I Remember

sunrise

I remember wanting to have millions of dollars, so I could spend it all on myself.

I remember when I was living off of Kraft Macaroni and Cheese that was purchased on a nearly-maxxed out credit card.

I remember sitting in a broken down car, 1,000 miles from home, with no money, and no one to call for help.

I remember the feeling of hopelessness as I watched my financial life spiral out of control before my eyes.

I remember being so frustrated when I realized my soon-to-be-wife and I needed to rent an apartment instead of buying a house because we couldn’t afford to buy a house.

I remember getting married and looking our $47,000 of debt and wondering how in the world we would ever pay it off.

I remember laughing at the idea that I could give away a million dollars.

I remember meditating on and clinging to Phillippians 4:19 with all I had.

I remember making sacrifices – like spending no more than $45/week to feed my wife and I – so that we could scrape together just a few bucks to try to pay down debt.

I remember the ironic observation that money doesn’t solve money problems.

I remember calculating our net worth for the first time to discover that it was NEGATIVE $13,843.84

I remember reassuring my wife that all the sacrifices would be worth it eventually – even when I was wondering the same thing myself.

I remember reading Dave Ramsey’s Total Money Makeover and thinking to myself, “I can do this!”

I remember not being able to buy gifts that I longed to and felt social pressure to buy, because we didn’t have the money.

I remember when I had to step out in faith and give beyond my means.

I remember the excitement of paying off my first credit card. We jumped, danced, and shouted for joy at our minuscule first step of progress.

I remember how thrilled I was when I realized that we finally had a positive net worth! A total of $746.07

I remember the day it dawned on me that this Debt Snowball thing really works.

I remember the awkwardness of not being able to go somewhere with all my friends because we couldn’t afford it.

I remember struggling for months to get a budget set up and how I felt on top of the world when I finally got the budget working.

I remember only being able to pump a gallon of gas into the car, because that was all we had until the next paycheck.

I remember praying to God and watching Him do the impossible in our lives.

I remember going out to eat with friends, but not ordering anything because we didn’t have the money in the budget.

I remember paying off our car and receiving the title from the bank and the joy of officially “owning” our car.

I remember starting a home-based business to help us get out of debt faster.

I remember having our transmission go out and trying to figure out how we were going to survive with one car.

I remember seeing my boss break into tears as he told me my department was no longer needed, and being very thankful that I had started an emergency fund.

I remember how comforted I felt by having our financial life in order.

I remember going out to dinner with Linda (an extremely rare occasion) as a celebration for paying off our last credit card.

I remember the thrill of having enough money budgeted to afford Christmas gifts for everyone.

I remember the sweet satisfaction of moving into our house after living in a one-bedroom apartment for 5 years and being able to plop down a 15% down payment on the house.

I remember having my car break down and it NOT being a life-altering problem like it would have been a couple years earlier.

I remember the moment I realized that maybe God could use someone as simple as me to give away millions of dollars.

I remember the day we finally paid off my $17,000 student loan – our last remaining non-mortgage debt.

I remember dreaming of a day like today – debt free, happily married, and living with purpose – and I am thankful that I didn’t stop fighting for it.

sunrise

What do you remember?


























FTC Disclosure of Material Connection: In order for us to maintain this website, some of the links in the post above may be affiliate links. Regardless, we only recommend products or services we use personally and/or believe will add value to readers. Read more here.

66 Comments
Add a comment
  1. I remember being little and having my big brother tell me that someday he was going to be a millionaire and have a big house with a separate level for each sport on it and how jealous I was at the thought of that. And then I remember watching him start a business from the ground up, provide for his family, encourage and teach his parents and sister and be an inspiration to anyone who has ever stubbled across this website. Reading this put tears in my eyes and I couldn’t be more proud. So happy (and encouraged by) the life you guys are living!

  2. Bob, I love this list!!!

  3. Christine

    I remember the year we took FPU, we got rid of all of our credit cards and our mortgage problem still hadn’t been solved but we made it through the end of the year, we only had 7 dollars left but we made it!

