocery store buying food for the week. I swiped my debit card to pay and heard these awful words, “I’m sorry, your card was declined.”

All of our credit cards were maxed out. I had $0 in my wallet.

We were officially broke. And then some.

We had to change.

I went home and signed us up for Financial Peace University (FPU). That decision completely changed the trajectory of our lives and our view of normal.

How FPU Wrecked our “normal lives”:

  • We broke up with debt- Debt is no longer an option in this household. If you want something, you better save up for it or you’re out of luck. Our credit cards are chopped up in a bag that I will some day turn into a picture frame for the photo of the beautiful vacation we will pay for with cash.  Yup, crazy people like me still use that paper stuff. It’s magical. You should try it.
  • Budgets– Our lives now revolve around something I once hated. Creating a budget is the one thing that keeps us on track each month. Instead of spending money on whatever we feel like at the moment, or justifying purchases by the number in the bank account, we have a plan. Before the month begins, we decide together where every dollar will go. We like to use this free program because it is quick and easy.
  • Realistic goals– Instead of just floating through life, we have goals and we are working together to achieve them. We know what we want and what we need to do to get there. Instead of letting life happen to us, we are taking control.
  • Wants vs. Needs– This is a painful but important lesson that we are still learning each and every day. Most of the places our money “disappeared to” were things we can live without. For example, vacations are wants, Target runs-normally wants, dinners out- definitely wants. (Cue tears here, I know, it sucks.) The good news is, it’s only for a season. Being on a budget doesn’t mean we can never have things we want again. We are choosing not to give ourselves things we want at the moment. Instead, we are focusing on something better- freedom.
  • We learned to live our life– Most debt is a result of trying to live a life you can’t afford. We learned to accept the fact that, at the moment, we can’t have fancy cars, nice clothing, exotic vacations or fine dining. We’re OK with that. Here’s the funny thing- the longer we spend without these luxuries, the less we miss them. We did at first. A lot. However, now that we have adjusted to our life as weirdos, we are happier than when we were “normal”.

How can we possibly be happy living like this?

For the first time ever, my husband and I are on the same page about our finances, working together to achieve our goals. We learned how to communicate, view life more realistically and were given a plan with clear steps to help us grow up and get ourselves together.

FPU was exactly what we needed to get our lives on track and start planning for the future, instead of being slaves to the past.

We got rid of the extra stress of being broke and in crisis mode. We said goodbye to the things that we didn’t really need.  With the fluff and distractions gone, we realized we had more time to spend together, enjoy each other, and enjoy our life, just the way it is.

We finally have some money in the bank and yet we live like paupers.

I wear clothing with holes in them and drive a ’99 old lady car. My husband’s vehicle is literally falling apart. We have no TV. I make all of our cleaning supplies and most personal care items.

We are straight up nuts.

And we love it.

Why?

Because we want to live our lives to the fullest. In order to do that, we need to be free.

What does debt have to do with freedom?

“The rich rule over the poor and the borrower is the slave to the lender.” Proverbs 22:7 (NIV)

Financial slavery- you do all the work but someone else gets all of your money. Sound familiar?

Before getting better control of our financial life, we were 100% in slavery. We went to work each day to pay the bills. Payday came each Friday, yet we were broke by Monday. We were tired, frustrated and stressed.

Instead of living our lives, we were just surviving.

Now, instead of feeling hopeless, we can see light at the end of the tunnel. We are no longer stressing to make ends meet. Instead, we know exactly where every dollar goes before we spend it. While we break the chains of the past, we gain the confidence to dream of the future.

We are learning to live simply and love life as it is. We are learning to tell ourselves no now so that we can say yes later.

You can be free too!

Do you want to be free from debt? Or just understand personal finance better? Check out Financial Peace University.

Think there is no way you could do it? You can. I’ll help you.

It really isn’t as crazy as it sounds. You think the rush you get when you buy a new shirt is good? You should see how great it feels to pay off and chop up a credit card.

Anyone can do this. You just have to decide to change and then do it. If you are still alive and breathing, it’s not too late.

The best time to start is now.

The class lays out the overall plan, I’ll help keep you motivated along the way. Subscribe below and I will send you money saving tips and encouragement each week.

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If you want to read more about our debt free journey, read my Debt Free Diary here.

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Do you have a debt freedom story? Do you want to be free from debt? Share below!

 

Author: Vanessa

I am a busy, working mom on a journey to drown out all the negativity in the world with positive. I am striving each day to live simply, live fully, and love life. You only get to do life once, so join me on this adventure to make the most of it!

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