How Eliminating $490,000 In Debt Brought This Family Closer Together

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Sami Womack, host of the A Sunny Side Up Life podcast, joins me this week to share how her family paid off $490,000 worth of debt.

We talk about how they found themselves in so much debt, the steps they took to get out of debt, and what life has been like since becoming debt-free.

Check it out below.

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Sami Womack 0:00

I think that we just kind of had this subconscious thought of you spend until it hurts. And when you start struggling, like that's when you're like, Okay, we made it. This is where we stop, we stop at the struggle. And because both of us just we grew up like that. And we were like, you just you make it all you spend it all. And that's just normal.

Michael Lacy 0:21

You're listening to the winning to wealth Podcast, where you'll hear real stories from real people who are on the path to building real wealth. These stories will show you how to earn more money, pay off debt, start investing, and make better money choices so you can build wealth for your future. Now, here's your host, Michael Lacy, what's up what's up? What's up teammates. This is Episode 34 of the winning to wealth podcast and on today's episode, we're talking about how to become debt free can strengthen your family life. And with that said, Joining me today is the host of the a sunny side up life pie. Cast, Miss Sammy Womack. Now Sammy and her husband found themselves almost half a million dollars in debt early in their marriage. And this was the result of some really bad money habits. And so in this episode, we're going to explore how Sammy and her husband got on the same page, how they eliminated half a million dollars worth of debt, and then we're going to end with what the debt free journey has done for their family. Now, if this is your first time here with us on the winning two world podcast, be sure to reach up and tap the subscribe button near the top of your screen. That way you can get your weekly dose of motivation and inspiration from these incredible money stories that we share every single Wednesday. But hey, let's jump right into this interview with Sammy Womack from the sunny side of life podcast. Sammy, welcome to the show. I am so excited to have you here with me today to share your journey. Out of almost half a million dollars worth of debt. But I do want to take it back to the beginning for this. So with that said, Can you share just a brief summary, a little story about how you and your husband met and came to be a couple?

Sami Womack 2:17

Yeah. So I don't think I've ever been asked this question. And I'm just like, so excited. So yeah, we were highschool sweethearts, and we started dating when I was 15. And he was 18, which my parents were thrilled about, obviously. But we had a marina on the lake. And if anyone follows my stories, we go to the lake all the time. That's our thing. And that's where we met my family had a marina with like, cabins restaurant, convenience store the whole thing. And so him and his brother would walk down and they would hang out. And that's how we met and we were friends for a long time before we started dating. And so we basically grew up together and we've been through a lot of life together. And yeah, so we like got serious in high school and you know, kind of did on again off again. You know, high school stuff. But yeah, and then we got married when I was 20. And he was 23. So we dated for like, five years before we got married. So a lot of life together.

Michael Lacy 3:23

Wow, that is a lot of life together. That's awesome, though, man. Yes, that's incredible. So let me ask I mean, both so you guys get married your early 20s really young? How are you guys managing money around that time?

Sami Womack 3:36

Oh, very terribly. He got the job that he still has my freshman year of college. So he's already like in his career, I'm barely in college. And we you know, he It was so much money that it was way more than either one of us ever like thought about having Because he doesn't oil transportation. So you know, it was just like a culture shock. It was one of those things where both of us grew up struggling with money, and all of a sudden we had all this money. And we were just like, go out to eat, buy all the clothes, do all the things. He got a really nice apartment and got a really nice truck. And we did all this and we were just living life and there was basically no managing money. We were just like, our bills are paid on time. We're good. And that was that was it and it was a few years into us being married that we finally like, started getting it together.

Michael Lacy 4:41

Okay, so let's let's jump right into that. Yeah, guys getting it together. Let's start with, I mean, at the beginning of the journey, like so how much debt Did you guys have when you finally had that moment where you decided to pay everything off?

Sami Womack 4:51

So it was about 490,000 when we added it up, and it's not an exact Number, because for one, I had no idea I was going to share this journey. Like there was no debt free community back then I didn't know that all of this existed. There was barely Instagram back then. So you know, I didn't know I was gonna share all this. So I didn't keep super detailed records, but it was around 490,000 when we very first started.

