Debt = living a little; Debt free = living A LOT!

man and woman on beach during sunset

A year and a half ago, we had revealed our story to an older physician. We discussed that we were on this mission of paying off our student loan debt. At the time, I was VERY pregnant and Nii and I had both had left our employed positions and were working as independent contractors; basically, we had become entrepreneurs. The look on his face said it all. He didn’t really believe what we were doing was possible. Read the rest of this entry


“If you’re not planning together, then you’re planning to be apart.”


When we were dating, during “heated discussions”, Nii would often roll his eyes and say, “Uh oh! Here’s another Renéeism.” Why? Well… Renée likes to come up with (what she thinks are) witty sayings or analogies. It helps her to understand and explain what’s going on around her. Read the rest of this entry

UNITY: Our theme for 2018 is in full effect!

Hey… So, it’s been a while since we’ve written. To recap, we did a pretty good job with last year’s theme of FAMILY, adding our son into this crazy household full of love and laughter. We were also able to make many more of our extended family’s events: a Read the rest of this entry

Goodbye student loan debt… Hello 2018!


On December 5, 2017, we kissed our student loan debt goodbye… all $662,900 of it! That’s right. We’re free of student loan debt after 38 months! You might remember that by April 2015, after paying off our private loans in 6 months, we set a goal to pay off our federal student loans in 3.5 years. Like the song says, we “finished paying Sallie Mae back!” four months early! Read the rest of this entry

Budgeting for Baby!

bootie money

We are very excited to welcome our baby boy into the world, into our lives, and into our hearts! Having been married for four years, we are more than emotionally ready to extend our family beyond husband and wife. Being emotionally ready to have a baby is one thing; being financially ready is another! Read the rest of this entry

5 Reasons we’ll never lease again!

Photo from Consumer Reports

It’s about that time! Our car lease is finally coming to an end, and we need to find a new vehicle. Renée had leased a car back in 2011 before we were married. So, when her lease came to an end three years ago, we were faced with the decision to either buy with cash, finance, or lease a car. Well, that May we decided to lease again, a decision we deeply regretted by October when we realized that we no longer wanted to live in debt. Read the rest of this entry

Our year of failure was a success!


Happy 2017! We are super excited to share this update with our readers! Last New Year, we themed 2016, the year of failure. You might be asking, “Why would anyone theme an upcoming year “a year of failure”?”  Well… keep reading!

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You surprised me with a new car… Was that in the budget?


Renée was recently reminiscing of when Nii surprised her with her first smartphone in 2011 while still dating. “While I appreciated the gesture, my phone bill shot up because, now, I had a data plan.”  Renée’s budget is something Nii did not consider with his surprise. The surprise did not include Nii paying the monthly bill, and Renée’s income did Read the rest of this entry

Don’t swipe up! Don’t swipe down! 4 reasons we carry cash


You’ve probably heard King Bach’s rule “don’t swipe left, don’t swipe right” when looking at pictures on someone else’s cell phone. Well, in the Darko household, we have a rule… don’t swipe up, don’t swipe down! Instead of using a debit or credit card, for many of our purchases, we use cash . Here’s 4 reasons we carry cash: Read the rest of this entry

3 month challenge to build a $1000 starter emergency fund


The rain was blinding. Nii insisted we leave the hospital in the storm rather than wait for it to ease up. We had taken two cars to work. Renée backed out of her parking space and right into a hydrant. In five minutes, we went from not having a care in the world to needing a car repair of about $1000. Luckily, we had started an emergency fund a few months earlier. We paid cash, incurred no debt, and our car insurance premium didn’t increase. If this happened to you, would you have the cash or would you have to use your credit card? Read the rest of this entry