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Author: Polywilliams Three stars, 500 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: of 21259  
Subject: Wonderful side effect of massive debt payoff. Date: 11/12/2006 7:02 AM
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OT and sorta long:

In 2003, I found the Fool at a time in my life that I could least afford the dues to sign up. We were in debt. Massive, ugly credit card debt. Think of a big number that would be a tremendous burden on a family and then double it and you're close to the sum of our CC debt.
In the early days of paydown, when every penny counted, we still had to feed our large family. We learned to love Aldi's, Sav-A-Lot, great value brand, and the thrift stores. Our bread came from the bakery thrift store. We would buy the 'expired bread du jour' and eat it up.
DW is a stay-at-home MOM (Mother Of Many) who has become quite the cook over the years out of necessity. She started making breads from scratch to see if we could save some money and eat healthier. The early breads were OK and the kids ate it up, but I was not a fan. Admittedly, I do not know breads or baking techniques, but I know what I like. DW insisted I tell her why I wouldn't eat more than a few bites of her breads, so I told her that they were 'heavy.' Heavy and rich they were--I felt like I had to chew a bite forever. But they were good. Really good as far as heavy breads go. So much so that friends would routinely ask for some.
DW wouldn't let go of the fact that I didn't care for it. She continued to bake several times per week. It had become a fun hobby at this point and we lost track of whether it was more or less expensive to bake your own. In the next weeks and months her breads lightened. I think it has to do with yeast, but remember I am no baker. They would then hardly cool off before they were GONE! I bought her a Kitchenaid stand mixer and holy cow, she's baking all the time.
Later, a doctor friend who also likes to bake sees DW's passion for feeding her brood and buys DW a nice grain mill for Christmas along with a few specialty pans. Look out! DW starts a food Co-op where her group can buy organic grains in bulk...and it's CHEAP. Before you know it, DW is making home-made pizzas--the kind that start out by reaching into the pantry for some organic wheat and grinding it into whole wheat flour for the crust. And MMMmmmmm!!
Weeks and months go by and today I can honestly say that it is now virtually impossible to buy better bread or pizza than my wife makes right here at home...at any price! Her bread is a work of art!
The Fool helped me erradicate our credit card debt. I am so happy to be out of that debt, but the hardship that it created ultimately lead to some life skills that can never be taken away from DW. She gets true joy from baking and cooking for the masses (household of nine). Even though we are out of that debt, we continue to eat 20 meals at home per week. Although DW enjoys the baking, the rest of us live for it! The kids call her bread 'manna from mommy' and no longer care for store bought breads. The girls are learning the craft themselves. This is one pleasant side effect of the hardship of digging out of debt.

Happy cooking!
Polywilliams
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