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Monday, March 9, 2015

How we are becoming DEBT FREE

Well before Hunter and I were married, I had started the long, slow, dredging process of paying off my debts. I was bound and determined to be debt free before I turned 35 (of course, a mortgage payment isn't being factored in at this time). I had my checklist, projected balances, and due dates all laid out. I was ready to grab this beast by the horns.

Hunter jumped right on board with my be-free-from-debt plan, and away we went. Now let me preface this:

-Some things that work for us, might not work for others
-We are in no way, shape, or form are experts... We just have a lot of debt!
- These are merely tips.

To kind of give ya'll an idea of the debt we're looking at, here's what we were faced with once we became married:

-Ring payment of $40/month
-Hunter's credit card payment of $35/month
-My car payment of $282.56/month
-My smallest student loan payment at $128.20/month
-My credit card payment $165/month
-Hunter's truck payment at $452.87/month
-My largest student loan payment at $195/month 

If you noticed, I listed these out from least to greatest. The total monthly payments we were making with all of those bills:


Let's let that sink in for a bit. It is true that my student loan payments aren't as bad as other people's; our credit card payments aren't as bad as other people's; etc. Regardless, they are/were bad to us and we wanted to rectify that problem immediately. To start, these are some things we have done to help us control our spending's, while paying off debt:

one// Dave Ramsey's snowball effect
   This is a total mind game, but it really works wonders. As you are paying off small debts, you not only have that sense of accomplishment, but you are also paying off those "little nags" that are in the way of paying off bigger things. As we have paid off each debt, we take that money that was put towards that one debt, and apply it to the next one in addition to what we were already paying on it.
two// Don't pay for toys unless we have the cash
   This has been a huge adjustment for Hunter and I. With having a credit card at the ready, he would justify buying things to spruce his truck up. I would just justify buying clothes all.the.time.
   Just last month, we had enough cash on hand (plus plenty of extra in our emergency savings account that wouldn't be touched) and Hunter was able to purchase new tires for his truck, along with some other things. The key to this: remember to have fun sometimes!
three// create a minimum $1000 savings account and build on it each month
   I cannot stress this enough... Have cash on the ready. Seriously, you don't know when that air conditioner will quit working, or have a tire blow out. Rather than swiping that credit card, you can pull from your cash resources and work on building it back up later. Plus, Dave recommends it.
four// $20/person/week for lunches... Leftover cash is given as tithes on Sunday or saved for the next week + Pack lunches
   This was suuuperrrr hard for me to adjust to. I was always so used to just spending money here and there for coffees, Chick-fil-A lunches, etc. People, it adds up.
five// Set goals - short and long-term
   That was one of the first things I did... Set goals. I immediately hatched out a plan of when I wanted each item paid off, the monthly payment going to each item, etc. It just feels so good crossing those items off our list and seeing those debts being paid off sooner than we expected.
So those are just a few of our major things that we do to help lower our spending habits while paying off our debts. I am happy to report that as of this date, the following debts have been paid off:
-Hunter's credit card
-My car
I don't mean to brag, butttt..... In just 4 months of marriage, we have been able to pay those items off. Guys, that is HUGE for us! And on top of that, we have been growing our savings account steadily, we're closing in on the lowest student loan being paid off, and we can breathe a little bit easier each day. Our goal is to have all of our debts paid off completely (with the exception of the mortgage - that's our biggest bird to tackle) within our first 5 years of marriage. At this point, it's safe to say we're kickin' some major butt!!
Like I said, we're no experts on money management but we seemed to have figured out how to handle ours. If you have any questions at all, please feel free to leave a comment or send me an email; I would love to be one of your biggest cheerleaders! Today, I'm so so soooo grateful that the good Lord has provided means for us to accomplish our goals.
Grateful Heart w/ Ember Grey

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  1. Girl! Way to be proactive in PAYING off that debt! I'm so passionate about being debt - free, so love the actions you are taking!

  2. I LOVE it!! We are right there with you sister, tackling our debt one item at a time!!
    Happy Monday beautiful!

  3. It is a wonderful thing to be debt free. I will be praying that you are able to stick to y'all plan and are able to see it through to the end. Not having debt gives you freedom to do so many different things. :)

  4. oh that's awesome! I think paying off even any little bit of debt is worth celebrating! I like to daydream about what my life would be like without student loans + credit card bills....

  5. Way to go! My hubby and I are debt free (except for mortgage) and I can't tell you how great the feels. I know it seems hard at time not to use your credit card, but after about 6 months you won't even think about using it...keep it up girly:)

  6. We love the DR program! Have been doing it for the last 4.5 years. Congrats on paying some of that stuff off! Keep up the good savings and money choices!

  7. high fives to y'all! Any debt getting paid off is definitely something to celebrate! That's awesome! Definitely something to be grateful for

  8. Girllll, you are rocking it. This is something I really want to get ahold of. I know it's not easy and right now I'm not in a place where saving extra money is available, but I need to try, even if it is a couple bucks each week. Thanks for that extra push, you both are doing great!!

  9. This is so awesome! We've been trying to pay off debt too while still trying to save for a house, and it feels so good to make some substantial progress!! Keep it up!! :)

  10. awesome work! we are working on getting rid of our debt too and can't wait!

  11. Wow, you are doing awesome! I'm getting married later this year and while we don't have much debt besides our cars, we are on a budget so we can save as much as possible during this time. I really enjoyed reading your tips for how to budget and manage money. Thanks for sharing them with Hump Day Happenings!

  12. Yes! That IS HUGE! Good job, Kelly!!! We are super huge advocates of paying off debt and living debt-free....and get this - mortgage included! My hubby is so big on it and I've jumped on board. We paid of my student loans when we got married, don't hold cc debt or car debt and sold the house so we're happy to be debt free! You are an awesome path and are doing such a great job! Our goal now as we rent, is to save up money to pay cash for a house someday and not be indebted to a bank even in that. Love this post! Good job!!

  13. First of all - I'm sorry I'm just now reading this!! (Spending this morning catching up on last week's GHM posts) :) This is SO good, Kelly! I think breaking it all down and then putting a plan in place is such a great place to start.. like it takes the pressure off a bit or something. (Plans always help me breathe easier). Not to mention, having a partner to help you stick to the plan is an added bonus for sure! The cash for toys rule is such a good one!!

  14. Hearing people's success stories with money is so motivating, thank you for sharing your story. I'm working on being more strict with my own money so this was great to read!

  15. Wow, that was a lot of debt you had every month. I totally get how it can feel suffocating. I was lucky enough to not have student loans, but my husband did, and instead I got in trouble with credit cards. We've really worked hard to get back on track too. It feels great! Congrats on your progress!

  16. You're doing a great job on tackling your debts, Kelly. You don't have to be an expert in financial management to be responsible with your budget. After all, the right tools and materials to pay off your debts can be found almost anywhere. The only thing left to do is to follow-through on the plan. Thanks for sharing that! Keep at it! All the best! :)

    Naomi Cruz @ 4 Pillars