Update: HERE is an updated version of this post with an added tip as well. This has been one of my most popular posts, thanks to Pinterest. I wrote this 2.5 years ago and although I still recommend these 4 tips to pay off debt, I have some updated information. I still stand by these tips as recommendations to help pay down debt and/or live financially prudent.
I have been trying to come up with the perfect post that sums up our debt-free journey in a nutshell. The only problem was narrowing it down to just a few tips. But here you have it…
*This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for your support.
TOP 4 TIPS TO GETTING RID OF DEBT:
How We Paid Our House Off in 33 Months
A Little Background: When my husband and I got married five years ago, we had $8,000 in car debt and $110,000 in house debt (put $40,000 down). It took us a little less than 3 years to pay it off and my income didn’t contribute to our household finances until a year after he bought the house (I was in college and student taught). We are both teachers in Texas, although now I stay at home with my 10 month old son, which is the reason we wanted to pay our house off so quickly. So, no, we don’t have fancy jobs nor did we inherit money. Simple living, hard working Americans. 🙂 We did though find time and money to take several vacations and thoroughly enjoyed our DINKhood (DoubleIncomeNoKids). I say that to emphasize this is very doable if you’re willing to make a change now for an incredible change in the future! Dave Ramsey is our hero and taught us what to do during this process. We simply read two of his books (well my husband did…I read them later). I can’t recommend these books enough.
|Our son even likes the book 🙂|
There are many things we did to spend wisely, but I chose four of the more important tips we stuck to while paying off our house! I promise these will change your finances! I’ll start with important and end with most important!
1. GROCERY SHOP WISELY – Groceries is usually where a large part of a household’s income goes (along with mortgage and a car), therefore it is really important to keep this low! I know firsthand it is VERY easy to spend a lot on groceries – I love food and love cooking! I’m going to give you nine tips “in a nutshell” for cutting your grocery budget that worked for us:
- Shop at Walmart (assuming you have one nearby) – They are just plain cheaper! I’ve done my research and on a daily basis, they have better prices. Plus they price match, so if another store has an item on sale or cheaper, Walmart will price match it.
- Don’t visit Costco or Sam’s frequently – I love these stores and yes, we do shop at Costco, but ONLY for their items on sale that week. And we still make sure it’s a better deal than elsewhere. Even if you have a big family this is often not the best place to go. When I look back at our budget from the last five years, the months we blew our grocery amount, were the months we went to Costco/Sams.
- Plan your meals – I’ve now started adapting Danielle’s (Blissful and Domestic) method of meal planning and writing out a list. I love it and it’s certainly helped organize our meals and grocery list. We shop every week though.
- Go with a list – This goes with planning your meals. I now organize my list in categories and my trips to the store are so much faster and easier!
- Buy store brands. Don’t be a brand snob (I can say this because I used to be one). There are a few items I still get brand names, but most items are store brand. Make sure to look at all the prices though. Sometimes a brand name may be cheaper.
- Use Coupons – I probably do this the least due to time of planning, but it definitely helps and there are many websites with coupons you can print out. We usually use coupons for a few items we want to splurge on. Be picky though. Many couponers actually spend more because they’re “getting a deal.” Just because it’s on sale does not mean you need it.
- Look at Store Ads – This is important so you know you get the cheapest price you can on your items, especially meat and produce. We will briefly look through the ads, circle the items that we want that are cheapest, and make a list (item, price, store). This way when we’re at Walmart we can price match a lot easier. I know some of you are saying “Eww, Walmart. I can’t buy my meat and produce from there.” First of all, it’s not bad. Second of all, that’s fine, just go to the store that’s selling it cheaper and buy it there. There are some stores that we have to visit to get the item on sale if it’s that store’s brand (i.e. Kroger’s chicken).
- Don’t go with kids – If you can, leave the kids at home. I’ll sometimes go at 9:00pm. Kids at the grocery store can make you wanna poke your eyeballs out and they can really damage the wallet!
