In Part One, we confessed that we had $64,000 of debt when we got married. Scary right? We set up a plan of action to get out of debt. It took us five VERY long years but we were finally able to pay off all of our non-mortgage debt. Read the next segment of our journey below.
A year into our marriage and we were slowly making progress on our debt. We had paid off $10,000 of the $64,000 and now had a balance of $54,000 to pay off. We continued on with our strategy of paying off the highest interest debt first and were making a bit of progress. We were able to pay off an additional $5,500 at the 1 ½ year mark of wedded bliss when we had an opportunity fall at our feet.
In August 2010, an old coworker of Mr. Bug’s contacted him. His current employer had a job opening in Atlanta, GA. The old coworker sent the CEO’s contact info to Mr. Bug who then casually mentioned it to me in passing and we jumped at the opportunity. The chance to move and make more money was just what we needed to super charge our debt payoff! The new job offered almost double what Mr. Bug was currently making, and all of that extra income could go straight towards the debt payoff!
We flew to Atlanta, GA on a Thursday for the interview and Mr. Bug was hired and gave notice at his current job the next morning. Two weeks later the moving truck was packed up and we were on our way to Atlanta! The housing market had not yet recovered in Missouri and we couldn’t afford to make two house payments, so we had renters move in and pay half the mortgage and we paid the other half while renting a townhouse in Atlanta (more info to come about selling this house).
Although Mr. Bug had been hired for a job in Atlanta, I had not. We had to put our debt payoff plan on hold for three months while I was unemployed. In December, I was able to find a job with the same salary as my previous job. Once I was employed, we immediately went back into full force debt payoff mode!
We worked hard all of 2011 to pinch pennies and save every extra dollar we came across. During this time we were able to pay off Mr. Bug’s auto loan and all of the other consumer debt, leaving only the 0% interest credit card to be paid off and the student loans. Whenever one debt was paid off, the payments we were making towards that debt would go towards the next debt in line to be paid off. We felt pretty good going into 2012 and were set to have the 0% credit card paid off in February 2012, which would only leave the student loan debt, but that would have been too easy, right??
On the weekends for fun I would occasionally look at houses for sale in our area online. One day, my dream home popped up for sale at a ridiculously low price. I called our realtor friend, went to look at the home, and Mr. Bug and I both fell in love with it. We placed an offer which was accepted after a slight bidding war. We were soon to be homeowners! However, with a closing date swiftly approaching, we once again had to put our debt payoff plan on hold.
We scrimped and saved every penny to get our required down payment together and 45 days later we were homeowners of our dream home! The property was a foreclosure so we had to do some work to the home, specifically half of the house did not have working electricity and the previous homeowner had taken all of the blinds, light fixtures, outlet covers, towel and toilet paper holders (seriously?!), closets, etc. We put every bit of extra cash into buying the necessities up front and figured we would worry about furniture later (side note: 2 ½ years later we are still slowly working to furnish our home). Purchasing this new home was a lot of work and we took a hit to our payoff plan, but we definitely think it was worth it because of the immediate equity we received and the fact that it was exactly what we were looking for.
With the home purchase completed and basic necessities for said home purchased, we were back full force on our debt payoff plan! Unfortunately, we had added about $6,000 in debt for repairs to the new house, leaving the total amount of non-mortgage debt to be paid off at $38,000.
Stay tuned for Part Three of our series, where yet another curve ball is thrown our way!