Michael Lacy 5:21

So how long have you guys been married? By this point, when you started tallying everything up and started really paying attention to it?

Sami Womack 5:28

It was right around our sixth anniversary of being married.

Michael Lacy 5:34

Okay. And so in that six years of being married, you guys accumulate almost half a million dollars in debt. What world were you guys doing to accumulate that much debt?

Sami Womack 5:43

So like I said, like he got this job in oh six, and we got married and no eight. We added up our debt in 14 somewhere in there. So we had several years of that. Just Living, living living and just going full speed. And then we we moved, I think four times we went from a one bedroom apartment to a trailer house to a nice medium sized house to a ginormous house. We had two kids, you know, we just kept living larger and larger and larger. And it all finally just caught up with us and it came just like crashing down on us.

Michael Lacy 6:29

Okay, so as you're accumulating this dam, like while this is going on, do you feel like man we're struggling or is this like, you know, this is normal. Everybody has a house. Everybody has cars, everybody like everybody does this. It just feels what we're like what we're supposed to do.

Sami Womack 6:44

Yeah, we I mean, we definitely felt like we were struggling. But we felt like the struggle was normal. And we both we both grew up around money struggles. And so we thought I think that we just kind of had this subconscious thought of use Until it hurts. And when you start struggling, like that's when you're like, Okay, we made it. This is where we stopped, we stopped at the struggle. And because both of us just we grew up like that. And we were like, you just you make it all you spend it all. And that's just normal. And so we thought struggling was normal. We thought all young couples struggle, all normal people like us. This is how we live, you know, people that have kids, this is normal. We didn't have any real examples of wealth around us. And we thought that was something that other people do.

Michael Lacy 7:32

Right. Okay. And so, you're, again, you're going through life, this is all very normal, right? This is not anything that's really out of the ordinary, anything like that. And so, how did you get to that point where you said, You know what, something's got to change, like, what was that moment for you?

Sami Womack 7:48

It was basically a rock bottom moment. It was basically where we got to the point where, if we would have kept letting it go, it would have gotten to revisit Session it was getting pretty bad. It was credit cards completely maxed out. We had no credit cards left. And we had been juggling living off credit cards paying them off going back to the credit cards so much. We had been juggling due dates. I mean, we knew like the grace period of every single bill. We paid almost everything during that grace period between when it was actually due and we're going to get paid a late charge late fees sometimes I would even budget in the late fee like budget in. I'm like doing air quotes because it was not like a real budget when I would plan to like pay the late fee. I'm like, Okay, well, let's pay like $10 extra, and we'll just put it on the next paycheck. And it was so much juggling. I mean, it was exhausting. And it got to a point where we had three pieces of property. Two of them were houses, one of them was raw land. We had property taxes on all those our property taxes were three and four years behind. We were on payment schedules. We owe the IRS money. It was like it was getting really out of hand really fast. On our house that turned into like an accidental rental. we upgraded in house couldn't sell it. So we turned it into a rental. That's how we ended up with two houses. And we ended up getting called into the vice president of the banks office with repossession papers on his desk and he was a family friend. I grew up knowing him and he was like, you know, he was like, I know you guys. I know like, What is going on? He was like, these papers came across my desk and you guys are three months behind, three years behind on your property taxes, what's going on? And I was like I had I honestly had no idea we were three months behind. I thought we were like, one or two months behind that. I mean, that is how chaotic it was. And that really, that was embarrassing that I made my family Look, I was just like he knows me from growing up. This is terrible. That was just that's Really where the rock bottom started? And then it was just like, no credit card balance left no, this no that. It was a wake up call pretty pretty quickly after all that.

Michael Lacy 10:11

Okay. Okay, and so you have this wake up call, right? And then you're starting to kind of realize that like, something's got to change. But before you get to that point, I want to ask you, what was your guys's household income around that time?