- Make a budget for the month – An important component of this tip is to write down what you spend after EACH grocery trip next to your budget (I’ll share an example below in the fourth tip). We typically budget $280 a month for groceries (usually spend $300 though). That’s about $75 a week. When we were paying off our house, we budgeted $240 (and we actually stuck to it). Therefore, budget low because you will spend whatever you budget, if not more! Aim to spend 5-10% of your household income on food (that’s dining out, groceries, etc…)…closer to 5% if you’re paying off debt. Like Dave Ramsey says, “Rice and beans, beans and rice.”
|Here’s an example of our template filled out! Below is a blank one you can download.|
|Grocery shopping with kids!|
|Looking through store ads is the most effective thing we do for keeping costs low|
2. DINE OUT ON A BUDGET – Telling you “I love eating out” is an understatement. I thoroughly enjoy it! I have to say, I think my hubby and I are pros at this by now! I can probably count on one hand how many times we’ve paid full price for a meal in the last five years. We budget about $100 a month for this. And I would say we eat something that’s not made in the “Snyder Kitchen” about 15 times a month, whether that’s breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Mmmm I love breakfast. Ok back to budgeting! Here are nine of our favorite tips “in a nutshell.”
- Buy and use an Entertainment Passbook – They cost $25-35 at the most and they have TONS of coupons/discounts for your area. One trip to a restaurant pays for the book. We used this book for almost every meal out back in the day! It allows you to visit really nice restaurants for half the value! Check it out! Sometimes, mama just needs a break from cooking.
- Look at the bottom of your restaurant receipts – Often times, they have free items if you complete a survey. Wait, I promise it’s not bad. It’s either an automated phone call or online. Takes maybe two minutes!
- Sign up to your favorite restaurants email list – They send you coupons and discounts, especially for your birthday or anniversary.
- Know restaurants weekly deals – Many times restaurants have deals during the week (i.e. kids eat free, half price appetizers, etc…) to bring customers in the restaurant. We love Cristina’s Mexican Restaurant. They have $8.99 fajitas on Wednesdays, so we’ll go and share that. Then we get to splurge on chips and queso or their apple pie…or both. Ok, usually both!
- Drink water when you dine out – it’s healthier and $2-3 per person adds up fast!
- Share a dessert – We used to not order dessert when we were first married, but if we do, we split it! Again, healthier and dessert is really expensive!
- Don’t drink alcohol when you eat out – I can see the eyes rolling on this one! We are not big drinkers, so this one is easy for us and saves us a TON! If you must have a drink, find out where the deals are. Or save your drinks for home. You can make it much cheaper at home.
- Limit your restaurants to places that require a tip – For example, when we order pizza, we always go get it. Usually one of us is already out and about, so we’ll just grab it on the way home. Did you know pizza places charge $2-3 for delivery, plus a tip? That’s $5-10 more just to have it brought to you.
- Use a cash system – We don’t do this, but if you have bad self control or don’t check your budget, set aside cash and when you’re out, you’re done eating out that month.
|This is the Entertainment Passbook. Click to go to website. Often times, high school kids will sell these for $25 for a fundraiser.|
|Free food? Yes please!|
|Cash Envelope System|
3. EVALUATE YOUR CAR SITUATION – Let me say that this tip is really, really important! I promise! I have SO much to say about this topic, so if you want better information, click on the link to get more details. We follow Dave Ramsey’s financial advice, so these tips are from his teachings.
- I’ll start with a quote from Ramsey. “Taking on a car payment is one of the dumbest things people can do to destroy their chances of building wealth.”
- You need to get rid of your car payment. I know you can’t do this tomorrow, but this is something you must eliminate quickly, whether you pay it off soon or trade it in.
- The best way I can explain why you should get rid of you car payment is this: If you have a $378 car payment (which is normal) your entire life (also normal), you just gave up $4,447,084 in investments! Is a car really worth that much money! Here’s what Dave says – “If you invested $378 per month from age 25 to age 65 (a normal working lifetime), in the average mutual fund averaging 12% (the 70 year stock market average), you would have $4,447,084.01 at age 65. Hope you like the car!”