  4. Unfortunately I remember still being in these situations. I’m working to get out of them, but it’s definitely hard. A conversation with my fiance last night let me know I have to give my problems, my issues, my worries, and my fears to God. He’s brought us this far; he’ll make a way

  5. i love this post! i came over here from linda’s blog. i think we have the same life :) i blog about fashion and my husband blogs about family and finance.

    –>i remember two years ago, my first night at financial peace university, i was so scared that i would no longer get to order pizza whenever i wanted.

    –>i remember going on a shopping spree in kansas city and running up the credit card bill $1,500 and having to pull money from our savings account to pay for it.

    AND NOW we have a new life and are debt-free!!!

  6. Great article, Bob.

    Thanks for sharing your vulnerabilities and successes….they’re an inspiration for us.

  7. Wow what an encouraging post!

    I can’t wait until we can say “I remember the day we became debt free”

    Thanks for the inspiration!

  8. Bob, this is a fantastic post — one of your best ever. It’s so encouraging to see God’s hand on you and Linda, and I’m so glad I get to call you two family.

  9. This is an awesome post! I’m tempted to copy you ;) If I do I’ll at least try to put a different spin on it.

    In light of some recent events with our friends and family, I just drafted a post with a similar theme, about reexamining your life and evaluating the reasons for your actions.

    Keep it up!

  10. Thank you for sharing this post. In the middle of one of those very discouraging times it was very encouraging. Thank you for reminding me that there is light at the end of the tunnel.

  11. I remember the day that I got pre-approved on a mortgage loan…because that day is today. :)

    This is a very touching post. Thank you for writing and remembering all of that.

  12. This is such a great and encouraging post! Thanks for sharing!

  13. I remember the afternoon that I was sitting at a traffic light & thought, “I am not free – not free to change jobs, to move, or take advantages of opportunities God brings my way.”

    I remember my sisters’ comments about down-sizing my life – they thought I was crazy.

    I remember paying off all of my debt before I got married. I remember it that it was hard, too!

    I remember the day I payed off my car.

    I remember the day we wrote the last mortgage check – it was 11 years early!

    I remember thanking God and praising Him for bringing us to financial freedom!

    Thank you for the great post – and encouraging your readers to remember when…

  14. Gratitude is everything.

  15. I remember fighting over $10 with my wife on how we were going to use it.

    this is the most encouraging blog post I have read this year.

    If you don’t mind, I will do one just like this one. Certainly does help count the blessings.

  16. I remember when I felt God press upon my heart to get out of debt.

    I remember the day I acted like a grown up and owned my $55,000 worth of debt.

    I remember selling my Harley to pay off a home equity loan and the satisfaction of completing this debt that it brought.

    I remember selling our Ford F150 because a Honda Civic was about $400 less a month if gas.

    I remember being faithful in tithing, always.

    I remember selling everything that was of value so I could pay extra on our debt snowball.

    I remember God reminding me that if I’m diligent I will prosper.

    I remember the difficulty of telling our daughter we could not help with college because we were getting out of debt.

    I remember sending off our last payment on 12/24/10.

    I remember giving testimony, to the 22 month walk of getting out of debt, in front of our Church and the encouragement it brought to others.

    I remember getting my first paycheck today, 1/14/11, and not giving a dime to creditors.

  17. Michelle

    This is so encouraging!!! I remember going through every pocket, drawer, seat cusions and box too find change just to buy gas to get to work.

    • Thanks for the kind words everyone – I was becoming pretty encouraged as I wrote it – so I am glad it extended beyond myself!

  18. Bob this is excellent. This is one of the best testimonies regarding debt reduction and the power of God that I have seen. Thank you for blessing me with it.

    I hope everyone has the opportunity to hear your message and get encouraged that they can get out of debt as well.

    I remember leaving my legal job with a finance company, moving from MN to AZ to follow what I knew God wanted me to do. I remember later looking at my bank account and seeing $27.48. I remember wondering why I left MN in the first place.

    A mentor simply said why did you come here (to AZ)? To fulfill the will of God.

    Six years later, I am a licensed minister, formed a ministry, author (finishing my second book this one is about the finance industry and debt), preacher, practicing law helping people resolve their financial problems.