Sami Womack 10:23

So, obviously, I did such great record keeping back in the day, you know, I really honestly don't 100% know. But like I said, My husband's had the same job for 14 years. It's a great job he gets union raises pretty much every year. It's like a 3% cost of living raise. So right now we're like in the mid 90 thousands like net. So we had to have been making about 70 or 80,000 then. And so really, I mean, he's had the same exact job. He's gotten a few cost of living raises and So that really goes to show you how much we were really living out of our means there. I mean, yeah, we obviously he's gotten a little bit of a pay increase. But we also added three kids in the middle of that. And so so much of it was just discipline. It wasn't even an income problem. It was so much discipline. Right. So let's talk about those initial conversations. Because again, this is a this is a big problem. You've been embarrassed in your own words by a family friend who kind of called you out there. And you're looking at almost half a million dollars worth of debt on 70 to 80. k income like, Yeah,

Michael Lacy 11:34

what were those initial conversations?

Sami Womack 11:38

We just really, it was a lot of embarrassment, like I said, and we had tried so many times, like, we thought that budgeting was paying your bills on time and like I had a big dry erase board where I'd put like a checkmark when I paid bills. And we thought that was enough. And it was not Budget it was paid bills, it was like a very small percentage of a budget. And we had tried so many times, you know, and I usually would be the one to start the conversation because that was one of my, like, household chores was, you know, make sure the bills were paid things like that, make sure we had grocery money. And I would start the conversation, I'd be like, Look, you know, we really like things are getting out of hand and I, that conversation started so many times over the six years of our marriage, there was a lot of tears of like, Hey, what are we doing and then they'd be a big paycheck and be like, okay, we worried for nothing, you know, and we kind of play catch up and and we we had tried and we just kept falling off of it. And a lot of it was, my husband is gone. Like he works off for three weeks and he's home for three weeks. So it was a lot of the mentality of we're sacrificing so much being apart when he's home. We're going to have fun. We're going to live our life and the Was all well and good when like we were in our early 20s. And we had no kids. And we could do that when we were living in a one bedroom apartment. But we just kept increasing that lifestyle. And he was never really against it. But he was more of like, he wanted to have fun when he was home, you know, he felt like he had sat on a boat for three weeks, and that sucked. And when he was home, he was gonna live his life. He felt like a budget really took the spontaneity out of life. It really took the fun out of life. And I'd be like, I mean, you do work really hard, and I want you to be happy and Okay, let's just, it's fine, whatever, and I'll just scrimp on your work. And so it was never really like him have been against it. It was just like, this isn't fun.

Sami Womack 13:46

And it just kind of grew from there.

Michael Lacy 13:51

So what were some of those initial steps that you took to I mean, as you're having these conversations and you're navigating this and obviously he you know, at some point he kind of comes around So what what did it take for you to kind of get him to see things from from a different perspective,

Sami Womack 14:05

I think, when he saw how upset I really was, and and I tell a lot of my followers now, you know, because you probably get a lot of the same question of like, as a married couple, how do you do this? You know, one spouse is not on board. And I always say, like, go to him or her with your heart, you know, don't go starting to fight like, well, it's your fault that doesn't, you know, we're both in this and go with your heart. And I think this time, I was so heartbroken. Like I was just so at a bad mental place that it was really weighing on me and I think that he finally started to see like, this is not okay, like, she's not happy. We're not happy. This is not okay. This is not what we dreamed of when we were in high school and dating and, you know, naming our pretend kids and you know, right, right, this is not what we jumped up and so It really started with me kind of doing it on my own, which I feel like is pretty common. And it was like I tracked our spending I controlled what I could control the groceries, things like that. I made sure the bills are paid on time and then it took me about three months to kind of get up the courage to actually add up our debt, which is why I don't really know hundred percent what our debt total was. I was budgeting budgeting again for three months before I added up our debt. And when he like saw that total he was like, oh, wow, we are really in over our heads and then we kind of started to slowly like, get on the same track. We started to kind of you know, do the normal cut back our lifestyle, we quit going out to eat, we watched our groceries. And then eventually we worked up to getting really serious with selling all three of our properties and now we're like in a tiny two bedroom house and it was very, it was gradual how it happened. It definitely did not happen in the span of like Two months or

Michael Lacy 16:03

so I have to ask you, I mean, a lot of people, I'm sure, like listening to this, when you look at a number like $490,000, like, you can't help but to feel like Dang, like this might be impossible, like, maybe I'm in over my head a little bit. So can you talk a little bit about the mindset that you had to put yourself in to be able to eliminate so much debt?

