101 in 1001 · During Our Marriage

30. pay off debt by 2015

Hey! Happy Monday!  Guess what?

debt free | Atwell AdventuresThat’s right! We’re debt freeeeeeee!

Its been almost two months since we paid off our debt, but it still feels so good – and so unreal – to type that.

I never thought that we would be able to pay off everything as quickly as we did, but looking back, it’s a great reminder of how the Lord provided SO much for us these past few months! From G being offered a job and an early start date allowing him to take leave time he built up in the USMC, to a rental house that was within our price range, there were so many answers to prayers and we are grateful for the opportunity to be living without the burden of debt.

When we began to work on paying off our debt in September {read: paying more than the monthly minimum on what we owed}, we hoped that we would be able to pay it off by our first anniversary but tried to be realistic and give ourselves until the end of 2014 to pay it off, just in case life happened and we had to put money towards other things. After all we didn’t really know what our next few months would like with G finishing up in the military.  

Some of the things that we did that were key to us paying our debt off more quickly:

  1. Pay off smaller debts first. We read about this idea through Dave Ramsey, and it truly did give us momentum.  And who doesn’t put a cross through a line of debt once its paid off?
  2. Create a spending budget off of less than your income.  If you make $100 a month, create your budget based on $60 and put the other $40 towards debt.
  3. Reduce “fun money” spending. This may sound like a no brainer, but we worked over our budget a few times and tried to cut out things we could do without. While it definitely wasn’t fun to cut down on our “fun money” spending {clothes, home stuff, eating out more than once a week}, it was very worth it.  It even gave me time to gain new perspectives on needs vs.wants, buying things I love, and investing in quality items.  I’m definitely still learning though!
  4. Evaluate spending every month. Each month, we would list out how we did on our budget, and make notes if we went over in certain categories.  This helped us stay more accountable and be realistic about our spending.

We still have a long way to go in learning about money {giving, saving, and planning} but we’re grateful to be doing it now without the worry of a payment!

What are some ways you tackle debt? Any tips?

ps – Want to read more about how we got started? Last fall during my 31 days series, I wrote about how we deal with moneycommunicating about moneygoal settingbudgeting 101a helpful tooleasy ways to save, and settling into a home on a budget.  

31 days

31 days – fall 2013 – goal setting

So after we started communicating about money, I got busy on paper… because if I’m going to have to look at a paper with lots of numbers, I’m at least going to make it colorful and throw in a few pie graphs for fun. #NerdAlert

We knew that if we wrote down where our money was going it would be easier to see what we could/should be putting towards our debt to get it paid off as quickly as possible.

I was surprised that by doing this, it gave me more motivation to stay on track and it even made me want to establish some goals to help keep us motivated.

Our first goal that we established was to make a monthly budget and stick to it. I know that sounds like a simple idea, but simple is a nice start for someone who has really never established a budget {well, established a budget with the intention of keeping to it}.

Next we read about Dave Ramsey’s Seven Baby Steps.  Since we are just starting out, our “in sight goals” are steps 1-3. Once we make those steps, we’ll look into learning more about steps 4-7.

Dave Ramsey's Seven Baby Steps | Atwell Adventures

So that’s where we are today. Our debt snowball is getting smaller and we’re trying to base our decisions on things that will help us reach our goals sooner, rather than later. So far, so good!

Do goals help keep you on track?

31 days - newlyweds | Atwell Adventures


Update: We’re now DEBT FREE!!! 

31 days

31 days – fall 2013 – money

Let’s talk about the money, honey.

money | Atwell Adventures

Gary and I are 26 years old {until next Monday when I turn the big 2-7!}. We both finished college with student loans. We have cars that we were still paying off when we got married. We both held full time jobs post-college. We don’t have credit cards.

So with all of these factors, we’re learning new things about money and being accountable to one another as husband and wife.

Thankfully, with communicating, goal setting, budgeting, helpful tools, and finding ways to save, the lessons have been pretty easy so far.

Another lesson for me that has been big these days is contentment. It’s so easy to spend, spend, spend but I’ve been challenged these early days of marriage to be a little more thoughtful of my spending {more on this later in the series}.

Coincidentally, I read these verses in Hebrews 13 this morning that were a much needed reminder:

“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?”

What a sweet reminder. Only the Lord – who will never us or forsake us – is the only one who can truly satisfy.

Now excuse me, as I go print off these words to attach to my debit card.

31 days - newlyweds | Atwell Adventures