    What I learned is what Paul said, I have learned to be content.

    May God continue to give you the peace of contentment while you develop in others the content of their character in Christ Jesus.

  19. Wow Bob, that is so encouraging! You are helping so many people get set free!

  20. I’m still at the frustrated stage financially…I exist on a disability which allows nothing extra…no car, no dinners out…no nothing but bare existance. I’m 50 years old with nothing to speak of to my name…I even had to move in with my daughter’s family so I wouldn’t starve. We live in a place that has a horrible economy and can’t afford to move. Half of the things that were listed as hardships are normal to us and have been for most of my life. There have been many blessings along the way, don’t get me wrong…being able to see my grandsons on a daily basis is top of the list…but short of a windfall, I can’t see it happening. I look at sites to live more frugally, and I usually have them beat. Just don’t forget about us when you’ve gotten on top! Many Christians do, unfortunately. I’ve talked to many in my position and have experienced it myself…we make others uncomfortable by our poverty so they just stay away and fellowship with others in their own class. I’ll quit now. I do appreciate the post though.

    • If you look around, you’ll see that Christians still are at work serving you.

      We are helping with soup kitchens, unloading Feeding America trucks, stock local food pantries.

      Dinner out can be at a local church who are serving the disabled, poor and the rest of their “flock”.

      Look about you, and you will find us.

      • Amelia Simon

        Ms. Jenny, You might be surprised to find out how many Christians there are working for non-profits and social services. Sometimes government is not the Big Brother that you hear about on Fox News. Sometimes govt workers are public health nurses, homeless outreach workers, job training specialists, senior services providers, etc. Some churches have learned how to partner with community services and some have no clue. Our city has a 2-1-1 phone number where people can find help. I know it’s been almost 3 years since you posted this. I am praying your situation has changed since then and God has provided some relief. If not, that in the meantime He has provided himself and a deeper knowledge both of His provision materially and spiritually. As you mentioned, you get to spend every day with your grandchild. Some grandkids are cities, states, or even countries away from their grandparents. My dad died before any of his grand kids were born.

  21. Great post! I think it’s a great thing to always remember where you came from and thank God for bring you as far as He has.

  22. Bob, this was a truly inspirational post. Thanks so much for sharing in such a transparent way! I remember being completely out of money with 4 days left before pay day. Not fun! I also remember the first time I ever tithed. It was a truly uplifting experience!

  23. Looking back where you have been sure can make you feel A sense of accomplishment.

  24. Stephanie

    Wow, very touching. Thank you for sharing!!

  25. I am now a full time mom. My life has turned 180 degrees: from a full time family doctor, to a ‘stay-at-home’ mom. It has been quite a change- in general a marvelous change- with lots of transitions and challenges for all of us as a family.

    “I remember” has ministered to my soul in a very profound way as I go thru these changes and wait expectantly on the Lord. “I remember” is an article of hope, changing focus, endurance and hard work. It is an article screaming amidst our situation: ‘ You can do it!. Do not quit until you reach your God given goal’. Having said this, it is my hope that “I remember” brings a refreshment to your soul as well.
    I republished this article in my health blog (Section “In English”) linking back to you, as I understand not only this article but many have inspired, assisted and guided me in many areas of my ‘new’ life.
    Thanks Bob
    God Bless,
    M. Aviles, M.D.
    This

  26. I remember like it was yesterday, because it pretty much was, when my wife lost her job. An event that would have crippled us if it weren’t for the teachings of Dave Ramsey and this website. We had finished our debt snowball last fall and began to really start saving. We hit a few bumps that prevented us from saving what we had hoped, but because we have no debt, we were able to absorb this blow into our monthly budget while still continuing save, at least a little each month. If this happened even a year ago we’d be out in the street in short order.
    My beautiful wife collected unemployment for only two weeks and found temporary employment that may lead to a permanent offer in the comming weeks. She has also taken steps toward becomming a teacher and getting her realestate license. We now find we have choices to make only two months after it seemed like we were at the end of our rope.
    The path is still unknown and scary, but we accept the challenge and now look at our situation as the opportunity that it is.
    Thanks so much!

