Okay, so we're going places we never have before here on the blog today, but I really want to talk about it. You ready? Okay, here it is. We're in debt.
Isn't everybody these days though? Everyone has a credit card, student loans and a car payment, so I don't really feel out of place. But enough is enough. We are so sick of having credit card payments every month-- especially with my student loans looming overhead. So we're paying off all of our debt in the next 12 months. That's the goal. That's what's going to happen.
So here's the breakdown. As of June 2016, we currently have about $8,300 in credit card debt. (Thank you, unemployment for 4 months...) My husband works full time, while I currently student teach full time (for those of you that don't know, the going rate for student teaching is currently $0). We have older cars so we don't have any car payments, and we currently rent an apartment. I'm saying all of this because in complete honesty, we don't make that much money. But we're already making HUGE strides in our debt free journey so I want to encourage you that ANYONE can do this. Literally, anyone. Here's some sneaky ways we are paying down our debt.
Since June thought, we have paid down $2,300 in debt! YAYYYYY!
Warning: there is NO quick fix to debt, I am realizing. If you want to pay off debt, it has to be the thing you want most. It is VERY hard to want to pay off debt, while also living like you don't have debt. The following tips may not be what you want to hear, but I promise you it will work!
We use the Dave Ramsey Snowball Method in paying down credit card debt. The idea is that you pay off your smallest credit card first by heavily attacking it. Throw all the extra money you can at it, while paying minimums on the rest.
When that smallest credit card is paid off, you focus on the next smallest credit card. You heavily attack it by paying the minimum + taking the minimum you used to pay on the credit card you just paid off + any extra cash onto the card. For example, let's say you have 4 credit cards. Each has a $25 minimum. You pay off the first credit card by paying $25 on it per month + any extra cash you have. When it's paid off, you now pay $50 on the second smallest credit card + any extra cash. On the third credit card, you would pay $75 + any extra cash. On the fourth credit card, you would pay $100 + any extra cash. Make sense? That's why it's called the Snowball Method .
Simplify your grocery bill.
We have seriously reduced our grocery bill significantly and guess what...we haven't starved! And even though our absolute favorite foods are rice and beans, we haven't eaten them every night for dinner! There are so many ways to reduce your grocery bill like couponing, shopping at discount stores, and just changing what you buy. A post on this will be coming soon!
If your job lets you work overtime, DO IT. Why would you pass up a chance to make more money when you have debt to pay? My sweet husband has been working a ton of overtime in order to put as much money as possible on our credit cards. Ugh. He's the best.
Get a side hustle.
This is a HUGE one. Find someone that will pay you to do something. And then go do it.
I am blessed enough and have worked hard enough to where this blog makes a little extra income for us. I also got a nannying job over the summer. My mom had a cleaning business back in the day and I took over one of her clients in high school, so I work that job every weekend. Start an Etsy shop. Mow people's lawns. Babysit. Walk someone's dog. House sit. Offer to clean someone's house. Take someone's photos. Think of things you can do and then go find someone who will pay you to do it.
Sell your things.
This one has been HUGE for us. It works really nicely since we are pursuing a more minimalist lifestyle anyways. We have slowly but surely been going through our home (It's a one bedroom apartment so it's not that hard....) and gone through our things. Our clothes, our collections, our kitchen gadgets, our shoes, our DVDs and books, our knick knacks. Anything that doesn't serve us a purpose, anything we haven't used in over a year, anything we keep because we feel obligated because it was s gift, anything we don't remember that we even had--- it's got to go. If it's not in good shape, we just donate it. If it's good enough to even get $1 for, we try to sell it. Ebay, Craigslist, word of mouth-anything to get it sold. We've been doing this since the beginning of August and we have already made about $150 selling random things we didn't even know we had.
This rides the coat tail of the previous point, but if you can embrace some serious minimalism-- this will help you IMMENSELY. Minimalism will make you question if you really need to keep those DVDs you haven't watched in over a year. Minimalism will make you wonder if you really need to buy that new shirt, when you already have a closet full of them. Minimalism will make you look at your priorities and realize that MORE STUFF is not the answer.
Cancel travel plans.
Ouch. This one hurts SO BAD. I'm not kidding. This one REALLY hurts. But I am so proud of ourselves for doing this. This summer, we realized we had a trip planned beyond our means. We just got excited and planned a road trip because we wanted to. A month before our trip, we sat down and looked at the actual budget for the trip, trying to estimate how much money we would need. We realized this was a REALLY stupid decision. We didn't have money to be throwing at a luxury like travel right now, when we had thousand of dollars in debt. So we did a thing we didn't want to do -- we cancelled our week long road trip. We had a hotel booked that we couldn't get the money back for, so we compromised and went on a weekend trip to Cleveland and Detroit instead. Guess what? It was fantastic and we didn't have any guilt about spending money we shouldn't have. But seriously. I would encourage you to look at your plans and think about if it's actually in your means right now to be going on that trip. We were about to put a couple hundred dollars on a credit card instead. When we pay off our credit cards, we're going to celebrate with a trip somewhere!
Live like you're poor.
That sounds so depressing, doesn't it?! But I think more people need to embrace this! If you are living in debt, it means that you owe someone more money than you have right now. Think about that. Once I realized we had $8000 we owed to someone, I realized we didn't have the luxury of going on vacations right now, or getting a whole new wardrobe for the beginning of this semester. When you're in debt, you need to live like it. We stopped eating out all the time, or going out for drinks- just cause. We have seriously limited ourselves and found cheaper ways of enjoying time with each other.