Sami Womack 16:24

Yeah, so it was a lot.

Sami Womack 16:28

And at first, our plan really wasn't to be debt free. And again, like we thought that was something that other people do. We didn't really we didn't know any people that were 100% debt free. We didn't. We didn't we don't really even still know very many people that fully retire. Like that's just not our norm. And so in the very beginning, we actually didn't really plan to be debt free. What we plan to do was kind of be consumer debt free be caught up and We were just not going to live on credit cards like that was our plan we were going to not be three years behind on property taxes. And we were going to get to a point and I still have some of our very first like timeline like goal sheets that we wrote out and we were going to get the credit cards paid off and then we were going to save a good downpayment for us to get a second vehicle which is my suburban now. And we were just going to save a downpayment and then finance and like, that's like what normal people do, right? That's what pretty like mature good with their money people do. So that was our plan. And that seemed more obtainable. Like that seems like we could actually do that. Well, we got farther and farther on our journey. And we were like, Hey, we could like might be able to like really do this. And then it started to like, okay, we're gonna save up and cash flow. This suburban, we're just going to buy something cheaper than what we had planned on buying, and see if we can just buy it in cash. And then we were like, hey, that worked. You know, and it We just kind of kept going and kept going. And then we, you know, that led to our confidence growing. And we started to feel like, this feels really good. And it gradually it just started to all fall into place. And then that turned into Let's sell the properties. Let's be 100% debt free, let's rent for a while. Let's ask ourselves what we actually want out of life, not what we think we should do, not what other people tell us we should do. What a we actually want to do. And it grew from there. And so I think that a lot of people will start and they'll look up at this huge half a million dollar mountain, and they're like, I couldn't ever climb that. Never mind. But you know, we just started we took chunks out of it at a time and we, we eventually got to where we are now.

Michael Lacy 18:48

Right? Okay, so something you've touched on a couple times is selling properties. Yeah, that can be tough, right? Because like you you get an emotional attachment to like where you live, where you eat, sleep, raise your kids, all those things. Yeah. Like, what was that like selling off your properties to pay, you know, eventually cleared the debt.

Sami Womack 19:06

It was rough. And we don't like we live in the middle of nowhere East Texas and like we don't have a great housing market. It's not like California or something where you put it on the market and have like competing bids, and over the weekend, it's not. It's yours for sale sometimes. And so the land was easy. It was raw land, it was commercial. It was for a project that I wanted to do that changed my mind. And so that wasn't really any emotional attachment. And that turned out to be the best financial one of all of them. And then the house that turned into our accidental rental. That was hard. I mean that that was our first house. That's where we brought our first daughter home, but also it was like it was so much of a burden. We were like, okay, we're over you by and then are the Big House was really, really hard. My parents built it to be their forever home. My dad was a home builder. And then he got lung cancer. And after he passed, my mom tried to keep the house. But it was 32,000 square foot house on three and a half acres, massive expensive. All the things and she's like I can't like she tried for I think about a year, maybe two years, something like that to keep it. And she was just struggling so much. And she's like, do you guys want to take it over? Do you want to keep it in the family? And we were like, yeah, I mean, obviously we wanted to for all the emotional reasons for the fact that it was just a really pretty house for the fact that we were getting well below market value. But then once kind of like what I was just saying, like how it all started to fall into place, what do we actually want? And we were like this house is not our dream. If we're going to be in I think it was like 280 280,000 or so. That debt was that house. We're like, if we're going to be almost $300,000 in debt for a house, it's going to be our dream. And that was really hard. And that was like telling my sisters, my mom, my grandparents, our friends that practically grew up there. All of our kids all three of our kids took their first steps in that house, you know, all that stuff. It was really hard. And it was not as easy as saying it all in a couple sentences. Obviously, there were lots and lots of tears, lots of like, is this the right decision? But when we really sat down and thought about it, we were we really were like, what do we actually want and it was not that house. So you know, we took that and we kept pushing through it until it eventually it got sold. And I think it turned out to be a really good decision in the end, man,

Michael Lacy 21:54

that cheese that's a lot Not gonna lie. That sounds like super tough. So and speaking of that, I mean, let's talk about, you know, your journey in and of itself. Did you guys encounter any obstacles like along the journey as you were going through?