  27. Pallab Gupta

    I remember going through the IT bubble burst at the turn of the century where we were about to buy a house and my company slashed our pay. I remember my wife wisely advising me that even with the pay, it was still wiser to buy the house because the mortgage payments would be less than the rent and we would get a tax rebate too.
    I remember at that time I would commute and at times weep and cry out to God how we could make ends meet and so many times his reassurance would come to me through the beautiful song “Shout to the Lord” where it says “nothing compares to the promises I have in you”.
    I remember at the very same time where we had to buy canned vegetables and one day I was longingly looking at a fresh vegetable which we hadn’t had in months. After checking out, as usual I was cross checking the receipt and found an error. I went to the customer service where they apologized and gave me a voucher to cover the error and the voucher was for exactly the amount of that vegetable that I was longing for.
    I remember last year when we did not know how we would send our first son to college, God brought the college we had not even thought about and had a sticker shock. God provided the right finances and he joined there last week. Even though we do not know about the next three years, we know Jehovah Jireh, who brought together everything to send him to the right college will provide.
    We know He is there.

  28. Tracy Moring

    I was drawn to this post today of all days because it’s the 10th anniversary of 911. Everyone remembers where they were when the Martin Luther Kind and/or JFK assasinations were announced. Unfortunately our legacy of rememberance for this generation is 911. I remember. We must all remember.

  29. I am now starting to dream about my debt. I had a dream that I took my son to the clinic and they refused to see him , stating I had too much debt and they sent me to a room where they put a permanent bracelet on me labeling me as having too much debt . It was mortifying .

  30. Shirley

    It is very helpful when people tell how they deal with difficult times. I think that parents should be honest with children about these situations. Too often life is portrayed as being simple if you
    do the right things. It is difficult for everyone. Thankfully, we have a savior who lightens the burden.
    There are many strengths that come out of difficulty. I am a widowed senior who is constantly struggling to handle unexpected expenses, but I have learned a lot about what is really important and I can do without many things that I thought were necessities.
    Thanks for your website. It really inspires me.

  31. This post brings back memories for us as well, Bob. There is nothing like experiencing the thrill of paying off a credit card or other debt in full, knowing that the money you were paying into it can now be channeled elsewhere (especially to savings).

    Thanks for the inspiring content that is placed here each day. I usually soak it up like a superabsorbent microfibre cloth!

  32. I remember when I was able to pay off one of my college loans. So I am thankful I have come accross this article. It is encouraging me to be able to look back and remember more.

  33. I remember “Wish Sandwhiches” two slices of bread, with mustard….”I wish I had some ham, I wish I had some cheese”

    I remember cold winter nights in Philly with no heat and no hot water.

    I remember shortly after marrying my beautiful wife,along with nine stepchildren, blending my three children into the mix and one on the way. Thinking ” How in the world am I gonna provide for all these lives?”

    I remember trusting, praying and crying out to God.

    I remember becoming debt free two years after getting married with all these wonderful children.

    Bob, what an inspirational post. I am so glad that I was able to experience it and remember.

    Blessings

  34. Wow! This is so encouraging a post! It is a testimony of God’s faithfulness and an unwavering faith and optimism that things would one day change.Things may look bleak for us now, but one day we shall look back and be grateful that we never despaired. God Bless you Bob!

  35. I remember when we paid off our credit card, thanks for sharing. This blog offers such hope.

  36. This gave me chills! What a fantastic testimony! Putting trust in God is what pulled you through.

  37. You are the greatest for writing all this stuff you do! It has really helped me in my
    process of getting out of debt!

  38. very inspiring

  39. Thank you for sharing and reminding me that with God all things are possible. Thank you and many more blessings to you and your family. Please keep writing articles like this to keep others like myself encouraged.

