You are a MACHINE…

Wow, I was super impressed by a comment left by Hazzard concerning my progress. It is great to be “validated” by someone. So, I thought I would list a few “secrets of my success.”

1. Pay off the smallest balance first, this gets things rolling.
2. Get your spouse involved. This is an absolute key.
3. (Nut-job Christian alert) Give. Before we ever budget a red penny for ourselves, we give 10 percent of our salaries, off the top, to our local church. Why? Well, we believe that the work of the local church is vital to our community, our family, and to our world. And, ummm, it takes cash to do things, even “church” things.
4. KNOW how much money you have, and KNOW where it is going, and KNOW why it is going there.
5. IF you take a breather, WATCH OUT. Like any discipline, it is VERY easy to get side-tracked. In fact, just a 3 month “breather” in the middle of our plan cost us 2 months worth of progress. Had I not “slacked” just a bit for those 3 weeks, we would be debt free already.
6. IF you miss your goal, chill for a week, regroup, and start again.
7. PICK A PLAN. If you are going to do something, keep it simple, and know what you are going to do.
8. If you don’t understand WHAT you are doing, DON’T do it. Most people don’t realize this, but you can radically simplify your financial life if you will put a laser-like focus on OBTAINING KNOWLEDGE!
9. DO NOT try to pay-off multiple debts at one time. Pay minimums on all accounts (never, never, never get behind) and put as much as possible towards your lowest balance (or highest interest, if not doing the Dave Ramsey snow-ball).
10. Understand, that the balance that you have to pay-off is money that you owe, and stop looking for a more favorable interest and start getting rid of debt. In other words, it is okay to get a good rate, but do not wait for the good rate to come along before your start paying off your debt.
11. Eating out will Kill you. Buying books, cd’s, or video games will Kill you. That extra pack of gum? That’s 25 cents plus tax that is not going toward your freedom.
12. You must learn to HATE debt. Seriously. You must see it for the evil that it is. Think I am exaggerating? Have YOU paid off 74 percent of your debt since April? No? Well, not to be arrogant, but the reason that I have been “successful” is that I HATE THE IDEA OF BEING IN DEBT FOR THE REST OF MY FLIPPIN’ LIFE!
13. Your kids are more important than your money. Love them, hug them, and teach them, and they will return your love…and they don’t care how much their junk costs! My little girl likes her 3 dollar “pocket book” as much as she likes her 50 dollar bike. For kids, it usually is the thought that counts.

Edit: About number 12 up there: The “Have You paid off… is sorta arrogant sounding, now that I re-read it… I just love the freedom of getting debt free, and I want you to be as passionate about it as I am. So, if it sounds… like I am a jerk… I acknowledge that number 12 is a bit over the top. I will not erase it, because, when I wrote it, that was how I was feeling. Now, upon reflection, I can see how it might come off as something other than what I intended for it to be. I freely admit my total and complete lack of couth. Peace out…

Some have emailed and wondered how much salary we make each month. We bring home roughly 4400 dollars a month, give or take a few bucks.