Sharing How We Became Debt-Free As Newlyweds In 6 Months
We Share In Full Details Of How We Became Debt-Free
We are excited to share our full story on how we became debt-free as newlyweds. We have three steps or tips on how we did it, but you do not have to do every single thing we did.
However, we wanted to share every resource we used in case you want to try it out! But first, it is time to share how much debt we had…
$11,697…going into marriage. We felt really bad and held down like by ball and chain.
In full disclosure, we had 5 credit cards with $11,687 total. But, we’re sitting here today that we are officially out of the credit cards’ debt, and we want to share how we did it. There are three ways or steps that we did this. All of this is founded by the Bible and we read and follow Dave Ramsey’s tips on getting out of debt.
(Note: we know we did a podcast episode on this, so if you much rather listen to the episode, go here for apple, spotify, or google play….HOWEVER, we just want to clarify we added MUCH more into this post, so I would advise you to keep reading 🙂
Tip 1: Sit Down & Have the “talk”.
The first step is a simple message that we got from Dave Ramsey. The first part is have a date with yourself or your spouse/partner and have the “talk”.
Basically, sit down with yourself and your spouse or partner and talk about the finances and be educated together because they have to know what is going on and you both have to agree on it.
Helpful Info: You just can’t do the whole debt-free journey by yourself if the other person does not have a clue what is going on with finances OR if they do not agree with you.
As a single person, I (David) was the one that got more in debt; however, I was upfront with Lianna while we were dating and engaged so that she knew what she would be getting into.
The one thing that Lianna always said that made us more “one” and united once we got married is she always called it OUR debt, not my debt or David’s debt.
We were both working together towards paying off our debt because we are married, we are one, and it is not put all on one person. So, changing the language was a game-changer for me because I knew it wasn’t about me, my debt, and my finances.
Helpful Info: If married, be sure to change the language in how you say debt & say “Our debt” not “my debt” or “your debt”…
Anyways, the talk over your finances is important so that you can talk and see how much money is coming in and what money goes out every month for essentials and non-negotiable, like electricity, utilities, groceries, etc.
Then, you can come up with a plan, which is the next step, on what to do to tackle down each debt you have.
Another thing that is worth noting is checking your bank accounts more often than once in a while. Checking your bank accounts might be scary for some people, but it is necessary in the long-run to know the numbers as you are paying off your debt but not running out of money.
From online, we found the numbers of how often people check their bank accounts. And, it is pretty shocking.
Here’s how often people say they check their account:
- “Every day:” 36%
- “Once a Week:” 30%
- “Once a Month:” 8%
- “Twice a Month:” 8%
- “Less Than a Month:” 18%
What percentage do you fall under?
Another way to not be daunted to check your bank accounts is educating yourself about finances, learning about the basics first before diving deeper.
One of the things we have done that we love is using apps on our phones for our finances. We use two apps: our Wells Fargo banking app (the bank we use) that allows us to see EXACTLY how much money we have in each of our checking and saving accounts, as well as business accounts.
Helpful Info: Try to see if your bank has an app so you can use to keep track of your money flow & transactions. If not, most likely, you can set up an online banking where you can set up an account. If you’re not sure about both, call them up & they should help you!
The other app is more interactive called the Mint app and you can connect your banking accounts to the app.
But, the cool thing about Mint app is you can create your own budgets, track your weekly and monthly spends, see exactly what you are spending (or overspending) on such coffee shops, eating out, shopping unnecessary things, etc.
And, you can access it almost anywhere…from your phone, computer, or tablet.
It is both humbling and helpful at the same time, and you can see where you need to save money on and the best part is that the app is FREE!
ONE EXAMPLE FOR US: So, because we saw that we spent more money on getting expensive coffee from coffee shops through the Mint app, we were able to talk about it and decided on making coffee at home more. That saves us $10-12 EVERY week that we were buying coffee drinks, which adds up to $48 a month and wait for it, $576 a year!
Helpful Info: Get some kind of finance management program or app but an easy one. If you find a difficult one to use, you most likely will not want to use it or get on it.
Of course, we still buy coffee once in a while as a treat but it is not every week. You just have to know how to live under your means.
For example, let’s say you got $100 a week from working (this is a small amount but it is only an example). You have to spend $50 on your rent, utilities, and other bills, and you have $50 left to do what you want.
You are not going to spend all of it on unnecessary things, like coffee drinks and clothes, and you would have nothing leftover to pay off your debt or to save.
You have to use most of it to pay off the debt, right? That is what we mean by living not within your means but under your means for a short time.
Tip 2: Get a plan & write it down.
The second step is to get a game-plan, crunch your numbers, and write it down…write it down on your own piece of paper and a pen and you do the math with your partner or by yourself of how much credit card debt, loan, or bills you have.
Writing it down makes it more official and makes you more accountable, especially if you tend to become lax, forgetful, or undisciplined. If you write it down, post it somewhere where you will both see it everyday as a reminder and how much closer you are every day and month.
Real example here, we had about $11,697 in debt. After we talked about it and educated ourselves of where we were at financially, we wrote down each debt on a crappy piece of paper, right here.
