One of my most read blog posts here at Classy Career Girl is the 15 ways I paid off $80,000 in debt in 18 months. I firmly believe that eliminating debt is a huge factor to being able to succeed in the career of your dreams. So money is definitely a subject that I like to tackle on this blog. Recently, my husband and I are budgeting again for some fun things we have planned coming up in 2014. So, I thought it was a good time to dust off this post I did a few years ago about how my husband and I attacked debt as a couple. Hope it helps you!
Why do you think it was so easy to fall into the debt trap?
It is really easy to fall into the debt trap because you want to keep up with everyone else buying a new house, cars, and going on vacations. We thought that’s just what you did when you got married. It’s easy to get wrapped up in all of the things you want instead of being content with what you have.
What was the defining moment that made you realize that you needed to get out of debt?
Dave Ramsey’s book, The Total Money Makeover finally made us take action. We knew we were out of control. We wanted to turn our lives around and not have debt control us anymore. And so, we took action!
Another tip we learned from Dave Ramsey was to make sure you invest in insurance to reduce your risk. It was hard but we managed to save enough money for life insurance so that we could protect ourselves in case the unthinkable happened and we were left with one income.
What obstacles did you have to overcome in paying off your debt?
It wasn’t easy. We had a lot of obstacles to overcome. The hardest part was that we would have to say no to nights out and vacations with friends because we were focused on our long-term goal. Every debt we paid off motivated us to keep going. When we would go out with friends, we would eat beforehand and split a meal. At times we felt very cheap and sometimes people would make fun of us, but we really didn’t care.
Another one of my obstacles was not buying clothes. I realized that if I just didn’t let myself go shopping, my clothing expenses decreased. So I stayed away from the stores and tried my best to wear what I already had in my closet. I wore the same dress to multiple weddings (and still do) and have learned not to care too much about wearing items over and over again. My husband now makes fun of me because I get holes in my favorite clothes that I wear over and over again.
How much total debt did you have? How long did it take to pay off your debt?
Our total debt was $80,000 and it took us 18 months to pay off our debt. It feels so great to be out of debt! (To learn more about how we did it, read this post.)
What’s your best tip for someone finally wanting to attack debt?
If you want to get out of debt, here are some of our tips based on our experiences.
Make a commitment to yourself.
Write down your goal and how much you want to pay off by a certain deadline.
Make sure you make it a reasonable goal and tell your friends and family about your goal. When you can’t go out to dinner with them, you don’t want them pressuring you! You need their support to make this happen.
Be creative. When my husband and I were getting closer to paying off our debt, we really wanted to decrease our living costs but it was just something that we could not figure out how to change. So we decided to offer our spare bedroom to one of my best friends for a very affordable rent for her. This did two things. 1) It helped us get out of debt faster. 2) It helped her get out of debt. Win and win! Plus, who doesn’t want to hang out with their best friend every day!
If you must have a credit card, make sure you compare credit cards to make sure you find the best one for you. My husband and I now have a credit card where we only get cash back. Ultimately, this works a lot better for us than accumulating points and miles we never use (because we always need just 1,000-2,000 more miles to make a free flight!:)
A six-month savings account can definitely come in handy. This is the goal that my husband and I are working on now.
Check out Some of Anna’s Awesome Posts on How to Attack Debt: