The latter subject came about from a life change almost 3 years ago. My husband and I were over $20,000 in debt - a combination of a car loan and credit cards. That's a humbling number to write when, just a few years prior, we were bragging about getting through college without any student loans or other debt, period.
So, there we were, $20k in debt and making stupid decisions like applying for another credit card, just so we could do some Black Friday shopping. Three months later, my sister called me and told me to read Dave Ramsey's Total Money Makeover book. She even offered to buy me a copy of it. I read it in a matter of minutes (well, I guess it was a day or two, but it felt fast). I gave it to my husband, and he read it, too. It basically told us to save a little bit, pay off our debt as quickly as we possibly could, then start saving some more. Very basic, and yet so genius.
Starting a budget (and sticking to it) wasn't easy. We had to give up lots of random, fun things like having a million different drinks in our fridge, regular pizza nights, movies and eating out. We had to be intentional about our grocery budget, and start sinking funds for items that required annual payments. And we had to learn patience, because it takes a lot of little baby steps to make great strides.
But we did it; we made huge strides. You know how I know this?
Because exactly three years ago, we owed over $20,000 in credit card debt and car loans.
But last week, we paid cash for this, and still remain debt free:
You guys, we have come full circle.
So please, please, please believe me when I say it's possible to get debt free and stay that way. If you want a little guidance, try reading Total Money Makeover. But start today. Who knows where you'll be in three years. =)