I'm driving a 10-year-old car with 195,000 miles on it ...
I was always a saver and conscious of money. Some of my earliest memories were being in the line at McDonald's and getting angry at my sister for ordering something that cost a lot. Fast forward to my adult life, and I was still very much the same, with one exception. I never really had a solid plan for my future, never made much money, AND I had married someone that was very much a spender. Anyone who is a nerd and marries a free spirit knows how tough that is!
FPU gave me that solid plan, and helped to give my free spirit husband someone else to be mad at other than me - Dave Ramsey! Despite being a saver, I had believed the lie that some debt is ok...credit card debt was frowned upon, but car loans I never gave a second thought!
When we started FPU, money was a constant stress, our son ended up in the hospital twice (resulting in unexpected bills) and we had outgrown our small townhouse having 2 kids in 3 years but the value of our home had tanked and would yield no profit. We had about $7,000 in savings, so we followed one of the most difficult rules and liquidated everything but the $1,000 emergency fund. I have never had that little money in savings and it was uncomfortable! We put the rest towards debt to get a good jump start.
With hard work and sacrifice, we paid off both cars, hospital bills and a loan to my father in 23 looooong months - in total $31,954. We put about 25% of our monthly income towards debt. We also sold baby items we didn't need, fixed up furniture and sold it, and learned how to DIY almost everything!
Unexpectedly, in the midst of that, we received generous down payment assistance from family, and we were able to move during that time. We stuck to our budget even during those months where everything went wrong. Sometimes we did have to reduce our debt snowball payment, but we would start right back up the next month. We have bought new appliances and fixed up our house very nicely all while sticking to a cash budget!
We are treating ourselves and the family members that gave money for our down payment to a beach house vacation next month...I plan on doing a debt-free scream on the beach every day! Now onto step #3, felt like we would never get there but we are finally starting to pay ourselves instead of paying others and that will feel great!
My wife and I read all of Dave's books last year and both got on board with the Baby Steps. We started our Total Money Makeover on 6/1/2013. I am an engineer and my wife teaches at the Community College with a combined income around 90K per year. Through budgeting, God opening some extra income opportunities, and a small promotion ... we are debt-free (expect the mortgage) in 15-months, paying off $40,560! Thanks Dave!