By the title of this post, obviously you know what this is going to be about.
My goodness doesn’t it seem that it’s impossible to live in this day and age without getting in debt? So many things to buy! So many new gadgets! So many places to go, things to eat! Ugh it’s just soooo much!
I want it now though… we said to ourselves.
Patience, buy it when you have the cash… said my wallet.
Life is becoming so expensive, I know. From fun to basic bills. Water, sewer, etc. It’s so hard to live without debt, but it’s possible!
When my husband and I got married 10 years ago I had no idea what a credit card was. However my husband did and gifted us over 2K in credit card debt from Highschool. From then on we struggled to pay off anything as it climbed up to 30K. My husband was a telemarketer (sorry if we called you) hah and we were making 2,000 a month! Yup you read that right. We lived in a basement and had a baby on the way. No government assistance since I wasn’t born here in the US, that’s a whole other blog.
It was a 10 year process for us because we didn’t take it serious for so long. We also didn’t see the Christian perspective to owing, and we would get out of debt and replace it with a bigger one, because duh what else should we have done with that extra money! Here is a crazy statistic:
Credit card debt is a common issue that challenges American consumers:
$764 billion total U.S. credit card debt¹
191.8 million credit cardholders in the U.S. (or 77 percent of adults)²
$4,061 average credit card debt per cardholder in the U.S.³
$6,662 average credit card debt per U.S. household
13.61% APR average credit card rate on accounts that assess interest
In fact, in 2015, total U.S. auto loan debt surpassed $1 trillion. And here is where this trend stands as of 2016:
$1.16 trillion in total U.S. auto loan debt¹
106.21 million auto loans in the U.S.
$30,032 is the average auto loan amount on a new car⁶
The average loan term is 68 months on a new car
The average auto loan payment amount is $503 on a new car
The average auto loan APR is 4.79% on a new car
Below are some statistics that show how medical debt has grown and where it hits the hardest:
42.9 million people have overdue medical debt in the U.S.⁷
$1,766 average balance owed among people with overdue medical debt
31 percent of people struggling to repay medical debt owe $5,000 or more⁸
13 percent of individual struggling to repay medical debt have bills of $10,000 or more
This year we became debt free for good and I’ll share some tips we used.
*disclaimer: these are just some ways we found helpful. There are many other ways and resources to becoming debt free. My way isn’t the best way or the right way. Just our way.
- Use your tax return to pay off debt (we did this for a few years until my husband started working where he is now we no longer get anything in return, but pay)
- Tackle your smallest debt first (snowball effect from Dave Ramsey)
- Budget. (We weren’t super strict but still had a limit)
- Shop local and in season (groceries can easily take a large sum)
- We cut up our credit cards (couldn’t use them that way)
- Accountability (my brother in law is an accountant who put himself through college without debt, he helped us to keep focused)
- Family outings? (We had a limit of $100 a month including going out to eat)
- Second hand stores! (Need I say more)
- Cook what you have (I use to crave certain things and spend crazy money instead of using up what I had in my pantry)
- Sell the stuff you don’t use/need/want
- Allow yourself a $50 spending limit or whatever you and your spouse decide on
- Learn to say no to wants and yes to needs
- Get creative with indoor fun for the kids and dates
- Did I mention cook at home yet?
- Buy discounted meats (I find organic meats that are on clearance because they need to be use that week)
- DO NOT BUY EVERYTHING AT COSTCO (get to know what stores offer good deals on food)
- Shop around for better deals on your bills (cell phones, health insurance, car insurance)
- Netflix (get rid of cable)
- Each paycheck make a budget and once all your bills are paid and you’ve given yourself your spending money… put half of what’s left in savings and the rest towards debt.
- Use “free”money, aka bonuses to pay off debt. You’ll be happy you did.
- LIVE SIMPLE, no you don’t need brand name anything.
- Pay cash. I still carry cash for groceries and once I run out… I’m out. That’s that. I use it wisely because it’s so much easier to just swipe.
- In an envelope put money for certain things (I had a grocery envelope, a family night envelope, and the me envelope)
- Have a no spend day, then week, then month! It adds up quickly!
- Can you sell your car to buy one cash? We had two car loans we sold and paid cash for them.
- Just because you make more doesn’t mean you have to spend more. Be humble.
- GIVE (I know, how can you give when you don’t have much? Trust me, give when you can and as much as your heart calls you to give and you’ll be blessed)
- Call the credit card companies and settle an amount!
- I saved my gift cards and bought gifts for others with them instead of using our budget
- GET HELP. Educate yourself and learn more about what you can do to get out of being a slave.
- Your children’s extra curricular activities can be put off for a while.
- We couldn’t afford private school even though we really wanted that, so we homeschooled instead. < even better in my opinion.
- Keep track of your spending.
- Write down your motivation for getting out of debt, somewhere you can see it everyday.
- Friends who think alike!
- Ask questions, only foolish people think they know it all.
- Call every single medical bill you have and see if they have programs to reduce your bill. (I did this for my mother and they paid $20,000)
- REMEMBER to pray and ask God for self control and wisdom.
Getting out of debt is team work and if your partner isn’t on board… you do your part. There’s always a spender married to a saver or a spender in debt who’s frustrated so turns in to a saver 😉. Love you honey. Keep your end goal at mind!
You don’t want to be a slave to the lender. I always had these verses in mind:
s to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed. Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law.
e borrower is the slave of the lender.
"Give, and it will be given to you. They will pour into your lap a good measure– pressed down, shaken together, and running over. For by your standard of measure it will be measured to you in return."
It is so worth paying off your debts, even if it takes a while!
I really want to encourage you to take the small steps toward freedom.
Not having any debt means being able to freely give more, to freely spend without regret, it’s freely living and knowing you can breath without stressing over your next debt payment. Financial freedom is being able to enjoy life, being able to experience life. The bonus for us? Traveling! Now that we’re out of debt we can travel (not like crazy extravagant) as a family just like we always wanted.
You have to have a huge motivator and ours was, our children and my husbands health. You need to remember your motivation every single time you want to spend money you don’t have. Trust me it’s worth it!
What’s your reason for getting out of debt?
What’s your motivation?