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Leading up to their marriage, Jason and Stephanie Estrada decided to save $500 each. It was Jason’s idea. He’d been listening to The Total Money Makeover audiobook and was serious about starting their new life on the right foot.
Despite her reservations, Stephanie agreed. But she still wondered how she was going to save $500. She was making good money as a dental hygienist, but spent most of it on things like her BMW and a high-end gym membership.
Jason, who also happened to be her personal trainer at the time, decided a little tough love was in order: "I said, ’If we can’t save together, maybe we shouldn’t be getting married.’"
After that, Stephanie stepped up her game. She sold her car and started driving a scooter. And she even had the idea to pay cash for their wedding—which they did!
Working as a team, they began listening to The Dave Ramsey Show and attacking their debts with increasing intensity. "We were in the zone," says Jason. "We kept at it with our faith in God, and by listening to Dave."
During this time, Stephanie got pregnant with their son Elijah. But they weren’t going to push pause on their debt snowball. "We said, ’By the end of 2015, we’re going to have this paid off,’" she says. "It didn’t look possible, but it happened."
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Within four years, they paid off all $234,500 in debt! During their time of sacrifice, they had friends who tried to "test" their resolve. But it didn’t matter. They were too bought in to be sidetracked.
After their friends witnessed the strides Jason and Stephanie made, many of them changed their tunes and began asking the couple for financial advice!
One friend, Meghan, even came to Nashville with them to do her debt-free scream live on the radio show right after them. "God blessed me by putting me with Jason and Stephanie," says Meghan. "I think my parents planted that seed [of debt-freedom] and Jason and Stephanie helped it grow."
"We were in the zone. We kept at it with our faith in God, and by listening to Dave."
Now that they’re debt-free, the Estradas are most excited about changing their family tree and teaching their son, Elijah, all they’ve learned.
"I want our son to have deeper values, other than material things," says Stephanie. "I want him to know how he got his stuff—not just that it was given to him."
If he turns out anything like his parents, we think he’s gonna be just fine.
You can now watch live debt-free screams on The Dave Ramsey Show channel available on YouTube Live Monday through Friday from 2-5 p.m. EST. Subscribe here to get a sneak peek at stories like Stephanie and Jaso’s, hear Dave answer callers’ questions, watch behind-the-scenes videos, and more!