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Conquering Debt (Part 2 of 2)

Focus on the Family / Jim Daly
The Truth Network Radio
August 5, 2022 6:00 am

Conquering Debt (Part 2 of 2)

Focus on the Family / Jim Daly

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August 5, 2022 6:00 am

Brian and Cherie Lowe discuss their lackadaisical attitude toward finances during their first nine years of marriage and the moment they realized with horror that they were in over $127,000 in debt. They share the sacrifices they made, the determination they developed, and the challenges they faced when paying off their debt. (Part 2 of 2)

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This is Focus on the Family and yesterday are Brian and Sherry Lowe hearest Sherry were fighting back on how they conduct themselves out of it. From this amount of debt down on me that we had paid off hundred and $27,482 and 30 $0.19 at a time because we have learned to say no to $0.19 and if we could say no to $0.19. We could say no to a dollar 90 we could say no to hundred and $90. We could say no to $1900 is learning to say no is really the most effective way to pay off.

Today we want to come alongside and give you hope to do just say no with hard work and determination, you can pay off your host is Focus on the Family president Dr. Jim Daly and Dr. John John what I love about Brian is there honesty and relatability. They shared less time that they had accrued over $127,000 debt credit card student loans, medical bills, things like that. Not the fun stuff like vacations in their journey to pay off that began with Brian and through that gentle encouragement and some vision casting Ryan. Eventually after two years of wrestling internally about this. Was able to get Sherry on board and you know what here Focus on the Family if you're coupled with struggling in this area of finances. We want to help you. Don't be embarrassed to call us and get to the resources or the tools to help you do this better.

Don't wait two years to begin to address it. Let's work together to get you in a better place today in our number here is 800 the letter a in the word family. We got Sherry's book called slaying the debt Dragon how one family conquered their money monster and found and inspired happily ever after.

You'll find details about that and other helpful resources in the show notes of the lows have two girls and Sherry is a writer and has a very popular blog called Queen of free and this conversation was recorded a number of years ago when the girls were younger. It was really popular and will bring it back today to help you as a family. So Jim started day two of the conversation trying to Sherry last time we left off and we were talking about how the two of you begin to tackle your debt and I want to hear more about that today, but I'm curious how did this affect your children, how old are your daughters right now. Right now there are 13 and seven so you done this over the last how many years between April 2, 2080 total just before that in 2012 was the journey of paying off the hundred and $27,000, so they were much younger than it's really easy to take a look at that number and think that that just happen overnight, but we had a child go from birth because she was born right before that began and into a child that was really literate.

So four years as a rather long time of day to day stuff, but they were definitely a part of the journey and I had confident that you need to make your kids part of the journey in an age-appropriate way to do that one of the ways that we did was explain what we were doing especially are our oldest was rather articulate and and so we would explain what we were doing we would set small short-term goals. Here's what's happening. It's sort of the monster under the bed theory. If you don't explain to the kids what is happening with the money they're going to make something they're going to make something up and it's going to be fearful and frightful. You may think you're having conversations in private, but your kids know they know if you're stressed out over money.

They know if you're fighting about money. They know if money is tight but it will be the worst case scenario in a child's mind so explaining it in a very practical, pragmatic way to your kid in an age-appropriate way is the best way to go. Let me ask you this.

You know, for that honesty factor me some children they're going to see something or their friends will have something in there can be no tremendous disappointment that they know maybe even guilt on their part that they can ask about it is a know you can afford it. Did you ever have that kind of experience or maybe through your blog Sherry, did you ever have parents express that many of us as parents we overindulge our kids write MS bottom line is, it brings joy to them to see them have her do the things that they like to do so. We were kind of's we spoil in that way. When we got to say no.

Some kids can be really disappointed. How do you handle that emotion is apparent when there are so disappointed that they can do that thing or get that thing so to begin with.

