It's the dream, right? To be debt free. To be at peace with your bank account and to not worry when the next emergency will turn into a crisis.
It's been three years since our family officially became debt free. I am not going to lie. At times, it felt tough. And then it felt freeing. That's the only way I can describe it.
But I want to be upfront with you about everything. I don't want to give anyone false information or sell anyone a bill of goods. I don't want to tell you things that "worked for me" when I didn't actually do them. I say all of this to say that when we went from two incomes to one income that one income had increased.
It was livable... if we made some changes. When Jason got a new job it was my hope to stay at home, but I knew that in order to do that we would have to really start punching out debt in the face.
Here are some things that we did:
1. We had an honest discussion about what we wanted.
I wanted to stay home as long as possible. Jason wanted us to save up for a down payment on a house.
We sat down and laid out all of your hopes and dreams for our family for the future and we plotted out a plan.
2. Recognize your own spending habits and each others.
I love books. I love reading books, I love buying books and apparently I love spending a lot of money on books.
This was obviously something I would have to reel in a little bit if I wanted our budget to work.
Jason and I both had to really think about our habits and how this might impact our plans for me to stay at home and our goal of paying off debt.
3. Get on a budget. Sit down and make a budget.
Write down everywhere you are going to spend money over the course of the month and stick to it. These forms are great for helping you remember the small things.
If you fail the first month, don't give up. If you fail the first three months, don't give up. You will get there.
Jason and I have fallen off the wagon so many times I think the wagon ran us over a few times. But you will get there. Just stick with it and you will get there.
Just remember to budget for everything including those extra runs to the grocery store for milk and diapers.
4. Get bare bones.
Jason and I implemented a no spending challenge. This really showed us where we were wasting money and where we could tighten up.
But before that, we cut back everywhere we could. We limited our trips to save gas, we meal planned to save on groceries, we didn't go out to eat, we quit buying clothes, we cut out cable and renegotiated lower bills. We use the library and Netflix for our entertainment and we simplified life.
All of these things over the course of a few months add up huge.
5. Set goals.
This is huge. And one I didn't think about before Jason mentioned it. But setting goals really helped us to solidify our savings and debt goals. I wanted to stay home as long as possible with my babies and Jason really wanted to buy us a house.
With these goals in mind we kept trucking, we kept saving and we kept moving forward.
You can pay off debt by living on one income. It's not always easy, but it's not a complicated equation. It takes intention, planning and dedication. But it can be done.
What about you? What are you working toward?