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Starting Off Debt-Free!
When my husband and I got married, neither one of us had any debt. We had both been frugal, bought used cars for cash, and we had a simple and inexpensive wedding. We were (and still are!) committed to a debt-free lifestyle.
We highly recommend a debt-free lifestyle, especially to young couples who are just starting their lives off together. Avoiding the stress and possible tension that comes with financial struggles will help any couple as they lay the foundation of their new life.
Sometimes, even with the best of intentions, life can blindside you and leave you wondering what happened. This is where we found ourselves last fall after an intense summer of trying to make a home for our family before the birth of our second son.
It was a difficult time for us emotionally, physically and financially. We spent over two months living in a small travel trailer with no hot running water while we frantically worked on our home and still keeping up with our full time jobs.
And Then It Happened…We Got Into Debt
During this time we had the help of my brother, who basically lived with us for most of the summer. At first we were paying him each week for the work he had done. But as the summer progressed and our finances grew tighter, he kept working and allowed us to postpone his payment.
A couple of others also paid for a supply orders, leaving us with money owed to them.
And that’s the simplified version of the story of how we got in debt. It wasn’t on purpose and it wasn’t in our plan. In the grand scheme of things, our debt is pretty insignificant. But it still has slowed us down from reaching our financial goals and has added stress to our lives that we otherwise had avoided.
Getting Out of Debt
We are now in the process of getting out of debt. My husband and I are big fans of Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University and are currently working through the baby steps that he recommends. Our $1000 emergency fund is set aside and we are being gazelle intense about our remaining debt.
We intend to be completely free (except for our mortgage) by the end of the year. We will be able to make extra payments on our mortgage once we have our other obligations taken care of.
#1 Tip for Staying Focused While Getting Out of Debt – Provide Yourself an Incentive
There are lots of tips out there to help you stay focused and make your getting-out-of-debt journey as short as possible. By far the one tip that helps me the most is to provide myself an incentive. I am a goal-oriented person and having something tangible to work towards keeps me going.
My reward for when our debt is paid off is to schedule a Stitch Fix. I have received two Fixes in the past and enjoyed them immensely, but with our budget buttoned down to pay off debt, I couldn’t justify another one at this time.
(If you want to learn about Stitch Fix and how it works, check out this post I wrote on that very subject!)
I Love Stitch Fix
(Ok, there are some things I don’t love about it…like a $68 price tag on a blouse!). Seeing a box arrive in my mail knowing that there are clothes in it is a special kind of thrill. Trying on the clothes in the comfort of my own home and keeping only the things that I love just adds to the appeal. A clothing subscription service was made for me!
With all that being said, it has been difficult to keep myself from going online and scheduling a box (especially when tempting offers like this show up in my inbox). It would’ve been fun to have a couple new pieces in my wardrobe this summer. But as Dave Ramsey says: “Live like no else now so that later you can live (and give) like no one else”.
Once our debt is paid off and we have a bit more flexibility in our budget, I’ll be sure to give an update here and show you what fun items come in my Fix!
What is your number one tip for staying focused on a goal? What are your thoughts on debt-free living? Let me know in the comments!