I lace encourage people that desire and that longing to give good gifts to your children. That is a mark of the image of God on your heart, and he longs to give us good gifts as his children and said that we would want to turn around and do that for our children is just a natural way that we had been divinely created and I loved the same time it can turn into a weakness if were not careful and I think that idea of sacrificing something for a long-term goal really can translate to kids and I tell a story in particular in that block about our oldest daughter Anna is now 13, that she was saddened at the time and we were in a very large retail store with a red target, and she had found its way in particular on the shelf that she once had really bad and she looked at it and she said mom you now I really want this that I know were working to pay off the credit card and we had allowed her to choose what we would do to celebrate that and that was to go to local themepark waterpark indoor waterpark and she said I want this toy but I want to go to the waterpark more and she put it back on the shelf and I did like looked around like anybody else like them along that journey and realizing to have something else. Sometimes we have to say no to smaller things I think is just a lesson. All of us need to learn.

I wish I would've learned earlier in my adulthood, even though I think you can help captivate their heart.

We also try not to use the race.

We can afford that because it creates the sense of scarcity will and maybe more along the lines that were choosing not to do that right now instead and we can afford that which can become kind of a real negative thing were choosing to do this instead. Right. I like that were choosing this over the talk about and you mentioned a couple times you're the queen of free your blog. I love title. What is that about and what are some of the guess inquiries of dialogue that's taking place on Queen of the clinic free.net. I set up back in 2008 just as we began our journey mainly because I love free things and sounds a little shallow little girl I had this book we could right away and send a self-addressed stamped envelope which no one does anymore, but they would send you free items in the mail and I began to find free things online and very good at it and I would email friends and family and tell them you can get free T at Chick-fil-A today orchid. There's this great coupon economic get you something else for free and inevitably I left someone off the email list and I wish I would've known, and I began the website kind of as a clearinghouse for people to go there over the years it's developed into a community where unable to share not just free items that frugal living tabs wisdom when it comes to money parenting and marriage ideas as it comes to paying off dad and what it looks like to live intentionally with your finances so it's been fine and I because of that I've gotten to speak. A lot of people hear their stories and be just as encouraged by their process of paying off debt as they were Byars what it sounds like important factor of getting out of that living well on a budget is support groups and that leads to the other point with friendships that could be a bit of a strain because your friends may want to do things in your thinking okay that would be the way it's been $100.

And so when I can really go with you this weekend what'd you do that friendship space in order to make sure the friends were supportive of what you're doing will again Sherry talked about earlier that bringing the darkness into the light in the darkness loses its power.

We had told her friends what it was that we were doing and I'm sure they did all some expensive things but we weren't asked to be a part of that they knew what we were doing. They loved us enough not to try to bring us into the mix on that.

What I would encourage people to do up there in that situation is to get better friends change your relationship with.

I think it built community.

We are made for community know God is community and our relationship with God as part of the community as well. In our outreach to others is important and we have a great community group that we bled for about eight years now and they are fantastic and the one of the most amazing things that happened and I'm I'm not a weeper but when we paid off all of our dad at our small group meeting that evening there was a cake and some sparkling cider and the characters have the word freedom written across it and in our our group knew how important it was to us. It inspired some of them to go through a similar journey as well and they are now free from the chains of debt also. So you go through that together and you bring other people along with you. It's important to have a support network and community also important to have people that are going through the same journey as well so you can talk together to talk about some of the similar struggles to solve problems altogether. Let me ask you this leave the end of this journey. Now the end of the road put you in a better place. Talk about the ability to give in the name of the Lord the ability that freedom you talk about what's the environment like today compared to 2008 when you saw this mound that was at freedom look like so much fun so much fun. We sat down even mentoring a couple for the last three years. He just got married this summer and we put out rather large amount of cash into an unmarked box and handed it to him at dinner and I thought that they were going to just sit there in the restaurant and we just kind of like this so much fun and that's couldn't have been possible if we hadn't paid off as dad and not just giving to the local church and to ministries that we call Ian Phil strongly called toward supporting those little things like buying somebody's groceries at the grocery store or you know, doubling the amount on the bell at the restaurant today encourage a young person who is waiting on.