Sami Womack 22:12

Well, so prepping for our interview, I'm reading the questions to my husband and I said, Hey, what do you think? Do we did we have any obstacles? And he's like, and like points to our daughter. We had. We had our third daughter, she was a surprise. I mean, we wanted three but we are second or third or 20 months apart. I don't think very many people do that on purpose. 20 months is really close. So here we are. We like we start our budget. October 2014. We add up our debt January 2015. February 2015. I found out I was pregnant. We were like, Oh my God. We just knew that. It was over. Like we just knew it was another one of those. We tried. We failed. It wasn't gonna work. And somehow this time it's stuck. And we took her surprise pregnancy as All right, we have a timeline now. Let's see how much we can get paid off before she comes. Let's do this. Let's do that. And now we're like, not only are we doing this for two kids now we're doing this for three kids. We really need to get our act together. And so it just turned out to be the best blessing in disguise. And obviously, we're glad that we have her but it was, I mean, we just thought like, this is it, it's not gonna work. I it's not gonna work. Um, you know, and then of course, we we had the normal, you know, things happen and I think that a lot of people for some reason think that all this like all the Murphy and the, you know, life happens kind of stuff. They think that that means that they failed. It doesn't. That's just Life like it happens. It happens to all of us and like, your waterline is gonna bust your transmission is gonna go out. You're gonna, gosh, those are two things happen very early in our journey. My husband flies for work one time he overslept, and we had to front the money for him to get on the next flight. And that cleared out our emergency fund right there. I mean, a last minute flight from Houston to New York is like $800. And that's not fun. I mean, yeah, I mean, there was so many little things, but we just kept taking it as we like, we cross this hurdle. Like come at me one more thing. Let's go, let's go. And we just like that challenge. Just really, it fueled the fire and like we just, we just kept going. And,

Michael Lacy 24:47

you know, I know for me one thing that really used to bug me like while we were paying off debt, or like once we had done it, like when you share with people, they're like, Oh, I can never do that. Like I have kids. And so and that that like To this day, it like, irks the crap out of me. So can you talk to me about just how you guys managed to consistently win with money with three kids?

Sami Womack 25:10

No. So it mean it's not easy. But I mean, what part of life is just super easy, nothing nothing worth having really. And for us, we, we took it as we have even more motivation to do better. And we really took that leaving a legacy type of mindset seriously, and we took like, we don't want our kids to ever see us fight about money. That was something that we both grew up around. We both grew up with. watching our parents struggle, we both grew up you know, as teenagers with like one pair of jeans and like the off brand tennis shoes, and you know, not that that is like the most important thing in life. But when you're a teenager it is and we were just like, you know, we're going to do we're going to do it better. We're going to do it different. And we just kept running with that. And like, obviously, we want to do it for ourselves too. But now we have three little more bits of motivation here and like, let's keep doing it for them. And I feel like our mindset changed so much. Because, you know, like I said, when we were back in the day before we were even married, I mean, we were just blowing all of our money, because we didn't really feel like we had a purpose in life. And not that you have to have kids to have a purpose. But for us, our kids are basically our main purpose. And so, we just felt like, you know, they're our purpose and like, obviously, we were blessed with the three of them, we're going to take this seriously and we're going to do the best that we can for for them and for ourselves. And so I think it's just any other obstacle if you want to use it as an excuse. You're going to use it as an excuse. If you want to use it as motivation. You're going to use it as motivation, and we just we chose to use them as motivation.

