Debt Free Journey

I haven’t met anyone who likes being in debt. If you are trying to relieve some debt that’s probably why you are here, so welcome! We are going to chat about my journey with being in debt and how my husband and I were able to pay off $45,000 in debt in 3 years. A little caveat, this takes lots of discipline and sacrifices so don’t think this was super easy for us. Let’s get right into it. 

I never knew what it was like being in debt until I went to college. I got a credit card and quickly was living above my means and I maxed out my credit card at $3,000. This doesn’t seem like much, but as a college student money is almost always tight. I was going through nursing school, I was about to graduate college and realized I have to pay back all of my student loans and this is going to take me 10-20 years to do. Yikes! While I was in nursing school I of course had to make money to live so I got a CNA job. This helped pay for normal living as a college student but not much extra. A couple years later I got a job as a nanny while also continuing my CNA job and going to school full time. Both of these jobs combined gave me a little more money. Then in my senior year of nursing school I found Herbalife Nutrition, a multilevel marketing company. I figured if I can make money from my phone then what the heck do I have to lose….absolutely nothing. So I started doing Herbalife alongside both of my other jobs and nursing school. You may be thinking, woman you are crazy. And although I may have been at the time, those experiences brought me to this point. 

I graduated nursing school, got a full time job and now I had all the real adult bills to pay like an apartment, a car payment, insurance, my credit card, etc. Making $2400 a month from my full time job didn’t give much room after all the bills. I still had my herbalife income which helped give me more money every month. Never underestimate a side hustle!!!!! You may be thinking, this woman is just trying to promote her business. Listen up, it’s 2022, have an open mind to all options. ANYWAYS

With my extra income I quickly paid off my credit card. I then started saving money like crazy with my then boyfriend and now husband. After a year or so of saving and paying minimum payments and just having fun, we got pregnant!!!!! This was not planned, but such a blessing and brought more stress about change and money. Between his income and my income we were both living paycheck to paycheck. Three months after finding out I was pregnant I bought a house. We had bills on bills like monthly payments coming out of our ears. I strongly dislike monthly payments to this day. COVID hit in 2020 and threw everyone for a loop. My hours at work were cut drastically and I had to file for unemployment. My husband’s job was very stable during that time. Between the unemployment money and the stipends that we got we were able to pay off a hefty amount of our debt. In 2020 alone because of budgeting, help from the stipends, and a side hustle, we paid off just over $20,000 in debt. WHAT!!!! It is possible for you too! This brings me to the first tip:

Tip #1: Treat extra money like extra money and put it to good use. So many people use extra money for who even knows what. What do things get you other than temporary satisfaction? Sounds harsh but it is true. My husband and I have this talk all the time. This goes for tax returns, bonuses, stipends, christmas money, etc. What are you putting it towards?

Paying off all this debt allowed me to quit my job, do herbalife full time, and be a present mom to our baby. In June of 2020 I quit my full time job and that was one of the best days of my life! If we wouldn’t have buckled down then I would not be writing this right now. I would not be able to help others do the same. We truthfully treated this extra money as extra and put it towards something that would benefit our future. Wow it brings me back to the times when we had so many monthly payments. 

In 2021 we decided to have a little more fun with our money, we continued to pay off a little more debt. The major debt we had was my student loan of $23,000 and our mortgage. So at the end of 2021 we decided to take advantage of the market and sell our home and move into an apartment in February of 2022. I know, you are probably thinking this woman is crazy AGAIN. This was the perfect opportunity for us. We profited about $50,000 on our home and stuck with our guns no matter how crazy people that we were. That’s the thing about living a debt free journey is you will be making your fair share of sacrifices, but it is all worth it in the end. We paid off my student loan and now we are DEBT FREE!!!!!! Update: as of 2/8/22 we paid off another $25,000 in debt after selling our home and we could not be happier! We are celebrating with a vacation 🙂 Living a debt free journey isn’t necessarily about making more money, but being smart with the money you do have. Today, we live one one income comfortably. This is something to celebrate! How many people do you know that are debt free or are on their debt free journey? This brings me to tip #2:

Tip #2: Create a budget. You can’t do this without a budget. If you don’t know where your money is going then you are not doing a great job at managing your finances. Print out a budget template that works for you. Be realistic with your budget and also understand that you can cut things out of the budget. Get rid of the spotify premium, netflix subscription, shop less, eat out less. These are just a small portion of sacrifices that I am telling you about. Also, if you are doing this with a spouse then I recommend you sit down and do the budget part together so you can both see the numbers.

Tip #3: Do not rule out an extra source of income. Mine was and still is Herbalife Nutrition. Find an extra source of income that fits you. If you choose to go clock into a part time job then do that. If you don’t think you need an extra source of income and can cut down on expenses then that works as well. 

Tip #4: Do not stop until you reach your goal. Your goal may take 6 months or 36 months. Either way the benefit of pushing towards your goals far exceeds what you think you may be missing out on. We had no clear goal at first, but then we started to pay things off it became more clear. We didn’t really realize how much debt we had until it was paid off. This may be the same for you.

My recommendation is doing steps in this order: 

  1. Make a budget
  2. Set your goals based on your budget
  3.  Start!

If you take away anything then take away this- a future owning your money and having options is far more important than a future with too much month at the end of your money. 

If you need any more tips or want to talk about how to start your debt free journey send me an email and we can chat!

Happy budgeting,

Kristi

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