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Getting out of Debt

How This Air Force Family Paid Off $177K in Debt

2 Minute Read

Getting out of debt takes time, focus and determination. That’s the equation this military family used to pay off $177,000 in four years. They never gave up!

"When I became a physician’s assistant and joined the military, we were still living paycheck to paycheck," says Mike. "It was a little frustrating actually. One of the military chaplains [led a Financial Peace Military Edition class], and we got hooked right then and there."

His wife, Jeannette, says the hardest part of their journey was sticking to the plan. "There were times when it was easy and we were on a roll. And then there were some months when we were tired of it."

During one of those months, shortly after their transfer to Keesler Air Force Base in Mississippi, Mike got sick of renting a fishing boat every weekend. "We got to Biloxi and all my buddies were catching nice, big fish. And I was renting a dinghy every weekend. I fell off the wagon, and I spent $1,700 on an old, floating tub that I’m still fishing out of."

"We had some good discussions after that," Jeannette says, smiling.

While sticking to the plan was tough at times, Mike says making a budget every month was surprisingly easy. "I had no idea how to [make a budget] really. I don’t know how I got throughout life without doing that. It made our life so much easier."

So what was that $177,000 in debt? Everything from credit cards to student loans to a brand-new Lexus.

"I got a little depressed right after my deployment to Afghanistan," Mike says. "I was turning 30, and I didn’t have anything to show for it yet. So I bought a Lexus. As soon as we went through Financial Peace, we immediately sold it."

For the next four years, the couple paid off an average of $40,000 worth of debt each year! To stay motivated, they listened to The Dave Ramsey Show every day—even while Mike was deployed. That’s determination.

Related: How to Stay Motivated When the Struggle Is Real

Now, they (and their three children) get a fresh start. All because they took control of their money and never gave up.

Sick and tired of being sick and tired? Stop living paycheck to paycheck, and take control of your money with Financial Peace University!

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