Michael Lacy 27:01

So okay, so you guys are going through the journey, you have a surprise Baby, you have all these other obstacles. Let's talk about the moment where you guys paid off that first I want to ask like, how long did it take you guys to clear all of that?

Sami Womack 27:15

Yeah, so it was, let me see. I always like mix up my years, of course, but it was like Okay, so it was October 2014, we started budgeting. And then we actually sold the big house. That house that my parents built was our very last debt item and it was on the market for about a year, year and a half. That was a really, really long waiting period. And it finally sold in January of 18. So it was about three years or so. And obviously selling the properties did speed that up a lot. But it was about three years from starting to completely debt free. All right.

Michael Lacy 28:00

Okay, so what was it like when that like that moment when the house so like as you're sitting there and you're closing and you're signing all these documents and going through all that, like, what are some of the thoughts that are going through your mind on that day?

Sami Womack 28:13

Honestly, it was very anti climatic. I wanted it to be so exciting. And then before that was before I had my podcast, and I was doing like a weekly live video. And so I had told everyone on Instagram, you know, like, I'm gonna do a live when we get home from the closing unit. And I was so excited. And like, I got home and I was just like, I don't, I just I, like, I'm in shock. I couldn't, and I'm doing the video and I'm doing the video and it's the very first time that I said, Okay, so we're debt free. Like I don't even know if I can say that, like, it just feels so we were just so in shock. And I think that it was so much waiting, that we really is this real life. Like, are we really dying and honestly I I have had so many like PTSD, like kind of dreams after like they came back and they were like, No, we don't want the house and it took a really long time for it to feel real. So, I don't know, it wasn't really what I thought it would be of the instant, like, no chains like weighing you down kind of feeling. It did take a little while. But I think really, a couple months later, we finally like kind of had that sigh of relief of like, Okay, this is real when we didn't have to pay that house payment after like two months and we started to really like, Okay, this is really happening. It really started to kick in then.

Michael Lacy 29:40

Right. Okay, so let's talk about now. I mean, you said that, obviously, you guys had a big house. You had three kids, you sold the house, and now you're in a two bedroom place, right? You said two kids. I mean with three kids.

Sami Womack 29:52

Yeah, two, we have two bedrooms, one bathroom. So our house is like 650 square feet or so and it's a little Crazy and this summer will be three years that we've been here. So we actually did start renting a little before our house actually sold. And just I mean, the stress the waiting the emotion of like having to show the house and having to get it ready. And we were just like, we're going to go rent for a couple months. Like we're just going to take this leap of faith and hope that it sells soon and there was a couple months that it overlapped. Was that the smartest financial decision? Maybe not, but like, emotionally It was definitely the right decision.

Michael Lacy 30:31

Right. Okay, so can you talk about just the impact that being debt free has had on just on not just your marriage, but your family life overall?

Sami Womack 30:41

Oh, man, we really I don't even know what we have, like hardly any disagreements. Obviously, we don't have a perfect marriage, but I just feel like we've all seen the statistics of money is one of the top reasons that people get divorced and We never fight about money. We don't have to disagree about it. We don't, there's not any stress around it. And so I feel like we took out that obstacle. There's not really anything to disagree about now, what TV show we're gonna watch. I mean, come on, like there's not real problems. And it's just amazing. And we had this moment, like, a couple weeks ago, we were sitting out, my husband had built a fire, and the two of us are just sitting out, the kids are asleep. And he goes, You know, I just really want to thank you for like, kicking this in gear and like, putting all this into motion. He's like, because I'm sitting here and I'm thinking, I don't have a care in the world. I'm good. Like, my kids are healthy. We have money in the bank. And we're just sitting here and we can just sit. And I was like, wow, like I really, really appreciated that because it was just all these years of like us looking back and like, it was worth it? It wasn't really that hard.

Michael Lacy 32:03

So you have three girls. And I mean, I'm a dad myself, I've got a two year old. So this is a question that I'm really gonna ask for me. So like, what are some ways that you're teaching your girls how to have good money behaviors? And how are you modeling that for them? And what are you hoping that they learn from you about money?

