Debt Free Teacher Tactics was created from the realization that writing about my own personal experiences with the struggles with money, budgeting, growing my income, finding fulfillment and happiness, and understanding the relationships within each, would enable me and others to reach financial goals.

My relationship with money is a long one. It began when I was a young boy growing up in a small town in west Texas. My mother was a teacher and my father worked multiple jobs and side hustles, all while searching for the get rich quick scheme that would pan out. Ultimately, he found his way back to his first passion- real estate and has been very successful since.

After high school, I decided I would attend a university and study business to become a millionaire. That’s how it happens right? Go get a business degree and become a businessman. A naivety comical to me even now. One and a half years in, my then girlfriend and I found out we were pregnant. I was 20 years old. Things changed very quickly after that.

While we waited for our daughter to be born, as well as surviving the freezer rent house we called a home, we began our own infancy stages of finance.  I was 20 years old and my pregnant girlfriend (at the time) was 19.  How would we go to school full time and work enough to be able to live and provide for ourselves?  This was the simplest of questions we were addressing.  Finishing our degrees wasn’t just a suggestion or option- it was a necessity and one I used to maintain a certain degree of discipline in time management and personal finance.  Money lessons I had learned from my father and my own personal experience growing up with various levels of income levels.  I knew it was imperative we finish school to give ourselves the opportunities missed by those without.  So, the mindset was not that we wanted to finish school, it was necessary.

We worked waiting and bar tending jobs scheduling around our class schedule. We began using our first money management system- the envelope budget, famously created by Dave Ramsey This was a game changer for us! It changed our spending habits, it made us conscious of what we were spending with the instant feedback of literally seeing the money leave the envelopes. It was a great tool and foundational layer to our financial journey.

After two years of working and going to school full time, along with taking every summer intersession and winter intersession possible, AND have a baby girl, we were able to finish our degrees. The hard part was over I thought. Now I can get a real career and start making big money! That was 2009. Right in the middle of the worst recession since the Great Depression. So after coming up empty in search of a dream job, I ended up selling furniture for 9 months.

In an economic climate where jobs were scarce and layoffs common, schools still needed teachers.  Kids didn’t stop attending because the market collapsed.  Salaried, retirement, health benefits, holidays off with the kids, and oh……..summer????  Plus, coaching would give me an extra stipend.  Talk about, play, compete in, motivate to excel, and be around sports half the time?  “Ok,” I thought.  “This will work……….for now.”

I have been in education for 10 years now, completed a master’s in education, and couldn’t feel more blessed to have this profession. Over that time period I have made financial mistakes and mishaps, successes and triumphs. I have come to realize that happiness, fulfillment, financial peace and wealth building does not come from income alone but what you do with it. Whether you make $500 a week or $5,000 your habits, planning, discipline and consistency will determine your financial future.

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