Yesterday marked five months of Paul and I being married! WOW. I can hardly believe the time has flown!!
In that time we have also been paying off our student loan debt. It is hard but worth it!! Paul and I know that once this debt is gone and not hanging over our heads we will be able to save and give like never before!
Don’t let debt weigh you down!!!
If you too have student loan debt, credit card debt, medial, car, or any other debt these tips are universal!
1. Read Everything by Dave Ramsey:
Dave Ramsey is the man!! Seriously, I would be lost without his knowledge on money. Over the summer I read his book, The Total Money Makeover, and I was hooked!! Paul and I took his Financial Peace University class which was amazing, and I listen to his radio show daily.
His words of wisdom, planning tools, and overall knowledge are crucial to successfully getting out of debt. No matter how much despair you might have about your finances Dave can help you or has tools that can help you.
Having a budget is crucial to paying off debt. By having a budget you are telling your money where to go. That way at the end of the month you know where your money was spent and why. Paul does an awesome job managing our budget day to day which keeps us on track for the month. We use Google Drive to manage our budget in an Excel file because we both have access to it from our phones, computer, and internet.
3. Saying No:
This is where I struggle the most. Paying off debt is hard work! You really need to be committed and being in the mindset that this is something that does not happen overnight!
With that understanding, you need to get it out there to family and friends that you will not be able to have a disposable income for movies, shopping, or eating out like before. That money is now going to debt! By letting people you care about know up front that you cannot do things like before it will lesson the “blow” when you are constantly choosing to stay in instead of going out.
This does not mean that you can never go out. If you do decide to splurge and go out to dinner with friends then plan that ahead of time in the budget!
4. Working as a Team:
Working as a team has been so important for Paul and I to be able to pay off our debt! Communication is essential. Letting each other know when a purchase was made, planning, and deciding on the budget together will ensure success.
When we are on the same page the process goes smoother!
If you are single and working on getting rid of debt it would be helpful to have an accountability partner. Through that person they will help you stay focused and keep you accountable from over spending and to do your budget.
It is always helpful to have someone to work with when you are trying to accomplish a big task!
Organization seems to be helpful in all aspects of life! Even with that knowledge it is so easy to slip up and let things slide by.
When paying off debt have a plan every month. Paul and I do this through our ‘Monthly Budget Meetings’. It is so important to meet monthly because every month is different and will have new or unexpected purchases to be made.
By going through the month day by day you will hopefully be prepared to tackle them all. If you have a busy schedule maybe even pencil it in on your calendar to meet up so it happens.
Prepare now or prepare to fail.
6. Have Goals:
When paying off debt it can be easy to get distracted by the big number and only see the end goal.
Have small goals along the way so that you can accomplish the ultimate goal: paying off the debt!!
For instance, take the amount that you are going to set aside this month and have the goal of going above that by fifty dollars! Use this as motivation to see if you can pinch your budget even tighter in an area to put more money away! By making it a ‘game’ or as something to look forward to it takes the dread out of putting such a large chunk of your paycheck on the debt.
Also, tackle all of your small debts first. By doing this you are slowly building momentum, like a snowball as Dave Ramsey puts it, to get rid of the debt. This gives you confidence and knowledge that ‘you can do it!’
7. Meal Planning:
Planning out your meals is one of the most important aspects in spending within the limits on the food budget. Meal planning gives you the confidence to go into a new week knowing what you are eating, and gives you the freedom to do other things at night because the cooking time is drastically lowered. By having our meals prepared for the week it helps Paul and I tremendously by not being lazy and spending money on fast food.
On Saturdays Paul and I discuss what we will eat for the next week and see if there is anything we need from the grocery store. This way when I go to prep all the meals there is not a surprise of not having an ingredient for a recipe.
Also, Paul and I tend to make only three dinner meals a week and are able to eat the leftovers on the other days. This has helped greatly in keeping the food budget low!
If you are looking to dump your debt and want to know more about what I talked about above go here.
Also, know that you are not alone. Everyone experiences money highs and lows. If you need someone to talk to I am here and so is Dave!!