Hi, we're Hunter and Sarah, a husband-and-wife, luxury wedding photography team. We’re also educators, helping other photographers build profitable and sustainable photography businesses.
Hey friends! Last week, Sarah and I announced on Facebook and Instagram that we are now 100% debt-free! When we got married in June of 2017, we had just over $27,000 in student debt. Earlier this month, less than 21 months later, we are now 100% debt free!
Since we posted that, we’ve had an overwhelming outpouring of congratulations, which we were sincerely touched by and SO grateful for! However, we’ve also had multiple people reach out to us and ask for details. “How did you do it?!”, “Have you written a blog yet?”, “When are you going to write a blog about how to get out of debt?”
We honestly had planned on doing this series later this Summer when things were a bit slower, but with so many people asking us, we want to get this out as quickly as possible! So without further ado, here it is: our story of how we paid off $27,000 in student loans in less than 2 years!
Reading “Total Money Makeover” isn’t the first thing we did, but boy do I wish we had! It may seem strange (or a huge bummer for you non-readers out there) that step one is “go read a book”, but Dave Ramsey is one of the greatest personal finance gurus of our generation. He has an incredible ability to make complicated financial principals simple, approachable, and easy to understand and apply.
Although the second half of “Total Money Makeover” is full of practical, step-by-step instructions to take you from waist-deep in debt to complete financial independence, the first half focuses on something far more important: heart change. Dave makes the point that if you don’t really want to get better, you won’t.
If you say that you want to get out of debt, but aren’t willing to take any new steps or put in extra effort, then you don’t actually want to get out of debt – not that badly, anyway. And chances are, you probably won’t. Dave points out that financial wisdom is not the norm in America, so you’ll have to swim against the current if you want to practice wisdom. We’ve found that swimming against the current for months, years or even decades takes a dedication that won’t emerge by accident!
The first and only reason we were able to pay off our debt so quickly is because when we got married, we decided that it was our number one financial priority. We wouldn’t buy a house, look at nicer apartments, shop for a new car, or take any big international vacations until we crushed our debt. So we got started. If you wait until you “have some extra money” to pay off debt, you never will.
We could dive right into Step 2, but we’re actually going to give you a week to execute Step 1. Your homework before you move on is to buy “Total Money Makeover” – whether in hard copy, digital, or audio version – and begin reading/listening! We’ll start with some super practical steps next week 🙂
Hunter + Sarah
In full transparency, much of what’s in this blog series are concepts we’ve learned from Dave Ramsey, but with a healthy dose of our own personal application and experience, as well as wisdom from friends and mentors. Since Dave’s the financial guru, not us, reading his book is Step #1. However, we promise that there will be plenty of our story mixed in throughout!