Our Debt-Free AnniversaryOn December 18, 2007, we sent off the last check to pay off our Chase home equity loan. That marked the end of a 9 month journey and the last of our outstanding consumer/credit debt in the form of multiple credit cards, car loans, and the equity loan (which was supposed to "consolidate" a bunch of other loans like a flippin' shell game - HAH, NOT!), all of which totaled almost $55,000. To celebrate, we created a home video to pay tribute to Dave Ramsey, a popular radio and (now) TV talk show host whose financial "baby steps" were the main road map and inspiration to knock off these debts:
Fine and well, but we still had our mortgage hanging over our heads. Even with the freed up cash flow, I was initially expecting that it would still take another 7 or 8 years (or longer) to pay off our house. Well, thanks to some amazing promotions for Kyungmi (she became a full partner at her practice) and by sticking to our "rice and beans" barebones lifestyle, we actually accelerated our payoff schedule considerably. As of Oct. 7, 2009, the Sung family is officially, completely, absolutely, 100%,
Debt-Free - HOUSE AND EVERYTHING, BABY!!
Being "Dave" fans, our favorite radio/podcast episodes are the Debt-Free Fridays, when callers get an opportunity to celebrate by screaming on the air, "WEEEE'RE DEEEEEBT FREEEEEEE!!" Dave usually interviews the callers to learn how they paid off their debts, and frequently he likes to ask what the hardest part of getting started was. Kyungmi and I were reflecting on that question as we mulled over the reality of finally being on the "other side" of the debt mountain - if Dave asked me that, I'd have to say that the hardest part of getting started for me was actually believing that this was possible, and having the imagination to find creative answers to get out of our sea of red ink. I remember the very first time I tried making a written budget (on a Google spreadsheet), and how depressed I felt after seeing how badly our monthly expenses exceeded our income. It simply looked impossible at the time, which was even more frustrating seeing how our supposedly "great" income at the time was being completely nullified by our debts. We must've worked through that initial budget over a dozen times, looking for every scrap and thread to shave off of the expense column. Learning how to cut hair myself and cutting off cable tv completely were probably the more radical steps we took, as well as cutting off my gym membership and daily Starbucks runs. The first few months of "the plan" crawled by at a snail's pace financially-speaking, with barely a dent being made against our debt skyscraper, but once the "little debts" were knocked off, the increased cash flow started to make noticeable headway against the larger ones.
I'm still stunned and pinching myself to see if this is really happening to us - no debts? no mortgage? at ALL? and all this in just under 3 years??
Faith and Imagination: more powerful than talent or income to get you out of debt and on your way to becoming wealthy. So what are YOU waiting for? If we can do it, SO CAN YOU!!
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