This is a guest post from Dr. Jason Cabler from Celebrating Financial Freedom. In this post he’ll tell you his personal get out of debt story, and let you in on a great new resource that can help you do it, too.
Early in our marriage, my wife Angie and I struggled with being on the same page about money.
We came from extremely different backgrounds.
She was from a poor family who didn’t stress higher education and always struggled with money. I was from an upper middle class family of educators with advanced degrees that was very sensible when it came to money.
Because of our different backgrounds, our views of how to handle money were totally opposite.
We Had No Plan
As we joined our lives together, we never really learned to communicate well about our finances and we certainly never had a plan. Angie had worked at a bank for several years, so we decided she would be the one to keep the checkbook balanced.
That was the extent of our financial planning.
Within 6 months of getting married, we started saving for a down payment on a house and financed a brand new car. That car note was the first debt I’d ever had. I didn’t like it, but it didn’t worry Angie at all.
We Never Seemed to Get Ahead
As time went on, we bought our first house, financed another car, and added two babies to the mix. The debt was getting deeper, and the expenses of having a family were getting higher every year.
Fortunately, I’ve always made a good living as a dentist, so we were never in dire straits.
But we never seemed to be getting ahead, and having that debt was stressing me out.
Money Fights Were The Norm
I’m the kind of person that likes to keep track of things, so I would constantly keep tabs on the checkbook to see where all the money was going. I wanted to make sure we weren’t wasting any money and were being wise with our spending.
Whenever I had a question about why we spent so much money in restaurants, on clothes, or anything else, Angie would get upset. She felt like I didn’t trust her, and a full out money fight would ensue.
The Flying Checkbook
Finally, after what seemed like our millionth fight over money, Angie glared at me and yelled
She literally hurled the checkbook at me and said
“YOU do it, I’ve had enough!”
She had gotten tired of the constant questions about our finances and didn’t like the pressure she was feeling.
She was so upset she was going to tell me just what I could do with that checkbook, and she wasn’t going to tell me to go and balance it!
That certainly wasn’t the first flying checkbook incident, but this time Angie had reached her limit.
I picked up the checkbook, and for the first time in our marriage, it was up to me to officially keep track of the finances.
Did things get any better?
We still didn’t communicate well about money and had no plan.
Something had to change.
Angie Had a Surprise For Me
Eventually I approached Angie and told her I wanted us to attend a popular personal finance course. She was skeptical, but she agreed to go with me.
During the first few sessions, Angie remained skeptical. But during one of the sessions near the end of the course, the instructor asked (as he always did) if anyone wanted to cut up their credit cards and commit to becoming debt free. Angie leapt up and announced that she was going to go for it!
Being the great communicators we were, I knew nothing about her plan in advance.
She then proceeded to cut up 13 credit cards in front of the entire class!
The instructor was totally shocked!
He’d never seen anybody actually cut up their credit cards before!
Things Got Better, But Only a Little
That night was a huge turning point in our financial life and in our marriage. As we completed the course, we started making the effort to communicate better about our finances, but we never actually sat down and worked on a plan to take control of our money and get out of debt.
Things got better, but only a little.
We still had debt, and we held on to one credit card “in case of emergencies”, but we used it for more than that. Being in debt was still stressing me out, but at least we weren’t fighting as much.
We Had to Commit
After another year or two of languishing, we realized that if we had any hope of getting out of debt, we had to completely commit to the process.
That meant putting together a written get out of debt plan, along with a detailed monthly budget that spent all the money on paper before we spent it in the real world.
We had to learn to live on less than we made and not deviate from the plan.
We Finally Turned Things Around
At first, establishing those new habits was kind of hard. Change isn’t always easy. But as time went on those changes became a part of our lifestyle. We haven’t used any form of credit for about 7 years now and it feels great!
(Editor’s note: be sure to check out post on how to get rid of bad habits)
Since we fully committed to the process, we’ve paid off all of our debt (except for the house).
We also paid cash for 2 luxury cars, yearly vacations, Christmas, and every other expense that tends to cause debt in most people’s lives.
We were able to accomplish all this because we were committed, we had a plan, and we stuck to it.
The Student Became The Teacher
During this long process, I became passionate about personal finance and how lives can be changed for the better when money problems are no longer an issue.
I began teaching the course that we took at our church.
Eventually, I felt called to develop my own course material teaching others how to make a plan, get out of debt, communicate well, and change their family tree forever.
I’ve been teaching my “Celebrating Financial Freedom” course in churches for several years now with great success.
Now I’m Kicking It Up a Notch!
Previously, you could only experience the course by traveling to see me at an all day seminar. But I wanted to make it more convenient to learn these valuable principles and spread them to a wider audience.
So I’ve worked extremely hard over the last few months developing a new online multimedia version of the“Celebrating Financial Freedom” course, and it’s finally ready!
What The Course Covers
The Celebrating Financial Freedom course is about 5 things:
- How You Are Manipulated to Get Into Debt, and how it affects your freedom, your happiness, and your future.
- The Spiritual Aspects of Money– How your money mentality affects every aspect of your life, and how it can add to, or take away from your spiritual walk.
- Getting Out of Debt– The 5 step process that will lead you to debt freedom and keep you there.
- How to Get On The Same Page With Your Spouse About Money-Finally eliminate disagreements about money. You will learn how to work together and understand how your spouse thinks about money.
- How Handling Your Money The Right Way Changes Not Just Your Family, But The World as a Whole-
Sometimes in very surprising ways.
Warning!: The course is based on Christian principles, so it may not be for everyone.
But if you think it might be for you and you’re goal is to finally take control of your finances and get out of debt forever, then click over to the course’s home page where you can learn more about it.
I’ve been getting a lot of great feedback on the course, so I think you’ll like what you see.
If you have any questions about the course or anything else, feel free to shoot me an email and I’ll be glad to answer any questions you may have.
Question: Have you ever started the process of getting out of debt but didn’t follow through? What held you back?
“Dr. Jason Cabler is a Christian personal finance blogger, author, and speaker. He teaches how to get out of debt and live a debt free lifestyle through his Celebrating Financial Freedom blog and online course
His new book “Balance- The Quick and Easy Guide to Financial Stability Using a Budget” is now available on Amazon.com. He can be reached for interviews or speaking engagements by email , and can be found on Twitter, Facebook , and Google +.”