How we eliminated $13k of debt in 3 weeks

Y’all, (I say y’all now. I’ve been in Tennessee for 4 years, I’m allowed) if it weren’t for the children waking at 10:30PM 11:15PM, 12:45AM, and 4:00AM, I would have slept more soundly than I have in a long time.

Why?

Because we’ve finally fully committed to cleaning up our financial lives and gotten serious about making the necessary sacrifices to live in financial freedom.

My husband and I have been flirting with Dave Ramsey’s plan for about 5 years. I suppose it took us 3 children for us to realize that if we wanted to live in freedom in the future, we had to buckle down and get rid of our debt “masters” in the short term.

For us, that meant using every extra cent to eliminate credit card debt, which is finally completely gone, hallelujah! $5k of debts paid. The thing is, these weren’t frivolous charges, they were legitimate needs we should’ve saved for, but failed to before they became needs. Hence Dave’s baby step 1 being $1,000 emergency fund. So we’re building an emergency expenses fund so we can pay cash and stop resorting to using a credit card.

Then we saw the progress we had made and really dug in our heels. We negotiated a trade for our Subaru (part of me is sad) for a larger, older, cheaper, less trendy minivan. And just like that, $8,000 was cut from our debts.

In a matter of 3 weeks, we had paid off all our credit card debt via our income tax return, and eliminated $8,000 of car payment debt. That’s $13,000 of debt gone.

We hard core cut our expenses- no eating out, no extras (Audible, Skillshare, other subscription services), and limited our grocery spending and meal rotation (am I already sick of rice and beans? Yes. But it’ll all be worth it.) This freed up almost $400 a month to tackle extra payments on the vehicles.

Then once the car payments are gone, we start making extra payments on the mortgage. That’s how you eat an elephant.

Are we still in debt for the cars (and mortgage)? Yes. But it’s now the difference between being at the bottom of a 100 foot well to being stuck in a 6 foot deep hole. Yeah, you’re still in a hole, but the way out is much more attainable from the shallower hole. We’re now on track to be rid of all the car debt within 18 months. The debt snowball is gaining traction. We are well on our way to the debt-free scream, and that feels pretty good.

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