Behind the Scenes of Our DEBT FREE SCREAM!
(A full video of our trip to Nashville and behind the scenes of our Scream is at the very bottom of the post! Don’t miss it!)
As a follow up from my previous post, How and Why We Paid Off All of Our Debt Including the House, I wanted to share about our trip down to Nashville, TN where we did our Debt Free Scream! This was a really big deal for our family and there were SO many emotions I need to document it all, even if just for myself!
To give you a little background, I’ve been watching Debt Free Screams on Dave Ramsey’s YouTube channel for years. I always used to watch them as I did the dishes when we first started our debt free journey and they really fired me up. It was hearing those stories that really inspired me to not just pay off our consumer debt, but to go all the way and pay off our house too.
The kids weren’t in school yet and they’d often watch these screams with me. We’d get really excited when people went all out and gave a REALLY good scream. The kids loved hearing the ones that were really loud or had a lot of gusto in them. We started talking about going to Nashville to do our own scream once we paid everything off. (You CAN do your debt free scream once you pay off your debt excluding your house, but we wanted to do it once EVERYTHING was paid off!) The kids would ask me how loud I would scream if I were to go down and tell our story. Soon enough, the kids were practicing themselves. When we’d ride bikes, they’d be screaming “we’re debt free!!!” just so they could ‘practice.’ 😂 Every time we took a walk at the college campus, there was this yellow, square structure that they’d stand in and practice screaming.
Seeing how excited the kids got on our debt-free journey and how doing this scream was such a fun thing for them, it became a big goal for us. We knew we’d have to celebrate becoming debt free with a trip to Nashville and do our scream.
As we got closer to the pay-off date, I started looking into setting up our Debt Free Scream. It turns out you have to apply and be accepted by the show. Part of me was worried like “oh no we may not get accepted!” but I also always kind of had this feeling that we would. I knew God put us on this journey from the beginning and just KNEW we had to end it this way.
A couple of months before we planned on having the house paid off, I sent in our application for the Scream. Several weeks went by and then I got a call from a lovely woman named Dawn who worked for Ramsey Solutions and told me they’d love to have us on their show for a Debt Free Scream! I WAS PUMPED!!! We were slated to go on February 20, 2023.
A couple of weeks before we left for our trip, some marketing people from Ramsey Solutions reached out to us to see if we’d be willing to do a photoshoot with them after our Scream. They’d use the photos for different marketing materials for Financial Peace University. Ummm…yes, please!
This brings us to February 19, 2023, the day we started our drive down to Nashville! That Sunday we drove over 10 hours down to Louisville, Kentucky. We stayed in a hotel with a pool so the kids could swim. We ate pizza in the hotel room and watched Super Bowl re-runs on the TV.
Monday, February 20, we left Louisville first thing in the morning and started our drive down to Nashville. It took us about 2.5 hours to get to Nashville. We had a little bit of time before we had to arrive for our Scream so we spent a couple of hours in Nashville. We walked down Broadway, made our own chocolate cluster at Goo Goo Chocolate Factory, and ate Nashville Hot Chicken sandwiches at Hattie B’s Hot Chicken. Then it was onto Franklin, TN, where the Ramsey Solutions Headquarters are!
We arrived just a few minutes before the show was starting. It’s a 3 hour show and we were slated to go on during the 2nd hour. We had about an hour and a half before we were on. It was great to be there early (we actually had to change first!) and enjoy the show. It was a good distraction before we knew we’d go live. There were 2 Debt Free Screams in the 1st hour so we got to watch both of them go before us. And we chatted a little bit with both couples after they were done but before we went on. Here’s a photo of all the Debt Free Scream couples that day!
I had been nervous all morning but by the time we got to the 2nd hour and we knew we’d be up soon, I was INCREDIBLY nervous. Mark was too! I was shaking and could barely keep my thoughts straight. I was trying my best to breathe deeply but at that point there really wasn’t much I could do. I knew I’d just be nervous but do my best to push through.
