My husband had decided he wanted to pay for school as he went, leaving him working full time and attending school only part time. I, on the other hand, wanted the full college experience, racking up quite a large amount of debt going into marriage.
After two years of marriage and paying the minimal required amount monthly, I was tired of getting nowhere with our debt. It seemed that by the next month that our payment rolled around, we were back to the original amount due because the interest charges were so high. I told my husband I had had enough. I wanted to be debt free this year! That night I rearranged our budget to pay triple the required amount each month so that we would be debt free within the next....two years. As I calculated and recalculated how long it would take, my heart sank more and more. We would have to cut our food budget in half, take away our personal money and sell our cars to buy cheaper ones to continually and consistently keep up with the payments we wanted to make. After many long talks with my husband, many late nights looking over our budget to see if there was any more money we could squeeze out, we decided that no matter what the situation may look like to us, we were going to be debt free this year and we wouldn’t accept anything less.
So, we sold our nice cars, took away our personal money and decided to eat less, but overall healthier. As you can probably imagine, this really only worked out for us for about two months. Pretty soon, our cars started breaking down and we seemed to find ourselves with an empty fridge and cupboards more often than not. We decided to give up on our zeal to becoming debt free so we placed more grocery money into our budget and set aside money for car emergencies. As we continues to make the minimum payments towards our loans, we prayed that something big would happen. We really felt like it was our year to be debt free.
July of 2015, I came home from work a little early because it was so nice out. The sun was shining and it would be a great day to get some outside chores down before we headed down to Nashville, TN for a weekend vacation. As I pulled into our driveway, I noticed that our trees seemed to be closer to the house than normal and a small branch had fallen down to the side of our house. Thinking nothing of it, I decided to go take care of that branch before my husband got home. As I got closer, I couldn't believe what I was looking at.
While at work, an extremely large tree branch had finally rotted away from the trunk of a very large tree and fallen on top of our house and garage. I know we prayed for something big to happen, but not this! In the movies, when disasters happen, you always imagine that they must be thinking a million different things and their heads must be spinning. While it’s true that my head was spinning, for the next 5 minutes all I could do was stare. Stare at my house that was crushed under the weight of the tree branch. The house that we had bought a year ago foreclosed and had spent many late nights mudding holes in the walls, painting and turning into a home. Once my husband made it home from work, we assessed the damaged and had both our families over to help work on removing the large tree branch from our roof so that we could tarp it until we could re-roof and repair our damaged ceilings. After countless hours on the phone with the insurance company, we were finally able to schedule a time the next week when they could come and look at the damage. The next week they came and the insurance company looked at all the damage and told us that they would send us an assessment of what they think we deserve and would send the check in the mail the following week. As stressful as it is to wait on the insurance company, I knew that we had taken care of the immediate issues and we were still safe and dry in our home.
My husband is quite the handyman and since we were no longer taking our vacation, he decided to use his time to assess for himself what the damages would cost us if we were to repair everything ourselves. He came up with a pretty large number and I was discouraged. Would we ever get out of debt? Why do all these things keep getting thrown our way in life? As I was sitting there close to tears, I received an email from the insurance company. Upon opening the email, the insurance company assessed that the damages would cost us 3 times more than what my husband thought! I couldn’t believe it! I had heard so many insurance company horror stories, I had never imagined that we would be treated so kindly. Of course, they were assuming that we would hire all the work out, but a little hard work never hurt anyone. So that weekend, we set to work on the roof. We sent out requests for help and two days later, our roof was repaired and re-shingled! I have never felt so loved by my community of friends and family before. By Sunday, we were finished and our home had never looked better. After reviewing our finances, the leftover insurance money was the exact amount to cover the rest of our student loans! We are now debt free and looking forward to welcoming a new little baby into our family in 2016! Sometimes dreams take a little hard work, but they are always worth it!!