The Hope to Be Debt-Free
Even the most seemingly insurmountable debt can be overcome with some hope and dedication. Cherie Lowe shares in her new book, Slaying the Debt Dragon, how she and her husband were able to pay off $127,482.30 worth of debt in almost four years. Her book is not only a tale of the journey her family endured to conquer all that they owed, but it also offers advice and guidance for those who are in similar situations and feel like they will never be able to be debt-free. She says one of the first things individuals and couples need to do, however, is get their hearts and faith aligned with God’s plan for their money.
Lowe says she wants people to know that they are not alone in their battles with debt, and she even provides examples of other families and individuals who have managed to pay off large amounts of money owed. Her goal was to provide hope for others to pay off their financial burdens. “There’s always hope,” Lowe said. “I always joke that I’m a hope junkie—it gives me a high feeling when I finish talking to people, and they walk away saying, ‘I can do this!’”
Lowe’s journey to debt freedom began in April of 2008, and she says she originally estimated it would take 15 years to pay off everything. While she is very thankful it took much less time, it wasn’t an easy feat, as there were many sacrifices she and her family had to make. She and her husband, Brian, have two daughters and still wanted to make sure their kids’ lives were filled with wonderful childhood experiences. But, Lowe says, most people don’t remember spending money but, rather, they remember spending time with people. Still, the family had to get creative in some of its methods. Lowe ordered diapers from Amazon, made her own baby food and laundry detergent, and used coupons for everything she could. Her family even gave up meat in the last few months of the journey.
One thing that Lowe realized after beginning the path to debt freedom is that perhaps she wasn’t as content as she thought she would be, and that she needed to be grateful to the Lord for the things she did have. “I think sometimes in a lot of areas of our faith that we encounter or grapple with a big issue and think, ‘contentment—I don’t really have a problem; I don’t really need anything else,’” she said. “I really dug into some issues of contentment and realized that I did want more than we had money for. It was something I had to surrender. His blessings are amazing. He alone is enough. Beyond that, I’m looking at my entire house with new eyes.”
Even though their debts are paid off, the Lowe family still practices wise spending—Cherie still makes her own laundry detergent and uses as many coupons as she can, but there is a little bit more room to breathe, she says. The savings don’t have to be quite as intense, and she and her husband even started an account they call the “generous fund” for books they want to buy to give to people who need them. They are able to give to others—it’s part of their world now, as she puts it.
Slaying the Debt Dragon came out at the beginning of January 2015. Lowe says one reason she wrote it is to dispel the lies many people believe that they are the only ones with debt. She says people often don’t like to talk about money in the faith community, but Lowe wants to break that barrier and provide encouragement for others. “You’re not alone,” she said. “There is hope, and the hope in Jesus is always more important.”