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 listening to Dave Ramsey 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 over my lifetime.
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.
What do you remember?
Let me know in the comments below…