Sami Womack 32:22

So we are very, like, we have a very non traditional life, we homeschool. You know, my husband is gone three weeks home three weeks. So that alone is very non traditional. We can't we both you know, we we live life together. And so we're teaching them like those everyday lessons and money goes in with those and it's not a separate conversation for us. It's just we live life, life cost money. And, obviously, you know, we have a four, six and nine year old and so the conversation is different with all of them, but they asked questions and we try to answer them as honestly and as age appropriate as we can. And we let this be their journey to you know, and obviously, we don't want them to like worry about money. But we do try to keep that conversation really open. And you know, it's hard for them because their dad is gone for three weeks. And so they're like, why does daddy have to be at work? Daddy's always at work, you know, that whole conversation. And so we're very good about like, this is why, and this is where the money goes. And like, we don't live here for free. We don't buy groceries for free. This is how life works and they're getting better the older two are better about like the grocery budget and they know like when they start to run out of their snacks or whatever, like mama when is the next grocery budget kind of gonna happen? Like, I'm running out of my snacks here, you know, or like, do we have any more spending money? My oldest is always like, Oh my God, we have spending money like can we go to chick fil a today No, she's learning like that conversation of like, it's not just a gimme, gimme, gimme, you know, somebody worked for that money. Also, they, you know, they've seen us save up and pay cash for things. And when we saved it for our truck, we got one of the debt free charts and we did the color in and all that and they loved it. And then with our last boat, they really I really had a good conversation with my oldest because she was really starting to realize like she saw it was $11,000 and it was in cash. And I posted a picture on my Instagram of her holding the stack of $11,000. And she's like, Mama, are we ready? Well, conda you know, and we kind of had that conversation. And she was like, this is a lot of money. Is this like a million dollars? You know, and I just was like how empowering I hadn't held that much money. Until that moment, and she was doing this at eight years old, like, how empowering is that? And she's just holding this money. And I was like, This moment is what we worked for, you know, and she sees that this was real money. This is something that my parents worked really hard for. And, you know, they saw us like, no, we're not going to get this because remember, we're saving extra money so we can get the new boats, we can get the new truck, so whatever it is, and they see that and they slowly understand and this becomes their, their subconscious, you know, this becomes their journey as much as ours. So

Michael Lacy 35:40

awesome. Well, hey, I want to ask you, now that you guys are debt free, right? And what are you guys aiming towards, or what are you working for now?

Sami Womack 35:51

So, our net worth goal was 300,000. Before all of this craziness happened in the stock market. was like Nevermind. And we, you know, I don't that goals probably not gonna happen this year. But really, we are just continuing to save as much as we possibly can. Our goal, our next goal is to buy land and to build a house. So we kind of are like, we're just going to keep saving money until we find that land, and we're not really sure exactly how that timeline is gonna play out, are we gonna, you know, get the land and the house all in one loan? Are we going to just buy the land? Or are we going to cash flow the land? We don't really know. But we do know that when we when we don't know we can save. So we're just going to keep saving and then that gives us every option. You know, if we have that money in the bank, we can do whatever we want to do, really. So we're kind of just waiting for that right opportunity to kind of present itself and we're just going to keep saving until then. Okay.

Michael Lacy 36:55

So I have a hypothetical scenario for you that I want to ask real quick And and that is, let's say there's somebody out there listening right now. And maybe they haven't like tallied everything up yet. But they kind of feel that financial pressure right, then maybe they've been embarrassed in a couple situations or, you know, they just feel like something's not right, something's got to change. What are some practical things that you can advise that person to do to get started and going in the right direction.

