Jane was DEBT-FREE! Student loan and all!! FREEEEEEDOOOOM!!
She couldn’t believe it. It was Early Summer 2014. Jane had been in debt since the early winter of 2002! That’s over a decade of being in chains! Jane didn’t know what to do, she could hardly believe it! But she HAD finally learned her lesson.
She didn’t let up! Okay, she let up a little. She added money to her eating out budget and bought a few fun things for herself. But she continued to sell stuff, though she was sick to death of it, and she did yet another staycation that year so she could build up her 6 month emergency fund.
Dave Ramsey recommends 3 to 6 months of expenses set aside for an emergency. Because MONEY should be your emergency fund, not a freaking credit card or home equity loan or some other form of debt. As if to test her, mere days after having her credit card debt paid off, the water heater in Jane’s townhouse went out. Lucky for her, they turned out to be pretty inexpensive. Her mother offered to pay half, but Jane was almost 30 years old! She wouldn’t take anymore money from her parents. It was time for her to stand completely on her own.
Since Jane was single, she aimed for the 6 month emergency fund and got right to work. Now that she no longer had to pay off debt (THANK GOD), all of her extra money could go into savings. And while she had more “extra” money on her hands than she was used to, Jane finally realized she wasn’t rich. She was okay and doing well, thanks to being out of debt, but she would only stay that way if she continued to live within her means and stick to a budget.
No money ever fell from the sky. And because Jane is so stubborn, she had to learn her lesson the hard way. For years, debt had been a crushing weight on her chest — one she couldn’t breathe under. That was never, ever happening again.
By the end of 2014, Jane had her emergency fund. And that’s when it truly hit her; that’s when she finally started to understand and really feel it: she was debt-free! DEBT-FREEEEEE! She had an emergency fund! She was going to be okay! She had money!
And Jane cried. This time, tears of joy (with a little bit of dumbfounded shock built in for good measure).
She had spent a nice chunk of 2014 reading books on finance and how to stay out of debt. After several books in a row, she put herself through Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University.
Now, Jane has money in a retirement account. Now, Jane can start saving up for the next time she needs a car. Now, Jane sees the importance of giving to charities and can give money away to organizations she cares about without feeling like she’s putting herself in the hole somewhere else. Now, Jane can save up and buy that new entertainment center she’s been wanting!
Today, it’s been almost two years since Jane has charged anything! (Quite a record for Jane, indeed! Oh my!) She only has one, lonely credit card left, “old faithful.” Maybe one day it, too, will fade away into the oblivion.
This year, Jane is taking her FIRST paid-for vacation. She might take two! Life is good. And Jane is free! 🙂