One Family's Journey Out of $26,000 Debt

Sacrifices and successes on the road to a debt-free life.

The word "Debt" on a chalkboard
By + More

This was before our journey to debt freedom. We had a stupid mortgage and I couldn't wait to get out from under that and we eventually sold that house and now we are renting happily until we save up to buy a house. It's rather extreme for most people, but we feel like we're going to be able to prove to some people that it can be done. It just takes a little work.

What do you think is a realistic timeline?

We're still actually building our six-month emergency fund, so our goal is to have about $10,000 to $15,000. We're in the process of doing that. We just don't have as much money to do it as we used to, when we both worked.

We thought we were going to be able to do it by 2014 and then it was 2015 … But another thing is, we didn't want to sacrifice the time with our kids. That's always been the most important thing to us, which is why both of us aren't working.

We really believe that us raising our kids is better for them then putting them in a daycare. Even though there are good daycares out there, we just feel like we want to do it ourselves. My wife going down to part-time was a strategic move because we wanted her to be able to experience that, too.

[See 7 Signs You're Getting Bad Financial Advice.]

It's all happening, just a little slower than we expected it. But now that we've experienced what we've experienced with no debt, we don't have to make as much money to pay our bills and we don't want to go back to working two jobs and never seeing our kids.

Some say that certain kinds of debt aren't bad. For instance, taking out student loans to further your education and boost your earning potential. What do you say to that?

Well, the first thing I would say to that is be a student graduating in the last two to three years who has racked up all that student loan debt, and then say the same thing. There are a lot of students that are really struggling. Owing someone is owing someone regardless of how you look at it.

I don't look down on student loans for some things. Doctors, for instance—if none of them got student loans, then we'd probably have a shortage of doctors. But they're also in high demand, so if you go to school to be a doctor, then you're most likely going to be able to make money.

You can get an education without going into debt for it. I've taken classes and I'm having to do it at a much slower pace than some people, but I feel like if you can't afford something, then you shouldn't do it. If you have to go into debt to do it, then maybe you should look for an alternative.