HI, FRIEND! Can you tell I’m so excited today!?
We are credit card debt FREE! And it feels so dang good.
2 years ago I lost my job.
It was one of the lowest points of my life, especially because I had just gone through a HORRIBLE gastritis flare a few weeks before getting let go.
I had no idea what we were going to do. I took odd jobs from Door Dash, to VIPKID, to trying to work in a corporate office setting again… but none of it was working.
My chronic health issues got the best of me and I pretty much came home and cried and slept after each round of work. I felt like I couldn’t keep up.
God is so good to us, though, because he brought a new job my way that was perfect for me and allowed me to work remotely.
Around the same time, He also led us to move to Orlando and start over.
There’s a lot I could tell you about how God moved in our lives and how moving here led me to the best doctors I’ve ever worked with, how we’re closer to family, and how much happier I am living here… but I’ll save that for another time. After losing my job and having to choose between living in our car or moving in with family, one of the first things we decided to do when my husband and I were both employed again was to tackle our debt.
We actually didn’t have any credit card debt until I lost my job and we weren’t sure how we’d pay our bills.
And then we suddenly had $10,000 worth of credit card debt.
It felt overwhelming and like I had no idea how we’d get rid of that, our car payment, and our student loans.
BUT WE TOOK THE FIRST STEP AND WE DID IT.
It feels really good on the other side of it and I know if you’re in a similar position where your finances are stressing you out or stopping you from truly healing, you get why this feels so good. It’s FREEING.
So, if you’re on a debt free journey or are re-evaluating your finances, I want to share 4 things with you I wish I knew about paying off debt that have changed our lives and helped us pay off $10,000 of credit card debt in 6 months.
1. Know Your Priorities
If you’re taking your debt payoff journey seriously, we all know there are going to be sacrifices you have to make. This may look like eating out less, cancelling subscriptions, or reducing your entertainment budget.
On the other hand, that doesn’t mean you need to cut off everything that’s good in your life either.
What things are important to you and do you want to keep investing in financially?
Maybe it’s a higher grocery budget for healthy food, weekly visits to your local gym or sauna, or a date night budget to keep your marriage alive + fresh.
If you cut out EVERYTHING but the essentials, you’re more likely to burnout, go crazy, and give up on your debt free journey.
Allowing yourself some fun in moderation can help you stick with it and hit your debt payoff goals!
2. Know the Numbers
There’s a big difference between creating a budget and STICKING to the budget.
For a year or two, my husband and I had a budget we created on Every Dollar, but we weren’t really tracking our purchases or trying hard to stay in the budget. It was more like a suggestion.
There was a huge shift in our finances + in our minds when we decided we were going to actually track every single payment/purchase we made and do whatever it took to stay within the budget we created.
Even though we didn’t have all the money in the world to spend, there was so much peace that came when we did spend money on groceries or on a date… because we KNEW we had the money to spend! The worst feeling ever was being afraid to check our bank account. Once you get over the initial scary task of evaluating where you’re at, it’s so much more freeing to create a plan so you never have to feel that way again!
3. Know When to Pivot or Pause
Is there something in your life coming up that’s serious?
A wedding? Health problems? Is your car on the decline? A global pandemic?!
Giving yourself the permission to pause or pivot your debt payoff when unexpected circumstances come up will help you avoid going into MORE debt in the future.
For example, if you’re a newer reader and don’t know – I have struggled with chronic illness for 5 years. I’ve made some strides and improvement, but overall… I am at a point where I can not live this way anymore. I feel like my health concerns have taken up my early 20s and if I don’t address the root cause now, it can easily develop into something more serious later (at which point, I’d definitely spend money I don’t have because that’s my life we’re talking about).
So, now that we’ve paid off $10K of credit card debt and got rid of 3 monthly payments we were making, that frees up our budget a bit to where we’re investing in some things that will help me get to the root of my health issues for GOOD.
We’re pausing for a few months to invest in these things and then we’ll get back to saving and paying off debt shortly after.
Don’t wait until there’s a crisis – get ahead of it.
Your debt will get paid off eventually. Just be smart!
4. Celebrate the Wins
If you’re a part of the Dave Ramsey or FPU world, you hear a lot that you need to eat beans + rice and spend absolutely no money unless it’s on the essential or debt.
Honestly, this just wasn’t super motivating to me. We’ve got a large chunk of debt and we don’t make nearly enough right now to get it all paid off in a short amount of time (or I’d be more willing to do that).
I quickly lost motivation to pay off debt when I realized we’d be living this way the next 4 years of our lives. So instead, I decided to come up with “rewards” for ourselves every time that we hit a big milestone in our debt payoff journey!
The decision is obviously yours, but it was so much more motivating to me to have a smaller goal to look forward to that we could complete in a shorter time period and then we could have some sort of reward to look forward to! Maybe that could look like moving, investing in that expensive health treatment you’ve wanted to try, getting annual passes at a local theme park or attraction center, or even a mini vacation!
Celebrating our wins has helped keep us motivated + excited to continue paying every last penny of our debt down. We can’t wait to keep going!