After graduating, I began applying for communications jobs all over the state hoping that I would be hired somewhere. Within a month and a half after returning home from my New York internship, I was offered a job at Bremer Public Relations in Salt Lake City as an account coordinator. I was so amazed that everything had fallen into place.
I began right away to put money toward my loan, and within a few months, it was paid off. It felt so good not to have any school debt. And now I was ready to start saving money for my next goal—to purchase a home within a few years.
This goal came sooner than expected, but not by my doing. Within one year after graduation, I met my amazing husband, Colten, who just happen to be in the process of building a home. He had decided that it was time for him to buy a home, and I happened to come along at the same time.
One of the things I am grateful for is that Colten and I share similar financial goals. Both of us came into the marriage with no debt. We didn’t have credit card debt, school debt, and our vehicles were paid off.
During our first two years of marriage before we began having children, we decided to live mainly off his paychecks. We knew that in the future when we did have children, I would be a stay-at-home mom, and we would only have his paychecks to live off.
With the money from my paychecks, we started to build our savings. Once we reached our savings goal, then we used the paychecks to pay extra on our mortgage. I’m grateful we did this because once we actually had to live off Colten’s paychecks, it wasn’t as stressful as if we had tried to do it right after the arrival of our first child. We do have tight months when bills come due, and I’m not sure if we will be able to pay everything with our paychecks. So it’s comforting to have a savings cushion. When expenses come up, like baby hospital bills, we aren’t as stressed because we know the savings is available if we absolutely need it.
Today, we still try to pay extra on our mortgage each month if we are able to. Sometimes it’s only $20 extra, but at least it’s something and it’s helping us to get closer to our goal.
The Lessons I Learned
In looking back at the events in my life, I believe everything happened for a reason.
I am extremely grateful for parents who taught me to be financially responsible and how important it is to save money. Some people may think that it was silly of me to think I could pay for college without obtaining a loan. But I learned that if I set a goal and if I had a desire to do something, I knew I could achieve it. And even though I had to take out a small loan my last semester in college, I feel blessed that I was able to pay all of my schooling up to that point.
During college, even though it was difficult at the time not being accepted into the business management degree, I feel that the communications degree, which I really enjoyed, placed me in the right job and spot at the right time to meet my husband. He was definitely worth the wait!
It’s also feels wonderful not to have the daily stresses that debt can cause. The only debt we have right now is our mortgage, which we are trying to pay off as quickly as possible. And with the recent arrival of our new daughter, we didn’t need to incur credit card debt because of our savings. We were able to easily pay off the baby bills.
Being debt free isn’t always easy. I sometimes look at others and see all of the things they have that I would love to have. But being debt free is worth it. It’s nice to be able to pay for the things we need, as well as for many things we want. Being debt free is an ongoing process that takes work, dedication and goal setting in order to achieve it.