Ask those things have been for me. Some of the biggest blessings and the most fun things that we've done since paying off that I think it's beautiful that really does put you in a more generous mood right when you have the ability to do it. Have your daughters picked up on that. I am sure there watching this and seeing this now that there are teenagers and their going while they have in it.

It's just a part of their life. You know your kids are going to learn about money from you whether you're good with good or bad with that with you generous or not generous. They learn by watching more is caught than taught and it's not a surprise to them. If we pick up somebody's bill at a restaurant because they're in fatigues, or because it's a single mom or because we just want to this is in a big deal for them and occasionally our elders will, look at me and we going to communicate with words.

She just knows just go ahead and take care of that. We have a an entire budget is just it's not envelope. It's an online savings account and we have nicknamed it and we can do that Fairbanks nicknamed the generous and that's awesome and sharing. I will communicate back and forth just the make sure that we know how much is in there if we see a need or know that somebody is going on a mission trip or trying to do something different that we can communicate with one another about how much we want to give. And we have that ability to do not think that's wonderful. And that is really the upside of the discipline you've done over these last many years and this is where does become fun and other fun things.

He was gone on vacation as a family. Some of those things that we gave up while we were paying off debt we've been able to deal for ourselves, but I think again it's always more blessed to give than it is to receive point really is good point because you get overwhelmed. I was can ask about that and Sherry with your blog and the people you counsel the attrition factor here. You know course usually the first of the year. People are starting made by February March the done because I just can't keep the discipline of it that speak to that couple maybe young couple maybe an older couple, and they've started with good intentions, but 2 to 3 months into it, they're not staying focused and are not achieving it.

So rather than fight through that the there thinking about bailing out. What would you say to what author John Trent has this great idea and the 2 difference and that is that if we make small change over time, it adds up and that's much more sustainable and making a rapid change overnight and we know this.

If you try to change your habits toward exercise or nutrition are even disciplining your kids if you make too hard of a change. Daniel fall off the wagon. It will not go well. I always use the example of if you're a diehard Diet Coke drinker and you say you know tomorrow never again as long as I let them never going to drink it again and then by the end of the week you're probably going to be sitting in an email. Massive cans smashed on the floor in some sort of saccharine that you know sort of driven experience. But it's not sustainable.

You have to gradually move toward that change and pick one thing one area to focus on. To begin with, so we didn't do everything overnight. I didn't get up the next morning and say okay now I'm to make my own laundry detergent and now we're gonna you know, call the companies and change our billing and bring to do all these things tomorrow. Instead, we took small steps of obedience in the right direction and you'll find that once you find some success that motivate you toward making more sacrifices or just looking at your money differently. Brian I so appreciate the openness about not eating out, that was a commitment you made to the family for two and half years you didn't do it.

Certainly for Gina and I when we look at our budget that's that's an area where for us both.

Always concerned about because were on the go so much were traveling a lot together and eating out just becomes a way of life.

But when you look at it.

I mean I was thinking the other day, a fast food stop for my boys and I was like $23 and it caught my attention. This was like for breakfast sandwich for all three of us. I think this is ridiculous, but it adds up doesn't it does. And for me it wasn't about a morning muffin is much as it was a leadership issue and leadership comes a lot of different forms. I think it's really easy to try to use words to lead as opposed to using what you do day to day to actually lead your family and lead it while we had this big journey and I'd cast this vision long. So for me it was all hands on that. Anything you can do to try to defeat this Dragon and if that meant cutting back at restaurants and that was something that I was going to try to do it was actually the first time that I've tried that 2 1/2 year stretch.

I tried to go just 30 days. I think I made it a New York minute. There was some bagels at church on a bagel fan but they were there and I just forgot. But then the next stretch. It took about 40 days or so it for kind of the desire and the habit of going to restaurant to go away in 90 days when adjusted care and that was a pretty easy fix. Over time, and I set these arbitrary rules for doing it so there was nothing even if it was free so if the folks that I worked with were bringing in pizza.