Helpful Info: One thing we want to note that if you think it is cool to have multiple credit cards, it is not cool. It is not cool to have to keep up with payments and having to juggle every credit card with how much money you have at the bank.
But, to be honest, sometimes we went to extremes on trying to save money and living under our means the best we could.
Here is a funny and sad example: We were trying not to spend too much money on groceries (bad idea, by the way) and we only had one box of macaroni left in our pantry for dinner. So, please don’t try that at home.
But, there are other ways you can save money without depriving yourselves. For example, I (Lianna) tried very hard not to buy any new clothing or shoes at the time. (And, I love shoes!)
However, David wanted to treat me for my birthday and got me really cool-looking, bright teal tennis shoes. But, it was a treat and it was doable and within our budget!
Other ways can be look for free things to do in the city or town you are in. For us, we live about 10 minutes away from the beach, so that is a no-brainer. Other things can be attending carnivals, libraries, museums, parks, free local attractions, farmer’s market, etc.
Another tip is use up all the gift cards you can find and let your friends and families know that you rather have gift cards of your favorite places for birthdays and Christmas or just because. It helps SO much.
For me (Lianna), I went psycho when I used my Whataburger gift card (which only had about $5 left) and there was a coupon for buy one whataburger meal, get one FREE. So, I told David, we are going to whataburger for lunch to treat ourselves and only had to pay $1.03!! So, it was kinda fun trying to save money and getting creative too.
Tip 3: Realize that Becoming Debt-Free Calls For Sacrifice
This leads into our third step which is knowing that getting debt-free calls for sacrifice.
If you want to make a change in your life, you have to start in order to make a change like Today is the best day to begin.
Let’s Get Real Here:
For the ladies:
I know….I know…this might be hard and difficult for you to read, but it is time to stop spending money on expensive clothing, accessories, hair and makeup products, especially if you want to become debt-free.
If you are married, this will make life so much easier on your husband and quite possibly make your marriage stronger knowing you are both in this together.
Note that I did not say you need to STOP buying, but rather be smart with your budget and get creative.
Helpful Info: Use what you got right now (hair product, makeup, etc.) and keep using it until you run out THEN you can go out and buy that specific product that you NEED.
For the men:
You are not off the hook so easily. I know men can spend lots of money on their tools, sporting events, haircuts (what?!), video games, trips, and, wait for it, their cars.
Little advice is to be careful and think twice before you buy something and see if you truly need it or not.
Helpful Info: As for haircuts, save money on going to a smaller barbershop that will give you good prices and the same haircut versus going to the fancy hair place with more than twice the payment.
There is a lot of give and take in become debt-free and everyone’s situation looks different from the next person. So, prioritize what is needed and not needed, what route and decision is best for you, both of you, or your family.
The Foundation In Becoming Debt-Free & Money
In closing, we want to assure you that this whole post is founded by God’s Word. God does not say having debt is evil or sinful, but does say that having too much of it may weigh you down more than He wants for you.
Here is Proverbs 22:7, “Just as the rich rule the poor, so the borrower is servant to the lender.”
Romans 13:8, “Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law.”
In all reality, having debt is not a sin. However, it does become a burden eventually if you cannot get yourself out of it and you become a slave to the lender or the creditors.
The reason why Romans 13:8 really speaks out is because if you feel bogged down by the debt, it is also difficult to be more generous, giving to people when God calls you, and tithing may seem like a last option.
But, keep showing love and trust in God by tithing what you do have even while you are in debt.
That is why God is cautious about money throughout the Bible because He knows money can be used for good and for bad. Even if you are out of debt and have a ton of money, God warns in the Bible about what happens if you have a love for money and not God,
“For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.” –1 Timothy 6:10
Read that verse again. Because people did not want to realize that they love money more than God, they wandered away from the faith.
Note that it does not say that money IS evil, but the love of money is. That is where the problems start with SO many people, whether they are in debt OR they have more money than they know what to do with.
That’s why many people struggle, their marriages suffer, and they are so unhappy even if they have all the money in the world.
“Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” So we can confidently say, “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?” –Hebrews 13:5-6
Helpful Info: This is something to remember if you are on the journey of finally being debt-free…
Everything belongs to God in the end.
God brings the blessings, including money, into your life, not yourself. And, He can also take it away.
He will help you when you ask Him for guidance — whether it is how to become debt-free or to free you from the love of money & keeping money as an idol.
Final Encouragement to Become Debt-Free &
Be Founded In God’s Word
So, start today. Talk it out, get a plan, write it down, post it somewhere where you will see it, and stick to it. It felt so amazing to get everything paid off in six months right before our 6 months’ wedding anniversary.
We want you to have the freedom and have the burden lifted off your shoulders by sharing our steps on how we did it. You can pick and choose what you read from us and reconfigure it to fit for you.
When we saw the number we had to pay off, it seemed so scary and intimidating that we could actually pay it off. But, we had to ask God for help and guidance throughout the whole getting debt-free journey, also with the help of Dave Ramsey.
We pray that this post helped you and will give you a jump-start on your journey in becoming debt-free!
Thank you for reading,