Sami Womack 37:22

So I always say that the very first thing to do which was also the first thing I did was to start tracking your spending. And it's like the very steps zero of the budgeting world and for us, we're really big debit card people we've always been and so what I did was I got on my bank account, I printed out three months the past three months I did a little different color highlighters like blue for groceries, pink for restaurants, you know all the things and I really got an average of where we had been spending our money over the past three months. So I say if you have the records if your like debit card or credit Whatever people and you have those records, go back and do that. And if you don't then start right where you are literally write down every single penny where it goes. And I think just that is like, it is going to open your eyes to everything. And when you finally see it when you finally see it totaled up and you're like, How in the world did we spend $800 on food? How did this even happen? You're gonna see that the money was there, you know, and in our case, it wasn't necessarily an income problem. It was a discipline problem, for sure. And if you do find out that it is both if it's a discipline problem and an income problem, you can adjust accordingly you know, and at least you're telling that money where to go. So definitely start with tracking your spending and adding up your saving adding up your debt, sorry. And then I think really like making a goal sheet. That's what we did. We made a time timeline. And then I kept those timelines. I kept those goals sheets. And now I can go back and we slashed months and years off of goals. I mean, some of them were literally two years before we predicted it would happen, because we wrote him down. And that is like powerful. It is so powerful. So if you do write them down, definitely keep them because you're going to want to look back in five or six years and be like, yeah, we crush those goals.

Michael Lacy 39:31

Awesome. Awesome. Hey, Sammy, thank you so much for coming on today and just sharing a lot of your journey. I mean, this has been incredible. I've learned some new stuff about you that I didn't even know. So, again, thank you so much for coming on. But I do want to give you an opportunity to share with the listeners where they can find you if they want to follow along as you guys continue to grow and continue to build wealth for your family.

Sami Womack 39:52

I am at sunnyside up live on Facebook and Instagram and I'm pretty much on Instagram stories. Every single day that's my lifeline to the outside world. And I do have a podcast I have a weekly podcast called the sunny side up life podcast. And I just you know, I, I blog a little I do a little bit of YouTube podcast is really where it's at for me. I also have a few courses, I have a few freebies, stuff like that. So I'm mostly on Instagram and my podcasts, that's really the best places to find

Michael Lacy 40:26

me. Awesome. Well, hey, wherever you guys are listening to this podcast, go right now subscribe to as Sunny Side of Life podcast. I will also be sure to link to Sammy social media profiles and everything she's got going on in the show notes page, which you guys will be able to see in the episode description. But Sammy, thank you again for coming on and sharing a lot of your story. I've had a great time laughed a lot with you. So thank you. I wish you well on the rest of your journey.

Sami Womack 40:53

Thank you so much.

Michael Lacy 40:55

All right, so now it's time for this week's winner of the week. And this one is specifically for you parents out there. So Sammy and her husband paid off almost half a million dollars worth of debt. And they've grown their net worth into the six figures while living on one income and raising three kids. That is just incredible. And so as I mentioned during my time with Sammy, one of the things that really annoys me is when I hear parents talk about how they can't get ahead financially because of their kids. Not only can hearing that over and over and over again, be psychologically damaging to your kids, but it's simply not true. You can build wealth while raising your kids. Now, is it hard? Absolutely. But struggling financially for 1718 years is hard, too. So you have a choice to make. Your kids are your financial responsibility for a minimum of 18 years like at the minimum. And so the question you have to ask yourself is are you going to struggle financially and blame it on the fact that you have kids for like 18 years? Or Aren't you going to find ways to earn more money to cut back and save more to pay off your debt to invest and everything else you need to do to build wealth, that choice, that choice right there falls on you. So make the decision today and then get to work. If you need a place to start or you need some direction, you can always download my winning two wealth playbook, which will give you some practical tips to help you manage your money better. So you can grab your free copy by clicking the link in the episode description, or by heading over to winning to wealth comm slash playbook that is winning to wealth.com slash playbook. Now if you're more of the type of person who needs a little bit of encouragement, who has a lot of questions and needs, answers and those sorts of things, you can also hop into my free Facebook community. This is a great place to again, just hop in and ask questions and get the answers that you need that are going to help you build wealth and You can find that over at winning to work comm slash teammates. But hey, that's all the time I have for this week. So until we talk again, keep racking up those wins one at a time. Take care.

Unknown Speaker 43:14

You've wrapped up another episode of the winning to wealth podcast. To learn more about how you can start making winning money decisions head over to winning to wealth.com

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Sami Womack from A Sunny Side Up Life joins me to share how paying off their mortgage and becoming debt-free helped their family grow stronger.

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