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Financial Peace University {Dave Ramsey}

How Dave Ramsey is helping us become debt-free!

{There is a bit of irony in the fact that the day I post this, Photoshop has gone kaput (and I can’t run my business without it) and our shower sprung a major leak. I took tons of photos at the restaurant, but only had three edited before Photoshop gave up the ghost.}

If you follow me on Instagram or Facebook, you know I posted a few days ago that we were celebrating something pretty exciting….and I am finally ready to talk about it! Last week, in a major step forward in our get-out-of-debt-plan, we paid off (and cut up) our first credit card! That is what we were celebrating.

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This photo makes you wonder why we don’t go out to eat every Sunday, doesn’t it? #avisfanclub

Most of our nearly 19 years of marriage we have managed to live completely debt free (except for our mortgage), despite our large and growing family. We paid cash for what we needed and paid off our credit card (from any online purchases) every month. Then a few circumstances arose, some in our control and some not that led us to begin to slowly depend on credit cards.

The specifics really don’t matter; that’s not the story I’m telling.

These things build slowly, until one day you realize, the mountain is so big  and so high, you just can’t get around it. That is where we were January 1, 2014. We talked, we prayed, we met with our pastor. We sold a few things to pay some upcoming bills.

Let me state here, emphatically, we have never missed a payment on anything. We are not behind on anything, we just realized we were in a position where things had to change.

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This is, apparently, how Mordecai imagines people eat at a restaurant…

Our church began offering Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University in February, and I think we were the first couple to sign up! We determined together that we would get out of debt beginning right then. We began using cash for everything again. For anything online we committed to using our debit card only. We saved up our emergency fund, and per Dave Ramsey’s advice, made a zero-based budget. Every two weeks when Chuck gets paid we sit down with our bills and budget and allocate every dollar. Everything extra goes on debt, period.

In three months, even with planning a wedding, we have paid off over $11,000 worth of debt and completely paid off our first (and lowest) credit card. Using the debt snowball, we are now attacking credit card number two!

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Chinese food: one of Apollo’s true loves.

This won’t be a quick process, but that’s okay. We didn’t get here overnight and we won’t get out overnight. I hope you read this as an article of hope, not despair. We are thrilled with the progress we’ve made and I wanted to share it with you!

When we first began this plan, I told Chuck I wanted to take the kids out to celebrate when we paid off our first credit card. And honestly, it happened much sooner than either of us imagined. Sunday after church, we headed straight to the Chinese restaurant…the kids sat in the van a bit confused…until we told them to get out and head on in. We had them guess what we were celebrating. A few of the big kids guessed right away. We hauled the scissors and credit card to the restaurant and Chuck literally cut up the card then and there. The dollar amount of debt paid off so far is written on our dry-erase board in our dining room. We change the number every time we  pay off something new. It’s been fun to share the excitement with our kids….and even have them notice the number change on their own.

When I asked Chuck to read the first draft of this post, he said, “That’s for your blog? It sounds like a Dave Ramsey ad”. I assure you I don’t work with or for Dave Ramsey…and I don’t gain anything from this post. I just wanted to share something exciting and give direction to anyone who might be in similar circumstances.




  1. Lydia

    That’s great to hear! Not an easy task for anyone, let alone with a large family and a wedding to plan at the same time. “look after the pennies and the dollars will look after themselves” is so true!

  2. Elizabeth

    That’s very cool, and definitely a reason to celebrate! That’s neat that the whole family is participating in the journey.

  3. Rebecca

    Congratulations on your achievement! I am currently taking FPU at my church as well. When it came time to cut up our credit card, we used a specially shaped hole punch and turned it in to a few guitar picks!

  4. Peg

    Hi Renee, good for you and Chuck. A thought, if you do a lot of shopping on-line, go to and you can get 1 to 3% cash back. All you have to do is sign up, no money involved, no phone calls etc. They have hundreds of stores that will give you the rebate. Stores like, Amazon, Macy’s, Kohls, Target. I joined in January and so far have received two checks totaling $62.00 and will soon receive another one for over $30. You have three choices to get your money, either a check mailed to you, a credit to your pay-pal account if you have one or to a charity of your choice. Another nice feature, is for every one you recommend the site to and they sign up, you will receive another $10.00…Happy Shopping.
    Peg in Seattle

  5. Anna

    I recommend the YNAB program for budgeting. We’ve had amazing success using it. My husband doesn’t stop as much for quick little purchases since he knows he is going to have to enter it into the program later.

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