Cherie Lowe and her husband found themselves under a mountain of nearly $130,000 in various forms of debt. She shares her family’s story of overcoming debt and practicing financial stewardship.
“In 2008, upon the birth of our second daughter my husband came to me” and suggested re-thinking the Lowe family finances. Cherie’s husband wrote down all the debt they owed and it was over $127,000 dollars. That move started them on the path to reclaiming their finances. “It was an insane journey where we learned so much about our faith and communication.” Cherie put her story into a book, Slaying the Debt Dragon: How One Family Conquered Their Money Monster and Found an Inspired Happily Ever After, to encourage others practically and emotionally. Here are some principles:
1. Write down every debt you have to give yourself the whole picture of your money situation.
2. Personify your debt.
3. If you haven’t borrowed, don’t start; it can be habit-forming. “The more you borrow, the more prone you are to borrow again.”
4. Make changes to your budget and spending that are small, concrete, gradual, and sustainable. “If we make drastic change, it’s not sustainable. That’s not real change. You make much more impact when you make a two-degree change than when you make a 180-degree change.”
5. Make your own laundry detergent.
6. Create an emergency fund. Cherie defines this as $1,000-2,000 that you can save quickly just in case. “There will be something that goes wrong.” Cherie suggests looking around your house for things you can sell, searching for loose change, or taking on extra odd jobs on the side to build up the fund.
7. Make regular money dates. If you’re single, do it with a trusted friend. “You need to have a conversation about what we owe and how we’ll pay it back and it becomes more comfortable the more you do it. The more you discuss money, the more organic it will become in your life.”