We intend to be out of debt by the time I turn 35.
Yes, you read that right.
Yes, we realize that sounds absurd.
However, yes, it is doable. Here's how:
Our debt is not insane
Our cars are long ago paid off or bought with cash in the first place. Our credit cards are not so long ago paid off. That just leaves student loans and mortgage. Let me say that our old house, purchased in 2009 if that says anything, was reeeeal cheap compared to a lot of mortgages out there. Only five digits, to be frank. At this point, we actually have more student loan debt than we do mortgage debt. Gross. So my comment above of "yes, including the mortgage" should maybe instead be "yes, including the mountain of student loans." But at any rate, we are not dealing with an insane amount of debt here overall, hence why this plan feels so doable.
Our one income family is soon to become a two income family
My hubby graduates from seminary this December and will once again become a regular wage earning individual. For the past year and a half, we have basically lived on my income alone, plus some part time work of his, and it has been completely sufficient. His pending increase in wages will be a windfall of dollars available to pay off debt that we have not otherwise been used to.
Adoption assistance pitches in on kid costs
If you adopt a sibling group from CPS foster care in Texas (or a single older child or a single special needs child), you are eligible for adoption assistance. This includes staying on Medicaid for health insurance, free state college tuition, and a monthly stipend amount from the state which for our situation (it can vary) amounted to the max available of $400 per month per child. Yeah. Whoa. So we don't have to pay for health insurance for three kids or save for college tuition for three kids, and in the meantime, we get $400 a month times three kids. A smidge weird, not gonna lie, to have the state of Texas helping pay to raise our very own kids, but it sure helps. So, now that our adoption is finalized and our regular foster care reimbursement and daycare subsidy went away, we still have assistance to help with kid costs.
We're talking about almost six years to accomplish this ridiculous yet possible plan. Gonna be a few raises in there. More dollars for more debt pay down.
We don't intend to escalate our lifestyle whatsoever
We have always been a big fan of people living within their means. It just makes sense for your lifestyle to not get bigger than its britches. So instead of escalating our spending as we have these increases in income mentioned above, we're gonna stay right where we're at, with used cars, an old house, few vacations, hodge podge clothing and basic/few kid toys. We live a full, happy, unique life already and don't need fancy stuff to complete it.
I don't like debt. Who does? I think most people would love to blast their debt and have it out of their lives but unfortunately these days it is just so common for debt to remain a regular part of our lives. It's just a fact of life for most middle class people...there will always be a car payment...there will always be a mortgage payment...there will always be a credit card payment... But it doesn't have to be that way. Life doesn't have to be lived with debt. Maybe it's a mindset issue, a motivation issue, a planning issue, a responsibility issue, an expectation issue, an appearance issue. There will be a different culprits for different households, but debt does not have to be the norm. We decided long ago that debt would not be our norm. Fun fact: my original plan was to be debt free by the time I turned 30 and we were gonna do it, but then my hubby went back to school and three babies showed up at our doorstep so that got a bit derailed. But now we are on task for the next half decade.
A family tradition
When I was a little kid, in the early 1990s, I remember one day my dad came home from work with a funny look on his face and something stuffed down the front of his shirt. He danced around and cutely made mom dig it out. It was a piece of paper, crumpled by that point. Mom read it, let out a squeal, jumped up and down and hugged dad like crazy while we kids stood around wondering what the heck was going on. They had paid off their mortgage. On the big house they had built on 30 acres less than ten years prior. For some reason that moment of absolute joy between my parents lodged in my 8-ish year old memory and never went away.
I asked my dad about this the other day, to make sure I had my memory right. Of course he remembered it too. I told him "Good job on that. Good example" and told him we were ramping ourselves up for our plan to be debt free by the time I turn 35. He said "Well thanks. And I'm excited about your plan. You can not imagine the freedom and peace and comfort and other opportunities you can experience and enjoy when you are out of debt. Go Futrals!"
So we are hereby starting a family tradition of kicking debt out of our lives as soon as we possibly can and keeping it that way. We've got our spreadsheets and our plan and, most important, our resolve.
Also once we're out of debt we're gonna get another motorcycle, whatever the hell motorcycle we want. So...there's that too. :-)