When my husband and I first started our debt free journey, I constantly looked for stories of people who were able to pay off debt.  I wanted to know how others were able to reach their debt free goal.  It helped me envision our future and the day that we said goodbye to our loans.  That’s why I’m so happy to share Taryn’s story with you today!  I hope her debt free story brings you inspiration to know that your debt free day is coming!

Tell us a little about yourself and your family!

Hi, we are the Powitzkys. My name is Taryn and my husband is Chas. We have 3 little munchkins: Lennox (4), Henley (2), and Truett (7 mo).  I work in digital marketing and Chas is a public school PE teacher for elementary kids. We live near Austin, TX, at the moment but you never know when that will change. We have lived in pretty much every major city in Texas!  My husband and I have been Dave followers since we were engaged and are SO glad. We had a mountain of school loans and didn’t hate debt by any means.

How much debt did your family start with and what type of debt was it?

This is quite a big question for us. We each had about $47k in student loans ($94,000 total) which we deferred for a year since we graduated without salaried jobs. No telling what that final number was! I didn’t keep good records because ignorance is bliss! I made $10 an and Chas made $1000 a month.  Our consumer debt included $3,500 in credit cards and a $12,000 car loan.

At what point did you realize you wanted to be debt free?

I had been gifted the Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey for Christmas in 2008. I read it (mostly because I like to read) and saw how much trouble I had gotten myself into.  My husband’s brother happened to have the audiobooks so my husband listened to those and the rest is history!  That “moment” that scared us gazelle intense was that first loan payment after our deferment ended. We paid more towards ONE loan than to rent!

What steps did you take to pay off your debt?  How long did it take?

We lived as frugally as we could for the first 3 years of our debt snowball. Our family stuck to our budget and tried to make extra money where we could. Then we became missionaries and got to live somewhere for almost nothing. That freed up a TON of money to go towards debt. I also changed jobs a few times during all this which gave us a nice increase in income. Overall, I’d say it took us a good 6 years to pay it all off. We paused a few times for our 3 babies and other health issues, too.

Where is your family financially now that you’re debt free?  What goals are you working towards?

Our family is surviving! With 3 kids in daycare full-time, had we still had debt, we wouldn’t be able to make ends meet! Not only are we done with payments, but we can afford to still invest while giving ourselves a little more room in certain categories such as entertainment and play money. We are working towards saving 6 months of expenses and fully funding our Roth IRAs.

If you had to give 3 tips to someone who is just starting their debt free journey, what would they be?

First, get on the same page as your spouse (if you have one).  Read The Total Money Makeover or take Financial Peace University if you have to!

Second, make a budget and become familiar with it!  It’s so exciting to get paid and pay bills (I can’t believe I said that)!

Last, evangelize that lifestyle so you can bring others into your journey and show them what financial freedom looks like! Plus, being around people in the same life stage is so freeing. Everyone can relate and encourage each other!

Where can keep up with your story?

You find us on Instagram and Twitter.  Be on the lookout for our website that is coming soon!

If you find inspiration from debt free stories, then you might enjoy One Mom’s Journey To Paying Off $77,000 Worth Of Debt, The Steps One Family Took To Pay Off $490,000 Worth Of Debt, and How We Paid Off Over $111,000 Worth Of Debt.