$300k in debt to Zero Debt!
Like far too many American's, Tracey and I were raised in very prosperous times and told that we should do better than the generation before us. Of course looking back on the whole scenario, you can see the lies and upsells that the bankers and corporations have been spinning for years. Buy it now, pay for it later has become the new American dream, but in reality credit is crushing the life out of people. No one wants to admit it, but all the stuff, the gadgets, the big houses, the fanciest, new cars and everything else that requires steep monthly payments, isn't really bringing happiness and joy, at times the thought of what's due this coming payday, will keep you up at night.
At the pinnacle of our indebted lifestyle we found ourselves over $300,000 in debt. 27 credit cards, a new tractor, cars, trucks, exercise equipment, membership fees and big house on 6 acres near the beach. We were surrounded by stuff, things we bought to "make ourselves happy".
We also had a big storage building crammed to the gills with stuff too, things we no longer used, but we paid for all of it so I guess we hung on to it to make ourselves feel successful and fulfilled.
Every payday became a race to see who needed to be paid and how much, Afterall we needed to protect that credit score they gave us, paying loyally into their system, never being late, playing by the rules. Looking back the journey to get free wasn't that long in hindsight, but the entire time it was in front of us, it seemed we were getting no where. We started this journey just about a year ago, when we purchased the bus. Yes, in case you didn't know, we bought an old school bus and were in the process of converting it into a tiny rolling home. That project ended with a health issue that was never resolved, it just faded away one day. So we sold the bus, and bought a used 2001 Keystone Springdale travel camper. It was in great shape and for $8000, gave us a place to call home when we finally pulled the trigger on the sale of the house and property.
The Next phase was going through everything we owned and deciding what we just had to keep and how much we could sell, give away or toss in the landfill. Once the sorting was done we decided to have a great big yard sale, but it was cold, like the dead of winter. Tracey hatched a plan and set up an indoor yard sale. A few posts on Facebook and for several days we had tons of people coming and going from our indoor sale. The scope was huge, everything was priced to sell, everything must go!. When the dust settled we realized we had made several thousand dollars having a low price yard sale. Next the pull behind trailer, the zero turn mower and finally the big, nearly new Mahindra tractor, hit the sale block. We came out good on every turn.
The last thing we had to do was sell the house and 6 acres. After the yard sale we set forth to cleaning and getting rid of anything left behind. Just a week later and we were walking through a practically empty house, even our beds were now gone. In fact it was so empty, that we were now living in the camper in the driveway. This was a good change of living space though, it gave us time to find out what we really needed and what was wasted junk in the camper. The transition was made simpler by having a month to live in the camper, with the house as a back up plan.
We made a call to our favorite realtor and signed up for a listing. She took a few pictures and within days we had to sort through offers. One out of state offer came in so high we were scared it would be too far over appraised value, even in this crazy housing market we found ourselves in. If you are thinking of simplifying your life by selling your house and going full time in an RV, Bus, Van or whatever, now is the time. In just 3 years the house nearly doubled in value. We took an offer from a very local person, with family all throughout the neighborhood and began the waiting process. Time stood still as the process unfolded, inspections, appraisals, more inspections, negotiations and more time waiting, a lot of time waiting. The day finally arrived and the house closed, signaling the end of debt for Tracey and I ,for the rest of our lives. We had both quit our jobs after accepting offers for remote employment, in the same field. We gained income, plus free health care, a 401k, flexible schedules, time off when needed and freedom from driving back and forth to work every day.
On May 6, 2022 we paid off the majority of our debt in one evening. I have to admit, It was kind of scary spending money at that rate while watching balances drop quickly on all sides. Then today, May 9th, 2022, we paid the last two remaining balances we had. Today is the day we became truly debt free! The weird thing is, tomorrow is payday and we have no one to pay, no bills to send out, no more keeping our head just above water. Right now it's a little surreal, like a dream, but don't worry about us, we are adjusting fairly well. Our future is ours and from this point forward, we are living life on our own terms!