The Four Pillars of a Debt Free Person
I started this blog because I was tired of seeing my fellow Millenials becoming absolutely enslaved by student loans and debts. As a society we have normalized debt to the point that the majority of college graduates are entering the work force with more debt that they earn in an entire year starting off in their career. Sadly, my husband and I fell into this trap.
However, we were determined not to stay there, and so we didn’t! What was the turning point for us? My husband and I love dreaming together. We love dreaming about places we want to see, businesses we could start, or clever products we could make. All of these ideas require one thing.. money. One night we ordered a pizza and sat down and added up all of our debts. Our monthly “MINIMUM” payment was a whopping $1,500 a month… more than rent! Worse off, if we paid that for 10 years we would be paying an additional $50,000 in interest! (insert gag reflex here)
We realized if we wanted to pay off $150,000 in debt we had to make some major changes. The results: we were able to pay off $30,000 in 11 months and are on track for even more this year. If we can do it, so can you!
If you are in debt and discouraged you are in good company. I spent a lot of time discouraged and overwhelmed until I realized that my tears and frustration were not going to change anything.
Paying off debt is challenging for this generation that grew up on happy meals, hot pockets, and instant gratification. I get it, I am right there with you. But I realized if I just built the right foundation the house could be built quickly! This is when I began to see these four pillars established in every person that had their financial house in order. They knew how to live on a budget, planned for emergencies, save money at every opportunity, and continued to increase their income. My husband and I began to implement these four pillars and the results were incredible! We paid off $30,000 in just 11 months! More than that our starting point was a single income of only $40,000 a year. We made tremendous progress in under a year because we kept things simple and worked on our financial foundation.
4 Pillars of a Strong Financial Foundation
1. Learn to Live on a Budget
Somewhere along the line we have turned budgeting into a four-letter word that makes people cringe. Most shrink at the sound of this word because they think a budget “controls” you. Reality is if you don’t control your money, your debt will control you. Debt will control where you live, what you eat, where you will vacation, and what hobbies you get to enjoy.
A budget makes you powerful! It is a “spending plan” that puts you in the power seat choosing where your money goes and what is worth your hard earned cash. There are many ways to make a budget but if it isn’t sticking chances are you are missing a few steps. These are the 7 steps I followed to create a budget that allowed us to pay of $30,000 in under a year.
2. Save for Emergencies
The best way to get out of debt and build your financial house is to make room for emergencies and mistakes. Life has a way of ruining your “spending plan,” whether it be an unexpected medical bill or a dripping ceiling. One thing we can count on in life is for the unexpected to happen.
For many the plan for emergencies is a charge card. But we all know you cannot get out of debt by going further into debt. (raise your hand if you learned this the hard way… umm me right here!) Before we were able to truly tackle our debt we had to first make it a priority to set aside a pile of cash that could only be used for emergencies… real emergencies not just really amazing sales.
3. Save Money & cut expenses
Saving money and cutting expenses is the “fun” part of your financial foundation. This is the part where you learn to live within the security of your money spending plan. Saving money requires creativity and thinking outside of the box. I love doing this! If I have a budget I can find a way to live well within it. No matter how small.
Our internet raised $25 dollars a month and I called them up and said that was a price I could not afford. After a 30 minute conversation I was about to save us $20.00 a month! Then, we switched our car insurance and saved another $60.00 a month. Finally, we cut a monthly shooting range membership to increase our savings to just over $100 a month! Why did I not do this sooner?!?!
Learn the Magic Word
The best way to save is one simple word… no! When we increased our income and had extra income I wanted to go to Italy, Josh wanted a new TV. (You know those TV’s on display when you walk into Costco… all of those.) But we realized we would be giving up future financial security if we strayed from our “Spending Plan” and we couldn’t afford that!
Check out these ways to save money!
4. Increase Your Income!
Once you have your budget or spending plan in order then it is time to increase your income as much as possible to throw it all at your debt. This is the last pillar on purpose. If you seek to increase your income before truly learning to live on a budget and manage emergencies, trust me you will find new ways to spend that hard earned cash and not get any closer to paying off debt. When our income doubled we did not change our lifestyle one bit. Since we were already used to living frugal we simply increased the amount we sent to debt each month.
Over the past year we were able to more than double our income since we first got married. We did this by taking on second jobs and learning how to side hustle to earn extra income on the side.
Side Hustles Worth your Time
Side Hustle with Lyft
Although my husband is a busy lawyer, he decided to drive for Lyft on the side to earn some extra cash to pay off debt. He drove in his free time and got to chit chat with some great people. Pretty easy work to fit in at any time. Click here to access the latest incentives and make up to $35/hr for driving your own car. Driving for Lyft added an additional $500 – $1,000 a month!!! This really helped us pay off our debt fast! The extra income went straight to our lowest student loan and we paid it off in two months! If you are new to lyft click on this and get $50.00 in Lyft credit towards your first ride!
Make money with a small blog!
Why not make passive income writing about something you love! I started a blog because I was passionate about saving money and paying off debt. But hey! Why not make money writing about your passion?!? Many stay at home mom’s and millenials are making thousands each month through advertisements and affiliate marketing links (these are links where you get a commission for the sale without adding any cost to the customer). Carolina made over $1,000/month from Amazon while her blog was under 10K page views and has increased her affiliate income as her blog has grown.
If you are passionate about fashion, homeschooling, DIY projects, or saving money you can become like so many others and make thousands each month through a small blog. Suzi with Start a Mom blog went from making $0.00 to $17,000 a month in just one year. Can you imagine how much debt you could pay off, if you earned $17,000 a month?!? She has a great course that is way under priced, that teaches you exactly how to start a blog (Most blogging courses are over $300). She taught me everything I know and has helped me add a little extra income to pay off debt fast!
If we can do it, so can you!
Free Budget Form Here!
Download the same budget I used to pay off $30,000 in just 11 months!!!