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One of the things that steals many moms joy is debt, or worrying about money. I have been there! One thing that has helped our family regain that joy is working hard to ditch the debt. In November 2012, my husband and I completed a class called Financial Peace University. The class is “taught” by Dave Ramsey. At that time, we had been working for a few months on paying off our debt. Before this plan started, we were sitting on $43,000 in debt not counting our mortgage. Today we are sitting on $12,000 in debt. That is a total of $31,000 paid off in a little less than 2 years. During this time, my husband was also laid off three times, and I quit my daycare job. I am going to share how we did it, and how with some hard work you can too!
The debt we had was made up of credit cards, student loans and two car payments.
- We sold my husband’s truck (that we owed on) and bought a work car (with cash) that needed minor bodywork that my husband could fix.
- We applied our tax return in 2013 to our credit card debt, and our 2014 tax return to paying off my van.
- We made a debt snowball plan applying each payment we had made prior to the next debt on our list.
- We refinanced our mortgage to a lower interest rate, which freed up $150 a month that we applied to our debt snowball plan.
- We listed tons of stuff on Craig’s list that we had lying around in our building. We used this money to stock our emergency fund.
- We began using cash envelopes and stayed on a very strict household budget.
- I began looking for extra work I could do from home, and applied that money towards our debt snowball plan.
- I found ways to cut our utility costs, and grocery budget.
When my husband was on unemployment, we had to drop our debt snowball payment a little bit. We also cut up all of our credit cards and have refrained from using them (that is what the emergency fund was for). This has all been a lot of hard work, but it has been worth every bit of it!
The biggest tip I have for those struggling with debt is to keep on, keeping on! Also, give yourself grace. There have been months where after weeks and weeks of pinching pennies we just want to go shopping-and we do! We just do it on a budget. This makes the purchases that much more meaningful, because you have saved for them, and you know you will not be getting a shocking credit card bill the next month. I am a huge believer that the Lord does not want us to be slaves to debt, but I also believe our kids are only little once and we need to enjoy them. We go on vacation, and when my hubby received a new job offer we celebrated by going for an overnight trip as a family. The key to paying off debt is finding a balance that works for your family. If the whole family is miserable while you are working on your debt snowball plan, you will not have the stamina to get to the finish line. At the same time, if you don’t’ give up some luxuries and work hard, then you will never reach your goal. Find the balance that works for you and get to work ditching the debt!