- How do you get a car without a payment? Basically, pay cash for a junk car, save, then trade it in for a slightly better car, save, then repeat until you have the car of your dreams. This video does a great job explaining smart car payments (which is NONE)!
|This is what my husband bought in cash once we paid off the house and had some extra money (no kids).|
4. MAKE A BUDGET – This is what I get asked about the most. I saved this for last because it is the foundation to paying off all your debts and living like no one else! I have to say, my husband is the brains behind the budget. He came up with this awesome acronym for the word B-U-D-G-E-T. Can you blame him, he’s a teacher!
- B – Borrowing is BAD! Proverbs 22:7 states, “The rich rule over the poor and the borrower is slave to the lender.” Do not borrow your way out of debt. It doesn’t work. Get rid of your credit cards! Use cash or a debit card. Did you know 60% of Americans do NOT pay their credit card amount on time?
- U – Unity! Your spouse must be on board for this to work! Finances are the #1 thing couples fight over and 57% end up in divorce over it. Marriages have better success with honest communication. Pray and work together for maximum wisdom!
- D – Discipline! Every month have a finance meeting and put everything on paper before you make purchases. Hold yourself accountable to the written plan. You will want to give up, but give it 90 days to form a habit!
- G – Giving! No matter the hardships you face, continue to tithe (giving at least 10% to your church). God will bless you and your family. He is the creator of money. Trust that he will provide. This will probably be the hardest thing to do when on a tight budget.
- E – Education! Seek wise counsel. Dave Ramsey’s “The Total Money Makeover” provides a simple plan to pay off debt. It’s the best $10 investment we’ve ever made! Also, read what Scripture says about money. It will provide a peace of mind when things get tough.
- T – Time! The bigger the debt, the longer it will take to get out of debt. Stick to the plan and remember there is light at the end of the tunnel! I cannot explain to you the freedom we felt October 2009 when we wrote that last check for the house! I’m living my dream now of being a full-time mom to my baby boy at age 27!
Where to Start? Look at these recommended percentages to know how much you should be allocating to different areas of your budget.
Example of Budget – Many people ask to see what our budget looks like. I’m happy to share! You would probably be really surprised to know that we WRITE IT ALL DOWN! Old school, yes, but it works! We find that if it’s digital or on your computer, you’re less likely to visit it! If it’s written down, it can go everywhere with you! You and your budget should be best friends! Plus, it’s super easy to thumb through previous months and compare. But whatever works for you, use that system. That’s just us personally. We use a 3 subject spiral since they’re thick! Below is a picture of our budget, but I’ve also created a digital version here so you can see it better and use if you wish. To understand the budget, I’ve included a ton of notes above the document when you click on it. I’ve also included a blank template you can download and make adjustments to fit your needs.
This is exactly how we write our budget:
This is a typed version of our budget with detailed notes: Click HERE
This is the blank template: HERE
I want to end with Dave Ramsey’s famous one liner: “Live like no one else now, so you can live like no one else later!”
Will people think you’re crazy for living a more frugal lifestyle? Possibly even make fun of you? Probably. But that is a very good sign you are on the right track! I hope these tips help you financially. Feel free to ask me anything!
Come visit me on Facebook, Instagram (@oliviacsnyder) and Pinterest.
I wrote this post as a guest post on Blissful and Domestic, but wanted to have the actual post directly on my blog as this is one of my most important financial posts!
I must be honest, I get giddy visiting your blog and seeing you've posted another "finance" post!!! Every time, I leave learning atleast 1 new thing. Thank You!!!
Thank you Stevie! That is so nice and encouraging!
When paying cash for everything, do you still keep your credit cards in your wallet just incase? I feel that if I left them at home, then thats the time something would go completely wrong and thats when I would need it! How do you handle that situation?
