I just saw a blog titled “I paid off $50,000 of debt in 2 months and here is how I did it.” I think I gagged a little at how out of this world their claims are as I rolled my eyes. Yeah, we aren’t there yet either, so let’s celebrate the little steps of victory instead…
Where We Started
We started off on the fast track, we got married after only 5 months of dating. This could have been disaster, but we knew we were making the right choice, so we moved forward. However, we didn’t pause long enough for marital or financial counseling, which means we brought all our baggage and financial mis-sense with us. And since we didn’t have the counseling we needed, it made merging our finances much harder.
Our budgeting when we were both single was typical of single folks – work, pay bills, overspend, complain about no money, work some more and repeat. No savings, no planning, just hoping it worked out every month. Our student loans are THROUGH THE ROOF! Double and even triple what most people have for student loans (yes, we both went to private universities, bad life choice #1). At the time we got married, we were switching jobs, then moving, then buying cars and it was incredibly stressful for both of us.
What We Needed To Do
We needed to get stablized first. Getting married is considered one of the biggest stressors, and with good reason – suddenly you are sharing bathrooms, space and finances. It doesn’t come easy to learn to thrive in someone else’s space, but once we figured that out, we were doing much better. Stability allowed us to stop reacting and to start planning. It prevented us from making emergency based decisions. We were able to finally slow down and talk about finances and truely plan.
HINT – DO NOT MAKE ANY JOB CHANGES OR MOVES OR KIDS WITHIN 2 YEARS OF KNOWING EACH OTHER, after 2 years, then you can consider it.
#1 change that was needed was in communication. It’s amazing how stress changes how we treat and react to finances, it caused us to really spin out of control. We needed to learn each other’s habits and thinking/emotions behind finanical decisions. It takes a while to get to know someone, and since we didn’t know each other very well prior to marriage, we were learning the hard way.
For instance – APPRANETLY, not everyone loves to create and continually review a penny by penny spreadsheet of the finanances for the last 10 years. WHO KNEW? I didn’t for sure. My poor husband just wanted to talk budget and plan the future and I kept pulling out our past… written neatly in beautiful spreadsheets (read about our new method of budgeting that works SOO much better for us).
We needed to get in a routine with our finances and life. This may sound silly, but again, the stress of marriage and all the changes threw our money habits out of whack, so we had to get back into a routine of who pays what and when.
Ready to move out of stress paralysis? Read how I did it here!
We also had to simplify our finances. Some expenses had to go, I am thinking particularly of the $5 coffee expense (3-4 times a week) and going to the movies (dates where we used to pay seperately suddenly seems more expensive when it’s a joint budget).
Where We Have Been Since
We have been married 3 years now, together 3 and 1/2 years. Once we got stable and simplified, we were able to start figuring out our money situation. We began to work in the finances and insurances world, and really began to try to get on the same page. In the last 12 months, we had LOTS of small victories. Here are the ones I remember the most:
- Going out is now limited to a few times a month (or when a Marvel movie comes out!)
- Our communication about money is gentle and focused on the problems not our differences.
- We finally set and stuck to goals together.
- We paid for CNA school in cash… in under 5 weeks (that was about $1200).
- We had 2 good insurances which covered over $50,000 in medical bills for my pregnancy.
- We paid for a surgery in cash instead of trying to ‘pay it later.’
- We put $1400 in savings.
- We paid off $200-$300 in small bills that we just hadn’t paid off before.
- We kept student loans from defaulting.
- We started a debt consolodation program.
- We fired our debt consolodation program and learned to do it ourselves.
- We were able to give money away.
- We paid off $4000-5000 in collection debts, along with about $9000 in car loans.
- We did NOT add to our debt this year.
Where We Want To Get To
Okay, now that I look at that written out, we HAVE been doing amazing! Little victories really do add up! Obviously, we want to get completely debt free, because we want to live in balance and peace, instead of being controlled by our bills. We want to be in control of our finances, not have our finances be in control of us. One of the reasons we side hustle and work second jobs is so that we are in charge of income and can bring in more money as we need it.
We want to own and operate a small business consulting firm along with an insurance/investing agency. We are on our way to those goals now and I can’t wait to continue sharing our journey of little victories and small changes with you. What are the little victories you are celebrating this week and year? Even if you aren’t the one writing the “I paid off $50,000 in 2 months” blog, you did do SOMETHING to help your fianances to become more orderly and to have a better balance in your life. I want to hear your victories and your goals, leave us a comment below!
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Yes, I include affiliate links in all my blogs, it gives me the chance to stay home with the little one. I get paid a little each time you click and buy from the included links, but I only recommend products that I use myself. Thanks for helping our dream of being a full-time blogger come true! ~ Lydia Y-S.