As we have mentioned in a previous post, Brian and I went through Dave Ramsey’s course called Financial Peace University when we were engaged. This class had a huge impact on our relationship and helped us to get on the same page about money and set up a long term game plan. Our first goal was to each get an emergency fund in place and then to start attacking our student loan debt. After we married, we combined our incomes and formed a new, written budget every month, which we have done every month since. Although our income was by no means huge, we were able to pay off a few of the smallest loans in just a few months.
Then came our first pregnancy and Brian’s acceptance to medical school (both of which we were hoping for). This changed our position tremendously. We both felt strongly about me staying at home with our baby, yet also felt convicted to find a way to pay for medical school without putting our family into $150,000+ further into debt. I was able to find a temp job after our move which covered much of our living expenses until the baby was born, but didn’t touch the cost of Brian’s first semester of med school. Every avenue we had pursued came to nothing and we knew we needed to make some tough decisions if we were going to remain committed to avoiding taking on any additional debt while Brian pursued his degree.
So after much prayer and soul searching, Brian joined the Navy (something he had pondered since college, but I wasn’t too keen on at that time). We banked the sign- on bonus for a large emergency fund, and lived off our monthly stipend. Although our monthly stipend wasn’t much, I was able to supplement our income a bit from tutoring and became a true home economist to keep our expenses down. By the grace of God, we were able to ride out the remaining three and a half years without adding to our debt, despite cash flowing two pregnancies and deliveries, a major dental procedure and the purchase of a van.
Fast forward to the present and we are thrilled to be able to press play once again and begin attacking our debt with a vengeance. We just paid off my last student loan ($9190.82), using the money we had been saving for emergencies during medical school. Only $39423 to go! Target date to being debt free: June 2014. We’ll keep you posted.