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Thursday, May 28, 2015

His and Her Money Show

One of our favorite things about this journey is all the amazing people we have gotten to meet through our story. We were recently blessed with the opportunity to do a podcast about our story with the His and Her Money Show. It is run by an amazing couple who offer great financial advice. You can check out their website and our podcast here:

We hope you are all doing well with your financial goals, whatever they may be. Thanks for taking time to be a part of our journey. We hope it helps you in some way. You can do this.

In Christ, 
Bryant and Emily Adler

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Dave Ramsey Show Video

We had the most incredible time spending our day at The Dave Ramsey Show. Everyone there was incredibly kind. They went out of their way to make us feel welcomed and special.

There is an incredible cafe there, Martha's Place, where all the coffee and treats are free. We enjoyed meeting a lot of people in the lobby and sharing our story. The highlight of the day had to be meeting Dave Ramsey. It was a great accomplishment to hear him say that he was proud of us.

My favorite moment of the show is when Dave said, "As a couple, you guys have learned to set goals and team up on something. That means you can do anything."

We have said from the beginning that we would be like minded in this. It has been incredible for our marriage. We can't wait to tackle the next chapter of our lives, whatever that may hold.

Thanks for the support throughout this journey. It's been a blessing.

You can find our debt free scream here:

In Christ,

Bryant and Emily Adler

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Big Weekend for the Adler Debt Project

We have some exciting events coming up this weekend that we would like to share with you:

1) Tomorrow, March 13, we will be featured on the radio on 620am Joy 62 - WRJZ Knoxville!  We will be on between 7:15-8:00 AM on the Bob Bell Show. You can catch us if you're up in the morning.

2)  We will also be featured tomorrow evening on a podcast for the His and Her Money Show!  We will tape the podcast tomorrow evening, but we are not sure when it will be posted.  We will let you know more details as we receive them.  In the meantime, you can check out their website at:

3) Finally, to wrap up our spring media tour (sarcasm), we will be guests on the Dave Ramsey Show on Monday, March 16th, between 3-4pm CST.  You can check local listings for the radio show at:

We are very excited for all of the opportunities to share our story!

In Christ,
Bryant and Emily

Monday, March 9, 2015

Adler Debt Project on Dave Ramsey Show

One week from today, we will be live on the air with the Dave Ramsey Show!  We're very excited about this opportunity.  Even though we've been debt free for a couple months, it feels like this will make it official.

To be on the Dave Ramsey show was one of our goals when we started this whole debt thing.  Emily and I actually talked about it two and half years ago when we started.  While we didn't take the Financial Peace class, we did use several of Dave's books.  We definitely used the debt snowball method.  You can find out more information on that on his website or throughout our blog.

We were filled with hope and knew we could be debt free, but I'm not sure that we seriously thought we would actually get on the show.  This is another awesome accomplishment for us in our young marriage.  However, it is also that tells us that we were on right the track from the beginning.

We are now working on how to fulfill this blessing by passing it on to others.  This blog is one of the ways we do that.  However, each day we become more aware of how we can pay it forward with our life lessons through debt.  You can catch us on the Dave Ramsey Show on Monday, March 16th, between 3-4 pm CST.  You can check local listings for the radio show at:

Hope you have a blessed week!

In Christ,
Bryant and Emily Adler

Friday, February 27, 2015

Building An Emergency Fund?

As we all debate the color of #thedress (BTW:  I said blue and brown, Em said blue and black), it's time for a Friday blog post! We thought we would take a look at one of the more important aspects, for us, of saving and paying down debt:

The Emergency Fund.

You have to have it.  I don't think this is something that many people are opposed to.  We all like the idea of having the "rainy day" fund.  However, how many of us actually have one?  When we started our debt journey back in 2012, we certainly didn't.  However, It was one of the first steps we took.  Why?  Because life happens.

If you're not familiar with the term, an emergency fund is money you tuck away in savings.  You do not touch it.  It is there when you need a life line.  No matter how careful you are, there is going to be a doctor bill... especially if you have kids.  You can be up to date on your oil changes, but the car will need new brakes.  It's Sunday afternoon and your washing machine breaks?!?!  You cannot predict life's circumstances, but you can be ready for that proverbial "life" curve ball.

We kept, and still keep, an emergency fund of at least $1,000.00 in the bank for such occurrences as the ones listed above.  That doesn't mean $1,000.00 is the end all saving point for this fund.  It is a good place to start though.  Once you have that figure in place, it's probably a good idea to keep adding based on your income and household numbers.

So how do you build this fund? Check these 4 quick ways to build an emergency fund from Dave Ramsey:

Hope you have a great Friday!

In Christ,
Bryant and Emily

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Are we still living on a budget?

It's funny now that we're out of debt, not much has changed.  Many people ask us if we've gone on a wild spending spree.  In full disclosure, we have raised some of our personal categories like discretionary money and shopping.  We also go out to Panera Bread a little more frequently than we used to:)

However, we are still on a budget.  This choice we made several years earlier wasn't just a quick fix.  It was a life style choice.  There was always going to be the next step after paying down the last debt.  Now we are going to take that awesome vacation to Hawaii as we wrote about in the last post, and we even celebrated last weekend with a big dinner at one of our favorite restaurants.  Check out the celebratory pic:

But we still live on a budget.  We still meal plan and still live on a grocery budget.  Bryant has dental bill from a procedure last month.  We are now saving for a house.  And then there is this little thing called retirement.  Yes, friends the world still turns.   However, ours turns with more options.  That is what being debt free does.  It gives you a choice rather than someone telling you have to pay them.  Hopefully you're debt free.  If you're just starting or on your way, know that it is awesome.  Also, know that you have to think about the next step and where you want to go.  This is not just a five year plan.  It is a life plan.

It doesn't matter how much money you have.  You need to know where it goes.  If you're a millionaire and spend all your money, you're still broke.  I guarantee if you ask anyone who is well off financially, they know where every cent goes.  That's the way this works.  You know where your money goes and you make it work for you.

So here's to making your money work for you!

In Christ,
Bryant and Emily Adler

Friday, February 20, 2015

Is this the condition that I feared?

Well, here in Tennessee, it seems we're slowly escaping the great ice storm of 2015!  Not sure if any more winter is in store for us, but I'm about over it!  It makes me feel for all of those people up in Boston and greater New England who are forever trapped in snow and ice right now (on a serious note prayers/thoughts to all of those who have been without and have lost during this time).  We just got a small taste of this weather . . . and you can have it back!

On the other hand, as we sit this morning in our tiny apartment, it makes me feel very thankful.  We've been out of school all week and had a ton of unexpected free time.  It's given me a lot of time to think (I should note this can be very productive, but also very dangerous!)  My father used to tell me, "There will always be someone better off than you, but there will always be someone off worse."

This week we have been trapped inside the house and had to live off the basics (you can laugh)! We've done everything from puzzles to Harry Potter movies.  We've never once lost power.  We've eaten delicious snacks and cooked great homemade dinners.  We're sitting in comfortable clothes, drinking hot coffee, and watching the Today Show. Is this really that bad?  It reminds me of this quote:

"Set aside a certain number of days, during which you shall be content with the scantiest and cheapest fare, with course and rough dress, saying to yourself the while: " Is this the condition that I feared?"


You may be reluctant to give "things" up to save money and pay down your debt.  I know it's not easy.   It wasn't for me or Emily either, at first. Try it for a week, or dare I say month, and see how you do.  I bet you will come out on the other side saving more money than you expected.  You will also not be any worse off.  However, I bet there will still be a ton of people in the world not doing well at all.  Maybe you will say, "Is the condition that I feared?"

Start your debt journey.  It's worth it.  Just some random thoughts for a cold Friday!

"Don't be afraid to give up the good to go for the great."

John D. Rockefeller

Stay safe and warm,
Bryant and Emily Adler

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

"All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them." - Walt Disney

So Dream Big.

When we started the debt journey, we knew we had big dreams. To quote one of Bryant's favorite musicians, "If you're not going to make your dreams epic, why bother to dream anything at all?" - Scott Miller.

We set a huge goal of debt freedom in under 3 years. To follow that goal, we also said we would go to Hawaii the summer after we obtained debt freedom. We wanted to reward ourselves for two years of extreme sacrifice.

Today, we can happily say we have reached both goals. We are debt free, and we bought two tickets to Hawaii today....using cash.

So our advice is this....Dream big. Set big goals. However, know that in order to reach them, you have to make a plan to get there. You also have to stick to it. Dreams don't come true without hard work and determination. Get after the things you want in life today. Don't wait for someone else to make them happen for you.

We will say it until we are blue in the face, you can do this. ANYTHING is possible with hard work, sacrifice, and determination. Live life to the fullest. Change your circumstances. Do what makes you happy. Work hard for what you want. Go after it with everything you have. Enjoy life with the people you love. It is all worth it.

Take time to make a plan to reach your goals. Dream big. Life is short. Have hope and be happy.

See you in June, Hawaii.

