Vickie Streitmatter

Why I do what I do

My personal experience with high levels of debt has led me to help others make their own realistic plans for getting on a better path to debt-free living.  I’m not a financial adviser  who helps mostly with things like investments, insurance, and retirement planning, nor am I a credit counselor.  Rather I’m a money mentor who guides people to being debt-free and on a better path, away from needing credit and towards having money available for investments, insurance, retirement – and much more. I’m passionate about teaching others to take control of habits and make lifestyle changes in order to enjoy the freedom and peacefulness of debt-free living, because I know how it feels.

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In 2006, my husband and I were on “auto-pilot” and not paying attention to how much we were spending and where we were spending it. Our debt totaled almost $50,000; I felt like I was on a treadmill and couldn’t get off.  Talk about stressed, I knew we had to get serious and pay off this debt. Something had to change – we had to take responsibility for our situation.

A few years earlier we had taken a class called ‘Debt Free and Prosperous’ by John Commuto, which helped us start living within our means and attack our debts.  Although sometimes I struggled with the whole process, I knew we had to do something drastic, including considering what were our needs vs. “wants”.

We cut back on the newspaper, buying lunch at work, the home phone, and almost all shopping except groceries. During the first year we made considerable progress ( about one third of the debt), but knew we could do better in order to truly live debt-free and enjoy a more peaceful life.

The turnaround point

Then I read Dave Ramsey’s book “The Total Money Makeover,” which  reinforced all we’d been doing and provided more insight and encouragement to be determined and focused about paying off our debt as soon as possible.

Following Dave’s  proven plan kicked us into high gear, we paid off the remaining two thirds of debt the following year. What a tremendous feeling knowing we accomplished our goal of being debt-free about 1 year ahead of schedule!

The next step, was to save a 6 month emergency fund, it took us about 11 months.  Now we save for our needs, wants, future purchases, vacations, and give to our favorite charities.

We live on a plan, we know where we are going and we know how to get there!

A better path

Like my husband and I, many people have read Dave Ramsey’s book, listened to his radio show, or maybe even attended one of his programs at their local church. Sometimes that’s not enough for people to get off the debt treadmill and on the path to living debt-free. I know, however, that taking control of habits and making lifestyle changes isn’t always easy – there were many times it seemed too overwhelming and challenging. Going back to old habits was a temptation that easily could take us on a wrong turn back to living WITH debt.

I know this could happen for others, too, so that’s why I became a money mentor after completing Financial Peace University and Dave Ramsey’s ‘Counselor Training’ course with his counselors in Tennessee. Now I guide people on the same path I took to the freedom and peacefulness of debt-free living.