Grace Keller says
Dave Ramsey teaches that you should save at least $1,000 as an emergency fund. If you feel you absolutely cannot get by without a credit card, a debit card is a good consideration. There are no interest rates because the money you are spending would already be yours. You would just have to train yourself to use it only in emergency situations, and not get to plastic happy when buying.
Yes a debit card is a great thing if credit card cannot be paid off each month. You can get some benefits from using a credit card, BUT if you can't pay it off each month then it's not worth it. Totally right Grace!
We actually don't use cash. We use a credit card. We pay it off each month. If we had a spending issue though or were ever late on payments, I would definitely use a cash system. If I did cash, I would keep credit card in wallet, but shouldn't use it in case you go over or anything. It would be there in case of an emergency, which I really can't think of what that would be.
This was answering becerilyn's post fyi. 🙂 Not sure why it skipped down.
We do the same thing! Credit cards are paid off in full every month (we treat those cards like debit cards…if the money isn't in the bank, the card doesn't swipe!) We use the cashback bonus to buy a guilt-free "luxury" expense (like remote car starters for our cars, which is our decided goal for 2015…so excited!) We could use it to pay down our student debt, but we are making a lot of progress on them already (about 1/3 of the way done in 1.5 years!) and don't spend much money on US! Sometimes you DO need to spoil yourself to keep yourself motivated, in my opinion!
Jaden Allred says
These are great tips, Olivia! They look simple enough, and some people might scoff at the idea that these small changes can actually make a difference. But small changes put together can equal a big chunk of money saved up that can be reallocated for debt payments. Thanks for sharing!
-Jaden@Toronto Bankruptcy Advice
Thank you Jaden! You're exactly right. Small changes can make a difference!
Is there anyway you could email the blank template and the typed version of your budget with notes? I cannot download it. I just love your blog! Aadams3387@gmail.com
Sent you the documents!
Yvette Dinvaut says
LOVE YOU!!! Would you send them to me too? email@example.com. Thanks!!!
Megan Stanger says
Me too please!! Meganstanger85@gmail.com
Just found this as a post on pinterest and am thrilled!
Me too, please! Luvdance4@gmail.com
Jessica Rowland says
me too! please … firstname.lastname@example.org
Could I get them also?! email@example.com
Austyn Windle says
May I get them too? Just found your blog and LOVING it. We need some help with our budget. My friend said she will bring her copy of Dave Ramsey's book to me to borrow so I can jump on it. My hubs will not be excited but understands it needs to happen. Thank you! firstname.lastname@example.org
Issy's Divine Creations says
Hmmm… I think I need to check out the singles chapter in DR'S book. A tip from me to you and your readers: the cheapest is not always the best value. Example: I can get 10+ pound bag of kitty food at Walmart for $10 or less or I can go to my locally owned pet store and get a 5 pound bag of high quality food for $12. The 5 pounds of 'expensive' food lasts longer than the 10+ of the cheap stuff because it doesn't have all the corn and other fillers. A 5 lb bag lasts my 8 lb Gabby kitty 2 months. $6/month on high quality food or $6+ month on the 'cheap' stuff.
Good research is key to finding the best value for your money. Creativity also helps!
Great tip!!! You're totally right…cheapest isn't always the best. I've learned that the hard way before when I've had to replace something because it breaks or doesn't last long or taste great or isn't healthy, etc…
I hate when people say things like "we're not doctors, just simple living, hard working". Doctors are some of the most simple living and hard working people I know. And to stereotype them as having all this money is an absolute fallacy. After 8 years of school they make about what comes out to 5 dollars and hour during their 5 or so years of residency. Then they are in their mid 30s or 40 when they finally start earning and income and they have several hundred thousand dollars of debt to pay off which takes a lot longer than 8000. They need your advice just as much as if not more than everybody else!
Good advice just hate the misconception/stereotype.
I certainly did not mean that doctors are not hard working or have money issues. My point (although not explained correctly I suppose) was that we do not make what a doctor makes, nor ever will (until we retire maybe). Yes, doctors incur A LOT of debt and work VERY HARD, but they also make a ton of money! The cool thing about doctors is they have something to look forward to in their career financially. It's too bad we don't pay our teachers (in America) what they're worth too…now that would cool!
Heather Hose says
I'm surprised you didn't mention Groupon.com or the groupon app. I LOVE using it to eat out, because there isn't an entertainment book for our area, and we usually get at least a 50% savings for some of our favorite restaurants! 🙂 It's worth looking into if you love eating out as much as I do!!!
Groupon! Yes Groupon! We use this often, although my husband is in charge of all that! Yes, this is a great savings tip! I'll have to update and add that. Thanks Heather!
hailee Morgan says
When using group on, always call the business and ask if they will honor the groupon price, especially with small businesses. Groupon gets 50% percent so the business only ends up with 25% when offering a 50% discount.
Shanna Larrick says
So how did you pay off your house in 33 months? Are you paying more?
Yes, we paid more on our house. Originally got a 15 year note to cut it down in half! Then my husband ALONE AS A TEACHER paid an extra payment each month before we got married and I moved in with him. He paid double for about a year. Then when I got a job (teacher), we put another payment towards the house (tripling it). Then the last year we added one more and very close to the end, we put one more (5 times original mortgage). My husband at the same time as all this was putting his reffing money (he refs basketball) into a savings account to buy a corvette. The last month when we had $17,000 left, he took his "car money" and paid off the house and just started saving up again. You can read more in the About me tab or under the Finance tab.
You must make much more money as an educator than those of us in NC !!!
I'm not sure how Texas compares to NC. It's all online though…teacher's pay is public knowledge 🙂 Both my husband and I work(ed) in big districts so our salaries were probably on the higher side compared to some other cities in TX. TX teachers starting salary range from about $35,000-45,000. Problem is the increase from year to year only stays up with inflation…and even then sometimes we don't get a raise. One year, inflation rose and teachers stayed at existing salaries. Classroom teachers' salaries don't go very far unless you get into administration. Regardless, teachers are not paid high by any means, ESPECIALLY for the work they are required to do. Hence the average quitting rate is 5 years. In regards to your statement, I'm not sure if we make more, and if so, how much. But I do know we were paying about 80% of our income towards our house at one point…it was a sacrifice and very hard. Reaping the rewards was worth it though.
http://www.whatsthecost.com/snowball.aspx is the best website! It has helped me to actually get out of debt faster..of course I follow most of your advise already, but this is what I do with the savings to pay off that debt faster! About half way there!!!!
Cool! I'll have to check it out!
Cool! I'll have to check it out!
It really saddens me to read many of your grocery tips :/ I know wal-mart is cheaper than nearly every other grocery store because of their large buying power, but I'd rather give more business to local stores where the money stays in the local economy. Also, wal-mart's track record for treating their employees isn't the greatest and many of their Great Value products are so cheap because the workers are paid below minimum wage for their services (there's a lot to learn if you dig deep.) I'd rather spend more money buying quality, healthier, more locally grown/produced food for my family while thinking about the impacts my dollars are having on others' lives. Some of your grocery tips are very selfish and look out only for your family's bottom line. Perhaps a good tip to include would be to grow some of your own veggies/herbs or look into trading with neighbors who do.
I'm sorry it saddens you…it really excites me actually! No reason to pay more for something when you can get exact same thing for cheaper. We actually shop at Kroger, Albertsons, Market Street, Sprouts, Tom Thumb, Walmart, and a local farm for certain meats. I've posted about that, but I don't think you've read those posts I'm assuming! We do majority of our shopping for massed produced products at Walmart. Not sure if you are new to this site or just reading this post, but we are DEBT FREE and do not spend over the amount we make. Our very unselfish jobs do not afford us the ability to shop for all our groceries at a more expensive store/market. I'm quite proud of our tips and they have helped many. We are not willing to go into debt for groceries. Quite honestly, I could argue that having debt is actually selfish! Spending money on things you do not have the money for is not smart and ruins people's lives. So to say I'm selfish, is an inaccurate assumption! That I "look out only for my family's bottom line"….you bet I'm going to take care of my family! God first, family second! Frankly, I don't have time to do extensive background checks on every company that I buy products from! Walmart does some great things for the economy and gives jobs to people who might not get a job elsewhere. Growing your own veggies/herbs is a great tip…not one I will take at this current point in my life, but might be good for others who have the time…I'm a busy lady, so my time is valuable. I welcome opposing feedback and opinions, but the assuming selfish comment went over the line!
Maggie Mielke says
Good for you… Well said
Peggy Williams says
I agree with you totally!! I pray to be like you one day. Maybe she is jealous that you are debt free
I too agree that shopping at Walmart is always cheaper. I shop at Fry's (Kroger) and a lot of their items are cheaper. Also we get fuel points. Just filled up my 26 gallon vehicle for $1.97 per gallon. Not only that, Walmart NEVER has everything on my list. And guess what? My husband is a warehouse supervisor for Walmart, we get 10% off, and we still look at Walmart as a last resort.
I'm frugal.3 kids under 4. I do my grocery shopping exactly like you described above. Sam's Club is a great way to save money on diapers, wipes, dish soap, detergent, dog food… If one shops by price per ounce or unit they'd see the value of buying in bulk for some items.
*I too disagree that shopping at Walmart is always cheaper
We shop at MANY stores. Walmart being one for more mass produced items. Kroger is actually the store we shop at most, other than Walmart. By our house, Walmart definitely has cheaper prices on majority of things vs. Kroger. But I do love Kroger. We buy all our organic milk there, and eggs. We also shop at Costco for bulk items. There are only a few items we buy in bulk there that are cheaper than buying smaller versions at grocery stores, but wipes is definitely one. We use Luvs diapers now that my son is older and spend $19.75/month, but I'll have to check and see if Costco carries them and if cheaper. Thanks for the tips…I can use all the tips now that I'm home and have kids.
Laura Baca-Aragon says
Walmart slaves children in other countries and that does make you selfish to shop there!!!!.
Laura, I would love a link from a credible source that has this information. If Walmart is slaving children, I would like to know about that. I don't have time to do extensive research on every shopping establishment I frequent, but would love to be sent a link or book with this information that they are using slaves for work. Thank you.
I'd love for people to criticize me for shopping at Walmart. Until they are willing to pay my grocery bill, they should keep their opinions to themselves. Blogs are like TV channels. If you don't like the content, change the channel. Thank you for performing a service, from which many people can benefit. I appreciate you.
Truth is what works for one doesn't always work for others. Walmart employs a lot of young people which leads them towards being self sufficient. It is really hard for someone to get the previous experience that most jobs require. I personally am not a huge fan of Walmart but shopping there doesn't make anyone selfish. Bottom line you are wise to live within your means which is the opposite of being selfish and is the only way to really live the American dream.
Olivia, I am a reader not a blogger (ever), but I need to tell you that your ministry – this website (which I just found today on accident) is a blessing. I was recently given Dave Ramsey's CD's for this, so I'm seeing this as confirmation to do this :-). Why I'm writing, though, is to encourage you to focus on truth and not lies (people can be cruel), and to continue to "work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men" (Col 3:23), being a good steward of the blessings God has given you and your family. In response to one of the comments, here's a great reminder for you: "But if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever." (I Tim 5:8). I've printed some of your comments to discuss with my husband, so we can make some changes, and if I don't cross your path again in this lifetime, I hope to in the next! 🙂 Be encouraged, dear sister! I'm proud of your website & I thank you for your ministry. Many Blessings. ~Melanie
Great scripture references and encouragement! Thank you Melanie! I needed that.
Can you send me the link for the groceries and bill page as well. I cant download.
Alaina Creswell says
I'd also love a link to the grocery template. It's the only picture not showing up for some reason. Alaina.email@example.com!
Shante J says
I agree with all you said and 2014….I'm making huge changes financially… I have 3 of Dave's books, listen to his radio station or you tube and listen to his daughter Rachel Cruze….thanks for the extra information!!!
