The third and last post in our family series about digging out of debt is the most exciting to me. We began to see the end of the tunnel after years of long, hard work, and then the unthinkable brought us beyond what we ever imagined, financially.
Besides looking for ways to save money, our financial crisis also motivated us to find ways to earn more. I believe the hardship had a permanent, positive effect on us in that we became lovers of entrepreneurship, right down to most of our children. And in an ever-changing economy, being adept in finding news ways to make money is a priceless skill.
Here is what we did:
7 Ways We Made Money
- 1. Sold stuff on Ebay (including free baby coupons I received in the mail – we never underestimated the value of a dollar.)
- 2. Had yard sales – location and good signs are the key to great yard sales.
- 3. Made homemade pies and desserts and sold them to neighbors and local businesses. (This is how Paula Deen got her start – door to door, also due to financial tragedy.)
- 4. Started a homemade skin product business (which thrived for six years until we decided to close this year.)
- 5. Husband took multiple extra jobs (pizza delivery, early morning chicken house pick-up, side jobs, local cement plant clean-up). This was difficult, but a necessary consequence of foolish debt. I attribute my husband's humility and willingness to do whatever necessary to our progress. Instead of sitting at home waiting for a higher-paying job, he just took what was available.
- 6. Started a blog and began writing ebooks (including one with more details of how we found financial freedom!) To date, this has proven to be the easiest, most cost-effective means of earning extra income, selling our products as well as advertising.
- 7. Sold homemade crafts at local craft shows – something the children loved helping with and still do!
Dreams Do Come True
Ours is a long story and there were many years of fear, tension, and frustration. Our faith was a huge part of our journey though, and about six years later, our most unbelievable dream came true in the most unexpected way.
Just $600 away from paying off our $40,000 of consumer debt (we also had a rental trailer debt of $43,000 hanging over us) and trying to decide whether to buy the 4,000 sq. foot house we were renting (a home on the farm where I grew up, next door to my parents), an F-5 tornado ripped through our neighborhood leveling everything including our house, vehicles (and the annoying rental trailer!).
Also, following a very long and amazing story, the short of it is, we received an outpouring of help and support from friends and churches all over the country which allowed us to build most of our home back, debt-free, pay off the last of our consumer debt and be rid of the rental home. I never could have imagined that the relationships through the very blog I had started because of our dire circumstances would become part of the means by which word spread about our tragedy, and the tool God would use to bring us financial blessing. We believe in miracles.
Two years later, just months ago, another storm did significant damage to our newly built home and the insurance money from that paid the damage and finished paying for the completion of our home.
We are now completely debt-free and we are about to have our tenth baby (something we were warned we “couldn't afford” in today's economy). Perseverance, creativity and a trust in God's ability to do the impossible is what we attribute our financial security to. We aren't wealthy; we still work very hard to pay the bills. But we have a financial peace that we never dreamed possible, and a set of tools we learned the hard way, for continuing to spend and earn our money wisely.
If you are in a place of financial distress, take heart. Keep at it, a little at a time, and you will be on the other side soon!
Want to learn more about Kelly's frugal adventure. Be sure to read: