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Back in the Summer of 2018 we decided to start paying off debt. Something had clicked in our brains and suddenly all I saw was money flying out the door each month. Up until that point we had been trying to survive and didn’t really have anything left over. There was no savings and no extra fun money. Almost a quarter of our income each month went just to making minimum payments on debt.
It was insane!
We had always had a budget but it was mostly there to make sure bills were paid on time. It helped us avoid over draft fees and keep people fed, the end. It wasn’t a money plan because there was no money to plan with. We lived life on the edge, as do many people in the US.
In 2018 we realized we somehow had grown to a point that we had a little bit of money left over. For the first time in our whole lives there was a surplus. Halle-freakin-lujah!
It wasn’t much money left over (think $200 a paycheck) but it was a taste of what extra income could feel like. It suddenly introduced the possibility of making decisions about how we spent our income.
Before we found that tiny surplus it felt like all our money decisions were made for us. We spent money to survive. The end. We bought food, shelter, clothing… we covered our immediate needs and nothing more.
Instead of taking that extra money and increasing our lifestyle we decided to start buying our freedom. We had this thought that if we could just pay off a few things ahead of schedule it would open up even more spending power each month.
And we were right.
Here is a graphic that shows how much debt paid off each year so far. 2020 will be our biggest year yet, I feel it!
The process of paying off debt has brought so much positive into our lives and not for the reasons you think. It’s kind of like when you train to run a 5k and it starts to positively impact all the areas of your life.
Focusing on paying off debt pushed me to search for a job with more fair compensation. It also pushed us to share with our kids and family about our life and decisions. My kids now have a better grasp on the impact of student loan debt than I did in college. Boom! Victory!
I have now helped sisters, friends, and strangers talk through budgets and debt annihilation strategies. Which is honestly an incredible gift and motivates me even more to crush this crap.
Right now, as I am typing this our number sits at $40,000, that is the total amount of debt paid off! Get out of town!
I am forever grateful that we have been able to do this. I am appreciative of the folks who take the time to cheer us on. I’m also excitedly waiting to cheer for the next person who decides to tackle their own debt.
I mean YOU. You can do this too. You may just need some framework to get you headed in the right direction.
I have a Start Here tab on my main menu to get you oriented.