Friday, January 18, 2013

"We're debt free!": Of Car Payments and Baby Step #2

I thought about calling Dave Ramsey today. Even more, I wish I could visit his studio in Tennessee, sign the wall, and chat with him on the special debt-free scream phone. If only. However, I doubt I'd be able to get a call even through onto Dave Ramsey's show, so that leaves me with this option: I'm going to do my debt free scream here (magically through my fingertips).  Here goes:


{Now I'll insert some inspirational/cheesy picture I found via a Google image search of the word "freedom".}

This week, the husband and I paid off our car. It was awesome, to say the least.

It was especially satisfying since, back in 2010, we were debt-free. We worked hard to pay off my student loan (nothing major -- just a couple thousand dollars from my sophomore year), some credit card debt, and the first car we purchased together. I remember walking into the Chase bank back in February of 2010, with three-year-old Max toddling along with me in his Oshkosh overalls, and giving the banker at the desk all that was owed on the car. I walked -- it felt a little more like floating -- back to the car, buckled Max into his carseat, sat down in the driver's seat, shouted, "We're debt free!"  For the rest of the week, I remember how  Max would just randomly stick both of his little arms up in the air and shout, "We debt feeeee!" (not a typo -- that's how he said it).  We had completed Dave Ramsey's second baby step and paid off all the debt except the house!

A couple months later, my husband's commuter car, a 1997 Subaru Legacy wagon we'd purchased from my parents, died. Seriously, it committed some kind of car suicide and various parts of it just died. Soon after, our first car together, another Subaru that was well over the 200,000 mile mark, started to struggle. After much thought, much debate, and prayer, we decided it was time to buy a new car.

Only we didn't have enough money saved to pay cash for one. We'd only been debt-free for 3-4 months. We considered buying a beater car, but with plans for adding to our family and my husband's commute, we decided to get something fairly new and with low mileage. That meant we'd have to finance. I remember driving out of the dealership in our beautiful and blue new Subaru (Yes, we're fans. You would be, too, if you lived where I do) and I just burst into tears. I missed being debt-free already.

Just barely over 2 1/2 years later, that car is paid off. Even just driving Max to school,  running errands in it, or getting it washed feels different. That car is ours. I can't think of a better's, well, awesome.

I'm not going to lie, I've been imagining all day what I would say to Dave if I called in. I probably would have told him all that stuff I just wrote. I imagine he'd ask how we did it. What would I say?  That there's no magic bullet or trick to getting out of debt. My husband has done a lot of freelance work to get us to this point -- it's like he's been working a second job, which hasn't been easy on either of us.

I would tell him that you just have to keep going and plugging along. The little things, the little actions I'm always mentioning on this blog, truly do add up. I can't say that I've ever been hanging laundry on the clothesline or rinsing out a poopy diaper over the toilet or spraying my kitchen counter with vinegar, saying all the while, "Take that, debt snowball!" But, you know, it was always somewhere in the back of my mind. It kept me going, it kept me focused when I knew what I was working toward and why.

Anyway, I just had to share.  Thank you for indulging me.

On to Baby Step #3...

Note: I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that I have disclosed.


Heather Dixon said...

WOOOOOOO!!! Congratulations!!!!!!!!!!! Man that's fantastic news ^_^

Sharalee Klein said...

That is so exciting and encouraging!! We are working through paying off both mine & my husband's student loans, probably going to take a few years, but we are so excited to be working through Financial Peace University!

McKatie said...


I just bought a 2005 Subaru and can't wait to be debt free again myself!

Carla Belyea said...

That is so cool! You are an inspiration! said...

There's not much that can beat the feeling of being debt free! Congratulations to you. It's hard work but oh-so-worth-it!

Frances -Penilayne- said...

I'm a long-time reader who constantly recommends your blog to others, but I've never posted a comment before. Um, that I can remember...Anywho!

One of the few things my husband and I have done together as a couple (and parents) in our 13 years is FPU.

Congrats!!!! :) Keep up the gazelle intensity!!


Heather said...

Thanks for all the nice words, everyone! I'm happy to be proof that it's totally possible! :)

And hi, Penilayne! Thanks for reading for so long, and for commmenting, and for recommending my blog!

Frances -Penilayne- said...

You're very welcome!

Earth2Jane said...

I feel your exhilaration as I am debt free 1 year now. Home, car, credit cards (really had none because I charge and pay balance every month...very disciplined with them). Love Dave Ramsey and Financial Peace University. It is nice to live like no one else so you can live like no one else.

Unknown said...

Way to go, Heather! With the right discipline and saving scheme, I trust that your debt-free status will stay for good. Anyway, I hope the Subaru you got back then is still in good shape. The last thing you need is for a car to breakdown, just as when you’re finally free from debts. Have a good day!

Diana Hayes @ Baldwin Subaru

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