Family is Out of Debt and Thankful

Family becomes debt free image via MSW Photography

Image via MSW Photography

It’s been four years since Russell and Kandy Hildebrandt attracted both local and national media attention for the large amount of debt they worked hard to pay off in a relatively short amount of time.

With their faith in God, support from friends and family who knew of their financial situation, and the Debt Management Program and credit counselors at Stillwater-based FamilyMeans that helped put a plan into place, Russell and Kandy were committed to paying off their $122,500 debt in full in less than five years. And they did it.

The couple had twin daughters when this process began, and the family was thrilled with the birth of a son and brother mid-way through paying off their debt. “He was the bright spot that everyone needed,” said Kandy, who home schools her youngest child, now a first grader; the twins are recent high school graduates.

The family made many sacrifices, such as eliminating wants and focusing on needs; choosing to shop at thrift shops; and Russell also took a second job and made choices to minimize mileage.

“Making our final payment was surreal,” Kandy said. “We had looked forward to it and talked about it so much that it was hard to believe when the day finally arrived.”

Except for the family’s mortgage, the Hildebrandts remain debt free today. They track their spending and only use their two credit cards when they have the money in their bank account to pay the balance in full. And, they refrain from making purchases for instant gratification by living within their means and really deciding if it’s something they need and can afford.

“We are so grateful to the service FamilyMeans provided our family. We are always thankful for the opportunity to give back by sharing our story and hopefully encouraging others to stay out of the bondage of debt,” Kandy said. “We want people to take hope from our experience of overcoming debt and realize there is hope for them, too.”