Let’s Talk Money

This is my second “Hello, Adulthood” post where I talk about being an adult and doing adult things. Today I want to talk about money. Specifically debt (which is actually the opposite of money). Right? When Adam and I got married in 2009, we decided two things:

  1. We would stop using credit cards after we got back from our honeymoon
  2. We would pay off all our debt (using the snowball method)

The first decision (NO MORE CREDIT) was easy. If you literally cut up your credit card, you can’t use it. The second task, however, proved to be harder than it sounded. I’m excited to say that by the end of this year, Adam and I will be debt free. It will have taken over 3 years but this whole process has been totally and completely 100% worth it. I’m not going to go into super huge-number-type details but we started off with:

  • 2 of Adam’s smaller student loans
  • My VISA credit card (Not going to lie- I had built up quite the balance over 5 years and a wedding)
  • Two car payments
  • My large student loan

Believe me, we get lots of different reactions when we tell people our end goal. We get blank stares, speeches about why we need to stay in debt in order to buy a house (yeah, we’ve heard!), honest questions, and then a few that are actually interested in hearing how we are doing it. I promise this post is NOT my way of saying that our way is the only way. I’m just proud of how far we’ve come and to honestly say that I’m so stinking excited to not have a car payment anymore. So if you’re interested, below are my tips for those trying to do the same thing we are:

1. Figure out WHY you want to pay off debt. If you don’t have actually reasons to pay off debt, you won’t be motivated. Our reasons? We want a lot of cash flow, I want to own my own business without worrying about all our expensive monthly payments, and we truly want it to be a lifelong lifestyle.

2. Budget. Adam and I budget together two months out at a time. So when the beginning of January rolled around, we budgeted for January and February at the same time. It’s fun to see that your goals might be met in 4 weeks and it really motivates you. We also like to be prepared for any type of trips, events, or larger expenses ahead of time.

3. Set goals. We set goals for after we pay everything off. That’s another motivator. We want ‘X’ amount in our savings. We want to buy a house someday. We want to take a vacation after we’re debt-free.

4. Make big sacrifices. It will take a very, very long time if you only pay your minimum payments. You really have to make sacrifices. I work 60-70 hours a week. We haven’t taken a vacation (just the two of us) since our honeymoon. We aggressively paid off my Honda CR-V in 2010, sold it, and bought a really cheap Toyota. We went without cable/internet for two years. We have ridiculously cheap rent. We religiously shop at Marshall’s.

5. Know that you’re going to make mistakes/trip up THE WHOLE TIME. After all my “advice,” you need to know that it shouldn’t have taken us 3 years to pay all of this off. We slacked most of the time and made impulsive purchases (coughiPadcough). We overdrafted. We experienced annoying car problems. We moved way too many times resulting in extra fees and expenses.

At the end of the day, I feel good about being in control of my money. I like living within our means and I don’t stress like I once did. I wish that type of peace on anyone. If you’re interested in learning more, check out Dave Ramsey’s website (we follow his plan loosely) or feel free to ask me any questions or your own tips below! Sorry this post is so text heavy! I never do this. Tomorrow…pretty pictures. I promise.

February 16, 2012