In Christ,
Bryant and Emily Adler

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

A Personal Note

Sorry we missed you on Monday if you're a regular follower of the blog!!  To quote Emily, "Our life is in chaos."  We're doing ok, just crazy busy!  If you saw our kitchen sink this morning, then you would understand.

Ok, so money saving tip for today.  Valentine's Day is coming up.  Seriously who really just hates this holiday?  Hallmark execs salivate in their offices at this time of year.  We don't like it, but nobody wants to be left out either.  Now, this tip is more for the guys out there, but it could work for anybody.

 Are you looking for a low budget Valentine's Day gift that still means something special?  This one can be a little challenging, but it doesn't have to cost you a fortune if you think outside the box.  This is a great low cost idea that I have to credit my buddy AP with.

Try writing a personal note or letter on stationary or a blank 99 cent card.  In day of emails, iPhones, Hulu, Facebook, and Twitter, how often do you write or receive hand written notes?  Almost never.  I bet if you do get one it's from someone 65 and up.  This is a lost art, but can be very meaningful.  Sometimes the perfect gift isn't a rose, earrings, or an over priced piece of chocolate!  If you really want to tell someone (your special guy or gal) you love them try doing it with your own words.  You may be an awful writer like me, but count on the fact that nothing beats the honest heart.

In Christ,
Bryant and Emily Adler

Friday, February 6, 2015

WBIR News Feature

We're so blessed to have so much coverage for our story!  We really appreciate WBIR, and especially Steve Butera, for taking the time to not only share our journey, but to also highlight our profession as teachers.  You can find the link to the feature here:

I'm not your where you stand on education, but I think we can all agree that it is important.  Whether you're a teacher or a CEO, we all have to live within a budget.  Don't let a salary number define who you are.  No matter what your income level is, you can make a positive change in your life.  That may not always lead to big gains, but progress is progress.  There is always hope.

In Christ,
Bryant and Emily Adler

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Free Coffee (cont.)

Ok, we were going to post on a different topic today, but in light of our recent coffee post I thought I would pass along this news.

Chick-Fil-A is giving away free coffee the entire month of February!

They're giving customers a free 12-ounce small hot coffee or a 16-ounce medium iced coffee anytime during restaurant hours.  No purchase necessary.  It is important to make sure your local area restaurant is participating before you head out.

I just went by our local store and picked up a 12-ounce hot coffee to check it out.  Not bad coffee.

Bryant and Emily

Monday, February 2, 2015

How To Give Up Starbucks . . .

Many of you have asked us about different things we had to give up during our debt pay down.  Here is one of the lighter but serious sides of that struggle.  Okay, it is really not that serious.   However, it is still near and dear to my heart.  I don''t know what kind of coffee you drink, but I'm a coffee snob. I love Starbucks.  I know some of you consider them to be a member of the evil empire along with Wal-Mart and others.  However, whether you like them or not, buying premium coffee out is expensive.

Just a tall (small size at Starbucks) black coffee at Starbucks is around $1.84 in our area.  If you got one every morning of the work week (Mon.-Fri.), here is how that would breakdown:

$9.20 a week
$36.80 a month
$441.60 a year

That's almost $500 a year on coffee!  I hate these type of stats . . . I mean I hate them, but they're always very sobering when it comes to money for me.  Did I mention that is just a black coffee.  How many of you out there get one of those carmel macchiato things?  Yeah those go for like $3-5 a pop. Do the math and then give it up.

This was very hard for me to give up!  Again, I'm a self admitted coffee snob.  We currently have in our home kitchen repertoire:

Coffee Grinder (yes, we buy whole bean . . it's the only way to go . . try it . . you won't go back)*
French Press*
Expresso Machine*
Standard Coffee Machine*

*I should note here that we got these units as wedding gifts.  We did not purchase them during the debt pay down.

Now once we locked down our budget, there was not much room for Starbucks runs.  How did I deal with this?  The same way I got through a lot of this.  I got resourceful.

Side tract:

It's amazing how resourceful you can get when you're faced with no extra money options.  Whether its coffee or a weekend trip, look for the deals, coupons, friends, family, and freebies that can help you get from Point A to Point B while still paying down your debt! i.e. coffee:  I found that I could get a free cup of coffee at work, at the bank, at the grocery store, my apartment complex, and even the oil change place?!?!  Basically, where ever my day took me, I could stop in for a coffee.  Now some were better than others in taste, but the price was always right.  

Now, I'm not saying be a cheapskate!  There is a difference in being cheap and frugal.  Don't just walk in and rip people off for the heck of it.  However, if you are going to work, a place of business, or errand for a real reason, then I don't think it's wrong to grab a cup of joe on the house.

