Hard Work & Prayer: Karen Randolph’s Debt-Free Journey

By Karen Randolph Apr 30, 2018

I remember what life was like before N2 and before I started tackling my finances. I had just finished college the year before and was in a yearlong internship with my college campus ministry, so needless to say, I had school loans and the internship barely paid the bills. On top of that, I was newly married in a new city, applying for jobs everywhere, and paying off my wedding and honeymoon travel costs! I was so thankful my husband was well-established at his job with benefits, so I didn't have to stress about healthcare. But not having any luck with my job search was taking a toll mentally and spiritually and I felt lost without a purpose or reason to leave the house every day.

As a newlywed, I had my share of money fights with my spouse, but felt guilty complaining when I wasn't bringing a paycheck home to help "pay my share" of rent, gas, and groceries. Desperate for even a little spending cash, I landed a seasonal retail gig over the holidays but couldn't get more than 10 hours a week, and when January was over, my hours went to zero. We started budgeting for monthly and one-time expenses so we could agree on where to move the cash we did have, but progress was slow and savings were limited.

Our stress hit an all-time high when the rental house we were staying in ran out of heat in February, during the polar vortex extreme low temps. We had no experience with oil heat, but the tank was empty, and the utility bill to refill the tank would cost almost two months' rent! We broke our lease early and quickly settled down into a "handyman special" half-price home of our own.

Karen and her husband

That winter, I sent my resume to every graphic and print shop in town and started exploring online options, including LinkedIn and Indeed job applications. Eventually, I found the N2 opportunity and began selling ads as an Area Director Candidate. But after three or four months of ramp-up, I realized sales was not a good fit for me. My mentor was kind enough to get me started as a Publishing Assistant and even referred me to other ADs in our region. I was able to quickly build up my PA work and add ad management to my list of skills.

The more work I landed, the more I paid off debt – from the littlest same-as-cash home appliances credit card balance to the largest student loan. Dave Ramsey’s debt snowball method led the way. I could not wait to get my pen out and cross another debt off the list! In less than two years at N2, I crossed the finish line with my last student loan, thanks to a lot of prayer and hard work.

Since then, my husband and I have continued to build up savings reserves, give generously, and save for retirement. We still use our budget every month to track and limit expenses, but thank God, we no longer have money fights! Saving for big-ticket items has become a fun, positive exercise in setting and reaching new goals. Our next goal? Closing on our dream house!

None of this would have been possible without the grace of God, a ton of determination, and the N2 opportunity.

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