  40. Hi Bob!
    I have been following this blog for a while now, and it is my “You’ve Got Mail” moment. I am so inspired and encouraged by what you write, we have always had little debt, but my husband who was our primary funder lost 2 jobs to layoffs in 2 years and then chose to go back to school, and took out a loan to do so….. did I mention that both of those years we had a child. So with two little ones and under 30,000 a year coming in we had a house, car and foolish truck payment that was equal to our house. The vehicles are paid off, praise God! We have two credit cards, that combined equal 1500.00 that will be paid off by November thanks to many of your tips. We are paying a college loan and our house. We have no other debt. The shackles we were wearing are growing looser each day. Although I agree and have applied the debt snowball, we also increased our tithe. We never stopped giving the Lord what was His. I know that is the only reason we didn’t lose everything we had. He provided me with a 16,000. a year raise and my husband a job in his field directly out of college, and we just continue to increase what we give to the Lord, well above the requirement knowing that He will press down, shaken together and running over his gifts over us. For many we view His blessings only financially. With a 6 & 7 year old, and my husband and I, we have only had minimal Dr. visits. My greatest gift has been the health of my children and for that I will continue to go above and beyond for the Glory of God. Thank you for encouraging people who see no light at the end of the tunnel. You are being used by the Lord to set people free to reclaim the Kingdom of God and actually do things for His glory instead of our own! Many Blessings!

    • Thanks for sharing your story Melissa, and I appreciate the encouragement! Keep on keeping on!

  41. Very encouraging, new to this site and excited to share my story but for now I need to find my starting point and there are many options here. Thanks, A

  42. Wow! Great post! Loved your sister’s post too-how sweet!

  43. I love this and needed this, thank you!! Such an awesome reminder of how much God loves us!!

  44. Thank you for sharing. You provide hope and a reminder that the little steps matter.

  45. Thank you for sharing this Bob. And for sharing all the information you do through this website. After reading multiple posts it is easy to see you have a genuine heart to help people and you do what it takes to offer the information and resources to do just that.

    My wife and I just paid off our last non-mortgage debt (my student loan) leaving us just the mortgage to tackle now. I agree, it is such a great feeling!

  46. Been following Christian PF for a few years. This has probably been my favorite post. Thank you for reminding us that there is hope and that diligence pays off.

  47. This is such an inspirational post. Thank you! It gives me hope and encouragement to keep pressing forward.

  48. Ray Carcedo

    hello Bob,
    i’ve been reading your blog for a couple of years now, (and I love it) but have always been a little shy when it comes to commenting on the great posts, but today… this post really hit home with me and my family. -first of all thanks for sharing your life with us. -i can say that we are still in the middle of getting out of debt and getting our financial lives in order… our eyes were opened about 5 years ago when we found ourselves drowning in close to $24,000.oo of cred. card debt and bank loans combined. (a lot of dumb choices) -we made drastic changes to our lives and most of what you described are situations that we find ourselves experiencing right now..(i remember the day I placed a set of couches on craiglist and how upset i felt as i saw someone else taking MY COUCHES). by God’s grace & strength and many toughh sacrifices we’ve been able to payoff most of the debt, but we are nowhere where we want to be yet. -we have a strict budget and we have goals, but sometimes it gets very discouraging… your post today was God’s way of reminding us that we too can get there.
    -thanks again and God bless you & your family!!

  49. Your post was very encouraging and has motivated me to create a budget (for real this time) and start my debt snowball. I too remember times when I didn’t have nor did I know where it would come from, but God!!! Keep encouraging!!

  50. Wow! Just wow! I remember the first day I told myself that one day I will become the ultimate giver, not being able to out-give God.

    I am still getting there but one day I will remember this day when I thought after reading this post “I can’t wait until I am able to write a post called ‘I remember'”

    True inspiration Bob – Thanks a ton and may you continue to be blessed beyond and above!

  51. I remember having $55 to my name and using a cardboard box to as my dinner table. I got a job as a rental car agent at the very first Enterprise Rent-a-Car office (in Houston) outside of their headquarters in St. Louis. At my first vacation (six months in) I interviewed at over 20 firms in Houston to get out of my $600 per month paycheck. I landed at a plastics company and went to a base plus commission job (sales), and was so hungry I blew their doors off. I two years I was making 6 figures a year. I remember and I have never forgotten.

    Great Article Bob…Inspiring, genuine and as we know, all things are possible!

