We’re Really Debt Free!

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Paying off your debts is hard, but it’s good. Get the monkey off your back.

We're Really Debt Free - Paying off your debts is hard, but it's good. Get the monkey off your back.

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Money is complicated, isn’t it? It can provide for lots of good things, but it can also cause a lot of headaches and disappointments. When you make mistakes with money, they can haunt you for years.

We know that first hand. We’ve made lots of money mistakes. Our biggest one, however, was probably investing in rental property at the peak of a booming economy. Though we paid off all our other debts in 2009, this is the one that lingered and hung over our heads for the last five years.

The market was such that we owed a lot more than we could sell it for. We held on, hoping it would bounce back, struggling with managing a rental long-distance.

Earlier this week we sold the Blue House!

Yes, really! I was hesitant to tell you in case it fell through, but this week I got the word that it was a done deal. Amen. Hallelujah.

We listed it on the 28th of last month and were able to sell it to a cash buyer, thus the short turn around of less than a month. We also have a rocking realtor who did a great job getting things moving. Let me know if you need a real estate agent in Kansas City. Ours was awesome.

We're Really Debt Free - Paying off your debts is hard, but it's good. Get the monkey off your back.

The wrinkle in all this is that we still owed more than the selling price. That’s what can happen when you buy property in a booming economy — you can end up upside down.

Some people choose to walk away. Some go for short sales. We chose to do something different.

We looked into our options. I sought wise counsel. Christine, a childhood friend and Life as MOM reader, is a senior VP of home mortgages for a major bank. She has been my patient go-to as we fumble our way out of a bad financial situation. (Thanks, CA!)

We decided to pay the difference out of pocket. This allowed us to sell quickly and to protect our credit.

It’s true that plenty of people with foreclosures and short sales bounce back and are driving around in Mercedes Benz just a short time later. That’s what I’ve been told, anyway. The way we looked at it, if we were going to walk, we should have done that 6 years ago! Ha!

Seriously, though, we couldn’t justify it. We had the money. This wasn’t exactly what we had been saving it for, but we had it. So, we did what we know is right: we paid our debts. 

It’s not going to be easy to recover. We decimated our savings account to pay our part, so we are in debt to ourselves. But, that’s better than being beholden to someone else.

I see lots of beans and rice in our future. But, the monkey is officially off our backs. And it feels good.

(I wasn’t planning on having real life experience to support step #7: Enjoy financial freedom. But, here it is! Praise God!)

We are REALLY debt-free.

Ready to get your finances in order? Start here.

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  1. Congratulations!! We are (hopefully, prayerfully, potentially) very close to being debt free too! We have 6 different loans/accounts that we have been working on over the last couple of years (two of the originals are already gone…and two of the six are mortgage payments). This weekend we should be selling one of the trucks…the profit from which will pay off FOUR of the six accounts!! (It was a wise investment that it is time to “cash in.”)

    It will also give us the money to fix things up on the house so we can sell it too! Sold house = no more debt!!!!!! We are going to rent in our new town since we aren’t sure how long my husband’s job will keep us there. I can’t even imagine how ” debt-free” is going to feel!!! 🙂

  2. My husband and I did the same thing several years ago. We had to write a really big check to SELL our home. Yet, we had the money and we knew we could not just walk away from the debt. Our Realtor was blown away that we were willing to make that move. I think it is a decision that God will honor and hopefully you will have some financially blessed years ahead of you. =)

    We are so happy to be where we are now and know that we took care of the other situation

  3. I am absolutely thrilled for you! I cannot imagine how amazing this feels. CONGRATULATIONS! Thank you for sharing the great news with us. It is so inspiring. I am also very impressed that you paid your debt and didn’t walk away. I’m not trying to judge others who have because we never really know the whole story, but I think you are setting an excellent example to others. Congratulations, again, Jessica!

  4. Congratulations on being truly debt free – woohoo!! And I am guessing it wasn’t fun – but congratulations on paying your debt instead of walking away from it. That takes integrity and character.

  5. I admire you for being honest and paying off your debt instead of walking away from it. We have
    seen so many people do that and act like they have done nothing wrong. Even though it was hard
    and will continue to be hard for awhile you showed true integrity.

    1. Well, thanks. I know people have lots of reasons for why they make their decisions. I can’t really walk in their shoes. This wasn’t a fun one to make, but we feel it was the right one.

  6. Congratulations, Jessica! I bet it feels magnificent.

    Similar to your situation, we needed to refinance our horrible home mortgage but didn’t have enough equity to do it. We spent the first 8 months of this year paying down the mortgage by $10,000 and then added another $10,000 from our savings so that we could refi. We did it last month and now have a great loan that will pay off in no more than 15 years (we are working for closer to 10 yrs). It was a hit to our savings account that we are now building back up but it was totally worth it for the financial peace we feel now.

    Enjoy your feeling of peace!

  7. Mental health is a great investment. Walking away from your debts is something I’ve never understood – you make choices and live with them. Ah well – you will be right back where you were and will fall to the task with a vengeance without that monkey on your back distracting you

  8. What you did shows so much integrity. You set an example of ethics for your kids that I bet they will always remember. Congratulations on getting this monkey off your back and staying true to your values.

  9. YAY!!!!!
    I saw the post title and hoped this is what it was. I’m so happy for you! Congratulations!

  10. Yea! Congrats! Being debt free is such a freeing thing. We have been debt free for a couple years now. The mortgage payment amount is now going straight into savings. It allowed us to pay cash for a new car this summer when the family truckster needed to be replaced.

  11. Congratulations! You should have a family celebration with your kids and “burn” the mortgage papers.

    Also a BIG thank you. A few weeks ago you listed a some sites to check for lost money. We found some and yesterday we received a check in the mail for $397. I would never have thought to look for it without your prompting. We are putting our found money in my husband’s IRA.

  12. We ended up also having to pay the difference out-of-pocket when we sold our house in Michigan two years ago. Like you, we pretty much decimated our savings, but it was so much better than having to try to manage it as a rental from across the country. We were just so happy to not have it hanging over our heads. I bet that is such a relief, and I’m glad you don’t have to worry about it anymore!