The Beginning: From Slave to Lender

At the age of 22 I was reading a book and came across this Bible verse: “The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is slave to the lender.”  
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Without words reality hit me:  I am a slave.
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When reality hit me I was working part time and taking courses at the local college.  My life seemed very pleasant from the outside.  My life was pleasant, except for the fact that I was heading in a direction financially that ended in disaster.
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One of the best decisions I have ever made (with not a single regret) was moving away from my small hometown at age 17 to Florida to attend university.
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However everything comes with a price tag, but I didn’t pay attention to that price tag knowing that I had many years until I had to think about it.  
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Besides, getting into debt was the “normal” thing to do.  Right?  
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And so what did I do next?  I got rid of my old car I was driving at the time because I needed a newer one.  I entered the car dealership blind and ended up getting into a scam.

Instead of buying my $10,999 car I thought I was signing for, I ended up signing for $14,000 (the tactic was very sneaky).

More debt.

Do you think this got my attention yet?
 
After one year of having this car, I decided that I was going to get rid of it and get an even newer one.  I was so excited about looking.  I found a car that I liked and was ready to do whatever it took to make another purchase. At the time I was working as a nanny for two kids.  I remember crystal clear going to work one day, so excited about my new idea and ready to tell my boss about the new car plan.  
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If looks could kill, I would have been dead then.
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My boss, Trent, stood there staring at me and the reaction was NOT what I was expecting. After a long pause he said sternly,
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“Sarah, I am really sorry and I know when I say this I will be stepping past my boundary, but I really don’t care.  You are being ridiculous.  You DON’T need a new car and you DON’T need more debt.”
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Knowing that he is a very educated person on the matter and had my best interests in mind, I listened.  That is when he introduced me to the book that changed my life forever, “The Total Money Makeover” by Dave Ramsey.  
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Many people I have talked to over the years laugh off this book and call it “common sense,” but for me it was the furthest thing from that.  After going through the book the first time, I instantly re read it a second time.
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It was as if my eyes were being opened for the first time.
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I was introduced to concepts that I had never put any focus on before and was informed on an important truth: You don’t have to be a slave, which is exactly what you are to the bank if you are in debt.  
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After reading the book the second time, I made a promise to myself:  I am going to do everything humanly possible to get rid of this debt.  I knew from an early age that I wanted to do something great with my life.  I now realized the path of materialistic clutter and debt was not the path of doing great things.
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I had to make a change.  
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My reality on paper:

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I knew my plan and my plan was to get rid of it ALL.  
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I worked, and paid off the little debt first while attending nursing school.  As soon as I finished nursing school and passed the NCLEX, I became very serious about my decision to lose the big debt.  I had a faster likelihood paying it off with my new hourly wage of $19+ an hour verses my babysitting income (although I did that on weekends any chance I could).
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During this time I signed up for an 8 week course called Financial Peace University.  Through these 8 weeks I learned more of the “common sense” things and started tackling the bigger debt.  
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Each and every day I could see the light at the end of the tunnel.
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I began to dream big things for my life.  The ideas of adventure, travel and cool experiences became appealing to me, while the ideas of a new car, big house, stuff, clothes and materialistic crap became a thing of the past.
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My whole world changed.
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I took the teachings of Dave Ramsey seriously.  After my 8 week course ended, I worked countless numbers of double shifts, weekends and volunteered myself for every open shift that was presented to me.  I knew that if I worked hard in that time that I could leave the debt behind and truly focus on the things that I wanted to do.
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 As Dave Ramsey says, “Live like no one else, so one day you can live like no one else.”
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I remembered that quote each and every day and that is what motivated me in the days I felt exhausted and weary. I am proud to say that as of December 2014 I reached my goal and am finally 100% debt free.  
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That makes me very happy; however do you know what makes me even happier? I hit this goal at my 20 month mark living in the country where I have always dreamed of living — Spain!  

With hard work, a plan and lots of motivation, anything is possible.
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Don’t forget to also check out: 
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Sarah - thenomadicdreamer.comThe Beginning: From Slave to Lender