How to Become Debt Free!

Hi, Welcome, I'm glad you want to finally take control of your financial FUTURE!

We were married in 1975. We were born Smack Dab in the middle of the Baby Boomer Generation!

Problem is no one ever taught us about Money Mangagement. We have had to learn on our own. We haven't been to any schools for this, only the one of "hard knocks" so to speak. If even one tiny 'bit' of information on this page helps even one person, I will be happy that I have helped you learn your 'bit' of information for today!

So, We are glad you were curious enough to look us up. Hopefully you will benefit from our information and not get caught up in the same MONEY PIT that we did. Now don't get me wrong, we aren't down and out broke but we have owed people - mostly the banks, money, that had we had a 'smart' head on our shoulders would have never happened. (Sorry bankers out there but We want to keep our money in "our" own pockets not yours!)

Just follow the links to read how to have a successful money management and Financially Debt Free Life.

  • Just STARTing out! - So am I on this page. This is my starting point and you will see I'm still working at it.
  • Saving for that First Car!- Quick advice - You really don't need anything fancy or sporty - you just need to get from Point "A" to Point "B" and back to "A" again. Let the Jones's spend their money - If they want to. The vehicle you buy will still get you where you're going and maybe even more!
  • Dream Home! - Quick advice- Start out small and trade (sell) to larger
  • KIDS - oh my! - A Blessing in disguise! 
  • Things! - Quick advice - TV's,Stereos,CD's VCR's - Save and Pay Cash!
  • Travel! - Quick advice - take a vacation - but pay cash - don't charge it!
  • RETIREMENT! - Quick advice - you can never start to early - start today - if your not in debt up to your ears!! And take advantage of your employers offering!! SAVE, SAVE, SAVE!!!!


When you're just starting out on your own, whether you're married or not you need to do one thing before you do anything else and what is that? Write down your GOALS then set up a BUDGET! Sit down and look at your expenses and your income. Be realistic. Don't be foolish. Some of the things that most people want are things I'm going to cover anyway. But still look at your own personal goals. And most important WRITE them down! Why? Because it's one way of REACHING it. If we see it in writing its more apt to become a reality.

So Expenses, Income, Needs, Wants (Goals), Budget, Write them down, Reach for it, that's where to start.



For us saving for that first car wasn't a problem. We were just starting out. Al had a great job and I was a stay at home Bride. We had very few expenses. So, we Ordered it, factory direct. It was an exciting time in our lives. It was also the time in our lives where we started that ever climbing upward pile of DEBT! Don't we all wish we had "fore sight" instead of "hind sight"? We were young and felt like we "could have it all!" Little did we know that the BANK was going to have it all and then some!

This is the "First" mistake for most young couples.

ADVICE: SAVE for that FIRST CAR! and PAY for it in FULL with CASH!!

You can keep what youv'e been doing in the past. Driving the "old beater"! It will get you from point "A" to point "B" and back to point "A" for a little longer. Why pay all that interest to the bank? Better yet why not just buy a good used car! PAY CASH! It is so much fun to hand over cash or a check and know that it is PAID for in FULL!

We unfortunately did not learn this lesson. We got a loan. Our first car cost us $3500.00 Brand new - it was a beauty - a 1975 Plymouth Roadrunner - All white with a "sundance" interior. It had a "Beep" "Beep" horn too. Problem is we had problems with the transmission, after being in the shop several times we had had enough. So instead of replacing the tranny we sold it outright and bought another factory ordered car! This time it was a Dodge Daytona 1977 - two tone blue, velour interior in baby blue. We paid $6000.00 for it. Now we were in debt even deeper. But we had this beautiful car! Until we started having problems with it too. It started to "throw" the belts everytime we turned around it was costing us more belts. So guess what we did? You got it - instead of finding out "Why?" we sold it off and bought a Datsun 1979 210 Hatch back. Cute little car got great gas mileage (Yeah right?!?) It was YELLOW in color, we should have taken that as a warning - "LEMON, LEMON". It did not get good gas mileage at all, it sucked us dry. It was costing us too much for gas. Okay by now the loan was more than the car was worth. So now what? Since we weren't getting the great mileage we were suppose to we bought another. Well we had that car about 8 months and bought another Datsun 210 Wagon 1980. Baby Blue, and you got it, The Loan is still more than the car is worth! This little car was securing a $10,000 loan! Can you believe it? Al was making good money, the bank knew we would pay it!

Looking back we didn't need to make payments, but we got started in the "Payment" trap. And each time we turned around we were getting ourselves in deeper. Had we saved for that first car for 1 year, then ordered it and paid cash we would have SAVED several hundred dollars. Also we should have been more assertive when these "Brand" new cars were causing problems and made the "Company" make things right! But back then the propaganda was " You make $XXXX a month so you can easily afford the $XXX a month in payments - stretch it out over 3-4 years - you'll be able to manage it just fine. Actually, the same propaganda "SALES PITCH" is still going on today. Just listen to the TV or Radio or look in the newspapers. They don't "just" give you the price, they let you know how much a "month" it can be bought for- 36 easy payments - don't start until next January, interest free until then. Only thing is that they don't tell you that the interest is retroactive, if you don't pay for it in full before the allotted time frame they add all the interest on. So then you start to make 36 monthly payments but have an extra year of interest added in!Oh Boy!




As Newlyweds you always dream of owning your first home, we were no different. We started to save for that all important "DOWN PAYMENT". This was a challenge! We had already got ourselves in deep with the "PLASTIC JUNGLE". Credit Cards came too easy. So while we saved for the house, we paid down those balances! Of Course, this was after we went to talk to our "FIRST BANKER". Ugh. Scary thing, and disappointing too. He told us we didn't qualify for any kind of loan for a home. We made too much for a FHA and Al hadn't been in the service long enough to qualify for a VA home loan and at the time there was no such thing as a 'first time' home buyer "deal". So we saved, saved and paid off loans and "plastic". In the mean time we kept looking for a house. We had our hearts set on a beautiful split level. Again, we weren't able to secure financing. This continued for 2 years, saving and paying off loans! Finally in 1978 we purchased our first home. A ranch style, with full basement and an attached one car garage! Quite a deal for $47,000. 3 bedroom, 1 bath, with all modern built in appliances!
Two years later we sold it for over $60,000! Not a bad investment.
ADVICE: SAVE and pay as MUCH DOWN as possible.
Shop around for the lowest cost FIXED RATE interest mortgage loans!
What did we do with the Money and why did we sell?
Well, the bad part, The Urainium Mine Al worked for in Wyoming started laying off workers by the hundreds. We were smart and put our home up forsale as soon as we caught wind of what was about to happen. Approximately 3 weeks after we sold the home (closed on it) the mine closed for good! We were lucky, many families, didn't beleive what was happening and ended up losing their homes to foreclosure when they couldn't make payments or sell them. As for us, we moved back home to Minnesota and family! As for what we did with the Capital Gains we made from the sale of the home in Wyoming
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Lots of people have visited this page to finally learn how to have financial FREEDOM!!

Thank You!
Oringinally created April 19, 1997 Last updated July 2004


Copyright © 1997-2007 Penny Keay
Please do not use my information without my written permission.