Guest Post Part 2 – 2 Adults, 4 Kids, 2 Bedrooms and Nearly Consumer Debt Free!

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This is the 2nd part of a guest post is from reader Carrie.  I’ve been following her story of getting out of debt
and saving for a home for about a year now.  I’ve been very inspired by
her determination and creativity and I hope that you are too!  If you missed it, you can read part 1 of 2 Adults, 4 Kids, 2 Bedrooms and Nearly Consumer Debt Free here. 
Last week Carrie told us that 4 weeks before the birth of their 3rd child her husband’s hours were cut back to only 6 hrs. a week!  
Hindsight, this
was a blessing as I had my third c-section and needed help at home with
the kids, and our families lived many states away and couldn’t help.  
Fast forward to October 2009 – I was ticked off at all
the debt. I was tired of trying to pay off loans and never having
more than $25 some weeks to pay for groceries for a family of 5.
could pay bills, but there was very little, if anything, left over.
Ryan still wasn’t full-time, he was still next on the list to get
full-time, there were just no openings. I know we qualified for help
from the government, but we got ourselves into this mess, we can work
our way out of it
. And bankruptcy was not an option for us. We were
fully capable of
paying our debtors if we worked harder.
So we tallied up the
damage…*gulp*…We were double our income in a year in debt,
excluding the mortgage. 
July 2010 – Debt is
down to just over what we make in a year
, almost half of what it was not
too long ago.  We are on track and have a small emergency fund in
  Things are looking good, and now it was time to finish saving
for another maternity leave in two months 😀 

September 2010 – Sylvia was born and thus my maternity leave
began. We saved up enough for food and gas to make it through almost 3
months. But “stuff” kept happening.
Our washing machine broke a
couple weeks before Sylvia was born. The rental needed a plumber a few
times, my employment was bought out and I lost our insurance so we had
to buy temporary insurance in one lump sum, etc. And to be honest, I
didn’t care – I knew 3 months was a short amount
of time and I couldn’t replace the first few weeks of Syllie’s life,
so we scraped by for a while, but ended up getting into debt a bit
again. This c-section was a much harder recovery, so I’m not sure I
would have been able to go back to work much earlier. It was totally my
fault we didn’t have enough saved up to cover all the other
emergencies that happened, but I didn’t realize that until a few weeks
before she was born. I miscalculated and paid too much to the credit
card when it should have been transferred into our savings. Ryan’s
work along with mine turned out to be exceptionally slow also – which
meant our pay checks were significantly less than normal. Living on a
budget isn’t that hard if you have consistent income. It took a lot of
time to figure out how our budget would work for us since our income in
basically commissioned
– and tipped-based. Lesson learned (although I
don’t plan on having more kids lol)

2011 – We are making great strides in our debt reduction.
Ryan is
getting fantastic paychecks (he’s in sales – aka commission) and I am
working better serving shifts (aka – better tips). Everything seems to
be going “according to plan”. Then I receive a call that my
father passed away. My father was 57 years old. I spent about 4 of
the next 6 weeks at home in Wisconsin with my Mom. Because of my
fantastic friends, my husband and son (1st grade) were taken care of
while I was away with the three non-school-aged kids. By March however,
our Emergency Fund was now gone. 
  But I am incredibly thankful we
saved that money or we would have been in more credit card debt.
family member sent us a check in the mail that would restock our
emergency fund with a note saying we can repay it without interest whenever we are able to.  I’m so incredibly thankful for their generosity – and we
paid it back to them in December.

May 2011 – Ryan’s mom
passes away after battling cancer. She was given until October, so this
came as a shock to us. But so thankful she was no longer suffering.
We just visited them for Easter last month. They live 500 miles away.
Ryan and I both have jobs without paid vacations, so when we take time
off, we are out the money. We took 3 trips to Indiana in 7 weeks.
But God always provides and we always had enough money, never going
into debt.  GOD IS GOOD! 
Today, June 2012, we have just two student loans and a
family loan to pay back. 
We’ve tried paying back the family loan, and
have half it paid off, but she keeps telling us to put it towards other
debt, and now towards a new house.  We currently live in a two-bedroom
home and are saving up for a home big enough to house all of us. 
plan on moving this fall, and then renting
out where we currently live, thus making more money to put towards the
remainder of our debt.  We continue to live below our means so we can
live like no others in the future.  Our goal is to be debt-free by the
end of next year, and then tackling our mortgage and being done with
that in 5-7 years.
  It’s been rough several times in the last 8 years,
but it’s so worth where we are now.  We are by no means wealthy, but not
having so much debt weighing on us is amazing.  Baby steps lead to
running eventually.  I’d say we’re at a pretty slow jog right now but
looking forward to the running.  Take those first baby steps, you’ll be
amazed at where you can go with each little step!

Carrie is a stay-at-home-mommy wannabe to four
energetic kids – Derrick 8, Eve 6, Victor 3 and Sylvia 1.5.  She loves
finding deals and ways to earn extra money.  Follow her every Friday
morning on
Financially Fit Fridays as she shows you exactly how she’s paying off their debt and saving for a new home.
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