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'It felt just amazing' | How these St. Louis couples became debt-free

They all followed a plan taught by Dave Ramsey. It begins by taking seven baby steps.

ST. LOUIS — Could you imagine living life without being in debt?

A number of people make erasing their bills their New Year’s resolution. 

And there are people in the St. Louis area who don’t owe anyone anything. They also believe everyone can get rid of their debt too.

“The weight on our shoulders is completely gone,” said Chris Hulsey.

He knows the feeling of being debt free. Chris and his wife Alli have paid off everything but their mortgage.

“We don’t have to ever look at debt again,” said Chris.

Meredith McVehill paid off her last bill in 2020. She told 5 On Your Side, “It felt just amazing.”

They all had to pull themselves up from under huge piles of debt.

“We had $200,000 in credit card debt,” McVehill said.

“We didn’t realize all the stuff, like how buried we were. We owed people so much money. It was really scary,” said Alli. 

In order to end the scare, they had to make sacrifices. 

“We were willing to give those things up, which was difficult,” McVehill said. 

The sacrifices included no more eating out at restaurants. Chris and Alli were so determined they made the choice to sell their new cars in order to save. 

“We were pretty focused and pretty serious,” Alli said.

“Takes a lot of intentionality and focus like anything else in life,” McVehill added.

They all followed a plan taught by Dave Ramsey. It begins by taking seven baby steps. The steps begin by building an emergency fund. 

“$1,000 in the bank in a savings account,” said McVehill.

 “A beginner cushion,” Alli said.

Step two calls for paying off the debt.  

“Taking all the debt smallest to largest,” McVehill said.

It is a confidence builder to start with the smaller bills first.

“So you can get that little victory and then put that towards your next,” said Alli. 

Chris and Alli are continuing to take the seven steps. McVehill and her husband have already reached the seventh step and that includes paying off their mortgage. 

“December 17, we made a phone call to the bank and paid off our home,” she said.

It took time to become debt free. Two years for Chris and Alli and four years for McVehill and her husband. They all have no intentions of ever going back into debt. 

“Never open up another credit card,” said McVehill. 

“If we don’t have it in cash, we can’t afford it and we don’t buy it,” Chris said.

They have gone from buying the big things to cherishing the smaller things.

“I really encourage people to look into what the areas of life that are important to them,” McVehill recommended.

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