Okay, we're back from my free coffee tangent!  Back to making coffee at home.  First, I had to buy whole bean coffee and make all of my coffee drinks at home.  This proved to be a trial and error system.  The easiest was regular morning coffee.  I bargain shopped Kroger, Wal-Mart, . . for the cheapest whole bean bag of coffee I could find that would give me the closest coffee house experience.  Living on a tight grocery budget we could not always just buy Starbucks in store.  It usually came out to like $8.00 a pound at the grocery.  It is amazing to me what high end coffee goes for.  We had to suffer through several bags of cheap generic coffee.

I'm not sure what your coffee tastes are, but, for us, the best deal/taste was at Trader Joe's where we could get over a pound of their bottom shelf medium roast for about $4.00.

We basically gave up the other specialty drinks.  You can make them, but it takes practice and is very time consuming!!  The ones we would keep in the rotation:

hot chocolate*

*Since we're teachers, we usually got lots of homemade mix from students!  This usually lasts us for a while and has a sentimental value.

That sure beats the heck out of instant-just-add-water while your paying down debt!!  Tastes great too.  Be sure to check back in with us later this week for a cool local feature on our debt journey.

In Christ,
Bryant and Emily Adler

Friday, January 30, 2015

How Do I Make A Budget? Part 2

How Do I Make a Budget???? Here’s What Ours Looked Like

One of the biggest questions we receive is, “How do I make a budget?” We felt this way too when we first started our journey. Neither one of us had EVER made a budget before. It can be overwhelming at first. The great news is that we now really enjoy the budget and can’t go without it.

So where do you start? Here are our suggestions:

1.   Know what you make each month. Take the budget a month at a time. That way it’s not overwhelming. Add up EXACTLY what you make in a month. That’s step 1.

 2.   Figure out what comes out in bills. For example, our bills category had the following:
·         Phone
·         Car Insurance
·         Utilities
·         Internet
·         Rent
·         Compassion Child
·         Minimum Payments on Loans

 3. After we figured out what our bills were, we moved on to monthly expenses. So take the number you are at after subtracting bills and start subtracting monthly expenses. Ours included:
·         Tithe – 10% of our income
·         Gas - $400 a month  (We could usually save on this one)
·         Groceries - $400 a month (This is the one we STRUGGLED with. We won’t tell you how many times we went over budget on this one. Show yourself grace)
·         Fun Money (Money we could spend on what we wanted) $50 each
·         Date Night - $50
·         Miscellaneous - $50
·         Vacation - $80
·         Birthdays/Gifts – Varied depending on the month

 4.   After you have subtracted your monthly expenses, see what you have left. Take that and, if your emergency fund is complete, throw it at debt. EVERY penny counts.

5.  Take a good look at your budget and see what you can cut out. We cut out cable and downsized our apartment to save on rent. Debt freedom doesn’t come without sacrifice.

 6.   SHOW YOURSELF GRACE – The first month of the budget was HARD. We went over, we spent too much, we fell off track, etc. This process is hard. Don’t beat yourself up if it takes you a few months to get the hang of a budget. It takes time to learn new habits. You CAN do this.

 7.  Have monthly money meetings to look at the budget. Decide what’s going well and what you can change.
We did our budget each month by hand. We didn’t keep a spreadsheet on this, but simply kept a notebook. We hand wrote it each month, and we checked the boxes throughout the month as a payment came out.  This was the way that worked for us. Find the way that works for you. We still keep our budget this way even being out of debt.  This is what it looks like:

This is what it looked like the first month.  Notice all of the boxes . . .

This is what it looks like now.  Much smaller.  I believe this is what the kids call:  "Winning!"

This was our template, but we encourage you to get on the web and look around.  There are a million budget templates out there!  Also, if you're teach savy unlike us (just look at the blog:) you can even keep this more organized on your computer.  Find one that works for you.

You can do this. It is hard. It takes time and effort to learn. Your budget will be hard this first month. However, it is SO worth it. You will be amazed at how much money you have in a month when you know where it all goes.  Take control of your money and take control of your life.

In Christ,

Bryant and Emily Adler

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Well Kept Wallet Feature

We recently did an interview for Well Kept Wallet.  We appreciate them reaching out to us and for posting our story.  You can catch the interview at the link below:

This website is another resource that's out there if you're looking to start your own debt journey!

Bryant and Emily Adler

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

WATE News Feature

We were very thankful to WATE @6news for getting our story out to our local area.  Thanks to Cameron Taylor for coming out on a cold Tennessee winter night to talk to us about paying down debt!  You can watch/read the link at:

Keep working on debt no matter what. Hope you have great day!

