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This weeks post is going to be a little different. The major reason we wanted to get out of debt was to start a family. Having kids was such a motivating factor for us and gave us the determination to make sacrifices, work extra jobs, and live on a tight budget. Without that dream, our life would’ve been very different over the last few years. Our daughter is the real reason for our debt free life.
So today I’m writing a letter to my beautiful daughter. It’s the most emotional post I’ve written and I’m so proud to be her Dad.
Right now you’re hanging out with all of your baby friends at daycare, and probably laughing and giggling at your favorite French Bulldog Dozer.
While you’re army crawling around, playing with toys, and snuggling your giraffe stuffed animal, I’m snuggling with Sadie and Gregg (our two dogs) and thinking of you.
There’s no way I can possibly tell you how much your Mom and Dad love you, so I hope this letter can help you understand how much you’ve changed our lives and how much better our lives are because of you. We love you like crazy. It’s strange, but when I think of you, it makes me smile and cry at the same time.
I smile because you bring us so much joy and happiness. Your smiles, both big and small, brighten my day. I love when you laugh, and I make all kinds of silly noises and faces just so I can hear your beautiful laugh. When I walk through Target, every few steps I stop the cart, jump up and make a goofy noise and you LOVE IT! But I think my favorite is when I tickle you with my beard and you laugh so much.
The reason I cry when I think of you is because I can’t believe I get to be your Dad. I feel like the luckiest guy in the world. You’ll always be my daughter and I’ll cherish that forever. As long as I remember I’ve wanted to be a Dad. You made that dream come true baby girl. You’re our little “Tweetsie”.
You Changed Our Lives Forever
I want to tell you the story of how you changed our lives. Yes, you sweet baby girl. You changed our lives and made your Mom and Dad happier than we ever imagined. But this story begins long before you were born, and you were changing our lives even then.
A few short years ago, Mom and Dad fell in love and dreamed of starting a family and having a bouncing little baby. We dreamed of you. We wanted so badly to bring you home and be your parents. But we had to wait.
It made us sad to wait, but we knew it was the right thing to do. You see, we had student loans to pay every month, and it was expensive. I know you don’t know what student loans are right now, but someday you will, and you’ll understand.
Combined, Mom and Dad owed $90,000 of student loan debt when we got married. We felt crushed and trapped by this massive debt. It’s a little bit how you get when you drop your giraffe out of the carseat and can’t reach it. Or when you’re tired and can’t fall asleep. You lose your chill pretty fast.
Every month, we had to pay $922 for these loans, which was more than we paid for rent. It was our biggest bill by a long shot.
It seemed impossible to pay it off, but we knew we had to find a way. If we didn’t, it would’ve been so much harder to give you the life we wanted. We didn’t want our own mistakes to prevent you from having an awesome life. We didn’t want our student loans to smother you like they smothered us for those first few years of our marriage.
So we made a plan. We made a commitment to be debt free in 5 years. We told ourselves we’d do whatever it takes to become debt free. Once we paid off our student loans, we would start a family. Only then would we be able to meet you.
I’m going to give you your very first math lesson Daughter. $90,000 of student loan debt in 5 years is $18,000 every year. Your Mom and Dad didn’t have that much extra money laying around. It was a pretty crazy goal and we had to make a lot of changes to do it. The really crazy part is we paid it off in less than 4 years.
You Helped Us Completely Fix Our Finances
The dream of being your parents motivated us to fix our finances. Your Dad made his very first budget and helped Mom make one too. I definitely cried when I realized I was spending too much money. But crying is okay. Those tears helped me change and make better decisions. Your Mom helped a lot too.
Once we made a budget, we started applying to for extra jobs. We’re both teachers, and teachers don’t make a lot of money. If we wanted to pay off our student loans faster, we had to make more money. More money meant we could pay off our student loans faster and we could meet you sooner.
Mom and Dad got jobs at a fancy restaurant and became coaches for middle school sports. We worked late nights and lost sleep to make more money. It didn’t matter if we were tired or didn’t want to do it. The only thing that mattered was paying off our student loans.
If you can’t tell, we really wanted to meet you as fast as possible. You’re such an amazing little girl and you’re worth every late night we spent at the restaurant or waiting for parents to pick up their kids from practices and games.
When I hold you now, the extra hours don’t matter. I would’ve worked thousands of hours just to be able to hold you and snuggle you. It all disappears into pure joy.
We Started Making All of Our Meals at Home
This might sound crazy Poo-Poo, but another big change Mom and Dad made was to stop going out to eat. Going out to eat is so fun, and we loved going on dates together. But do you know how expensive it is to go out to eat?!!? It’s really expensive. So we stopped.
Instead we made all of our food at home. My sweet baby girl, you helped us learn to make yummy food and bargain shop. And your Mom and Dad love cooking together, so we got to have cooking dates instead of just dinner dates. When you see us dancing around the kitchen cooking food, you’re the reason we started doing that. 🙂
When you get older, you can help us find everything on our shopping list and compare prices. It’s super fun, I promise! 🙂 We always try to find room in the budget for dessert too.
The Real Reason for Our Debt Free Life
The major reason I’m writing this letter to you Daughter is to say Thank You. You have no idea how you’ve changed our lives, even before you were born. My beautiful daughter, you are the greatest motivation we could’ve asked for. You helped us sacrifice our time, energy, and wants so we could meet you sooner.
Thank you for changing our lives forever.
When we dreamed of you, we dreamed of the life we wanted you to have. Our goal was to bring you into a family that had the freedom to give you more opportunities and options. We didn’t want student loan debt to limit your life experiences. I didn’t want you to have to suffer for our mistakes.
Plus, now that we fixed our money issues, we can teach you all about money. You won’t have to wait until you’re in your twenties to learn like Mom and Dad did. You don’t have to make our mistakes.
Daughter, you’re worth every sacrifice we’ve ever made. Every time we had to say no to spending money, it moved us one step closer to you. You’re the true reason we’re debt free today. From the bottom of my heart, thank you my sweet Daughter.
We love you so much Baby Girl, and are so lucky to be your parents. Thank you for helping us become debt free. You changed our lives and I’ll never forget that. Thank you.
Love Mom and Dad
Our budget and goals changed our lives and it can change yours too.
As an Educator and Personal Finance Blogger, Jamie has helped hundreds of families learn how to budget, save money, and pay off debt (go here to subscribe and start your debt free journey). Read our debt free story, “How We Paid Off $73,000 of Debt in Less Than Four Years”.