In 2011 we purchased a foreclosed home. It was huge, it was 111 years old and it hadn't been properly winterized, we quickly found out, when we turned on the water and found burst pipes.
We had not been financially prepared to buy a home. We had other debt (student loan, credit cards, vehicle loans) and my then fiancée took out a 401k loan to come up with the rest of the cash for the down payment. We did so many things wrong in buying our home, but I was in love with the home and everyone we talked to agreed we were getting an incredible deal on the home.
The house had been purchased by the prior owners for $260,000, but it was foreclosed on and with the mortgage crisis at the time, loans were hard to come by and we ended up buying the house for $168,000. Somehow, we were able to roll in our closing costs and down payment into the mortgage through some special first time buyers deal and ended up with a mortgage of $178,238. We got a 30 year mortgage and an interest rate of 4.75%.
As soon as we moved in, I started to realize we might be in over our heads. The house needed a ton of work. We dropped almost all our cash reserves on a pellet stove and fixing the burst pipes that first month. We were planning a wedding and I had no clue how we would pay for it.
A few months after moving into our home, I found myself googling "how to pay off debt sooner." The first results I found were for Dave Ramsey. I quickly went down the rabbit hole and was obsessed with paying off our debt to create space between us and living paycheck to paycheck.