When my husband and I got married almost 10 years ago, he had undergrad debt, credit card debt and debt to his parents and I had postgrad debt, car debt, and a mortgage. We started from the get go slapping money on our debts.

We had a super-small wedding so we wouldn’t have debt from that going forward and then ended up with a good chunk of money when his grandmother passed away. We saved a lot of money after our wedding just by not having to pay for 2 places. So within the first year of our marriage we had paid off all the debt except for our mortgage which turned out to be good timing as we had our first child shortly after our first anniversary. Not too long after that, we took Financial Peace at our church. Awesome class!

About 3 years ago, just before our second child was born, we bought a house and my parents moved into the basement…which is a whole different story. We kept my condo and rented it out for several hundred dollars more than the cost of owning it.

Last year I lost my job and my grandparents in MN needed more help. My parents moved to MN and without being able to find a decent paying job to cover mortgage and child care, we determined that the wisest financial move for us was to move back into the 2 bedroom third floor (no elevator) condo with all four of us.

The market here in Colorado is insane. We were able to sell our house over a weekend and it sold for at least $70,000 more than what we had paid for it just 3 years ago. We took what was left over and plopped it on the condo mortgage and are now living completely debt free!

We are still working on getting wise with Dave’s tips on budgeting and how exactly to save money for retirement. We’re living on a teacher’s salary, but we can do it without the debt and I can be available to run the kids to school and be with them on their off-days. I’m in the process of starting a business that I hope will at minimum replace my previous salary and in my wildest dreams would allow my husband to retire from the school system and work with me.

My name is Carissa and I’m a graphic designer and my husband, Dave, is an elementary music teacher. We have two boys who are 3 and 7 and we live in the Denver-metro area.

Financial Peace University was so helpful to at least get my husband and I on the same page as far as decision-making for our finances. We’re still working through the last couple of baby steps. Thank you for all of the excellent information you have available and we made use of one of your ELPs for our retirement planning and they have been a huge help! Thanks!