  52. I remember all my friends going to las Vegas and me staying home because I couldn’t afford it.

    I remember friends having nice cars, new cars, the latest cars..and I was buying a used car.

    I remember my friends having the latest clothing with all the accessories while I made my classics work for years.

    I remember friends taking vacations, enjoying expensive dinner and spending casually and thinking “how do they do it.?”

    But years later, I realize that it was just appearances. Today many are paying off these appearances while my husband and I enjoy a debt-free, blessed lifestyle. .

  53. Ross Banal

    Incredible! Very inspiring. Thank you for sharing with everyone. More power and God bless!

  54. To be in your shoes right now must be an exhilarating time in your life. I have been reading almost every post you put out there and I have much respect for you and your family. Keep up the great work and I will keep reading and learning.

  55. Thank you very much!

  56. Johan Vorster

    Hi Bob, I remember having South African R150 (about USD 15) on my maxed out credit card available for our day’s food (avg spend about R200 per day), no work, no possible work, no future work, but only debt of more than R400 000 (about USD40 000) with taxes still due of previous year (not yet calculated at the time) and no where to go… I woke up that morning at 01:45 through an sms on my phone that read: “If you feel that you are a bow and arrow being stretched to your max by God to launch and at the point where you feel you cannot take it any more, He releases and the arrow flies like an eagle to hit the center of the target – always know that God knows how much to pull and when to release to let you fly and that He never misses” I realized that me and my family were in God’s hands… Since that day in 2008 until today 4 Sept. 2013 He has been guiding me on a path that will make your hair raise. He has always been in control – I made mistakes in learning, but even now as I read your blog I realize – God guides, we decide, we follow, we survive and we prosper through His grace. Today, 5 years on I am looking at being debt free with only house and car mortgage at the end of this year and I cannot wait to take my first amount that used to go to debt down payments and reward my wife and I with a small holiday of a week. Perhaps visit USA and ski for that week.

    I sincerely enjoy your e-mails and your blogs and find soooo many additional information and hints, but bottom line is decide to trust God, live on a budget and stay in it! Thanks to you for your insights it has in many instances been confirmation to many uncertain actions and many questions. Lots of love – Johan and Michelle Vorster

  57. Ronald Geldenhuys

    Imagine being in exactly the same boat as Bob with one exception: having three kids and having to look after your in-laws.. God is Great people. Miracles still happen. All I can do now is strive for diligence and trusting god.

  58. We have coordinated FPU classes for nearly seven years. This truly summarizes the life changes we must make in order to succeed. How can we get a printable copy of this post?

  59. Ferline Marcellus

    I remember having to go to two different hospital’s in one week. I was really sick and just found out that I had two medium size sis cyst in my ovaries. I was in so much pain in my life. less than two months later I had received a bill for almost 13,000 dollars. not I had no money at the time and even though things seems to be the same I refuse to speak that in my life. I was so sad because I didn’t have insurance and didn’t know how I was going to pay it off. one day I decided to to visit the finance department at one of the hospitals to get on a payment plan just to find out that I had a 0 balance on the hospital bill!!!! When I told the lady my story she said this never happened before. It turned out that all I had to pay was 500 hundred dollars in total and that was for the physician bill.

    This allowed me to see God on a never level. When you said that you meditate on Philippians 4:19 I immediately grabbed my bible and found what it said. God love too much to allow us to go to have more than we can handle. He will supply all of our needs and whatever we think is to hard or impossible is possible with Him.

    He will forever get the glory!!! This encourage me to be smart, keep going, and continue to trust in Him.

  60. Great post, Bob. It reminded me of God’s grace which is enough for all of our needs. I started on my financial crunch two years ago and I still have a long way to go. God knows of my predicament and He is my only hope. I hang on to His grace and promises to see my wife and I through. Thank you so much.

  61. Bob,

    The time has come for me to face the facts and not be afraid to look at my debt. Sometimes I think if I don’t open the bill then it will just not be real…….crazy, right?
    Well I have done that for a very long time. I so enjoyed reading about how you felt during those hard times. Thank you for your honest recollections and making me think about how I really would like to feel the same way.

Add a comment

*