Today was a monumental day!
I placed a little stamp on an envelope addressed to my friend, Alicia. Inside was a couple of passes for Old McDonald Farm in Rapid City (ones we forgot to use while we were there), a free carwash, an Activity Card for checking out equipment at Hart Ranch RV Resort, and a check.
But the check was the real prize! Not because it was a lot of money, but because it was the final debt payoff payment.
The goal we set out to reach 13 months ago, is complete. $60,000 in debt is paid off!
Our 3 single-income families are free of $60K worth of debt! Can you believe it?! I hardly can, that’s a lot of moolah folks!
This whole “project” was a blessing to be a part of. To see our friends burden lifted, while also sticking to more disciplined finances has been HIGHLY rewarding!
How Did We Measure Up?
Some of you may be wondering, “Who paid the most money toward the debt?” You may be surprised to find out that it was the 3rd family, the one who had the most debt, who paid the most.
When we started this debt payoff, all 3 families had mortgages. Today we’re all “homeless”. Sounds bad right but it really isn’t. Let me explain…
Jamie and Alicia
At the start, Jamie and Alicia had the most debt. They also were the first to sell their home. This wasn’t in the original plan, but they felt like the Lord wanted them to sell due to a variety of unrelated circumstances. So they listed their house and it took a few months for their closing to happen.
In the meantime, we all thought that the check they’d get at closing would cover the remaining debt payoff amount, (at that point it was about $19K). So they insisted we stop contributing to the debt.
Mark and Myself
Truth be told, we had A LOT going on! We were moving and had all those pesky moving expenses to deal with. On top of that, 3 weeks before we pulled our camper out of town, our renters called to say they were breaking their lease.
In a scramble, we decided to sell our house. On the very same day we listed, our house had an offer that we ended up negotiating into a contract. Mind you, we walked away paying $300 at closing, but we were FREE of the burden of having to manage renters 1,800 miles away.
Our expendable income took a beating. Since we sold our house, we lost the profit we were making from renters. Florida living was more expensive (food and site rental primarily). And you may have read about that forced government furlough. You know the one where the cut 20% of the pay for DOD employees? Well we we are affected by it. Ummhmm.
Gordon and Sarah
The 2nd family, Gordon and Sarah, decided to sell their house as well and move into a camper, (our new-old camper in fact). They did so because they wanted to save up and buy a larger house. They made a little bit of money off of their house and put a chunk toward the debt.
They could have continued to contribute but one of their brothers had a destination wedding they were attending. A family of 6 is pretty expensive to transport from one side of the US to the other for 1 week.
All this to say, the break we took from paying on the debt was necessary.
Dealing with the Unexpected
When Jamie and Alicia paid their money from closing toward the debt, it was several thousand dollars short. Oops!
We came together again and decided we’d see the remaining debt through to the end. Jamie and Alicia resisted but we all wanted to finish the race and not give up.
Obviously, the debt payoff didn’t work perfectly as we planned.
When we set out to do this, we all agreed to pay $800/month. And we did. We paid $800 until this past May. Once we saw that the house closing didn’t meet the debt, we decided to pay what we could.
Not ONCE did I hear from our friends, (who we were still in close contact with) that we weren’t carrying our weight. Not once did they shame us or make us feel guilty. Not once. They gave grace and were generous. I don’t know if there are other people out there like this, but our friends blew us away.
$60,000 in debt paid by 3 families in 13 months. Middle income families. Single income households.
Would I do it again?
Yes. But I don’t want to. It was tough at times. We had to say no to our wants quite often. We have financial goals outside the debt payoff. I’m so grateful we did it though because we were blessed to have our van paid off and see our friends also debt free.
I’m reminded of the verse in Galatians 6:9,
And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.”
If we had paid our van payment on our own, I think we’d still have that payment. We’d likely have justified why we could only make the minimum payment. I know Jamie and Alicia would still be bogged down in student loan debt for the next 10 years or so. This has been rewarding, no doubt about it.
Would I Do Anything Differently?
Honestly, no. I think this whole “project” was the mix of the perfect personalities, timing, accountability, & goals. We’ve all been very transparent with our finances and struggles. We’ve all made sacrifices.
Today I’m reminded of this verse in Galatians 6:9,
“And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.”