The first debt I acquired was at age 18 when I signed up for federal student loans, at the time I was thinking this is it's just the way it is to get ahead. And I won't have to pay anything until I am done with college and have a great paying job. Little did I know, that at my first "real job" I would make less than I did at my summer jobs during college. However, I am very grateful for my degree, it did help me to have the career I have today.
Then came the credit cards. I am not sure what criminal allowed credit card companies to set-up on campus and give college kids free stuff for signing up for credit cards. I can tell you, the free t-shirt and drink cozy was DEFINITELY not worth the years of credit card debit that followed. I did not have control of my spending in anyway.
I left college about $30,000 in debt, with student loans and credit cards. When I did get a "real job" I bought a newer car. Then I ended up trading it in on a brand new truck, because they had zero percent financing. At it’s highest, my debt was almost $50,000 which was nearly twice my annual income. I was living pay check to pay check. So I did one of those debt consolidation services and start trying to pay it down but I never really got ahead.
In 2007 I bought a house with no money down, I kept making one bad financial choice after another. I remember believing that being in debt is a way of life, everyone is in debt, it's just a matter of how we manage it.
I was attempting to pay down my debt but little success I had about $15,000 that I could not seem to get rid of.
In 2010, my life changed drastically. My out going expenses were nearly twice that of my income.
I was still $13,000 in debt and now I was completely struggling to make ends meet. I was afraid I would loose my house.
On June 28th, 2010 I gave my heart and my life to Jesus Christ. In the months that followed the Lord spoke to me to give my first fruits. At first, I was sure He was speaking of the actual fruits in my garden. I was being taught to give 10% and encouraged to give to missions. I remembering thinking there is no way, I just can't, I don't have that kind of money. My outgoing expenses are twice that of my income, how could I come up with even more money to give. I decided to tithe, 10% on the net of my paycheck. I would tithe the rest after I got my tax refund. And mission giving, I thought that’s great but not for me, there is just no way.
Throughout the next 2 years the Lord provided in great ways, I was able to refinance my house, I received over payment checks in the mail. I received unexpected compensations at my job. By the fall of 2013 I was debt free (expect for the mortgage on my house).
In the past 6 years since I was saved and truly committed my life and my finances to the Lord, and followed through by being faithful in tithing and giving to missions, I have seen the Lord provide in miraculously ways.
I tried to get out of debt without The Lord and without being faithful to Him, it doesn't work. Today we are debt free (except for the mortgage on our house) and we have an emergency fund saved, because we have been faithful to listen to the Lord and to trust Him with our finances.
Since becoming debt free, I have realized that being debt free is a life-time commitment.
How we manage debt is important and being debt free is a way of life. It is the way of life we are called to live.