Bryant and Emily Adler

Sunday, January 25, 2015

How We Got Started...Part 1

We have really enjoyed reading all the emails we have received. Our heart in all of this was to give others hope. We continue to hope our story does that for people.

We have received a lot of wonderful questions over the last week. One of the top questions we have received is, "How do I get started?" We plan to do a really in depth post about that this week. In it, we will talk about how we built an emergency fund and structured our budget. Keep in mind, our budget structure won't work for everyone. The way this journey works is to tailor it to what works for you. 

We will talk more about that later this week. In the mean time, we wanted to share with you what we read when we got started. 

This is The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey. This is the book that changed our lives. We did not take the Financial Peace course. While the course is important, we felt this book was enough to get us going and sustain us throughout the journey. If you are looking for accountability in the journey, we would recommend taking the course and connecting with people. However, this book also outlines the process is detail. 

You can find this book almost anywhere. We got ours for about $4 on eBay. If money is tight, we would recommend looking at used book stores. 

We will share about our budget later this week. We hope you have a blessed rest of your Sunday. Keep paying down debt.

In Christ,
Bryant and Emily

Thursday, January 22, 2015

The Most Unimpressive Spreadsheet That Guided Paying Off $92,645 of Debt

Over the last few days, we have been overwhelmed in wonderful way with the amount of questions we have received about our debt payoff. Due to the high volume of questions, we decided to break the process down in a few posts. We are going to start today with Step 1 and go from there. We hope this will help people starting the process to know where to begin.

Step 1 for us - Know what you owe

When we started this journey, we knew one thing had to happen. We had to organize our debts and write them down. We needed to know EXACTLY what we owed...down to the penny. We needed to know the minmum payments, when they were due, and how much interest was adding up as we went.

We had originially sat down with a piece of paper and pencil and totaled our debt by hand. Once we saw what we were facing, we knew we needed to keep track of it daily. Therefore, we decided to put our debts in a spreadsheet.

Here's the great news, anyone can do this. We are Excel stupid. We looked at multiple spreadsheets on other blogs and got totally overwhelmed. Therefore, we decided to create something BASIC and that we could understand. Honestly, looking back, ours isn't even organized well. We just wanted to get our debts down and start attacking them. We didn't categorize it or put it in any order. However, it worked for us. We hope it helps you.

Loan TypeMinumum PaymentInterest RateTotal Left to PayPaying per month
Car Loan321.966.80%8,645.07321.96
Credit Card 18012.00%440080
Credit Card 25015.00%488.1850*Attack First
Student Loan 1150.454.80%19,798.09150.45
Personal Loan 197.95%510097.9
Personal Loan 210015%2,000.00100
Student Loan 2114.835.00%18,982.00114.83
Student Loan 3151.274.80%21,547.18151.27
Student Loan 4211.364.80%8,732.54211.36
Bank Loan1005.00%2,000100
Medical Loan500.00%952.8550

We used this to constantly guide our progress. We looked at this EVERY DAY as a source of motivation and guidance. Every time we made a payment, we updated out numbers. We tracked our debt snowball this way as well. We started with "Credit Card 2" and paid that one off quickly. Then we took that $50 minimum payment and added it on to the minimum payment for "Personal Loan 2". That was not our next smallest loan, however, the interest rate was huge and the balance wasn't. We took that one out second and then moved on from there.

When we paid off a loan, we would change the color of that loan from black to red. Our finished spreadsheet is completely red and says "0" everywhere.  Now for most people, being in the black is positive and being in the red is negative. For the Adlers, we were debt stupid as well as Excel stupid. Therefore, we did it backwards. Again, do what works for you.

If you want to pay off debt, you have got to start by knowing what you owe. Know it down to every penny. From there, track your progress. It will keep you going to see those numbers decrease, even if it is by small amounts. You can do this.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Stay Tuned

What a few days it has been. We recently had our story published on Business Insider and Yahoo Finance. We are thankful for the opportunity to reach people and talk to them about our financial journey. 

In our last post, we stated we would not be updating the blog much. However, we were overwhelmed with emails, messages, and comments from people who connected to our story. Our mission in this the entire time was to help people who are in similar circumstances. So we plan to do that.

We will be making a post this week going more in to depth with the main questions we have been asked. We will also provide a sample spreadsheet like the one we used.

If you have contacted us with a question, we will be back in touch. Just be patient with us!

Keep paying debt down and having hope. You've got this.

In Christ,
Bryant and Emily Adler