How I Got Out of Debt

Just about a year ago, I celebrated paying off all of my debt — over $28,000 in 21 months — with an unexpected confetti party while sharing my journey on The Dave Ramsey Show.  To give you some backstory to my debt situation, I put myself through private college and by the time I graduated, I had about $25k in student loans.  Then a few months later, my old car bit the dust and I had to buy a new (used) one, taking out a $12k car loan.  Let's do some math: at only six months out of undergrad, I was looking at over $35,000 of debt.  I was barely 23 years old, working two part-time jobs as a nanny and children's ministry leader, and staring at a crap ton of money I had to pay off that didn't seem possible at the time.  So I just made my minimum payments for a while and life went on.

Fast forward a few years, and I found myself living in Nashville and working at Dave Ramsey's company, where an integral part of what they do is teach people how to get out of debt.  If you've never heard of Ramsey, I highly recommend you check out his 7 Baby Steps and/or read Total Money Makeover.  After working there for over a year, I found myself deep in prayer with God about what He really wanted to do with this life of mine, because I had a deep sense that there just had to be more than what it looked like at the time.  Through prayer, I felt Him impress on my heart that He did have more, but that He couldn't take me there until I dealt with my debt... and that was what really ignited my fire to pay off my debt as fast as I possibly could, because I knew that I didn't want to miss out on what He had waiting for me on the other side.  So 21 months later in December 2016, I made my last student loan payment, and shortly after shared my story on Dave's show...

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My Girls Night Podcast Episode

I had one of the coolest things happen to me a few months ago: my friend Stephanie asked me to be a part of her amazing and inspiring podcast, Girls Night with Stephanie May Wilsonand I found out that it recently went live!  Stephanie and I met just over a year ago at a friend's birthday dinner which led to hanging out one-on-one, shared our life stories and dreams, and both walking away more confident in what God had been stirring in our hearts.

In my episode of her podcast, we chatted a ton about God, how to hear from Him, and how to know what He's leading you to do.  We also touched on finances and how we've both gotten out of debt in order to freely pursue our dreams, learning to love ourselves for who God created us to be, and little ways to live our lives to the fullest, touching a bit on doing it as a single gal. 

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Travel Tips: How to Save Money

Guys, I am so excited for this post, and even more excited to share that I bought my plane ticket to Europe a few nights ago, making this whole "Gennean's going to Europe" thing a reality!  I've been slowly starting to plan some parts of my itinerary — like a packing list, a spreadsheet of cities/countries to visit and in what order, and getting in contact with some of the people I am going to be seeing/staying with — but I've been hesitating to purchase my one-way ticket in spite checking potential flights daily.  Sometimes I can be cautious to make big decisions, and this definitely felt like one, but the other night, I said "screw it!" and bought my flight to London... for $300!!!

Now I will be the first to admit that I am no travel expert, but I have been researching and reading up on news articles, blog posts, and dozens of other sources for almost a year in anticipation of this trip, which has definitely given me an edge when it comes to planning such a big trip like this.  Plus, when I realized that my ticket to London cost me just a bit more than a ticket to Nashville (what the what!), I knew that I had to share some of the things I've learned and implemented.  Again, not an expert, and you may find some of the things I share are common sense, but they've helped me immensely through my planning process, so I think they will help you, too.  Alright, here we go!

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Embracing 2018

Every new year, I try to carve out time to reflect on the previous year, plan for the coming twelve months, and then pray for a word that will hopefully be the banner over that year.  I've kept a pretty good record of past words that have set the tone for their respective years — authenticity, simplicity, unashamed, pursuit, adventure, change, commit, create — but I absolutely dropped the ball in 2017.  While it's true that I was closing out one of the most stressful, busy seasons I'd walked through — having paid off a ton of debt inevitably running on fumes — and I knew that I was going to be gearing up for the season that I now find myself in, I was also distracted from some of the most important things (like Jesus).   The beginning of last year was a little bananas, to say the least.

I'm not sure if it's allowed, but if I could retroactively give 2017 a word, it would be faith.  Just faith.  Because it took a lot of faith to leave my cute Nashville house, quit my full-time job, and move back to my California hometown for a few months in preparation for a multi-month long trip to Europe.  It was all really hard, and yet I now find myself in this season of "in-between."  As I've been thinking and praying about 2018 — imagining all of the things I believe are going to happen this year — one word came to my mind so quickly that I knew it had to be my word for the year: embrace.

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