We know, we've been there. It feels like you're not only under a huge pile of trash, but buried about 4 feet underground, under the huge mountain of stinky, rotten, rat-infested trash. It sucks. There are no other ways to describe it. Heavy. Crippling. So what do you do? You don't do anything...because you're too busy just trying to breathe.
We hear you. Like I said, we've been there. We fell victims to the lies. In my prior life, "we make $150k a year, we can afford that!" was our mantra for so long...I wasn't realizing how big of a hole we were digging ourselves into. 2015 came and stopped me in my tracks....spun me around....and forced me to look at it. It was, to me, like looking at the Grand Canyon. Not knowing which bill to pay first because they're all three months past due, ex-spouses breathing down our necks just waiting for us to screw up so they can come take whatever we have left. Oh, and homeless. Yup. Not yet married so not yet living together, Shaun was without a home. We couldn't get much deeper than that.
That was three years ago today. It was March of 2015 when Shaun was living in one of my apartments that, by the grace of God, just happened to be vacant. Over the course of a couple of months, we managed to barely scrape together (beg, borrow (but didn't steal)) the cash we needed for a down payment to purchase a home for him that was closer to his kids. We closed on that home on 3/31/15, which happens to be the anniversary of the day we met (3/31/2009)....God was patiently telling us we were going to be okay.
Over the course of 2015 and 2016, we were barely scraping by.....living like normal broke people. Trying to appear on the outside as if we had it all together.....making over $150k with a steady job, some real estate that appeared to be supporting itself, a business that seemed to be holding its own....but on the inside, it was a completely different story. My house is still torn apart from upgrades that were started 10 years ago and then never finished, the rentals were out of code and quickly deteriorating, the business stifled because we can't afford to expand....add to that $150,000 of debt, and $850,000 of mortgages to pay on.
$150,000 in debt........and $850,000 mortgages. Let that sink in for a second.
That was it. We had it. We made the decision that we were never doing this again. Ever. The days of living this way were over. We were married on 12/31/2016 and from that day on, we were full steam ahead.
The first couple of months were rough. Our budget meetings were not fun. It still seemed impossible. But when we stood at the top of our little hill, on our little Macungie Homestead and made those vows to each other, we promised each other, every day, that we were going to do this. No matter how hard it got, we weren't going to break our promise. By September of 2017, we had paid off close to $60,000.....in 8 months, we paid of $60k! I still can't believe we made that much progress in that short amount of time, but we did....and it felt great! Good enough that it only makes us want more....so we're continuing to chug along.
Oh, and I failed to mention...we started (yet) another business during this time, too. As if we aren't busy enough with 7 kids and four dogs....and two cats and some fish....
Fast forward to now....we're just coming out of our slow season with the businesses and we're anxiously looking ahead to the months where we can throw thousands more at this mountain. The thing is....last year this time, we were at the bottom of the mountain. Now we're half way up and can see the crest. It looks beautiful up there.....so we'll keep going....one grueling step at a time....the anger, disappointment, regret, shame, conviction, hope, and fierce determination fueling every. single. step.
What was the hardest part, you ask? The very hardest part was to START. Now that we've gotten that out of the way, we can't be stopped.
Welcome to our journey....we're anxious to take this trip with you....