I wasn't going to have it if it was water. I was going to drink because you have to set that line somewhere you know if it's an illegal substance, and you have a problem with an illegal substance. If it's free it's still an illegal substance, but it doesn't change the nature of it not had a problem with eating out at restaurants and so I treated it like an addiction. And that helped. And because we were spending that much money last anything or anywhere where we saved it, went toward the goal, paying off that said it to make that step. Doable. Some people are going. Oh my goodness that's that's ridiculous, but to make that step doable.

You would suggest I'm hearing you suggest aim for 30 to 40 days and just give that a run even if you stumble a bit. Restart the clock get to 30, 40 days and you find out how irrelevant it becomes with any change its day-to-day start with today and tomorrow is yet another day and each day after that. You just keep going and then eventually it just becomes a crazy streak and then you don't want to break the street get going. I found it actually harder to give that up than I thought it was going to be to actually eat at a restaurant again. The funny thing was in a rut.

Restaurants are great in their they're convenient not knocking restaurants, but that first meal back was amazing. The second meal was really good the third meal was great, but after that everything just tasted the same. So I think we we did induced by the convenience of it and really should think about the time that you spend going somewhere you could do most about it home again great advice that you talk about the difference or the attributes. I guess the character of the godly character of contentment and gratitude is that's a big part of the book as well in this environment where you're smothered with that.

It's hard to have those attributes is to be grateful and have gratitude toward the Lord for your environment for the house you live in for the car you drive for whatever might hate how do you how do you develop a stronger heart of gratitude and contentment said one of the things you need to do is control your influences a little back and I can remember struggling deeply when we are back to years into the journey and turning on my computer and signing on the social media and beginning to see how everybody else had an awesome life and I was at home in a stained T-shirt and gym shorts that had since college and you know it was one of those situations.

I thought everything else is out for dinner and everybody else is having an awesome vacation in here. We set and God do you really care that were making the sacrifices and then I began to reflect on the really good things that happened that week that our daughters had played in the sprinkler and that sprinkler.

Brian had made out of PVC pipe was worth more to us than a trip to the waterpark and that you know I love ice like one of my favorite things and I can make that at home and it doesn't cost me hardly anything thinks of himself saying I began to discount those blessings and I will say that gratitude fights off those give me feelings that temptation and greed. It is the said and if you can fill your heart up with gratitude and he began looking around your house and think we have so much stuff that we make a trip to Goodwell to get rid of our staff you now we have so much already and that's an essential part of the journey to not as glamorous. Everybody loves you payoff that nobody thinks about those days in between, necessarily, but we know that you know that ending will be a blessing because you started and you did the difficulties you know some of us are motivated by that finish line and you talk a little bit about what that finish line look like but give us the emotion of that day and take us through what happened when you finally paid it off. I mean I probably burning things like you know the payment due notice or something like that.

What did you do to celebrate that day will we knew it was coming. And because we we had it with in about 30 days that we knew just based on what we have been doing it was going to happen well turned out money came in early and Sherry actually didn't know and and so I had had money in my hand that was enough to pay off the debt. Last, the I would write it on posted it's periodically how much that we owed and scratch it off and so I ran out of the post that I still got the last Post-it note in my office with the amount that we paid all that I keep coming to the bank made a deposit because both of us are so financially involved. We checked the bank account, probably more regular than healthy people should but that we do, so I knew that Sherry would know that there was a deposit that was 30 days ahead of time and expected I wanted to surprise her with this good so basic I just left work. I left work I went to the bank made a deposit.

Sherry had gone without things for some time and I went and I basically just bought her pains five pack nothing weird or extravagant or anything like that but I know she'd gone without and you know we've made sacrifices and I just wanted to be kind of this moment this very odd Ebenezer Stone where we could say you know what it's over, you know we we don't have to live like that anymore and it was amazing.

