What better way to start this series than to tell you our financial story. I will begin at the beginning of our marriage about 15 years ago when we were both working. We had money rolling in and we were 20, we didn't budget and had no idea where that money went every month. Once I started staying at home, we only lived on my husband's pay and it was a big shock to us to say the least! There were times we didn't even have money in the bank and just prayed we would make it to the 1st or the 15th!
We moved a lot in town from apartment to apartment because I was never satisfied where I was and I gave my husband a hard time about it. He let us move those many times because he wanted me to be happy. Here I was, supposedly a "Christian" wife and discontent with everything my husband tried to provide for us. Needless to say, our marriage wasn't going very well either. We had our first child 3 years into our marriage and we had no money to pay the medical bills. So, we applied and qualified for medicaid and my pregnancy and c-section were covered. However, after I had the baby, I was no longer covered and sickness came off and on throughout the years and so did medical bills.
Years of discontent fueled reckless spending. We never could get ahead because I was literally the millstone around my husband's neck that drained our finances and him! We ended up with massive amounts of medical debt, credit card debt and a car payment that we could not afford to pay. There was seemingly no hope. Then, I decided that I wanted to leave Alaska because it was Alaska that was making me so miserable I thought. I told my husband I was going to move to Washington with or without him. I prayed for $20,000 and God gave it to us through an inheritance we didn't know was coming to us (why I don't know, I sure didn't deserve it!). So my husband reluctantly decided to move us to Washington in 2006. We paid for the move and I was able to secure him a job before we even moved. Everything looked great but God didn't call us to where we were and I was about to learn quite a few lessons on never doing that again!
Upon getting a higher-paying job in WA, we had the choice of whether or not to buy health insurance. I didn't want our money used to pay for something we didn't NEED as I was better, I mean who NEEDS health insurance anyway? That is only if you have cancer and things like that - we were young and we would be fine. Shortly, thereafter I ended up in the hospital for 13 days and we ended up with $40,000 worth of debt. In the meantime, I had rededicated my life to God and gotten "right" and started being a submissive wife to my husband. I no longer let my discontent rule our lives, however God was going to teach us a lesson that we wouldn't forget.
We had wanted to apply for financial assistance to pay the $40,000 medical bill but I remember when praying about it - God distinctly told us NO! We were going to pay this debt and we were going to learn some lessons. When I called the hospital billing to tell them we were not going to apply for assistance but pay this debt ourselves, they had an interesting story to tell. Someone came in and wrote off $26,000 of the bill. They don't know who, no one authorized it and they don't do that and she was perplexed and after talking with others in the office - no one knew WHO or HOW but it was someone with administrative privileges and we didn't owe $26,000 of the bill! We still had a lot more left to pay though, that along with more credit card debt and a car payment had us back in the chains of debt.
We came across Dave Ramsey and read his book and my husband decided that we were doing this - we were going to be debt-free and never use a credit card again! We were also going to pay for insurance because we didn't want to go through what we went through again. We did the gazelle intensity and ended up paying close to $81,000 in debt OFF by 2011. We were finally DEBT FREE!!!!! We drive a paid-for car, we have no debt, we buy only what we can afford and our medical bills are paid with money we set aside in an Health Savings Account (HSA) that is tax-free. We learned our lesson and so thankful we did!
We have had medical bills since then but thankfully, they are small in comparison to what they would have been had we not had health insurance! We haven't touched a credit card in 5 years and don't plan on ever doing so. We decided to live by biblical principles not just in our lives but also finances as well. God has only blessed us and during times where we should have sunk under the weight of financial distress - God lifted the load off of us! We didn't need Discover or Visa - we had God now and He is the only master we want to serve!