Four years after being introduced to The Total Money Makeover, I can officially say…….
WE’RE DEBT FREE!!!!
We paid off my last student loan on Friday and I couldn’t be more relieved. It’s been such a long ride with a lot of sacrifice and hard work. I started the Dave Ramsey plan before I met my husband on October 2013 but didn’t get really serious about it until January 2015. This past July I got married and together we tackled the remaining debt.
Deciding to pay off debt can be really intimidating. Especially if you’re not used to putting together a budget and saying “no” to unnecessary expenses. After going through this journey, I believe anyone can achieve debt freedom with some sacrifice, hard work and a plan. Below, I’ve listed a few important steps we took that helped us achieve this difficult milestone.
We learned to be content.
Learning to stop comparing your life to other people’s and becoming content with what you have and who you are will help you stay on track. When you’re content with what you have, you won’t feel the need to spend money to “keep up with the Joneses” Learn to stop and consider when you want something and enjoy the simple things.
We laid out a plan to attack our debt.
We are big fans of the Dave Ramsey baby steps and followed his method for paying off debt. I think the reason his plan works and has gotten so many people out of debt is because the baby steps are simple & easy to understand. We used the debt snowball method to list the order in which we started attacking the debts. We also created a zero-based budget at the beginning of each month to see how much money would go towards expenses vs. paying off debt.
We cut our expenses.
There are many ways you can cut expenses so that you’re able to throw more money at your debt. We looked through our monthly bills and realized we were paying for gym memberships we hardly ever used. We ended up canceling that and saved an extra $60/month. Other ways you can start cutting back include weekly meal prepping so you don’t have to buy lunch every day & cutting cable and watching shows you can find online instead.
We used a cash envelope system.
I went from using strictly debit cards to paying cash for everything. There were some weeks where I didn’t get around to going to the ATM to withdraw cash and I noticed that I always ended up spending more than I intended to. The way it worked is I had a set amount of cash for each category I created (i.e. food, clothes, gas, etc.) Every pay period I would cash out the amount of money I need for the next two weeks and divided it up in my wallet using cash wallet dividers.
Have you started your debt payoff journey? What steps have you taken that have helped you stay on this journey?