You know I came home and I pander to the deposit slip and I don't think she believed that a person you see tears in your wife's eyes now because of the power of the dream has for years of scraping and pointing wonders going-we began all this we thought it was gonna take 15 years you know hundred $27,000 a lot of money, especially when you still have your day-to-day bills that you got a place they gotta pay for health insurance. You still gotta pay for your house and and other living expenses. Your utilities and it was done it was over and we knew this new chapter was going to begin and and we we celebrated right there in our church. We did have such a sense of relief and I did collapse into tears and Brian's arms and then we frantically cleaned one corner of our kitchen up and we wanted to share that moment with the greater community that had supported us and said we YouTube ourselves paying the last of paying off that Sally Maybell and the last student loan that we had and still out there on YouTube and is had left, not the views of other people, just as a way to say thank you and to encourage other people and to just capture that moment if you see the picture on the front of the book.

We had a friend come over and take pictures that day and I don't think we can recapture those expressions on our faces. Those are the links that you have one you spent four years paying $127,000 in debt off and he just offhandedly said that stack of bills which are actually all of the bills that we had paid off. We would put them on the refrigerator after we paid him off and write the date on them. Those are the actual bills that we paid off and we threw them up in the air and I am so thankful that he caught that moment on camera for a picture right on the cover. Okay I'm sitting here I'm driving down the road. I'm thinking about this my spouse. This is something I been wanting to talk to her about for months, and we do have some amount of debt. I'm worried about it were stretched so thin.

What would you say to me start with love and remember why you walked down the aisle and I always tell people you are on the same team together and there was a reason why he chose each other and there was a reason why you stood in front of God and your friends and your family and you said I will cherish you and that is the most important money is not the most important thing getting out of debt is not the most important that if he began fair.

I think your hearts more prepared to communicate a message, and then secondly that casting vision that just really grabbed my heartstrings and said to me, this might not be possible.

Well said so well said, look to the future. That vision is what I'm hearing from you. Hope this is Brian and Sherry load the book sling that Dragon this is a great discussion. Thanks. Thank you so much for having us.

What a great reminder about the need for good communication in marriage to work hard and to seek God's guidance as you pay off debt and then with his help achieve a life of financial freedom. To that end, the Lowe's book is a must read. It really provides dozens of debt sling strategies to help you. You'll find details about the book and other resources in the show notes John here focus we hear from so many couples who are really struggling in this area finances.

It's one of the top responses we receive one suspender and one to savor neither savers and things get out of control. If you're at a point where your relationship is fractured and you need to talk to someone you know that we have caring Christian counselors right here on staff to talk with you a call to set up an appointment or they can refer you to someone in your own area for help and then here at the close of the program for those who are capable of helping us. Let me invite you to support the ministry of Focus on the Family. Together we can help marriages and help save babies lives and so much more were helping literally hundreds of thousands of couples to build stronger, healthier, more God honoring families, but we need your help to continue in that mission. No donation is too small in today, which you will send a copy of sling that that Dragon is our way of saying thanks for joining team and if you need a resource and can afford it. Trust others will take care of that.

So just call and ask for the book and will gladly send you contribute as you can just request that when you call 800 K family show notes for all the behalf of Jim Daly and the entire team here. Thanks for joining us today for Focus on the Family I'm John Fuller inviting you back. As we once again, you and your family thrive. I was shocked when she gave me the divorce papers. I was so done I had reached my breaking point.

I was desperate for a shred of hope.

So I called the hope restored team. It Focus on the Family they they listen to me and they asked about what was happening in my marriage. They encouraged me and my wife to attend one of their marriage intensive's for couples in crisis and they prayed with us. They help me believe that my marriage could be saved agreed to go but was skeptical that anything could help us but the whole environment was so safe and nonjudgmental. I felt my heart open up as we work with the counselors. Both of us still have work to do in her marriage but for the first time in a long time we have hope again Focus on the Family's hope restored marriage intensive program has helped thousands of couples who thought that their marriage was over and find out which program is right for you and hope restored.com


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