My name is Joe and I’m just under 50 (Just barely….). I’ve been married to a wonderful woman for 24 years and have 3 great kids, one of whom is engaged to be married sometime in 2013… or maybe 2014. We lived in TX for 15 years before returning to Virginia Beach, where my wife grew up. Our oldest daughter lasted here for about 2 years before she returned to Texas where she now lives.
Personal Finance Background
We Got Outta Debt in January of 2012 by paying off our $68,000 in credit card and car loan debts. It took us a little over 3 years and we were fortunate that I was able to earn some extra money from bonuses my company paid for me traveling. Of course, the downside there was that I was traveling. In spite of the recession, I was able to switch jobs, get a raise and not have to travel (as much). So I went from 50 weeks a year to around 10! My wife also went from a substitute Kindergarten Assistant during the ‘Get Outta Debt’ years to starting full time as a Kindergarten Assistant.
We’ve built up our Emergency Fund to about 4 months, which we feel comfortable with, and have been adding to various focused savings accounts – Christmas (coming in handy this time of year) as well as vacation, car replacement,etc. Our gross household income is just over $100k and we’re currently contributing 6% of my income to 401(k) and will be doing 50% of my wife’s (school teachers don’t get paid much). Once we’re in a little better shape with cash on hand, we’ll probably bump up both of our 401(k) contributions. Right now, my company doesn’t have a matching program… yet.
We have 2 paid off cars, both around 10 years old and have some life in them. Fortunately, since I work mostly from home, my mileage on my car is pretty minimal. If I go 50 miles in a week, that’s a lot! My commute is from the bedroom to my home-office.
After reading Crystal’s book, I dipped my toes into blogging (http://igotouttadebt.com) and have had a fair amount of traffic. I wish I could be doing more, but this full time job thing keeps getting in my way. 🙂 Don’t get me wrong, being too busy is MUCH better than not being busy enough. I have taken some time to put together an ebook that talks about our Debt Free Journey in the hope that our story will help others get the motivation to Get Outta Debt.
(Thanks to Crystal for being an inspiration to me for taking the chance.. and for giving me the first review on the book!) (Crystal: You are very welcome!)
I was extremely happy to see that my ebook went to #1 Sales Ranking on Amazon in the Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Nonfiction > Business & Investing > Personal Finance > Budgeting. Here’s a link to the video showing the event!
One of our more immediate goals is to help pay for our oldest daughter’s wedding. The proceeds of the ebook are going towards meeting that goal. We’re also working on beefing up our savings accounts for the vehicles. We’d love to keep these cars going as long as possible, but when we have to buy, I’d prefer to pay all cash.
After that, the goals are fully funding the 401k and then paying down our primary mortgage. A next book will probably be focused on that goal.
Please stop on by my blog (http://igotouttadebt.com) and say “Hi!”
Crystal’s Comments: Good luck with the wedding costs and then saving for your two cars! It sounds like you and your wife know how to budget, wow! Congrats on the debt freedom (and for deciding to tackle it to start with)!
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FYI: I worked at a dead end cubicle job from 2005-2011 for about $30,000 a year. I went self-employed in July 2011 and make between $80,000-$100,000 through blogging, a rental home, and professional pet sitting. If you’d like to start your own site (link to my free step-by-step guide), I highly suggest checking out Bluehost (my referral link with a nice discount for you). I even have all of my favorite tools on a resource page - I hope they help you too. This all gives me the time to be with my aging family members, the flexibility to stay close with my friends and family, and it should help if we finally get pregnant too! Please contact me any time at budgetingfunstuff*at*gmail*dot*com with questions or just to brainstorm! I’d love to help!