JOSH + SUSAN FOWLER
Adventure seekers // 15 years of marriage
5 kids // 2 businesses // We like living life to the fullest
We get asked about our debt free journey a lot, so we thought we’d share some insight! In May 2010 we officially became debt free from all consumer debt. We paid off $45,000 in debt in exactly three years! During that time we started off making $23k a year, and then eventually landed around $50k a year. Yes, I’m talking about household income!
If you’re interested in how we did it, there’s some more info at the bottom of this post. Here’s what we wrote right after paying off the last debt:
What was the hardest part about getting out of debt?
Josh: The discipline to make myself do it. We do what we’re comfortable with and I had to get comfortable doing uncomfortable things, like eating rice & beans.
Susan: Changing my lifestyle and not impulse spending. When friends want to go out to eat, making the choice of not going out, or not ordering anything. Or when I’m at the store, not buying extra things and making up excuses to get what I want.
What was the debt you were most proud of paying off?
Josh: My keyboard– it was stupid to finance it.
Susan: My Chase credit card! It was my first credit card and the first card we paid off. It felt so great! Our interest rate was 30%. While we were paying off another card later in the process, Chase bought that company out. It was so disheartening, but it was also one of the last debts we paid off. Twice as satisfying.
What’s one piece of advice you would give to someone thinking about or trying to pay off all their debt?
Josh: It’s a ‘way of life’ change– you have to change everything you’re doing now. Make a game of it and reward yourself for frugality.
Susan: Get radical. Do a yard sale. Sell your car. Get an extra job. We did all of the above. You’ve already spent the money, now you have to pay for it. If you keep that mentality, then it’s easier to keep going and not dig yourself in a deeper hole.
We followed Dave Ramsey’s baby steps for paying off our debt. Specifically, we read and followed the steps in Total Money Makeover. Is it tough? Yes, but without it, we’d still be paying off that debt 8 years later, and that is quite discouraging to think about!
It’s also important to note that living debt free doesn’t mean that we’re rich! Not at all… it just means that we live within our means and spend less than we make. We try to spend all our money as responsibly as possible.