We are DEBT FREE!!

Dear Readers, I am delighted to tell you that after 3 years of hard work and sacrifice and budgeting my husband and I are very excited to share that we are completely and utterly out of debt! 11/16/2015 – DEBT FREE DAY!

We have both worked extra hours, second jobs and paid careful attention to how the dollars and cents were spent, but mostly, we were intentional with our money and the ways we directed it to work hard for us and moving towards this goal of being debt-free.​

Here it is by the numbers– 3 years, over 30K– 🙂

Started November 2012- Ended November 2015

0.00 REMAINS!!!!/ 36,945.91 PAID OFF

DEAD CHEETAH!! We are DEBT FREE!!

Why is this important? Well for one thing, when you are out of debt, you have the ability to take the money that was previously funneled to car payments, student loans and credit card payments you can save that money and possibly even invest it. This is not new advice, in fact its what your grandmother teaches you if you are lucky enough to have smart and savvy grandparents. It is nicely packaged in the program presented by the Ramsey Solutions Team in Nashville.

Five years ago, my good friend Keely Locke and I were brainstorming about how to plan my upcoming nuptials on a budget. My fiance and I were in debt in the single life but we did not want to go into further debt to get married. She gave me a book called “More than Enough” by Dave Ramsey and it seemed like a good idea but I didn’t really think we needed it since we weren’t super heavy in debt but I did think it was a good book and wanted to continue down the path we were on which was not adding debt to our respective totals. Later in the planning, I realized how expensive things were going to be and heard about a live event happening in San Antonio so went in the car and went to the event. Dave Ramsey is an excellent speaker, and whether you agree with his politics or not, what he says makes a lot of sense. I found myself wired and fired to GET OUT OF DEBT— after this event

If you are unfamiliar with him and his programs, take a look at this website for the Baby Steps-

http://www.daveramsey.com/baby-steps/?snid=start.steps

This post is not about his program but hey if it interest you, you are welcome for the introduction, The main thing this post is about is the major hard work and dedication my husband and I have done to pay off 37,945.91 *to be precise* in 37 months.

We gave this speech at our Toastmasters club on 12/1/2015

It takes Communication, Organization and Dedication- Those principles can be applied to anything that takes hard work but in specific to this situation it looked like this.

Communication- We talked about what we wanted out of life and why we didn’t want to be in debt, we talked about how we would accomplish this goal and how long it would take. We discussed the sacrifices (time together while doing extra jobs and hours at work) and the steps it would take. I gave up buying movies and shoes (which was super hard because I LOVE SHOES!!!) I am planning to celebrate with a debt-free shoe shopping trip in January– (stay tuned for the blog post about that one)- Communication also comes into play when you have setbacks and trust me, we had plenty, Right there in the homestretch, we had several car repairs but because we had a plan and were patient, it wound up working out.

Organization – We had a budget, and truth be told, its a saving grace, because I really like to spend money, and having a plumb line to tell me “NO” was a good thing. We also had a rule that anything at the 50.00 or above mark MUST be discussed before a mutual agreement to purchase.  We also had our own spending money to be spent on whatever the other wanted, no questions asked (keeps you sane for sure).

Dedication- Unquestionably, that has been the hardest part, when we decided we were going to do this three years ago, I delivered pizzas part-time, was a hostess at a restaurant, and finally an office assistant. All in aid of putting a little more away to help fund the debt reduction plan. The most exciting thing that happened was I discovered and created my business Haston Helping Hands (my personal coaching business) and that hustle has really taken off, in fact one of the clients I had this past year really helped move the needle for us to get the finish line even faster.

As I sit here typing this, our new dog, Cachet is sitting on my lap and its a feeling of utter happiness to be out of debt and with a dog (we wanted a dog for five years, but knew that we needed to be financially responsible before getting one) on my lap. Delayed gratification at its finest.

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Epiphany. It’s not what you think..

Dear Readers, I have been valiantly struggling to get a concept in my acting class. It has eluded me week after week. Ever the diligent student, I watch intently in class, taking copious amounts of notes, and consciously practicing the skill and failing.

Then last night, I got it. It was so clear and all of a sudden like tumblers clicking into place the knowledge was revealed. I wish I could tell you there were blinding lights, choirs of angels singing and a very enthusiastic audience to applaud the moment but I can’t because it wasn’t like that at all.

It’s very quiet when it happens and if you aren’t paying attention you might just miss it.

Notice that I posted when I accomplished it, not when I was struggling? That’s not an accident. I did not know if I would ever really get it, and now that I have it seems easy. Have you ever stopped to think about that? Put another way, Nelson Mandela says “It always seems impossible till it’s done”

It’s done now, so it’s no longer impossible. No one is perfect, and it takes time and energy to get something worth doing right. Think about it!

Customer Service Appreciation Week

What can you do to celebrate? Say “Happy Customer Service Week” to someone. This morning as I was getting my gas I did that and the smile that came back was lovely.

Thank anyone you know in the service industry, whether they are a server, host, hostess, or customer support representative. There are legions of other people that qualify, just think about it, your bank, your doctor, your dentist. The list goes on and on.

As someone who has spent most of her working years in customer service I can testify that it is hard work but extremely rewarding.  I am so glad that there is a week to recognize the efforts of this segment of the working public.

In 1992….and here is the excerpt where President Bush signed the proclamation. “The Congress, by Senate Joint Resolution 166, has designated the week of October 4 through October 10, 1992, as “National Customer Service Week” and requested the President to issue a proclamation in observance of this week. NOW, THEREFORE, I, GEORGE BUSH, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim the week of October 4 through October 10, 1992, as [http://www.csweek.com/ National Customer Service Week]. I invite all Americans to observe this week with appropriate programs and activities. IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this eighth day of October, in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and ninety-two, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and seventeenth. George Bush”