Sunday, February 17, 2013


For those of you who are Dave Ramsey fans, you will know what it means when I say that tonight Tony and I have completed baby step #2.

That's right.  With the exception of our mortgage, we are debt free.

The girls overheard me on the phone this afternoon telling someone that Tony and I are making our last payment tonight, so for a good chunk of the afternoon, they were running around the house screaming "WE'RE DEBT FREE!", a scream they have been rehearsing for months.

You have to understand that for over the past year of their lives these girls have heard countless "when we're debt free" responses to requests at the store, as well as "debt free screams" from Financial Peace Plaza via The Dave Ramsey Show podcasts.  So when my little L and C heard these words today, they were in shock and disbelief.  Lucy asked me about fifty times if I was serious and "Mommy, we are really going to be debt free today?!".  We are truly changing our family tree tonight.  The girls have gotten so used to being told "no" at the store that they have really matured by learning the hard lesson of delayed gratification...and so have Tony and I.
(I have to admit I am a little nervous that now they are going to think we can buy anything they want now that we don't have that debt excuse...)

We could have taken care of it a couple of days ago, but I insisted that Tony wait until our Sunday night budget meeting to click that little payment button on the computer. I hope I am not setting myself up for an anticlimactic two seconds.

In the beginning, when we started, Tony and I were so on fire that we were for sure going to be one of those couples that drives down to Nashville to announce our newly found financial freedom over the radio, but have decided against it now.  Since I have listened to enough Dave Ramsey Show to predict his response to all of the callers, I am going to go ahead and save us all the hassle, time and, last but not least, money, and share with you what my conversation with Dave Ramsey would look like.  I debated sharing this at all, as I didn't want to look like I am boasting, but decided that this isn't some fortune we stumbled upon or luck we had struck.  This is something we worked hard at and were made fun of several times for. 

So here's my conversation with my old pal, Dave.

(Naturally I would dominate the entire conversation, inviting Tony to join in only at the very end for the actual scream.)

"We have here Anna and Tony from Rochester, Minnesota.  Hey, guys, WHAT'S UP?!"

"Hi, Dave!  Wow, I am so glad to be talking to you.  We are here to do our debt free scream."

"My goodness, you guys drove all the way here from Minnesota? How far is that?"

"Oh, Dave, it's really far.  Our kids are exhausted from the drive and we dropped the transmission on my Acura MDX because it has so many gosh darn miles, dontchaknow.  But that's okay, because we paid it off last year.  Mwahahahaha"

Dave chuckles along...obviously....he is so proud of and charmed by me...

"So how much have y'all paid off?"

"From the very beginning, Dave, just over $36,000 between my car, credit cards and student loans."

"Good work!  Making what kind of money at that time?"

"Well, Dave, I would rather not say as I am sharing this on my blog a lot of people we know listen to your show, but we are making more than when we started this whole thing between a couple of promotions for my kick-ass husband over here and my little but growing business that I work on while I stay home with our babies."

"Are you telling me you guys got a raise in the middle of a recession?!  How weird are you?!  You know no one is supposed to get a raise in a recession!  How in the world did you manage that?
(I would like to add here, what Dave calls the "sarcasm font")

Insert another chummy laugh shared by all three of us.

"Well, we worked hard and it paid off."

"Well done.  So how long did it take you guys to do this?"

"It has been just over a year since we have gotten serious, but we paid mostly just our credit cards off about two years ago before falling off the bandwagon and having to start over again."

"And what caused you guys to get pissed off enough last year to pay off all your debt?"

"We were having a lot of money fights at the time and it just didn't seem right.  We were like everyone else, buying what we wanted when we wanted, feeling like we had nothing to show for it and we just didn't want to be like everyone else anymore.  We didn't want to be handing out all of our money before we even got it in our hands.  We have always said that the last thing we want to do is look up in a couple of years and still just be average.  We also talk often about wanting to give more to many different causes from overseas to friends close by who need help and we knew we couldn't do that until we had our shit act together."

"Ah, yes, so you decided to live like no one else so later you can give like no one else."

"That's right, Dave, and now thanks to you we are through the hardest part and excited to start saving up our emergency fund so we can tackle paying off our house in a couple years and really start to enjoy all of this work we have been doing."

"That's awesome.  You guys are great.  Wow.  Good work.  Alright.  Well done.  Well, let's count it down.  Tony and Anna with their three beautiful children all the way from Minnesota for their debt free scream, let's hear it guys!"

"3....2.....1.....WE'RE DEBT FREEEEEEE!!" says my entire family in unison
 (yes, even Oscar knows what to say after hearing this a million times from the womb)

Insert applause, music, and the Braveheart "FREEEEDOMMMMMMM" clip interrupted by Dave's "HA! HA! HA!  Well done!  Well done!  Great job you guys!  That's awesome!"

Thank you for taking the time to humor me and help me feel like this is a little more exciting than it may feel without actually speaking to Dave Ramsey myself ;)

So there it is.  Several friends have pointed out that if I can do it, anyone can do it.  This girl who had debt collectors calling before I graduated from high school has come a long way.  Then again, I hadn't heard of Dave Ramsey....or more importantly, my amazing husband Tony.

Thanks for sticking with me, Tony, and letting me complain about not being able to buy new shoes or get my nails done or go out as often as I wanted without vocalizing how annoying I was, but instead listening and nodding, like you always do, followed by your wise responses and gentle reminders that we are in for bigger and better things in the long haul.  You are the best.  I even thought so when I would roll my eyes at you for quoting my bestie, Dave, saying things like "Anna, you have to live like no one else, so later you can live like no one else".

I know I have said it before, but I will say it again.  I always thought Tony and I were meant to be together and complimented each other so well, blah, blah, blah, mushy, mushy, mush, but I never know how much better we could be.  Okay, I will stop with my moving overly emotional, dramatic testimonial and gushing over my husband.  He is probably super embarrassed now.  Sorry, honey!


We're debt free.


1 comment: