That Time We Paid Off $36,000 in 6 Months....

2012 and 2013 were good years for us, financially speaking. 

We dedicated ourselves to the "Zero Based Budget" and the principles outlined in the Total Money Makeover book. I was taking on any extra work I could and hubby had gotten a promotion.

We were dedicated, driven, and....for lack of a better word...sufficiently pissed at our debt and ready to take it out back and shoot it in the head.

In 6 months we paid off....are you ready for this?.....$36,000

Yup. $36,000

I look at that number today and I'm just....well, suffice it to say I want to kick myself....hard.

My photography business was debt free for the first time since inception.
We knocked out the majority of the rest of our consumer debt.
We were well on our way. We just had to KEEP. GOING.

Life has a way of looking at your plans and saying "Hold on a bit.....you think you had this all figured out? Well, how about we have Murphy move in with ya! Bam!"

Murphy: as in ...Murphy's LAW...If it CAN go wrong, it will.

The Unemployment Fairy came knocking at our door. We were wholly unprepared to be down to one income (and a variable one at that) for several months. 

We were also crazy. 

Crazy in that when my husband and I sat down to assess the damage and decide our next move, we decided "Let's start a business!" 

I wanted him to follow his dream. I also just really like starting stuff. 

We decided to open a retail store. But do you know what a retail store needs? Inventory. And shelves. And a cash register. And a host of other things we didn't have. 

Well, it would be okay if we just took out a business line of credit, right? You gotta spend money to make money, right? Who cash flows businesses, anyway?

It's incredible what we will tell ourselves in the moment. How months of hard work can unravel so quickly. How we became so intensely focused on making our new venture work that our original joint goal of total debt freedom fell to the wayside. 

We'd get to it when we got to it, I told myself. Let's just get this new store off the ground, and we'll come back.

But we didn't come back. Through 2014 and into 2015 we built the store and that $36,000 we had murdered? About half of it decided to rise from the dead and take up residence as a nasty little ghost in our house. 

Our store did well....but by Spring 2015 my husband had taken on another full time job, I was working the store plus running my own full time studio, and we were SO. DONE.

Our kids were spending more time with the grandparents or daycare teachers than us and something majorly had to give. 

So, we sold the store. It was a bittersweet move, especially given how much we had put into it with regards to time, effort, sweat, tears, and MONEY. Can't forget the money.

We sold the store and you'd think, being the college educated folk that we are, we would take that money from the sale and put it right back to the accumulated business debt, right? 

WRONG.

Nope. We went to Disney World. Literally. 

Disney was fun. But, upon returning we realized our time to be dumb was over. Way over.  We had done it before. We needed to do it again...and this time finish what we started no matter what. Disney was our last hurrah. This debt was going down. No more. 

We made that pledge in November 2015. In that time we have paid off $7300.00....a decent start. 

Just remember, it ain't over til' it's over, folks. You can always start again. The most important part of the whole equation is that you don't throw in the towel. Keep plugging away. Keep making necessary sacrifices.

Just keep swimming.

Now, there are a TON of "money management" programs out there. I'm really not well-versed enough to be able to say which one is the BEST. The one we subscribe to and really believe in is Dave Ramsey's Total Money Makeover. You'll hear a LOT of talk about the TMM on this blog simply because its the plan I know best (so if that sort of thing bugs you or you think D-Ram is a douche, feel free to wander elsewhere).

His plan is by no means the only way, but it has worked for us and I do highly recommend it to others. 

I'll be discussing portions of his plan on the blog in the weeks and months to come, but if you want to dive into the whole shebang right now, I recommend picking up a copy of the Total Money Makeover. You can get this for free (saving! woot!) at the library or pick up a reasonably priced copy here: 

(Note: this is an affiliate link)