Then it was time to get up on the stage, put on the headphones, and do our sound check. Literally shaking in my boots! The kids were in chairs off to the side of the stage. We had about 4-5 minutes before they came back from their commercial break and it felt sooooo long. Since we had our headphones on, Mark and I couldn’t hear each other so we couldn’t talk. We just stood there for 4 minutes holding hands as the anticipation grew. Finally, it was time!
Dave introduced us and started asking us questions. My nervousness was evident in the first few questions I answered but after that I calmed down a little bit. PHEW! Mark and I had practiced so many different questions that we thought they might ask us so we were prepared for most of them! The questions that George Kamel asked us weren’t ones that we practiced but I’m pretty happy with the answers we came up with on the spot.
After about 8 minutes of sharing our story, it was time for the SCREAM! Kenzie and Xander joined us on the stage and we introduced them. I’m not kidding, we practiced this whole: “MARK and ASHLEY, KENZIE and XANDER, from SYRACUSE NEW YORK, PAID OFF $124,000 in 6 years 4 months, making $47k up to $110k, HOUSE AND EVERYTHING. COUNT IT DOWN LET’S HERE A DEBT FREE SCREAMMMMMM!!” SO MANY TIMES!!!
WE’RE DEBT FREEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I went ALL OUT. I didn’t hold back at all. Kenzie later told me I hurt her ear because I ended up bending down next to her. OOPS! Sorry Kenz! You just have to watch/listen to it! We all did a great job screaming and it felt so liberating to finally scream it FOR REAL. It was an awesome celebration!
Immediately afterwards, Dave and George came out of the studio to meet us, sign our books, and take a picture with us. It was so super fast but I do remember telling George, “I’ve been watching you since you were the host of the YouTube channel!!” and he said, “Wow that was a long time ago!” Snapped a few photos and bam, we were done.
Right afterwards, we signed the Debt Free Wall and then we were brought downstairs to a photo studio for our photo shoot. It was actually tons of fun! I had already met one of the marketing guys on a zoom call the previous week so that made me more comfortable and he was super fun. We took all sorts of family photos, couple photos, individual photos. We cut up credit cards, ripped up student loans, took pictures with a gazelle (Morrell Gazelles!), and did a confetti canon. The kids had fun with it too and I think it made the whole experience more special for all of us. I can’t wait to see some of the photos and how they decide to use them!
We took a few more photos in the lobby of Ramsey Solutions Headquarters, got a free hot chocolate and cookie, then headed to our hotel to decompress. There were so many emotions running through our bodies and we were on such a high, we definitely needed to compress a little bit. We got some BBQ for dinner then started our drive back home the next day.
So why did we do all of this? Ultimately, for our kids. We really thought about what our kids would remember about this journey for us. We thought about the LEGACY that we wanted to leave. It was important for us to make this a MEMORY for our kids. Our kids WILL remember us driving down to Nashville and screaming on a stage and meeting Dave Ramsey – who happens to be the most famous person any of us has ever met. They won’t just have vague memories of us TALKING about getting out of debt or paying off the house. It will be a real, tangible EVENT in their lives. They won’t remember their parents fighting about money or sitting at the table looking at the budget wondering how they would come up with more money. They will remember their parents celebrating something they worked hard on for over 6 YEARS. They will learn that you should celebrate your accomplishments. They will KNOW that you can be weird and own it. And you don’t have to live a life with debt.
I’m so incredibly happy that we did this. The journey. The Scream. Driving to Nashville. All of it. After listening to our interview a few times now since it’s happened, I’m very happy with how it went! I’m happy with our answers and honestly just glad I didn’t pass out from the insanity of the emotions inside my body! 😂
Everything was worth it. 100%.
3, 2, 1, WE’RE DEBT FREE!
Enjoy the behind the scenes of our Debt Free Scream and trip to Nashville including our cost breakdown and total money spent! 👇