It is not at all uncommon for a couple wishing to start a family to ask themselves, “Can we afford to have a baby? Should we pay off our debts first or start a family?” If you find yourself struggling with this question- keep reading. I am going to share with you some of the things we did in order to gain financial independence.
In 2015, my husband and I were on vacation in California driving along the coast when we both had a moment of insight regarding our financial situation – it was time to buckle down and pay off our debt. Once we arrived back home, the first thing we both did was read Dave Ramsey’s Total Money Makeover. The second was sitting in front of our computer and totaling up our debts. We were stunned to see that the actual amount summed up to an astounding $73,000. Facing this hard truth weighed heavily on us because we were also at that point in our lives where starting a family was just beyond the horizon. How could we even bring a child into this world with so much debt to our name?
Well, it turns out that we would be on a journey toward both parenthood and financial freedom simultaneously because we became pregnant only six months into our debt free journey. I can’t speak for my husband, but I was a bit terrified because we had hardly made a dent into our financial mess. Figuring out which debt payoff methods worked best for us, mastering our budget, and attempting to stick to this thing called the cash envelope system, were all still new habits to be formed. Now, we had to make room in our finances to include welcoming this blessing into our lives.
We stuck to these three habits during both pregnancies and, as a result, were able to attain a life free of debt while starting our family:
1) We Made the Admission that Our Debt Was a Burden
I found this mindset habit to be extremely beneficial during our journey toward financial freedom. Prior to our debt-free journey, I was content in knowing that minimum payments toward our student loans and car note were enough. It was not until I realized that these payments were barely hitting the principle that I felt a weight of frustration swoon over me. We were essentially giving our hard-earned money away!
Admitting to myself the amount of stress our debts had caused me actually allowed me to realize the seriousness of our situation. Ultimately, it aide in me taking necessary action to ensure we stayed on course.
2)We Saved Like Mad During Each Pregnancy.
you follow Dave Ramsey, you already know that he advises those on a debt free
journey to stop the Debt Snowball (paying off debts in order from smallest to
largest, despite the interest rate) and pile up the cash once they become
pregnant. This is exactly what we did. We were only six months into our journey
and in the middle of adjusting to the Debt Snowball Method when we became
pregnant. We kept our debt payments current and saved endlessly during the
entirety of my pregnancies up until a month after I delivered. At that point,
we would then resume sending very large payments to our student loan debt and
even paying off a car note only to pick back up where we left off.
*Keep an emergency fund in your account at all times. You never know when you need to tap into that savings for an unexpectant emergency.*
3)We Stuck to Our Budget and Learned to Live Below Our Means
Adjusting the way we lived by lowering our standards was a bit traumatizing for us in the beginning. I do believe that it is necessary to uphold this habit during a debt free journey, especially if you are planning to start a family at the same time. For us, we learned to say “No” to our friends and family for dinner outings, declined many out-of-town wedding invites, and categorized our needs vs. wants only to omit the wants. We actually managed to become quite comfortable living this lifestyle during our entire debt free journey.
Our journey toward financial freedom and parenthood began in May of 2015. We had our first child in the summer of 2016 and our second in the spring of 2018. Our last debt payment was made on October 4th, 2018. If you were hesitant about starting a family while paying off your debt at the beginning of this blog post, I hope I’ve managed to shed some light on your uncertainty. Your journey toward debt- freedom may be stretched out a bit longer, but it’s completely doable and something that can be achieved with dedication and persistence.
Photo via Pexels
Danielle is married and a stay-at-home mother of two. She is passionate about debt-free living and currently working on attaining her nursing degree where she and her husband plan to cash flow it in its entirety. You can follow her and her journey toward becoming a nurse on Instagram Onward.to.RN.