Shante that is awesome! He's a great resource for information. Haven't listened to his daughter…I'll have to check her out.
Jessica Nagala says
Olivia, I'm just beginning I guess you could say! My boyfriend and I are both 21 both have jobs and live with each other in our own apartment. I am always looking for great savings tips. Seems like we are always in the rut. We dont believe in credit cards so to us it seems more hectic but it is for the best because it would be one more bill to pay. I tried downloading your grocery list template as well as your blank template and opening your budget with notes but it wont allow me to. Help please!
average mutual fund averaging 12% … what does he mean by this?? How do I find where I can apply? Is it an IRA or a 403b?
Steph Smith says
Wow, I'm so impressed that you paid off your house in 33 months. I'm still paying off a $2,000 car loan and it's been around 30 months for me! I really appreciate you sharing your tips. Grocery shopping can definitely make a huge difference, once my husband and I started planning our meals, we started realizing how much money we were wasting. I'll have to take your advice on the other tips as well, I'd love to be debt free. http://www.vineandwilliams.com
Paying off your car is great! It all depends on people's financial situations of how long it can take them. Keep paying it off and saving everywhere else you can!
so… I have 2 kids, a full time job, a gigantic mortgage, and 2 cars. i finish paying off my car in November of next year 2016 and my husband begins his car loan in september of next year. My husband luckily makes a lot of money…we have $24,000 in credit card bedt and $319k in mortgage. i pay $840 a month in my car payments. my income is crap and i pay my daughter´s babysitter and my son´s after school program which is $500! how am i supposed to clear up my expenses while drowning? i wish i could just pay my debt off and call it a day but i can´t afford, right now, to stay home with my kids although i would LOVE to! please help…
What state do you live in? I ask because of your mortgage amount. In Texas, that is A LOT of money for a mortgage (for someone with lots of debt). But if you're in California or some place like that, this amount sadly, might just be normal. We're lucky to live in a state with a good housing market!
To be honest, it sounds like your expenses are high, so if it were me, I'd work on getting rid of those expenses. I know that is drastic, but if you have $24,000 in credit card debt, your cars and house really should be lower. If your husband makes good money, take advantage of that and pay off that cc. Here's what my husband would do…
-Get rid of both cars for a MUCH lower payment or if possible, trade them in and buy a "very used car" for a few thousand dollars or less until you catch up.
-Possibly move. Now, like I said, this is drastic and might not even be possible if $319k is a low price for a house. A good rule of thumb is to NOT have a mortgage bigger than twice your household income (not the price of the house, but just the mortgage you take out). For example, if you make $100k between the both of you, your mortgage should be $200k or less. Based on $319K, you should be making at least $160k between the both of you. If you have a high cc debt, you might want the mortgage even lower.
And of course, cutting costs wherever you can (groceries, bills, no cable, etc). Have you done the math on how much you would save if you stayed home with kids. For example, if I worked as a teacher right now, instead of staying home and having my Etsy shop, I would only make roughly $300 more a month, which is obviously not worth it at all. Even if I didn't have my shop, I'd only make about $1600 a month after day care costs (maybe even less) and for me, the pressures of teaching and NOT seeing my kids isn't worth it all. It WOULD help, but just not something we should do for our family. Just some thoughts.
Trina O'Neil says
Ok now I have to go home and see which Dave Ramsey books I have and start reading them. Thank you so much for sharing. I found this page from your about page. Curiosity has me hook line and sinker now. Thank you for sharing your tips, tricks and thoughts.
Walking My Own Path
I just found your blog. 🙂 I am so excited. I am a full time graduate student and already have so much debt. I was wondering if you could please forward me you budget example and template, I can't seem to load it from here. Thank you so much.
At the end of the post it says here is the blank template, but nothing is there! 🙁 Any way you can email me?
UPDATE: Anyone that was asking for the documents from the bottom of the post, I’ve now linked the files in the post so you can download. When I switched over to WordPress, the files were not compatible so were missing. They should be there now.