In the summer of 2004, Mr. Money and I were living in Colorado, working on a ranch breeding miniature horses. We were having the time of our lives living in the wilderness, but I couldn’t help but get these nagging feelings that we weren’t on a good financial path. We weren’t saving for retirement, we didn’t have health insurance, we were unable to buy a house, and I knew that this wasn’t something we could do for the rest of our lives. Not to mention, we were contract labor, which ultimately meant we were responsible for our own taxes.
We decided we wanted to do something with our lives that would provide stability, so our decision was for Mr. Money to return to college to complete a degree. He chose culinary arts, so we researched a few schools and decided that it would be better to move across the country to go to school and live for a couple years. Not only was the school a little cheaper, but the cost of living was a lot less, and we were much closer to my family (a 5.5 hour drive versus 24 hours). In hindsight, I would have stayed in Colorado because of how homesick we always are, but that’s the beauty of looking back.
Going back to school meant we had to take out student loans, and over the course of two years, we found ourselves over $36,000 in debt. The thought of paying back that much money made me sick to my stomach. I was confident that Mr. Money’s career would make it worth it, and I had been promoted to office manager of a bank in March of 2007, so I wasn’t as worried about it. Mr. Money found a job in the culinary field at an upscale restaurant, but it was an hourly wage, and sometimes less than 40 hours a week. After getting promoted and longing for stability, I decided we should settle down here and buy our first house. Our rent had increased to $700 a month and that was the last straw.
Working in the financial industry, I figured that our debt to income probably wouldn’t be in line for the amount we wanted to be preapproved for, so I took money out of savings to pay off two student loans so that we’d be better candidates. As of today, we’ve paid off approximately $30,000 in student loans, leaving $6,850 left. I can’t wait until we are rid of that debt.
As of today, we’ve got our first mortgage debt, second mortgage debt (we did an 80/15/5 when we bought the house), the car loan, and student loan. We are contributing to my 401k and saving money each month. I think we’re in a pretty stable financial situation, and I’m really proud of what we have and how we got here.
We’ll keep paying off debt and living below our means and see where that gets us. I’m excited to see where we’re at in 5 years!
Do you have a financial story? I’d love to read it!