The Short Story:
Hello! I’m Kendall and my husband, Stephen and I are on a mission to tackle our roughly $70,000 debt in 24 months! At first, we felt a rush of shame from having that much combined debt but soon that shame morphed into extreme determination. I decided if we were going to do it, I wanted to document the monumental achievement in real time and I also wanted real life accountability. What better way than the internet, right?
Our hope and desire is not only to be debt free but to learn sustainable ways to create and build wealth for our future. As mid-late twenty somethings, we feel deeply that now is the time to really grasp life long habits and knowledge that will pave the way for the life we can only dream about at this point. We hope you will join us on this journey, feel encouraged and maybe even contribute to the conversation from time to time. We would be fools to not think there is much to be learned and many we can learn from! We’ll pass along as many helpful tips and tricks as we can. We give monthly progress reports on our debt! Click here to read our most recent report!
More Details About Us:
We met in college and married shortly after. The majority of our debt is student loans, but we also have two car loans and a little consumer debt. Stephen is a live video director in the AVL church world and I’m in full time property management. We actually make a pretty fair income, but couldn’t for the life of us figure out how we had more month than money. Where was it going? I would attempt variations of budgets but nothing ever stuck. Our first two years of marriage were a constant tug-a-war between me wanting to save and Stephen wanting to spend. We made negative headway doing all the cliche mistakes young people make when they have real money for the first time. We started to hate ourselves for it. We were growing tired of playing catch up and it didn’t take much time before it started to tear a rift in our marriage. We finally sat down and faced the situation with eyes wide open. We knew we had to make a change or this debt was going to take more than our resources from us. It was depleting our relationship, keeping us from enjoying day to day life and preventing us from making any real future plans.
Starting in January 2017 we completely overhauled our finances and started living on roughly 30% of what we make. I realize 30% sounds crazy but we have a very fortunate situation for the time being. So, once we laid everything out on paper, we realized with some habit changes and new lifestyle choices we could use a much larger than average portion of our income to make major headway and still sock some away in savings for a rainy day.
Below are some of the steps we’ve taken to get started on this journey:
- We printed off our last 3 months of bank statements to assess where our money was really going and how we could cut back significantly.
- We canceled everything we could subscription wise. We still have Internet, Hulu and Netflix, because we’re human guys. Also, because sometimes you just want to chill on a Friday night. That’s real life.
- I went on a total selling spree. I’m talking – went nuts. I made over $500 in one week selling a bunch of junk we didn’t even use anymore. I’ll write a post about that, but if your area doesn’t have a Facebook group that acts as an online yardsale, there is always Craigslist.
- We opened more bank accounts and separated our monthly budget into different accounts so we couldn’t overspend. Read more about how we did that here. This is probably the biggest game changer to date. Stephen actually said to me, “Babe, I love our new budget” after the first month. I’ve never heard anything so sexy in my life.
- We made our budget based on our annual income rather than our monthly income so we could save for months that have miscellaneous expenses. I don’t know why I’m 27 and just learning to budget this way? Seriously, how could I not know something that made so much sense? Read how you can do this too!
- We started actually using coupons and liking it. I’m FARRRR from those extreme couponers, but when you have a limited amount of money to spend on groceries, suddenly that $5 off $40 coupon feels like you’ve won the lottery. It’s almost turned into a game for us. We shop at a local Winn Dixie and they have a fuelperks reward card. After finally reading what that was, I realized that we had racked up 62 cents off EACH gallon of gas the next time we filled up. What?? It saved us like $15 off a full tank of gas. I was amazed and supremely satisfied with my discovery.
- We stopped shopping for groceries at Target. I get it. You love Target. I love Target. Everyone loves Target, but I realized we were easily spending $1000/month there by browsing outside of the grocery section. I know, that’s the whole point of going to Target, am-I-right? Here’s the thing, now we only spend roughly $350-$400 on groceries per month. That’s a $600 saving just shopping somewhere that won’t tempt me with pretty blankets, trendy beach bags and copper kitchenware. #thestuggleisreal
- We started being more intentional with our time. We started going for walks in the evenings together and cooking together and finding more things to actually DO besides surfing the internet and subliminally being convinced to buy things. It sounds silly, but the less we see the less we miss. Suddenly, the want for things as turned into the want for things to DO. Having less and wanting less has actually led to a greater appreciation of what we already have and that’s led to deeper satisfaction with our life. Sometimes less really is more, except when referencing money of course, because clearly more is better. 🙂
- I started reading success stories from others who had already accomplished similar journey’s and started networking with successful people. I find it extremely motivating to get to interview these seemingly ordinary people who have done extraordinary things with their finances. Not only is it encouraging, but I also feel like I am constantly learning new ways to enhance our finances. I hope to pass along some of that knowledge to you! Check out the Success Stories section on my blog.
- Lastly, you guessed it, I started documenting our progress! You can’t gage how far you have come if you don’t acknowledge where you started. Check out our progress here!